A lot of our OFL's are involved with school systems and the like here and there and have been off during the summer. Now, everyone is returning to the fall/winter/spring schedule. If you have been off for the summer, or like I am, involved in caring for elder family members, it can be really difficult to stay on the WOE! We are constantly inundated with high carb, sugary things that are so easy to grab if you haven't prepared in advance! And then, there are those people we come in contact with who say "well, a little bit of potato salad, rice, bread, pie, cake, etc. won't hurt you." IT DOES HURT! So, I have comprised a (by no means complete) guide to preparing for being out in the working world or just being too busy to cook two diets as I am. If you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comment section and I will add them to this post.
1. Eggs can be a life saver. I always have a few boiled for tossing in a chicken salad, tuna salad or just eating in a pinch. Lemon pepper on a boiled egg really lends a nice zing to it.
2. MIM's are also a staple for me. I cook four at the time. I usually eat one at time of cooking. Two are always made without sweeteners and spices. Sometimes, I add cheese, dried onion flakes, or herbs to the two unsweetened ones- or even bacon bits. Remember our OFL, Carole says adding a little bit of water to the batter makes a better consistency. I freeze the extras in zip-lock bags. It's really easy to grab on the way out the door and by the time lunch rolls around or you are hungry again, it is thawed.
3 Canned chicken and tuna are things I keep on hand. The chicken salad on the previous post can be made in a hurry . Or use the same recipe for tuna. I don't recommend using seafood with that recipe for taking with you. You could even throw a quick chicken soup together to take with you on cold days. See Carole's recipe on a previous post.
4. I buy a pound or so of deli roast beef and turkey with no preservatives and freeze portions of it. This is great to chop and toss in a salad, or use in a "sandwich" made with a low carb tortilla.
5. I now buy pre-washed salad mixes- a little more expensive, but worth the saved time in labor. You can also buy pre-chopped veggies for salads. I generally find a time when I'm not terribly busy and chop a lot myself and store in zip-locks in the fridge. These chopped veggies are also good to grab and take with you for snacks.
6. Our deli makes delicious rotisserie chickens and ribs, so occasionally, I take advantage of that. A rotisserie chicken will do for a family meal and leftovers are good in salads, low carb tortillas and the like. Same with the ribs.
7 I keep low carb tortillas on hand to make "sandwiches." Mine are spinach and herb with 12 gm fiber and only 5 usable carbs.
8. If I have extra time, I make the foccacia bread recipe that is on this blog. It is good for sandwiches, sliced and made into pizza, etc.
9. When I do have time to really cook, I try to cook double meats and veggies, so there is a meal prepared for the next day. Sometimes, I cook a lot of meat at one time and freeze some in portions that will be easy to take out of the freezer and use in salads and the like.
10. When I cook bacon for breakfast, I always cook extra and store it in the fridge in zip-locks. It's great to have on hand for BLT's, salads, etc.
11. I try to have several varieties of hard cheese around. When time permits, I will slice at least part of what I have in the correct portions to eat and have it in zip-locks ready to grab and go.
12. When time permits, I measure different nuts into correct proportions and zip-lock them for grabbing.
13. If you are at the stage of the WOE where berries are permitted, zip-lock them in correct proportions. I NEVER trust myself to eat the correct amount when I'm hungry, so I try to have the right amounts ready.
14. I keep baby dill pickles around. I've found there is something about that dill flavor that curbs my appetite.
15, I store olives in the correct proportions in zip-locks.
16. Occasionally, I make a frittata when I find myself with extra time. It refrigerates well, and is delicious hot, warm or room temperature. A generous slice of this will make a good lunch tot take with you (if you have access to refrigeration at work.)
17. Although they are not my favorite snack, I do keep small bags of pork rinds around to take with me. They are very filling in a pinch.
18. I also keep sugar free jello in the little cups. Easy to grab and go.
19. I keep a clear plastic box with lid in the fridge with all my zip-locked food in it. If you work, it is easy to pick items for snacks and lunch to take with you. Your planning has already been done in advance! You can also see at a glance what foods you need to re-stock on. This also discourages others not on the WOE from eating all your legal food!
I'm sure all of this is just the tip of the iceberg, so feel free to add suggestions in the comments section.