I went home to Philadelphia this weekend to see my mom.
“Now, I want to respect your diet,” she said to me on the phone before I left, “so let me know what kind of food I need to have in the house for you.”
“Chicken,” I said, “and oatmeal and eggs.”
“That’s easy. Now, how do you want me to cook the chicken?” she asked. “I mean, how to you do it, typically?”
“I just put it in a pot with some water and-”
“- boil the hell out of it?” she asked.
I have now learned that this was the okay but not really tasty way to make my chicken every week. So here’s what I learned from Mom:
How Not To Prepare Your Chicken
1. Put chicken in a pot with salted water and boil until you think it’s done.
How To Properly Poach Your Chicken
1. Purchase bone-in chicken breasts with skin
2. Rinse the breasts and place in a pot of water – just enough to cover the top of the chicken.
3. Add one carrot, sliced into carrot coins
4. Add one celery stalk, aromatic celery leaves included
5. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper, dried basil and especially thyme. If you have a bay leaf, add one.
6. Turn the water on medium heat and bring to a boil.
7. Reduce heat and let the chicken simmer for about 45 minutes.
8. When the chicken is done, allow it to sit in the water for up to 20 minutes if time allows.
9. De-bone the chicken and enjoy
I would have taken a photo of the lovely poached chicken; however, I ate it all before I could. But here is a photo of my mom today as we waited for my train back to New York.
Thank you, Mom, for teaching me that there is more than one way to cook a chicken.
Happy Mother’s Day!
On a Sunday evening when you might be reading the paper, cooking dinner or petting the dog, I am hard at work in the kitchen building my body.
It’s not a lie that almost 80% of your physique is made in the kitchen. Changing your eating habits gets you almost all the way there.
Last week I started eating more to propel my muscle growth and I’m already surprised at the changes I’m seeing. Yet after tracking my diet and looking at my macronutrient composition (percentage of carbs, protein and fat), I realized that I’m still consuming way too much protein.
I was eating about .8g of carbs for every 1g of protein.
My trainer told me that I absolutely had to increase this ratio to at least 1.5:1 to see results. So last week I welcomed Mr. Sweet Potato and his friend, Brown Rice, into my weekly meal plan.
I need to be precise about eating because there’s a lot of margin for error, so on Saturday morning I sat down with my coffee and an Excel spreadsheet and took inventory of all the foods that I eat on a regular basis from boiled chicken to cottage cheese.
I noted how many calories, grams of protein, carbs and fat were in each each serving by weight and created a food library. Then for the next hour I put together a diet that would get me to my target needs for each day.
After some more discussion with my trainer we landed on the following for me (143lbs, 5’10”):
Believe it or not, this was a tricky task, but I did it! I created a meal plan for days that I workout in the morning and one for days that I workout in the evening and then I set to work to make it happen.
After all, you can dream about making changes all you want, but at some point, you need to make the moves.
Below is a quick rundown of my food prep for the week that happens every Sunday starting at about 4PM. In our apartment, we like to call it “Chicken Time” because for the next 3 hours, that’s exactly what it is.
STEP 1: Buy the chicken and the fish!
– I start with about 14 pounds of chicken and 1-2 bags of frozen tilapia.
– Fish is a nice add-in for variety and it’s an easier protein to digest, so my body is happier when it’s in the mix.
STEP 2: Wash the protein…and the sweet potatoes
– I clean all my proteins and pop the chicken in a pot of water on the stove and throw the tilapia in the oven with my sweet potatoes.
STEP 4: Wait and pack
– While the chicken boils and the tilapia and sweet potatoes bake, I prep my portable meals and snacks for the next 2 days.
– Since I eat breakfast and my last meal of the day at home, I take 3 mid-day containers to work each day.
– I use my digital food scale and divvy out the proper measurements of frozen and fresh veggies and my fat (nuts or avocado).
STEP 5: Pack the protein and the potatoes
– Once the tilapia and chicken are done I start to dish out my protein for the week into each of the containers.
– When the entire meal prep is complete, I will also have about 4oz sweet potato and 4 – 4.5oz protein in each dish along with about 100g of veggies.
STEP 6: Store
– I typically have plenty of protein left over, so I store two of the three containers shown below in the freezer and keep 1 in the fridge. This way I’ve always got something clean to eat on hand.
So that’s it! You cook, you pack, you go live your life – and you eat!
How do you get ready for your week ahead?