As an athlete, you already have so much to squeeze into the day that it’s easy to see why dinner may be an afterthought, especially if you have been up since 5am or you are finishing an evening workout around 6:30 or 7pm.
You aren't too busy to train so it's all about priorities when you say you are too busy to cook.
There are hundreds and hundreds of food bloggers with amazing pictures, stories and recipes of food.
You should have no problem finding recipes that will work for you...but the key is making the time to actually prep and cook those meals.
I actually feel that allowing yourself an "of" day (ex. breakfast for dinner, yogurt, granola and fruit for lunch, PB & J and a smoothie for breakfast, etc.) can actually keep you on track for healthy eating the rest of the week. It's kinda like a vacation from "typical" eating.
Here are a few of my meal planning tips that will work for your busy lifestyle.
But in order to make them work.....
make an effort, not excuses.
You don’t want to finish your workout hungry with no patience to meal prep. Prepare as much as you can before working out. This is a game changer. You won't believe how your food choices will change (and how less complicated "healthy" eating can be) when you know that a meal is prepared before you workout. More often than not, if you finish a workout hungry, you will almost always go for what's quick and easy and not always healthy or performance enhancing and find an excuse or reason to eat it (even though you know you should be eating something healthier.)
Knowing what you will eat for dinner (and breakfast, lunch and snacks) will ensure you have those items available. No need to make this menu extravagant, just make a plan. Theme meals or staple meals work really well, especially when you are getting started with this habit.
Sure, you could dine-out but let's be honest, eating out takes time and it's expensive...you have to wait for food, eat and pay and travel to and from the restaurant. Consider getting help once a week (Wed or Thurs) from a salad bar, pre-made meal option from the grocery, pick-up/take-out healthy item or making something super easy and semi-homemade. Make sure this meal works for you as your meals should never make you feel guilty or should negatively affect your next days workout.
Think about your entire day (M-F) - when do you have the most free time? And by free time, this means watching TV or spending time on your smart phone/computer at home. Could you make more time in your day?
Hopefully, there are times when you are home and you can find 10 to 30 minutes in the early morning, when you get home from work or in the evening that you can do some cooking or prepping. Oftentimes, the cooking and meal prep is an afterthought and athletes get busy doing something else or feel too exhausted and hungry to do anything but sit.....and eat something convenient.
You know how important consistency is with training and you love the results when you follow your training plan.
Put that same focus and attention on your eating habits as you do with your training and you will find yourself doing amazing things your healthy, well fueled and nourished body.