Author Topic: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?  (Read 17832 times)

Kaplin261

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What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« on: March 30, 2016, 05:53:50 AM »
My wife and I both work 40 hours a week, standard business hours. The last thing  we want to do is come home and cook for a hour and then spend another hour cleaning up, packing leftovers for lunch the next day. We also do not want to spend extra money  or sacrifice nutrition for the convenience of not cooking.

What I have came up with so far is a diet that is based on fruits and nuts throughout the day while we are at work monday-friday, then for dinner pop a lean cuisine($2 a person)in the microwave. For the weekends when we have more leisure time we could work on our culinary skills and cook a fancy meal or two.

How do you handle your family's nutrition while working on building up your stash working full time?

MonkeyJenga

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2016, 06:07:53 AM »
Batch cook! On Sunday I made a huge vat of vegetarian chili, which works out to less than a dollar a meal for maybe 25-30 meals. You can do this with rice and beans, soup, stew, anything that you can stick in a big pot or slow cooker.

You can make multiple batches at once and stick individual portions in the freezer so they're easy to defrost and you have some variety.

Or, shit, microwave a sweet potato. Cooking does not need to require two hours of prep and clean up. Stir fry is another option, it's fast and only uses one pan.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 06:10:46 AM by MonkeyJenga »

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2016, 06:16:20 AM »
I second cooking in bulk. Perhaps cooking in bulk for you means 6 meals rather than 30. It takes only slightly more effort to make 8 servings of something than to make just 2. Freeze whatever you don't feel like eating that week. Once you do this a few times, you'll have some variety.

As MonkeyJenga mentioned, the slow cooker is your friend. Pre-cut and bag your ingredients. Then in the morning transfer your bag into the slow cooker and set it on low.

Quick, simple meals are another good option for you. It only takes a few minutes to brown some turkey for tacos. Pre-cook some chicken and cut it up into slices to add to a salad. Boil some whole grain pasta and serve with broccoli and store bought sauce. Eating doesn't have to be complicated.

MandalayVA

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2016, 06:31:06 AM »
Dinner most nights in the House of Mandalay is chicken and vegetables.  I season some drumsticks or thighs, stick them in the oven at 350 degrees, roast for 40 minutes.  I steam vegetables in the microwave, either in a Pyrex casserole or in their bags.  Total prep time for the whole meal--3 minutes.  Easy, nutritious and tasty.

I also batch cook on the weekends.  Mr. Mandalay likes tossed salads with chicken for lunch so I make sure to spin a bunch of lettuce in my salad spinner so he can grab that, some cherry tomatoes and sliced chicken breasts to make his salads, as well as mix up a couple of batches of Italian dressing.  For myself, I make soup or stuff I can throw in my thermos.

If I ate nothing but fruit and nuts all day I'd be so hungry I'd lose my mind.  And Lean Cuisines are garbage.  Your body is the only one you've got--feed it good stuff and make the effort to make good stuff for it.


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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2016, 06:35:37 AM »
Another vote for batch cooking - I batch cook dinners on the weekends so I can reheat during the week. For example, this weekend I did a slowcooked pot of blackbean chilli and brown rice, and a big batch of chicken bolognese. Both are simple, healthy, tasty recipes with heaps of added veggies. I freeze them in 1meal serves in baggies/containers for the family (makes about 5 family serves each). Every weekend I alternate cooking to build up a stash of different meals - for this week we ate

-blackbean chilli
-butter chicken w rice (previously cooked and frozen)
-spaghetti Bolognese
-tacos (shredded cooked chicken meat from freezer)
-lentil curry (reheated from freezer, added some chopped tofu last minute)
-fresh salad rice paper wraps (I had already chopped the salad veggies for work lunches)
-vegetable quiche (quick and easy to whip up fresh)
Dinner generally is taken out in the morning to defrost in the fridge, and then it only takes 10 or so minutes at night to reheat and assemble/add salad/boil fresh pasta/etc.

Lunches are fairly simple and repetitive, again prepped on the weekend.
-a vegetable soup (cooked in mega batches, frozen into cup size recycled glass jars/containers),
-a sandwich (something like vegemite that I can make in batches and freeze)
-carrot/cucumber/capsicum sticks or salad (chopped twice a week)
-something snacky like nuts or potato chips or a hardboiled egg


Breakfast is normally a green smoothie (blended spinach, cucumber, kale, banana), tea, and maybe a piece of toast or oatmeal if i'm hungry. I keep pumpernickel bread in the work fridge, and a few easy meals like tuna/noodles in my work drawer in case I forget my  lunch or get super hungry. Not the most exciting breakfast and lunches, granted, but healthy, cheap, and quick!

ZiziPB

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2016, 06:56:55 AM »
Definitely batch cooking!  I simply make large portions of whatever it is I am cooking on Saturday and Sunday.  This way I have 2 kinds of leftovers for the week.  Sometimes I portion and freeze them, sometimes just keep them in the fridge, depending on what it is and how much I have cooked. I also do any other food prep and planning on the weekends so that during the week it's all "pack and go".  And when I get home from work, I just reheat whatever I have in the fridge or freezer.

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2016, 07:00:56 AM »
make alot of food on sunday and eat it all week.  may have to do some roasted veggies a couple nights but i think you're working up the time involved in your head. 

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2016, 07:09:19 AM »
Fruit/nuts/lean cuisines does not sound particularly balanced from a nutritional perspective. Not enough varied vegetable sources. Sounds pretty low-protein until dinner. And nuts are a huge calorie bomb, so snacking on them all day long might be a problem.

But really, neither fruit nor nuts are great from a "cost per calorie" perspective. Grains, beans, fats from cooking oils, and high-fiber veggies provide more nutrients, fill you up longer, and meet your basic caloric needs more cheaply.

Batch cook on weekends, freeze leftovers, figure out your own psychological "breaking point" for meal variety. Some people need to eat different things every day, while others can eat the same lunch/dinner all week long.

Cleanup during the week doesn't need to take an hour if all you're doing is washing tupperware from the day.

Philociraptor

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2016, 07:23:47 AM »
Like everyone else said, cook once on the weekend and have food for the week. We make 2-3 different meat mains, 2-3 veggie sides, and 2-3 starch sides. Then we combine them in ways so that you don't get bored eating the same thing. I enjoy eating the same thing for breakfast every day (3 eggs + bacon or chorizo or spam), and the wife gets breakfast for free at work. For example, this week we made a ham and some lemon pepper chicken for meats, stir fry cabbage, chinese broccoli, and roasted peppers and onions for veggies, and stovetop sweet potato hash and garlic mashed golden potatoes for starch.

LouLou

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2016, 07:36:04 AM »
My wife and I both work 40 hours a week, standard business hours. The last thing  we want to do is come home and cook for a hour and then spend another hour cleaning up, packing leftovers for lunch the next day. We also do not want to spend extra money  or sacrifice nutrition for the convenience of not cooking.

What I have came up with so far is a diet that is based on fruits and nuts throughout the day while we are at work monday-friday, then for dinner pop a lean cuisine($2 a person)in the microwave. For the weekends when we have more leisure time we could work on our culinary skills and cook a fancy meal or two.

How do you handle your family's nutrition while working on building up your stash working full time?

I batch cook sometimes, but I mostly make very simple meals. I cook (most of the time) and husband cleans up (most of the time).  Cooking and cleaning up never takes us two hours.

Or, shit, microwave a sweet potato. Cooking does not need to require two hours of prep and clean up. Stir fry is another option, it's fast and only uses one pan.

Agreed. Microwave a sweet potato, throw some fish and a vegetable on a cookie sheet in the oven. 15 mins later, you have a delicious healthy meal.

QuirkyNurse

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2016, 07:40:19 AM »
Hi! I'm in the same boat as you, and meal-prepping is a lifesaver! I devote a couple of hours on Sunday to prepping, and that makes the rest of the week so much easier.

Our meals this week have been oatmeal for breakfast (the minute kind with an added glob of peanut butter and some banana slices), yogurt for a mid morning snack, beans/rice or sweet potatoes and meatballs (crockpot!), or beef and broccoli for lunch - all packaged ahead of time. After work snacks are chopped up carrots and hummus or peanut butter on a graham cracker, and dinner tends to be quick like stir fry or pancakes/bacon/eggs, grilled ham and cheeses, or tacos. I like to quickly steam veggies to go along with all of these - frozen veg are a tasty and cheap option.

The key is prepping before hand so everything comes together quick!

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2016, 08:02:58 AM »
I don't batch cook as seriously as some members on this board, but I will usually make my meals big enough to last for a dinner and a lunch for my the wife and I.

The key for us has been to figure out a few meals that we enjoy and that take little time to make.  Bonus if the meal can be made in one pot/pan.  Use tupperware as the plate/bowl.  Then store the leftovers in the tupperware.  This reduces the amount of dishes required.


For us we cook a lot of Tacos, Chicken or Shrimp pesto, Chicken stir fry, chili, meatloaf.  All these meals take about 10-15min prep with 10-20 min cooking.  Fill in the gaps with vegetables and some fruit.


elaine amj

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2016, 08:17:05 AM »
I need to start batch cooking or something. In the last few months, DH and I have switched to mostly whole foods, cooking from scratch, eating primarily veggies, etc etc. It is taking me 1-1.5 hours every single day to cook dinner, not counting the cleanup. A lot of the time is washing the veggies and the crazy amounts of chopping, slicing, and dicing involved. I do admit that it is taking me longer than it should since I am mostly learning new recipes and that always takes extra time.

I am a little reluctant to batch cook/meal prep though. It's about as much work as I can handle to chop and slice for one meal (including leftovers since I try to cook enough to have 2-3 lunch portions left over). I don't know if I can handle chopping and slicing for multiple meals. But I'll have to give it a shot :)

On the good side, we feel so very much better about our food since we quit relying so much on frozen meals. Best of all, it's so much cheaper too! It has taken up much more of our evenings, but the results have been worth it.

Retire-Canada

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2016, 08:27:57 AM »
What I have came up with so far is a diet that is based on fruits and nuts throughout the day while we are at work monday-friday, then for dinner pop a lean cuisine($2 a person)in the microwave. For the weekends when we have more leisure time we could work on our culinary skills and cook a fancy meal or two.

How do you handle your family's nutrition while working on building up your stash working full time?

Eating processed food every week night to save time sounds grim.

We mainly cook a fresh meal each week night. It doesn't take long and we take turns based on who has the most time. The other person does dishes. Generally the person cooking will watch netflix or listen to music and we rotate through some simple meals we are very familiar with so it's still basically chill time. Leftovers get taken to work for lunch or frozen as quick dinners for the odd nights where cooking isn't practical.

If we felt pressed for time we'd batch cook more, but it hasn't been necessary and cooking each day is just part of our lifestyle.

We both eat breakfast at work. I have fruit, milk and cereal at work I eat as desired with nuts and other snacks available throughout the day.

Lunches are typically leftovers or something simple like sandwiches.

Getting our food needs met doesn't feel like a big deal.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 09:49:51 AM by Retire-Canada »

Kaplin261

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2016, 09:44:28 AM »
About 2 years ago I gave batch cooking a try, it lasted a couple months. I would go to the grocery store, pick up all my ingredients,bring them home and instead of putting away groceries I would prep and cook everything right away.We even invested in enough pyrex containers to last the whole the week. The problem we ran into was the upfront time investment, from start to finish it took a little over 4 hours and a lot of weekends we just didn't have a free 4 hour time block. I also did not incorporate enough variety into the meals, I would buy things in bulk to save money and most of the meals for that week had some of the same ingredients in each one. Some things that did work for me to make it easier to cook 21 meals all at once was to use my stove,grill and prep a crock pot with a meal for later that week.

Wouldn't sunflower seeds and raw almonds give me enough protein? Fruits also have protein.

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2016, 09:51:48 AM »
Nothing wrong with (a decent) cereal or PB&J's on wheat for a busy mustachian.  If you watch sales you can get precooked hams for $.79/lb.  I'll buy several while they are on sale, freeze them then thaw as desired.  We usually have one ham dinner then use the rest for sandwiches.  Just got to watch the salt, so I try not to do it too often.   

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2016, 10:13:06 AM »
The problem we ran into was the upfront time investment, from start to finish it took a little over 4 hours and a lot of weekends we just didn't have a free 4 hour time block.

What all are you doing on the weekend and during the week that has a higher priority than prepping healthy food? It's almost never an issue of not enough time and almost always an issue of conflicting priorities. If you want to eat healthy from home then you will have to prioritize it in your life. The same goes for exercising, reading, meditation, etc.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 10:15:09 AM by Philociraptor »

boarder42

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2016, 10:13:19 AM »
Nothing wrong with (a decent) cereal or PB&J's on wheat for a busy mustachian.  If you watch sales you can get precooked hams for $.79/lb.  I'll buy several while they are on sale, freeze them then thaw as desired.  We usually have one ham dinner then use the rest for sandwiches.  Just got to watch the salt, so I try not to do it too often.

the deli will slice it for you as well.

boarder42

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2016, 10:14:09 AM »
The problem we ran into was the upfront time investment, from start to finish it took a little over 4 hours and a lot of weekends we just didn't have a free 4 hour time block.

What all are you doing on the weekend that has a higher priority than prepping food for the week? It's almost never an issue of not enough time and almost always an issue of conflicting priorities. If you want to eat healthy from home then you will have to prioritize it in your life.

Favorite!!  i couldnt imagine eating a 2 dollar microwave dinner.  YUCK!

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2016, 01:37:26 PM »
The problem we ran into was the upfront time investment, from start to finish it took a little over 4 hours and a lot of weekends we just didn't have a free 4 hour time block. I also did not incorporate enough variety into the meals, I would buy things in bulk to save money and most of the meals for that week had some of the same ingredients in each one. Some things that did work for me to make it easier to cook 21 meals all at once was to use my stove,grill and prep a crock pot with a meal for later that week.

Wouldn't sunflower seeds and raw almonds give me enough protein? Fruits also have protein.

It all depends on your own preferences. Your body can run on almost anything. The cheapest nutritionally sufficient diet is something like oatmeal, white potatoes, and a multivitamin to prevent scurvy--- no thanks! On the other end of the spectrum, cooking a gourmet meal from scratch is probably unrealistic for most people. If nuts/fruit/Lean Cuisines doesn't seem unhealthy to you or make you bored of eating the same thing all the time, then go for it.

I wouldn't necessarily jump into making 21 meals at once. If you don't have 4 hours available, maybe make a single crockpot recipe that you like over the weekend to switch out a few nights of the Lean Cuisines. There are disposable crockpot liners that you can throw away to cut down on dish washing time: http://www.amazon.com/Reynolds-Slow-Cooker-Liners-4-Count/dp/B002U0KKK8. Other people double or triple recipes, then freeze extra portions so that in future weeks, they can mix up the variety more.

Meal prep can feel like a chore, but if eating healthy and saving money are a priority for you, you can definitely find the time. I listen to audiobooks while I cook. Some tradeoffs make sense in the context of your goals (for example, if I'm pressed on time, I'll go for pre-sliced vegetables and fruit, even though they're more expensive than whole versions, just because it's still healthier/cheaper than eating out for lunch). I plan meals during the week and shop Friday night or during the day Saturday so that all I have to do on Sunday is cook. Keeping the kitchen clean through the week also helps me mentally feel like there's less work to do cooking.


Kaplin261

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2016, 01:43:41 PM »
The problem we ran into was the upfront time investment, from start to finish it took a little over 4 hours and a lot of weekends we just didn't have a free 4 hour time block.

What all are you doing on the weekend and during the week that has a higher priority than prepping healthy food? It's almost never an issue of not enough time and almost always an issue of conflicting priorities. If you want to eat healthy from home then you will have to prioritize it in your life. The same goes for exercising, reading, meditation, etc.

Why do you have to have a food orgasim with every meal? Just makes the weekend meals that much better.

 As for healthy, what exactly do you see that's not healthy in what I mentioned? A lean cuisine that makes up for %25 of your daily caloric intake? And the thing that makes lean cuisines unhealthy is the sodium. With the rest of the diet only being raw food that extra sodium from the lean cuisines could be beneficial.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 01:47:11 PM by Kaplin261 »

olivia

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2016, 01:43:46 PM »
I don't really cook either but there are so many more options than fruit, nuts and Lean Cuisines that require minimal effort. Do you have access to a fridge and/or freezer and microwave at your office?  That opens up your options more, but it's not make or break because you can just get an insulated lunch bag/cooler with ice packs.

Here are a few of my favorite meals:

Breakfast: I keep a big tub of plain yogurt and a bag of frozen berries in the work fridge/freezer and eat it every morning.  I buy about 5-6 big tubs of yogurt at a time and keep them in my fridge at home so I can easily bring more in when I'm low. Other favorite work breakfast items: toasted frozen waffles (I get the "healthier" brands, not Eggos, although I love those since I had mean parents who didn't usually buy garbage packaged food growing up :P) with almond butter on top, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit on top of yogurt, banana and almond butter

Lunch: I bring in a package of greens of some sort and keep it in the work fridge. I keep cans of tuna fish, shelled sunflower seeds and salad dressing (Bragg's does't have to be refrigerated) in my desk. I'll also keep extra mayo packets from fast food places (no need to refrigerate) and make a lazy tuna salad, or just have tuna with hot sauce on top if I'm being extra lazy.

Snacks: At my desk I always keep some mix of nuts, bananas, oranges, apples, instant oatmeal, almond butter (I buy Justin's brand which does not require refrigeration), beef jerky, etc.

Dinner: This is even easier because you will definitely have access to a fridge, freezer, microwave, etc. My latest favorite dinner is making a homemade (healthy) smoothie with protein powder.  My current favorite combo is almond milk, avocado, banana and vanilla protein powder. Blend with ice, the end.

olivia

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2016, 01:47:33 PM »
If you're not really into food, why don't you just buy Soylent and eat it exclusively? https://www.soylent.com/


Philociraptor

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2016, 01:50:47 PM »
The problem we ran into was the upfront time investment, from start to finish it took a little over 4 hours and a lot of weekends we just didn't have a free 4 hour time block.

What all are you doing on the weekend and during the week that has a higher priority than prepping healthy food? It's almost never an issue of not enough time and almost always an issue of conflicting priorities. If you want to eat healthy from home then you will have to prioritize it in your life. The same goes for exercising, reading, meditation, etc.
As for healthy, what exactly do you see that's not healthy in what I mentioned? A lean cuisine that makes up for %25 of your daily caloric intake? And the thing that makes lean cuisines unhealthy is the sodium. With the rest of the diet only being raw food that extra sodium from the lean cuisines could be beneficial.

I was merely commenting on your assertion that a 4-hour block of time is unavailable. It's only unavailable because you choose to make it so. If you want to subsist on fruits, nuts, and lean cuisines, by all means do it. You asked in the OP how others handle their nutrition, so many of us suggested batch cooking. You pushed back on that saying you don't have the time, but we all know that it's a BS excuse.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 01:53:17 PM by Philociraptor »

Tanor85

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2016, 01:56:52 PM »
Salad-in-a-jar.
Make 10.
You're done for the week.

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2016, 01:59:59 PM »
If you're not really into food, why don't you just buy Soylent and eat it exclusively? https://www.soylent.com/

Psh, Soylent costs way more than just cooking basic meals. I've always been interested to taste some DIY Soylent, but never interested enough to actually try making it.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2016, 02:18:31 PM »
To understand your lifestyle, what are you doing with all your free time if you are *only* working 40 hours a week and are child-free?

Time seems to be your main motivation from your post, however you are working on the low side of full time hours. Do you have caring responsibilities? Hobbies/Pets that you spend time on? Horrendous commutes? Gym habits? I suppose the question is are you not at home, or are you at home doing other things?

Do you not have time for cereal/porridge/eggs/yoghurt for breakfast? Time to make a salad/sandwich the night before for lunch?

Personally as I work long hours and am out a lot of evenings, I batch cook weekends/some evenings and have loads of easy cook meals.

It doesn't take long to make the following simple meals:
  • Omelette/Scrambled egg
  • Salad
  • Grill/Roast Protein of your choice and frozen veg
  • Baked regular or sweet potato & veg
  • Sandwiches
  • Pasta & Pesto/Sauce
  • Rice Bowl with veg

And I batch cook chillis/curries/casseroles/soups/whatever I fancy trying out, and freeze them in tupperware that can be cooked exactly as a microwave meal.

olivia

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #27 on: March 30, 2016, 02:40:42 PM »
If you're not really into food, why don't you just buy Soylent and eat it exclusively? https://www.soylent.com/

Psh, Soylent costs way more than just cooking basic meals. I've always been interested to taste some DIY Soylent, but never interested enough to actually try making it.

I didn't say it was the cheapest alternative, just that it was an alternative if OP is hoping to never cook anything. Also too lazy to make my own DIY Soylent, plus I do like crunching things occasionally.

CmFtns

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2016, 03:00:29 PM »
I think batch cooking is really the way to go in your scenario...

It might get slightly annoying on Sunday night but the total time cost for the week is really low. I spend maybe 2 hours on Sunday night actually preparing, cooking, and cleaning up for our week of dinners and always end up between $1-2 per meal but it took probably 6 months of practice before I was actually fairly "good" at efficiently buying/using ingredients and making things that actually tasted good.

Maybe you should give it another try

tobitonic

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2016, 03:47:17 PM »
My wife and I both work 40 hours a week, standard business hours. The last thing  we want to do is come home and cook for a hour and then spend another hour cleaning up, packing leftovers for lunch the next day. We also do not want to spend extra money  or sacrifice nutrition for the convenience of not cooking.

What I have came up with so far is a diet that is based on fruits and nuts throughout the day while we are at work monday-friday, then for dinner pop a lean cuisine($2 a person)in the microwave. For the weekends when we have more leisure time we could work on our culinary skills and cook a fancy meal or two.

How do you handle your family's nutrition while working on building up your stash working full time?

Good food takes time to prepare. Most folks have suggested batch cooking, and that's as short as it gets without hiring someone to cook for you. My wife and I trade off cooking each night, and between cooking fresh and eating leftovers, we probably make 4-6 dinners a week. Each dinner typically takes between 1.5h and 2.5h to cook. And we have two young children. To be frank, it's a very American frame of mind that cooking should only take a half hour or some other super short span of time; in most of the rest of the world, folks acknowledge the time things like cooking (and eating!) take rather than attempting to overoptimize them. Try it; you'll live longer.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tombarlow/2011/04/15/americans-cook-the-least-eat-the-fastest/#3b7ae48063ba

Quote from: Forbes
Americans spend less time than residents in any of the other OECD countries in meal prep at only 30 minutes a day (Yeah, microwave. Yeah, delivery pizza.)

We also spend less time actually eating, at one hour and 14 minutes per day. Contrast this to the OECD average of an hour and 41 minutes. A leisurely Parisian-style meal is certainly not an American habit.

Ironically, even though we spend little time in food prep and dining, our obesity rate of 34% is double that of the OECD average. Not coincidentally, our life expectancy of 77.9 years is also below the OECD average of 79.3, despite having the highest expenditure per capita on health care.

In simplest terms, we cook  fast, we eat fast,  we get fat and we die early. Ouch.

Mikila

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2016, 08:00:28 AM »
Dang, if it took me two hours to cook every day I would eat pre-packaged food 90% of the time!

Most of my go-to meals can be prepared in 20 minutes, and cleanup takes about 5 minutes.  Alternatively, crockpot cooking works well, too.

Quick and mostly healthy meals:
Spaghetti: vegetarian sauce from scratch, boil the noodles while cooking the sauce
"Baked" potato with frozen veggies:  Microwave potato and frozen veggies and season with garlic salt and shredded cheese, etc.
Rice and veggies: we throw rice into the rice cooker and cabbage or broccoli in the top tray for veggies and press start
Stir-fry: heat olive oil and minced garlic in the skillet and then pour in a huge bag of frozen stir-fry veggies.  Toss in teriyaki, etc.
Hot dogs and fries: slice potatoes to make your own "fries" and bake them with the hot dogs, eat with sauerkraut.
Grilled sandwiches:  Slice zucchini, tomato, and bell pepper and sautee them in a skillet while you simultaneously grill a cheese sandwich.  Add the grilled veggies to your sandwich when done.  Sometimes I add avocado and sauerkraut to this. 

There are many more quick and dirty meals you can make, these are just a few for ideas.  Meal-making should not take hours, except on special occasions for fancier meals.  Once or twice a week I do this, and make more elaborate meals like spinach lasagna,  enchiladas, etc.

Kaplin261

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2016, 08:05:37 AM »
Dang, if it took me two hours to cook every day I would eat pre-packaged food 90% of the time!

Most of my go-to meals can be prepared in 20 minutes, and cleanup takes about 5 minutes.  Alternatively, crockpot cooking works well, too.

Quick and mostly healthy meals:
Spaghetti: vegetarian sauce from scratch, boil the noodles while cooking the sauce
"Baked" potato with frozen veggies:  Microwave potato and frozen veggies and season with garlic salt and shredded cheese, etc.
Rice and veggies: we throw rice into the rice cooker and cabbage or broccoli in the top tray for veggies and press start
Stir-fry: heat olive oil and minced garlic in the skillet and then pour in a huge bag of frozen stir-fry veggies.  Toss in teriyaki, etc.
Hot dogs and fries: slice potatoes to make your own "fries" and bake them with the hot dogs, eat with sauerkraut.
Grilled sandwiches:  Slice zucchini, tomato, and bell pepper and sautee them in a skillet while you simultaneously grill a cheese sandwich.  Add the grilled veggies to your sandwich when done.  Sometimes I add avocado and sauerkraut to this. 

There are many more quick and dirty meals you can make, these are just a few for ideas.  Meal-making should not take hours, except on special occasions for fancier meals.  Once or twice a week I do this, and make more elaborate meals like spinach lasagna,  enchiladas, etc.

I had no idea they had rice cookers with steam trays for veggies.... I'm going to go out and get one today after work.

Retire-Canada

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2016, 09:44:53 AM »
I had no idea they had rice cookers with steam trays for veggies.... I'm going to go out and get one today after work.

Any steamer is a rice cooker. Just put a container inside [pyrex] with equal parts rice and water [for jasmine or basmati rice] set to 20-25mins and you have perfect rice. Next to the container of rice can be veggies or whatever else you want to cook.

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2016, 09:53:57 AM »
This post has been driving me crazy and I've thought a lot about how to respond.  I can't do it any better than Michael Pollan though (from his website):

Most of us have hectic schedules and every minute counts. How do we find the time to cook? 

It’s true, we’re way too busy, and working longer and longer hours. But consider that, in the last decade or so, we’ve all found two hours a day to be on line outside of work. So where did we get THAT time? The day is still only 24 hours long. The point is, we always find time for the things we value—and we’ve come to devalue cooking. My premise is that that was a big mistake—one that was abetted by food corporations and marketers eager to cook for us—and when you realize all that not-cooking is costing us and our families, you’ll be apt to carve out a little more time for it. And when you realize how pleasurable it can be, approached in the right spirit, you might just begin to devote some of your leisure to it. This is what happened to me. I came to think that, by letting corporations cook for us, we have been robbed of one of the greatest satisfactions in life. Let’s take it back!

What are some of the repercussions of becoming more and more dependent on processed and prepared foods?

As long as we let corporations do most of our cooking for us, our agriculture will continue to be dominated by giant monocultures of grain and animal factories. Big companies only know how to buy from big farms. That means the movement to build a more diversified and local agriculture can develop only so far unless people are willing to buy from those farms—and they will only buy from those farms if they’re cooking. In many ways, reforming American agriculture depends on rebuilding a culture of routine home cooking. I’ve come to think that cooking is a political act, with large consequences not only for ourselves but for the environment and agriculture as well. The decline of everyday home cooking doesn’t only damage the health of our bodies and our land but also our families, our communities, and our sense of how our eating connects us to the world. Our growing distance from any direct, physical engagement with the processes by which the raw stuff of nature gets transformed into a cooked meal is changing our understanding of what food is. Indeed, the idea that food has any connection to nature or human work or imagination is hard to accept when it arrives in a neat package, fully formed. Food becomes just another commodity, an abstraction. And as soon as that happens we become easy prey for corporations selling synthetic versions of the real thing—what I call edible food-like substances. We end up trying to nourish ourselves on images.

Catbert

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2016, 11:15:20 AM »
If you can't do full on batch cooking, try something more limited.

Prepare some ingredients on the weekend:  prep and roast veggie; roast/crockpot a chicken; brown ground beef; cook beans or just wash and chop veggies for the week.  Each of these prepped ingredients can be used many different ways.  I don't necessarily mean do this all in one weekend.  You can pick an amount of time available and do what you can.  Many ingredients can be portioned and frozen for future weeks.

Or just make one batch meal each weekend (lots of suggestions up thread) and eat once a week until you run out.  Rinse and repeat each week.

ooeei

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #35 on: April 01, 2016, 01:13:12 PM »
Occasional batch cooking, and low active time meals.  One of my favorites, boil a pork shoulder in plain water for 3-4 hours until tender, take it out, shred it into small containers (I use reditainers from amazon) and freeze.  Any time you want crispy pork shoulder kind of like carnitas, pull out a container, put it in a pan with a bit of oil, and pan fry it until deep brown and crispy.  Add salt to taste (I like it pretty salty).  This can be used in stir fry, soups, over rice, sandwiches, tacos, anything.

It takes 5 minutes to put it in the pot, you're not doing anything for 3-4 hours, then another 10 minutes to take it out and shred it, and 3 minutes to clean the pot.  When you want to eat it, it's 10-15 minutes of stovetop time.  Toss in some frozen veggies, scrape it all over to the edge of a pan and fry an egg in the remaining space.  Eat over hot rice (leftover or from rice cooker) and you're eating something delicious in ~20 minutes.  Yes, microwaving a lean cuisine is faster, and avoids having to clean the pan.  Doesn't sound very appetizing to me though, especially when I'm not exactly in a rush to get anywhere.

Any time you make pasta sauce, make extra and freeze.  Taco meat?  Freeze the extra. Chili, freeze the extra.  Refried beans?  Freeze it!  Cut up sausage links and use them as the meat in a stir fry, freeze the extra links.  Fried egg makes everything better.

Also keep in mind you'll get faster at cutting up things, and more efficient in the kitchen with practice.  If you've ever watched celebrity chefs you'll see.  Homemade pasta sauce in <5 minutes, and handmade from scratch noodles while the sauce is cooking.  It's all about multi tasking and gaining skills and confidence.

EngineerYogi

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #36 on: April 01, 2016, 01:53:13 PM »
This post has been driving me crazy and I've thought a lot about how to respond.  I can't do it any better than Michael Pollan though (from his website):

Most of us have hectic schedules and every minute counts. How do we find the time to cook? 

It’s true, we’re way too busy, and working longer and longer hours. But consider that, in the last decade or so, we’ve all found two hours a day to be on line outside of work. So where did we get THAT time? The day is still only 24 hours long. The point is, we always find time for the things we value—and we’ve come to devalue cooking. My premise is that that was a big mistake—one that was abetted by food corporations and marketers eager to cook for us—and when you realize all that not-cooking is costing us and our families, you’ll be apt to carve out a little more time for it. And when you realize how pleasurable it can be, approached in the right spirit, you might just begin to devote some of your leisure to it. This is what happened to me. I came to think that, by letting corporations cook for us, we have been robbed of one of the greatest satisfactions in life. Let’s take it back!

What are some of the repercussions of becoming more and more dependent on processed and prepared foods?

As long as we let corporations do most of our cooking for us, our agriculture will continue to be dominated by giant monocultures of grain and animal factories. Big companies only know how to buy from big farms. That means the movement to build a more diversified and local agriculture can develop only so far unless people are willing to buy from those farms—and they will only buy from those farms if they’re cooking. In many ways, reforming American agriculture depends on rebuilding a culture of routine home cooking. I’ve come to think that cooking is a political act, with large consequences not only for ourselves but for the environment and agriculture as well. The decline of everyday home cooking doesn’t only damage the health of our bodies and our land but also our families, our communities, and our sense of how our eating connects us to the world. Our growing distance from any direct, physical engagement with the processes by which the raw stuff of nature gets transformed into a cooked meal is changing our understanding of what food is. Indeed, the idea that food has any connection to nature or human work or imagination is hard to accept when it arrives in a neat package, fully formed. Food becomes just another commodity, an abstraction. And as soon as that happens we become easy prey for corporations selling synthetic versions of the real thing—what I call edible food-like substances. We end up trying to nourish ourselves on images.


This is my sentiment. Rephrase your situation from "I don't have time" to "it's not a priority" and see how that makes you feel. If you are still okay with it, no problem but you are sacrificing to some extent. My DH and I both work 40+ hour per week jobs, previously had incredibly long commutes and still found/find the time to prepare food on a regular basis(we also spend 1-2 hours in the gym daily and sleep 8+ hours per night).

My favorites for short on time during the week: buy several rotisserie chickens, some ground meat (chicken/turkey/beef), and a big pork roast. Brown the ground meat on the stove with some taco seasoning, throw the roast in a crock pot with salt/garlic (maybe some broth, but I usually do my pork roasts without), breakdown your rotisserie chicken(s) into parts and shred most of it. Grab some frozen veggies, they are already cut up for you and blanched and generally found to be just as nutrient dense as fresh, and grab some salad mix too. Bake some sweet potatoes and cook some rice.

Now you can mix and match veggies and protein for stir fry (just need some stir fry or curry sauce), make salads, serve pulled pork on buns or tortillas with bbq sauce, make tacos or scrambles with your ground meat, add a potato or rice or extra veggies to complete a meal.

If you are willing to spend even a small amount of time making say two dishes on the weekends, one Saturday and one Sunday, I'd make sure those meals have lots of leftovers. It isn't that much more effort to double up a casserole or soup/chili recipe.

Case

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #37 on: April 02, 2016, 09:56:43 AM »
The problem we ran into was the upfront time investment, from start to finish it took a little over 4 hours and a lot of weekends we just didn't have a free 4 hour time block.

What all are you doing on the weekend and during the week that has a higher priority than prepping healthy food? It's almost never an issue of not enough time and almost always an issue of conflicting priorities. If you want to eat healthy from home then you will have to prioritize it in your life. The same goes for exercising, reading, meditation, etc.
As for healthy, what exactly do you see that's not healthy in what I mentioned? A lean cuisine that makes up for %25 of your daily caloric intake? And the thing that makes lean cuisines unhealthy is the sodium. With the rest of the diet only being raw food that extra sodium from the lean cuisines could be beneficial.

I was merely commenting on your assertion that a 4-hour block of time is unavailable. It's only unavailable because you choose to make it so. If you want to subsist on fruits, nuts, and lean cuisines, by all means do it. You asked in the OP how others handle their nutrition, so many of us suggested batch cooking. You pushed back on that saying you don't have the time, but we all know that it's a BS excuse.

The lack of time could very well be a legit excuse.

Case

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #38 on: April 02, 2016, 10:05:34 AM »
My wife and I both work 40 hours a week, standard business hours. The last thing  we want to do is come home and cook for a hour and then spend another hour cleaning up, packing leftovers for lunch the next day. We also do not want to spend extra money  or sacrifice nutrition for the convenience of not cooking.

What I have came up with so far is a diet that is based on fruits and nuts throughout the day while we are at work monday-friday, then for dinner pop a lean cuisine($2 a person)in the microwave. For the weekends when we have more leisure time we could work on our culinary skills and cook a fancy meal or two.

How do you handle your family's nutrition while working on building up your stash working full time?

You're getting a fair number of snobby responses in addition to some semi-useful ones.  Best approach is to ignore the haters and sift through to the more useful comments.

Batch-cooking is more time efficient, but does require some time investment.  If you don't have that upfront time available, then you have some options:
1.  Look for ways to speed up your cooking/prep-time efficiency.  When cooking vegetables, be less picky and don't get that onion perfectly chopped.  Or, try to find bulk pre-chopped frozen vegetables.  Etc... 
Perhaps a vegetable slicing machine (if such a thing is a available) would help.
2.  Find meals that require less prep-time.  There are a number of easy crock-pot recipes that don't take much active time to make.  My wife often sticks some beans, vegetables, and chicken breasts in a crock put (with seasons/broth, other stuff), lets it cook all day, and then does some minimal work up such as pulling apart the chicken when she gets some.  She says it's time efficient.
3.  Find frozen meals that are cost-effective and healthy.  I don't know much about lean cuisines; I doubt they are as unhealthy as people here are saying.  This is mostly snobbiness you are encountering.  I would be concerned about their cost/size ratio.  It seems to me like frozen meals are often rather expensive relative to the small amount you get.  Buy in bulk.

ender

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2016, 11:03:14 AM »
Salad-in-a-jar.
Make 10.
You're done for the week.

I was going to say something about salads.

We have started prepping multiple salads at once - making 5x or 10x the meat, cheese, lettuce, etc - and storing it in the fridge. Having everything pre-cut/cooked makes making a salad a healthy and easy meal.

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #40 on: April 02, 2016, 01:43:12 PM »
Single mom w/ kids and a crazy schedule - so I feel you on needing quick dinners. I find getting a repertoire of 10 or so fast things that I like works pretty well.

Things that are fast (similar to Mikila's list above):

Nachos w/ beans (canned) or browned ground beef, topped w/ salad, tomatoes, cheese, etc. Top the chips w/ beans and cheese and zap for a minute in the microwave, throw the other stuff on top.

omelet w/ veggies, or breakfast for dinner (eggs, toast, fruit, or pancakes)

Pasta w/ browned meat (or precooked meatballs) and sauce (canned plus some chopped tomatoes) or veggies and sauce.

burgers

One skillet meals (see several from Budgetbytes.com)

crockpot meals

Grilled cheese type sandwich plus salad or soup

burritos - see nachos, but with tortilla instead of chips

homemade pizza. If you have a food processor you can get the dough together in under 5 minutes.

frozen shrimp (cooks in like 3 minutes) plus rice or pasta plus sauce (tomato, thai sauce, etc.)

Ramen + teriyaki sauce, fried eggs, veggies, cheese, cooked chicken, shredded cabbage or salad, spinach, etc. etc. etc.

I generally do not bake anything on nights that are tight for time (which is mostly during the week). Putting chicken in the oven might only take a few minutes of prep but then pushes dinner back by 60+ minutes.

Sometimes I get the roasted chicken at Costco and pull the meat off the bone. I can freeze 2c. or so portions of it and use it to toss into various dishes to get a dinner pulled together quickly.

Lots of advocates for batch cooking, but honestly - I get really tired of stuff before I can get through 4 or 5 meals of the same food. I tend to take leftovers for lunch, but from what I made the night before.

Do jar salads really hold for 5 days in the fridge w/o becoming slimy and gross?






mountains_o_mustaches

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #41 on: April 02, 2016, 02:44:04 PM »
My DH and I do a combination of slow-cooker meals, quick prep meals (like pasta, stir fry, salads, omelets), and no-prep meals (cereal, sandwiches).  I found that batch cooking just took a big chunk of time out of my weekend and sometimes the food was a little iffy by the end of the week.  Just how we do it.  We save our "fancy" meals for weekends, if we decide to do a fancy meal at all.  Good luck with finding what works for you!!

Catbert

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #42 on: April 02, 2016, 02:51:21 PM »

Do jar salads really hold for 5 days in the fridge w/o becoming slimy and gross?

Depends on what you put in the salad.  For example: cherry tomatoes = Yes.  cut tomato chunks = No.
iceberg or romaine = Yes.  delicate lettuce= maybe.    Never add salad dressing.

YMMV depending on how old ingredients are to begin with and your standards.

KCalla

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #43 on: April 02, 2016, 02:55:09 PM »
As said by others, lots of good suggestions.  There is also a current thread on the "General" Board of the Forum that might give you some ideas.
Searching around the internet may give you some ideas.  This is a site, for example, that used to post one week's worth of menus per month:
http://wegotreal.com/frugal-real-food-meal-plan/

I want to second the suggestions above but add one tweak.  Take two or three months to ease into this.  Try to initially figure out one or two dinners that will suit your time needs and tastes.  Look for dinners that the prep will automatically or easily create leftovers. Better yet, adapt recipes/foods you already know that you like.   Take great notes.  I think of this as low pressure, ease you way into, ROLLING BATCH cooking.

Take advantage of  good value "convenience foods" like the already cooked Roast Chicken that the poster just above mentioned.  (fresh tonight, baggies of leftovers for add in to stir fry, chili, sandwiches, etc.) Or really big bags of Frozen Vegetables (just take out what you need and twist tie the bag/back into the freezer)  from Walmart (or Costco or Sams if it makes financial sense otherwise to pay that membership).  Our local Kroger affiliated grocery store has 10 for $10 on frozen vegetable bags (mix and match but they also honor the $1 per bag for lower quantities) on a regular basis.  See if there is an Aldi's in your area, or a Trader Joe's.   
Use your fridge and freezer a lot.  Almost no amount of remaining ingredient or leftover is too small to throw in a store brand zip lock bag for later.  If you you only need half a chopped onion, chop, bag, label and freeze the other half to use the next time you make the recipe.  If there's a little meat or sauce or beans or rice left, same thing "Bag it, tag it, freeze it"

Here is an example of the kind of a monthly menu you can eventually develop:
http://momsbistro.net/january-month-of-meals-budget-dinner/
When time or energy run out, pull the frozen convenience dinner and feel NO guilt.  Even that night, there is probably a little something leftover in the fridge or freezer to heat up on the side to make that meal more interesting.

http://momsbistro.net/january-month-of-meals-budget-dinner/

One of the reasons frozen convenience meals are often budget friendly when on sale is that they have no waste.  It takes a while to figure out how alternatives will work for you.   My upshot:  Ease into meal planning, keep it low stress and creative, make it fit your tastes.

Kwill

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #44 on: April 02, 2016, 04:56:31 PM »
Target has big bags of frozen chicken nuggets and frozen french fries that are nicer and cheaper per meal than frozen dinners. You just put what you want in a baking dish or tray and bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes -- just enough time to microwave some vegetables and set the table. You might not want to do it every night, but it's nice to have enough variety on hand to not be tempted to eat out.

I also like the Marie Callender microwavable pot pies. There's something in the packaging that helps the crust brown better in the microwave. They are calorie-heavy and high in sodium, so there's that.

Frozen diced onions and jars of minced garlic are nice to have on hand to make recipes go quicker. Sometimes you can find frozen chopped bell pepper, too. With those and some oil and spices on hand, it's easy to improvise with a little meat and vegetables in a frying pan.

appleblossom

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #45 on: April 03, 2016, 02:04:18 AM »
I second the idea to ease into it. Also the suggestion for the rotisserie chicken. For me (not in US)  it is cheaper to purchase a cooked chicken and then shred it, than it is to get the equivalent weight of raw chicken.

For lunches I usually put 100g of shredded chicken in a reusable container (so a whole chicken will do approx 6meals, so 3 days worth for my partner and I), then put a chopped tomato, cucumber and mushrooms on top, and finish with salad leaves and a bit of dressin. Takes less than 5 mins in the morning, and I don't have to worry about cooking leftovers the nigt before.

Dinners are usually a combo of meat and veges/salad. Steak takes almost no time to prepare and pan fry. Veges (broccoli, cauliflower, beans, asparagus, corn etc) can be chopped and microwaved in under 10mins. Salads take a couple of mins to assemble.
We usually roast/grill meat which takes up to 40mins so individual cuts (don't bother with big cuts of meat).

For starches, pumpkin, potato, sweet potato etc do take a bit of time to roast (40mins although you dont have to watch them), but try find other options. Cous cous is our fast easy go to. Takes 5mins to cook, and then we add red onion, mushrooms, cucumber and tomato for an easy salad (could also add feta etc). That with a steak is really fast.
Other meals are chillis/nachos/tacos; pasta; burgers; soups; stirfry.
You can get recipe books which are designed for fast cooking eg Jamie Olive's 15min meals.

Normally we would spend less than an hour cooking, although occasionally if I do a soup or a stew it is longer to get the flavour, but very rarely would I be actually cooking for that length of time. Most of the time is waiting.

I guess it comes down to whether you have enough time and patience to wait up to an hour to eat, or if you need to eat within 15mins of getting home?

mm1970

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #46 on: April 04, 2016, 06:46:59 PM »
Quote
Good food takes time to prepare. Most folks have suggested batch cooking, and that's as short as it gets without hiring someone to cook for you. My wife and I trade off cooking each night, and between cooking fresh and eating leftovers, we probably make 4-6 dinners a week. Each dinner typically takes between 1.5h and 2.5h to cook. And we have two young children. To be frank, it's a very American frame of mind that cooking should only take a half hour or some other super short span of time; in most of the rest of the world, folks acknowledge the time things like cooking (and eating!) take rather than attempting to overoptimize them. Try it; you'll live longer.

Honestly, the time of your life when you are "too busy" to cook is when you are young and single and have never cooked.  I've been there.  Oh, the memories of my 20s and early 30's.  FT jobs, plus grad school (2 classes a semester), plus gym, plus volleyball.  I mean, really, there wasn't time for cooking (or vacuuming).  And besides, I tended to cut or burn myself.  Plus, I never learned to cook from my mom.

I see all of the same trend with friends who are single.  It's best to get over that before you have kids (if you have kids).  For me, I learned to cook because I got fat on my husband's cooking.

That said, it doesn't have to be hard.  If you even do it once or twice, that's a bonus.  Now I'm older, we have a toddler and an elementary school child (who is in music and baseball), and 2 FT jobs.  We batch cook AND keep it simple.

Lunch is sandwiches and salads
Dinners:
grilled salmon - 10 min
baked chicken fingers (that can go into the oven straight from the freezer) - 30 min
rice (60 min in the rice cooker)
curry chicken (chicken, coconut milk, curry paste, spices) - 30 min
roasted veggies (30 min)
bean burritos
quesadillas (15 min)
soup and stew
one-pot pasta (35 min)

None of these even take very long.  If I make refried beans in the crockpot, that's the long leg.  But then I have a few days' worth.

Right after I went back to work after kid #2, we were on a schedule.
Saturday: make a pasta dish, enough for 3 meals
Sunday: make a stew or a rice dish, enough for 3 meals
Weds (when you've run out, or almost): crockpot day

We eat food that has already been prepped, somewhat.  About 2/3 of our veggies are local, and require preparing.  The rest:
- frozen green beans
- frozen mixed veg (cauli, broccoli, carrots)
- frozen edamame
- frozen blueberries for smoothies
- frozen peas and carrots

And we also eat processed foods too, occasionally:
- Frozen Costco pizza
- Marinated salmon portions
- breaded fish sticks
- breaded chicken tenders
- curry sauces from trader joe's
- soyaki sauce from trader joe's
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 06:57:17 PM by mm1970 »

ender

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #47 on: April 05, 2016, 06:50:31 AM »
Good food takes time to prepare. Most folks have suggested batch cooking, and that's as short as it gets without hiring someone to cook for you. My wife and I trade off cooking each night, and between cooking fresh and eating leftovers, we probably make 4-6 dinners a week. Each dinner typically takes between 1.5h and 2.5h to cook. And we have two young children. To be frank, it's a very American frame of mind that cooking should only take a half hour or some other super short span of time; in most of the rest of the world, folks acknowledge the time things like cooking (and eating!) take rather than attempting to overoptimize them. Try it; you'll live longer.

Citation needed?

Many meals can be cooked that are healthy and fit the 30 min a week time period. You might have less choice in healthy meals but there are many, many healthy meals that can be prepped in less than 30 minutes.

Retire-Canada

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #48 on: April 05, 2016, 06:56:45 AM »
Many meals can be cooked that are healthy and fit the 30 min a week time period. You might have less choice in healthy meals but there are many, many healthy meals that can be prepped in less than 30 minutes.

Definitely. If the requirement is healthy many simple meals fit the bill.

If you need something fancy and/or elaborate to suit you your tastes that's fine, but it's not a choice between that and unhealthy quick meals.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 02:56:47 PM by Retire-Canada »

FLBiker

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Re: What is a good diet for a working Mustachian?
« Reply #49 on: April 05, 2016, 07:19:28 AM »
Many meals can be cooked that are healthy and fit the 30 min a week time period. You might have less choice in healthy meals but there are many, many healthy meals that can be prepped in less than 30 minutes.

Definitely. If the requirement is healthy many simple meals fit the bill.

If you need something fancy and/or elaborate to you your tastes that's fine, but it's not a choice between that and unhealthy quick meals.

Totally agree.  We're vegetarian, and eat almost entirely whole foods and almost all of our meals (batch or otherwise) take around 30 minutes to prep.  It also takes virtually no time to pack leftovers for lunch if you make that part of your clean up routine -- I eat a lot, and I use a 4 cup glass container for virtually every lunch.  It probably takes me 5 minutes to wash the container out, refill it, pack some carrots / fruit.

I'm a big fan of the crockpot for batch meals, as well as pasta bakes.  When I was single, I cooked 2 or 3 times a week and ate the same thing for lunch and dinner until it was gone.  However, my wife likes more variety (doesn't like having the same lunch and dinner) so we don't do batch as much as I would on my own.  She does most of the cooking, though, so it's her call.