Food prepping for better lunches

I wrote a short post on Facebook about food prep and how it is changing my mornings (and evenings) for the better, as well as my whole week. When you are organised in one aspect you can concentrate on others, and slowly you are organised in enough areas that the rest just falls into place. I’m staring with my food prep and the balancing act of getting all the essentials in place.

I am usually pretty organised, but that lazy after dinner time, and the rush first thing in the morning often means the important things are left to chance or the wallet. And that’s before you even think about adding little people in, (which in my case is null and void as they are all big) and you are left with most likely bad choices and/or the same same every day. Not good for you or your wallet – depending where you work and what the options are.  I’m usually up and showered by 5.45 and making my coffee. I don’t want to be rushing through emails and social media because I have to organise lunch and cutting up salads or boiling eggs. Or vice versa. I like that little time to myself to enjoy my coffee, before I head out the door.

I decided two weeks ago to give food prepping a go and see how it fared. It went ok, there were a few things I changed for the second week, mostly that my salads were a little boring and predictable, and one I have to revamp of get rid of completely. I discovered a couple of rules that I want to follow for my own peace of mind, wellbeing, enjoyment of lunches.

First up, one fish meal and two vegetarian. I don’t eat as much fish as I should so if I can get one a week at lunch then I’ll be happy.  A meat free day or two is not going to hurt either. We eat red or white meat pretty well every night, so meat free with eggs as my protein will not pose a problem. I’m not a legume person so beans won’t be in the equation, or lentils. Couscous and quinoa will be occasionally.

The second rule is to have things that I can eat over a longer period – my half hour lunch break sometimes takes an hour to finish depending on how busy we are and if I get interrupted. Hot foods will not always survive the break., and they usually end up being the overly filling sort of meal that I prefer to not have at lunch time – now that I’ve written it, they may be better then, than at night, but I like to feed my body well at night and do more grazing during the day, feeding when I can. Work can get busy so healthy snack are also needed. Grapes, blueberries, mandarin segments.

I’ve already decided my original tuna salad isn’t going to cut it so have to find something else – plenty of ideas are out there, and I don’t have to use tuna – mackerel, sardines, salmon.. The easy option is tuna rice which will get a tasting this week.

My other small problem is by the end of the week, the lettuce has browned a little and some things are a bit soggy and ick. The point is to have easy healthy meals, not a salad that will make me sick.
Note to self: more little containers for wet ingredients and not chop my cherry tomatoes til I go to eat.

Preparing my meals ahead of time has been fantastic, I can’t believe it’s taken this long to realise how good it is. The night before is one thing, but not having to worry at all each day is even better. My other issue, which is pretty small in the big scheme, is that I get bored easily, so I want to have at least 10 options available to choose from. No, I’m not making 10 lunches, just choosing from the short list. Each week becomes a multitude of choices, essentially I’ll never have to eat the same week twice.

My go to’s will definitely be my version of Fatoush with either chicken or bacon if I want meat and a basic pasta salad I found the other day – bacon, peas and onion (with long or broad beans if I fancy) and I added balsamic and garlic olive oil  dressing.  I use Praise dressings for all my salads as I find them tasty and you don’t need much to get a good coating without drowning the ingredients.

This week coming I will be testing out a few Bruschetta variations as well as Ryvita options.

Edit: After researching my options (I didn’t want the same boring salad every day) and making a short list of tasty, easy choices, I spent around two hours on Sunday afternoon making them up.

What do you do for work lunches?
Do you lunch prep, or keep putting it off?
What are your go to lunches for healthy eating.

Healthy eating and good training = strong body.


Goals for the new year

I started this post late last year and since then things have changed quite a bit….

I responded to a Facebook post a few weeks ago about what were we going to do in 2017 to top what we had done this year. I thought a bit about this as there are several answers one can give – go all out and want to achieve massive races we’ve not even thought about or be happy with what we’ve done and aim to enjoy the experiences.

Some of you may think that I chose option one, after all my very first race was 21kms with no experience what so ever. No, I chose instead the one that resonates with me. I have achieved so much this year and I’m incredibly proud of that. If you had told me in mid 2014 that by the end of 2016 I would have run over 1000 kms which included a marathon I would have laughed at you. Now, I say?

My response to the question was there was nothing to top. I was going to run the races I wanted to, work on PB’s in the ones I’ve done before (if it’s not to be, respect the reasoning why I didn’t) and enjoy the experiences as I went along.

I have two marathons booked in for this year and my plan is the same as before 1)Finish.
2)Finish still standing.
3)Finish under 5hrs (which would be a new PB).

My aim this year is to go forth and enjoy the next part of my journey. Train hard and learn from each session, gain something from each race and above all enjoy it all.
Each race, each training session, no matter how hard or bad we think it is gives us something to learn, gives us new strength. The things I have learnt about myself this year cannot be topped.
The support I have is the best any runner could have. Unwavering and wholehearted. I appreciate every moment, every hug and kiss, every message of it

While most of this remains the same, the big difference is adding in the unknown quantity…injury recovery time.
After having to pull out of my first marathon with my ITB and started dealing with the subsequent recovery period, my priorities have been focused elsewhere. I must recover, and work hard to do so. I have been consistent and will have to be diligent with this for the rest of my running life. I do not want this to happen again. It is driving me nuts having to take it easy and not be able to just get out there and run.
I have a race tomorrow that I had to downgrade to  5k from the 10. Even if had been able to manage the full 10, I knew I wouldn’t be getting a pb on this one (my aim had I been uninjured) so this is, while disappointing, doable as my now current running distance. When I say it hurts, it’s an emotional hurt. I’m not running past the point where it gets that sharp pain, which is around the 4-5k mark. It’s been so long since 5k was my total it feels laughable if it weren’t so serious. It’s all about baby steps, and being careful.

My second marathon I have planned has now been registered for and flights booked. I checked that when I arrive the day before should I feel I cannot do the full I am able to downgrade for the half. This was important, as I would much rather say I had to downgrade and then finish a half than be foolish and attempt the full only to finish it with another DNF. More on this at a later date.

Until then, stay active and train carefully, Jen.


I’ve learnt more in the last month than I did all last year about my body.
ITB. It’s a pain in the leg.

Firstly, I should have been doing strength exercises a long time ago. I do know this of course, I was just too lazy and didn’t realise the impact it would have on me.
I learnt the sore knee I’ve had on and off for a few years has been ITB in the making. As in, with everything I have and have not done this was bound to happen. It would niggle occasionally but not to the extent I was stopped completely.
My research has shown me how it happened and how I can fix it, which means I can work on prevention.

So how did it happen. Missing those pivotal long runs, and several short ones, in the lead up to the marathon was it. Lack of stretching and strength also played their own part. It would be like having only run ever 10kms and then deciding to run a marathon with no extra training. The leg, and in particular, the it-band is going to give way and say ‘no more’.

Late last year I had made the decision to add more strength workouts into my routine, for me and my running. Well, it came about a little too late. The damage was done and I was about to witness it in all its agonising glory.

Recovery for this has numerous parts.
No running, or very little and definitely no declines. Foam, or stick rolling my legs more. More stretching before (and after) runs and workouts. Strength workouts specifically for the ITB and hips. Taping the area. Last but not least a visit to the physio. All of this is fine, I need to go for advice (what to and not to do), then maybe occasional visits.
During my self-imposed break from running I have been doing the exercises and had three days of rock tape on my leg. Wow. While still sore in places in feels 100%. I know that running on it will have to be done in short bursts – I’ve managed to get up to 4kms before it hurts. Slowly slowly. The tape has been so good on my leg. I have found it supports and helps relieve the muscles to the extent I can move without it being too painful.

It’s driving me nuts, not running like I used to. I want to get out there and just run, my heart and head say ‘do it’, my body on the other hand (more specifically, my knee) says not today, give it a break. I know this is good for me, the rest and letting my knee heal and I try not to be impatient as I still have many years of running left in me. I will not let this be the end of me.

Keep active and look after yourself, Jen