Anxiety building with each second’s tick off the clock, sweat condenses on Jane’s forehead as she hastily rushes to find out just how she’ll get everything done before it’s too late…one wrong move and so long to any chance of a happy ending. What may sound like a bomb being defused on prime time television is ironically accurate in describing most of our weekly schedules as we fight to find time for everything we need to accomplish to have any hopes of a relaxing weekend.

Work, family, our health & fitness, maintaining relationships with friends, and for many- school work to top it off- there seems to be a lot on the line nearly every minute as we navigate all our responsibilities while maintaining some semblance of peace and relaxation. This realty tends to be the largest factor in most forsaking their diet goals, given the seemingly exorbitant time required to cook, pack and eat well from week to week.

Unfortunately, this idea is pretty largely misunderstood, leading to many quitting before they even get started taking control of their dietary habits. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to balancing fitness with everyday life, and tracking your intake correctly doesn’t have to mean sacrificing time with friends or hiring a baby sitter during your weekly meal prep. Below are some very easy, but often underestimated strategies you can use throughout your week to make your health and physique development goals easier to manage in the New Year and beyond! (cue the Buzz Lightyear phrases).

Buy In Bulk

Virtually the only time buying in bulk is suggested is when discussing how to “eat healthy on a budget.” Unless someone is strapped for cash, the advice is often dismissed as unnecessary. However something not often considered is just how much time each month shopping in bulk can save.

Using myself as an example, as APFitness has continued to grow, the more time I can shave off mundane tasks each month, the more time I can devote to my online clients (and of course feeding back travel addiction). Needless to say, spending 30+ minutes every week standing in a grocery line is the errand equivalent of nails on a chalkboard!

Purchasing many of my monthly groceries at a bulk grocery store (think Sam’s Club, Costco etc.), has done wonders for helping me maximize the use of my time.

Some great bulk options:
  • Oats
  • Frozen Fruit*
  • Frozen Vegetables*
  • Frozen Chicken, Salmon, Turkey Burgers*
  • Various Nuts & Seeds
  • Olive and Coconut Oil
  • Whole Grain Cereals and Cereal Bars
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Milk (Almond, Cow or even Fair Life are often available)
  • Coffee
  • *Could be purchased fresh as well, of course depending on how quickly you expect to eat the various items before their expirations.

By getting staple items like those I’ll list below, I can stock up on 2-4 weeks of the majority of my food needs in one swoop; cutting my grocery shopping time in at least half, but likely more than that. The key is of course buying mostly non-perishable or frozen items that allow for larger quantities to be purchased without the stress of food expiring before you can eat it all.

Supplements & Bulk Grocery Stores

As a brief tale of caution, I would suggest doing your homework before purchasing supplements, namely protein powder, from bulk grocery stores. The reason being, the supplement industry has its fair share of shady characters. Making sure to research supplement companies online to see if they’ve had any legal issues previously with their supplements, and making sure they follow quality testing and manufacturing practices can help ensure you’re getting what you pay for, in a good way. Many times, if a supplement is greatly cheaper than most quality brands in the industry, there’s a less than savory reason for it. Spending a bit extra money on a product(s) you can feel confident are made with sufficient testing etc. can be a worthy investment.

Crock Pots & Casseroles

After leaving Sam’s Club looking as much like a doomsday prepper than an athlete, what better way to put it to good use than cooking up a family size meal you can use during the upcoming work week! Just like buying bulk groceries, the more we can condense our meal prep time, the more time we can give ourselves for other tasks each week. That’s where investing in a Crock Pot, some large baking dishes, and a rice cooker can really come in handy.

I’ve had athletes bake batches of meat and potatoes in the oven, as well as casseroles that can then be split into multiple servings for the week (both breakfast and dinner casseroles). Crock Pots can be used for everything from preparing bulk meat, full recipes like pulled-pork/chicken, or even batches of overnight oats for an easy but filling breakfast.
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Rice cookers can double not only for rice and quinoa, but also steaming vegetables easily. The common factor being, they can all be taken care of while multi-tasking around the house (or even while asleep in the case of Crock Pots).

I won’t pretend to be a chef, but luckily there are plenty of them online who offer full recipes on time saving meals through use of the kitchen tools I mentioned above. Bottom line, buying and cooking at least a large portion of your weekly meals in bulk can do wonders for saving you much needed time and making it much easier to balance your diet goals with every day life.

MyMacros+ App Features 

If you’re reading this, you already know just how helpful MyMacros+ can be to the on-the-go athlete. Along with the app itself just making it easy to track daily intake in general, there are a few features in particular that can be especially beneficial for the busy dieter.

Recipes Tab 

Cooking in bulk or family sized recipes saves time, but only if you aren’t left calculating the macros for each serving, of each recipe, every time you create it. The Recipes section of MyMacros+ solves that by allowing you to create a given recipe or meal, then save that meal to easily add to future day’s logs with a click of a button. So for example, after calculating the macros for a 1/4th of that breakfast casserole you make, you can save it and choose “Breakfast Casserole” from the Recipes tab to add it your daily food log without having to go through the hassle of re-entering anything any time you make that recipe.

Copy Day or Copy Meal Feature

Along the same lines as the Recipes tab, MyMacros+ also allows meals to be copied to other days’ logs or as another meal in the same day. Just hold down your click on a meal entry and copy whenever needed, instead of re-entering each ingredient of a go-to meal during the week.

Recent Tab and Barcode Scanner

Even searching for commonly used ingredients/foods can seem time consuming over the course of a week’s meals. Taking advantage of the Recent tab makes it very easy to find and select often-used foods. Especially those always on-the-go, it’s likely you’ll need to rely on convenience foods fairly often rather than always being able to prepare meals at home. If you’re swinging by the convenience store for a quick snack or meal, the MyMacros+ Barcode Scanner makes it very convenient to track packaged foods without having to take time to manually enter the macros yourself.

Preparing To Win

These may not seem like groundbreaking suggestions, but that should be a relief rather than a disappointment. Contrary to common belief, taking more control of your dietary habits doesn’t require drastic changes, but instead subtle changes to a weekly routine that can create big differences in program adherence and reduced stress. Investing a bit of time upfront in planning go-to meals and the best times to prepare them can save considerable time in the months and even years to follow as you continue in your physique and health pursuits.

Following these suggestions, along with the countless future articles we have in the works to save you time and maximize your effort, it only gets easier to be successful as you find your groove and the habits that work best for your schedule. Now someone go tell Jane she can stop crying, there’s plenty of time left on the clock after all.

Want to Learn More About Tracing Macros & Food Balance?

Balancing food intake with your goals and preferences can be a bit confusing when first starting to approach a diet more seriously. That’s why myself and My Macros+ teamed up to create Making Sense of Macros, an in-depth e-book covering a slew of topics important for hitting the ground running tracking your diet and making strategic, science based adjustments to better reach your goals.

About The Author

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Andrew Pardue, BS, CSCS. CISSN

Andrew Pardue is a full-time online physique coach with a BS in Exercise Science as well as minors in Chemistry and Entrepreneurship from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He also holds two top training and nutrition certifications- CSCS and CISSN. Through working with a combination of physique competitors and general population, he places a large focus on balancing science driven strategies with the balanced approach required in every day life.

Learn more about APFitness and access ongoing, free content by following him on Instagram: @andrewnpardue

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