This isn’t about teaching, but it is about learning

Today I hosted my 1st Epic Meal Prep Swap Dinner Party. (I have NO idea what that is, I just liked the name and the Hashtag.) Every Sunday I do I huge cook to prepare my meals for the week. My wife sometimes gets in on it and gets her lunches made. I make all my meals 3 meals, 2 snacks for 5 days. I sometimes do freezer meals for my family, too.

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Over the summer somehow my Sunday cooks evolved into a cookout. On any given Sunday we’d have 5-8 friends over for food, fun and meal prep. Just a house full of love, noise and me getting my meals ready for the week.

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The past couple of weeks my weekly cook turned into a time where I’d cook other people’s food, they’d box it up and go home and do their meal prep. Spreading the good news of meal prep I guess. The only thing is some of the food I was cooking looked so yummy and smelled so good. My guests started sharing their meals with one another. No prodding, just good old sharing.

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Then I got this idea. What if we all brought a set amount of food (proteins and veggies) and cooked them here? We could set it out like a buffet and everyone just mix and match their meal prep? It would solve a fundamental issue some people have with meal prep, the same meal everyday.  It would also allow like minded people to share ideas, have fun and most of all stay true to their goals of meal prepping. No one loses.

This week we pulled it off. It was mostly people from the gym and a few nearest and dearest. All I can say is WOW. We over did it. So much good food. So many great meals made. I attempted to capture a pic of some of our best, but it wasn’t possible. They all looked so good. The best part of it is knowing that we call have great choices for lunch/dinner this week. Actually, we have so much left over this week that next week we all agreed just to bring some new veggies and we’ll be fine!

The final results were 6 people. Each brought varying amounts of meats and veggies. But we ended up making 64 meals consisting of proteins, veggies, some carbs and salads. It was my intention to weigh and measure all my food, but that good intention was derailed quickly. Not enough counter space. I don’t know how much we spent in all, but I am sure that we made out better than each of us going out to eat everyday this week. We also probably did better than each of trying to make a lunch/dinner everyday from scratch this week. Yeah, we’re going to make this a regular happening.

Do I need to say that I’m starting my school year off with a great plan and fantastic food. Now if I could just get those standards down.

New year surprise

Last week started out excellent.  My students came back really trying to learn. I was surprised cause it’s the post-Christmas blah. So proud  them.

This month is going to be a haul. We honestly only have 80 days left in this school year. It’s gone by so fast.

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A great week of new ties

Had some great bowties this week. Also lots of grey in the beard. 

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Meal prep has been excellent! I picked up this little scale last week. Sadly I found out my favorite bacon has straight up been lying to me. 

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I may do another in depth discussiin of meal prep post soon. This scale is excellent.  I still have my analog scale. This was so h a deal and had so raves I had to give it a check.  Wow. I will talk about it again soon. *Let me make sure my new plan actually works.

About to tackle another week of teaching and learning.

Since I’m not talking about ties and lesson plans

I might as well talk about one of my favorites, Meal Prep.

Let me tell you what meal prep isn’t for me. I’m not that guy hoarding a metric ton of food in the basement. I’m also not the huge, superhero sized guy with a bunch of supplements who eats only chicken breasts and broccoli (though, nothing is wrong with that basic easy to prepare meal).

There aren’t a lot of healthy fast food options near my school. Matter of fact that term is an oxymoron, healthy fast food . I can’t eat school lunch. Therefore, I always bring my lunch. Early along in the school year I realized that I wasn’t fixing a lunch a few times a week. I was so busy at night that I would forget to make lunch. Couple that with a missed breakfast a couple of days and I was in bad shape. I’d raid my co-workers snack stashes, hit the kids up for junk food and the such.

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Most of you know that I endear cooking on my Big Green Egg. One weekend, while enjoying cooking, I got this crazy idea. Why don’t I cook myself something to eat on Sunday for the week? That started my journey into meal prep. Here’s how my journey started and has grown.

  • I started out meal prepping my own lunch and a few snacks. Whatever I had in the fridge/freeze would do.
  • My wife wanted lunch, too. I started planning out the meals. She doesn’t like eating the same thing so I had to be very intentional.
  • I started looking for sales and coupons to drive my meal prep. If it was on sale, it was going on the grill.
  • This is the time that I started the transition from plastic ware to glassware. wpid-20140830_180811.jpgwpid-20140912_191558.jpg
  • By preparing for the next day the night before, I find that I’m looking forward to work and getting out the door in the morning was much easier.
  • I started weighing and measuring my food, but not serious. I still was overeating, just over eating good foods.
  • Soon I started preparing breakfast as well. Now my favorite is an omelet bowl. Wife and kids still eat cereal for breakfast.
  • I FEEL amazing. I’m not sluggish at work and I have energy to hit the gym after work. Something certainly is happening!
  • Started incorporating slow cooker. It started making less and less sense to NOT prepare dinner this way.
  • I notice that I’m getting pretty good at this whole thing. It’s not work as much as it’s a total release to be creative and express myself outside of the classroom. Besides, I LOVE when my co-workers comment on my lunch.
  • My time spent in the kitchen during the week is cut by 1/2. More time for family and other stuff.
  • It becames obvious to me that I am not eating enough. I started making bigger breakfasts, and more calorie dense snacks. I don’t weigh myself. I’m not sure how much I weigh, but my clothes do fit a little better.
  • Last week I started counting macros, Fats, Carbs and Proteins. I also have started shooting for a daily calorie intake based upon the macros I want to consume. This is a step up from just counting calories. This is certainly more labor intensive, but I like it. I did some fancy math to figure out my resting calorie usage and broke down my usage into Carbs, Fats, and Protein. In order for me to get down to sub 200 lbs AND remain strong I need to take in these amounts per day, Protein 277, Fats 64 and Carbs 84. That looks like a lot, but it really is reasonable. Currently I’m taking in P 200 Fats 125 and Carbs 190. 
  • One meal prep rule I’ve violated from the start is that I’ve never had the same meal all week. Starting next year I’m going to keep the meals super simple. I don’t mind mixing it up, but it should make it easier for me to count and weigh if I keep the meals the same. We’ll see this works out.

So that’s how I got on the Meal Prep train. If nothing else it’s very helpful in keeping me from having to eat bad food. I will also say it’s done a great job keeping me from eating out. I don’t have the desire or get the pleasure from eating out like I used to. If I do it’s 100% because I’m giving myself a break. I’m going into 2015 ready for some great things.

What about you? How did you get started meal prepping? Do you meal prep?

Let’s retie last week

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Last week was busy. Lots of fun activities, but at the end of the day this stuff has to stick. Somehow I need to cover each lesson in gobs & gobs of honey so it sticks. Maybe peanut butter. Whatever the analogy, I got to get as much info to stick in these little minds as I can.

Doing great with my daily filing and grading. I’m a little slack writing my plans for the next week, though.

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Meal prep has been on point. It really has transformed my daily routine for the better.  My portions are good and I’m not starving all day.

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The wife is liking the selections. I’m slowly getting rid of all plasticware for our warm meals. Glass just seems to be a much better choice. Holds up in the microwave and dishwasher better.