So the game company I've been working at has been crunching hard for the past 3 months or so with no end in sight. As a result my health has been deteriorating pretty drastically. At first I thought it was just being tired but now I've identified I'm feeling hungry all the time due to simply not eating enough. They keep us at the office until 8pm so I don't get home until around 9:30pm. Thankfully they supply dinner but it's generally junk food, the same 4-5 things repeated every week. Chinese take out, fajitas, pizza, and sandwiches. Needless to say, not the most healthy of things. I was around 127 pounds at the beginning of crunch, I'm now 117 and feel constantly tired and have random aches and pains in my chest and back.
So this is where I come to TL for help. I moved closer to work (50 minute one way commute instead of an hour and 40 mintues) but this means I'm away from home for the first time since college and I don't know how to cook for my life. I don't know what to make that is quick and easy but also reasonably nutritious. To make things more difficult, it needs to be something that can keep for a bit since I honestly don't know which nights I'll come home and eat and which I'll just pass out.
I've got a rice cooker which is pretty idiot proof and I can handle the really basic stuff like boiling pasta, etc. I've been told you can steam broccoli pretty easily with the rice cooker with this little plate thing that came with it, not sure how that works though. I've got most of the usual kitchen stuff at my disposal like a stove, oven, toaster oven, etc.
I want to get back to working out and stuff, but I feel like it would hurt me more than it would help if I'm in a perpetual state of hungry.
Please help me TL!
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Chairman Ray Canada. August 24 2010 12:24. Posts 7386
My computer is right beside my bed. I'm either in my bed, or on my computer all day. How I stay healthy is through my large jar of trail mix that I keep beside me. Trail mix contains lots of nutrition to keep you alive, and it also keeps you at your peek mental focus. Be sure not to put too much salt in it though.
White rice isn't exactly good for you. It's full of carbs, calories and very little protein or fibre. It will make you feel bloated at first, then after an hour or 2 very very hungry. Broccoli on the other hand is one of the single best things you can put into your body. Brown or mixed grain rice with a side of broccoli can be made all at once and is a fantastically nutritious meal if you watch your portion sizes. As everyone else has suggested, buy or make a big tub of trail mix to keep at the desk. The catch is you have to designate snack periods and portion yourself out a handful at that time. Nuts are enormously high in fat and calories, if you graze on them all day you'll be eating much more than is healthy.
When I ate meat, canned tuna (in water/brine) was my favorite meal on the run by far. You can open it, rinse it, even microwave it at work. I'd advise you to pay for the really nice white tuna. It's much tastier, moister and lower in fat. 1 can puts you back around 150 calories, but can have up to 15 grams of protein and as low as 0 grams of fat. Give it a look
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benjammin United States. August 24 2010 13:59. Posts 2728
complex carbs, like white rice, are absolutely not bad for you, but they obviously can't be the only thing you eat.
EAT BREAKFAST -- this is 100% the most important thing i recommend to anyone looking to improve their diet. make sure you are getting something with good protein to start your day. eggs are always a good option, but make sure to balance it with good fiber cereals (granola cereal is very tasty). if you are getting hungry throughout the day, it is almost certainly from not eating a big enough breakfast.
pack a lunch -- the canned tuna someone mentioned makes a great sandwich and is insanely healthy, cheap, and easy to prepare. throw in a piece of fruit or yogurt, then a side of your choice (chips, raw carrots, etc) and you're set.
there are no shortage of easy to make dinners. i grew up with a mom that was a former chef, so i never got to go near the kitchen, and i've figured out how to make a lot of basic dishes. a foreman grill will do you wonders for cooking meat, then the rest is easy.
and honestly, at 117 pounds (assuming you are not like 4'9"), you can snack as much as you want and not worry too much about it. if you keep your saturated fat/cholesterol/sodium/sugar levels at healthy levels, you can go crazy on calories for a while.
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Trap United States. August 24 2010 14:21. Posts 395
If you already have a medium pot with a cover you can 5-minute steam most vegetables by:
1. put in about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pot, max heat 2. cut up 2-3 cloves of garlic and dump them in the water. chop up your greens into bite sized pieces while you wait for the water to boil. 3. once you reach full boil, fill up your pot with greens and put the lid on 4. wait 5 minutes, remove from heat. eat.
Just don't cook it more than 5 minutes, because if you run out of water add another 30 minutes of scrubbing black crap off the bottom of your pot ;-)
Two exceptionally nutritious vegetables per mass are swiss chard and kale. They shrink quite a bit if you cook them in the way above, and have a good flavor (kind of like a sweeter spinach).
If you're pressed for time, throw the following in your steamer: -2 cups brown rice (1$) -pack of bird's eye mixed vegetables (1$) -1/2 cup lentils or canned beans (1$)
then add el cheapo BBQ sauce on the top or something. it makes everything better. brown rice for fiber, beans for protein, and veggies for your vitamins.
i also agree with the above poster than canned tuna is awesome, but because of the mercury, you probably shouldn't eat more than 2-3 cans a week.
Last edit: 2010-08-24 14:22:27
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Thereisnosaurus Australia. August 24 2010 14:22. Posts 1326
Learn to cook properly, and learn to shop well. Two of the most valuable life skills you'll learn. One will keep you healthy, energetic, enjoying mealtimes and will also very possibly get you laid, the second will keep money in your account. Contrary to popular belief, fast food is not cheap food. Most fast food meals can be prepared for cheaper than they cost, in as much time as it takes to get them.
I'd be happy to work with you on some specifics, but here are the basics
-buy bulk and buy cheap. Scout out cheap locations for specific food types around where you live using the internet and your community. Supermarkets are usually the cheapest for basic goods like salt and sugar, packaged goods and fridgegoods. Markets tend to be cheapest for fresh produce on certain days (typically a few hours before the market shuts down for a break, you can usually get meats for near half price and veggies at 2/3 supermarket price for double the quality). Ethnic markets (indian and asian groceries, chinatowns, european delis) often have certain products cheaper than at the supermarket (ramen in particular is typically half the price you pay at a supermarket) Learn math (if you work in games design as a programmer, you should have this fine) and check your price-by-weight. If it's cheaper to buy bulk for non-pershiables, buy bulk. 2-3 kilos of rice or pasta at a time, kilo weights of mince or what have you.
Learn the college formula: carbs+base+flavour. This is a very basic meal formula. Carbs are noodles, potato, rice, bread and couscous. Bases are typically european (tomato base) indian (masala base) asian (soy base) or african (herb base) Flavor is everything you stick on top- meat and veggies for protein and various nutrients. Once you become competent as a mixer, you can pretty much pick any carb, any base and any flavors (for me whatever is on special), combine and make a good meal. It takes a bit of practice and flair, but once you get to that point the cost of food literally goes down by half (or has done for me)
The reason the above is the college formula is that meals based on this are typically easy to prepare, very rich and filling, easy to store in portions, quite cheap and fairly easy to clean up after. Some examples:
Curry- rice carbs, indian base (garam masala, cumin, cardamom, chili flakes, youghurt) + lambchops, onion, canned tomato.
Italian hotpot- potato carbs, european base (canned tomato, tomato puree, basil, garlic, oregano) + onions, carrot, potato, button mushrooms, lamb comps.
stirfry- noodle carbs, asian base (50/50 soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger) + sliced rumpsteak, beans, carrot, snowpeas.
bolognese- noodle carbs. euro base (diced tomato+ tomato paste, garlic, oregano) minced beef, grated carrot, diced celery, diced onion.
All of these meals can be prepared in about 15 mins of prep time if you know how to use a knife, have at worst 2h of cooking time and, most importantly, can be frozen in portions. Typically I will cook about 5 good portions at once, eat one fresh and freeze 4. 4 meals, each one costs about 3-4 $AU, probably about the same in $US, or cheaper. to put that in perspective, a small bigmac meal from the mcdonalds across the road costs $6.50
invest in a good knife: I cannot stess this enough. Most people can't eat at home because they don't have the gear. Even I couldn't cook with a knife that has trouble slicing a tomato. Once you've used a good chef's knife to bust some spuds, you won't look back, I honestly don't even bother with potato peelers these days. Talk to a chef and get their recommendation, learn how to keep the knife honed and learn how to hold and chop properly, youtube will do you fine here: . Buy a box of spuds and spend an afternoon working yourself in. Watch your fingers, but honestly a sharp knife is safer than a blunt one. I have a set of Shun knives and some mundials for dirty work, but from messing around at friends places, I'd recommend Global, Victronox or Wusthoff for a balance of price, excellence and versatility, probably Victronox out of the three. Very nice, forgiving knives that are easy to sharpen and clean. Make sure you get a chef's knife. This means no fluke- if you put the knife edge down on a board, you should be able to roll the whole edge along the board, right up to the hilt.
Other than I knife, I recommend you get a large, good quality stewpot (6-10 litre), a wok and a casti-ron skillet. You should season both the wok and skillet before using them. These will last you for a decade or longer and you can cook just about anything in them, from soup to scrambled eggs.
Speaking of soups
Soup cooking: Soups are one of the easiest ways of making a nutritious meal. The easiest is vegetable soup which is literally this simple:
Boil water. Add some powdered chicken stock. add root vegetables and onion until just below the level of the water. Boil for 30m-1h. Mash or blend with a hand mixer/masher. Enjoy. You can pretty much use any combination of root vegies in any amount. The onion adds sweetness and smoothness. I'd just suggest not using pure potato, can be a bit bland. you can even add some leafy vegetables- spinach for example. My favourite is a mix of 50% pumpkin, 25% potato, 25% carrot. Insanely healthy, super tasty, super easy and lasts for weeks in the freezer. Not to mention cheap as shit (literally, weight for weight it's cheaper than manure)
Other super simple soups include chicken and corn, splitpea and ham, short soup, miso ramen etc.
Finally:Learn to have fun cooking: I can't stress this enough. Cooking should be like starcraft. You have your basic builds- the stuff I've mentioned above, the 'basic' curry, the 'basic' pastasauce, the 'basic' vegetable soup. Think of these as your 2gate or your 2port wraith. All the joy in cooking comes with adjusting your builds on the fly, tweaking them to fit your style and your current situation- adding some stuff coz it's on special, cutting back on something to get a better consistency for freezing etc. Play with your tools, learn to present and garnish food. try different brands of food or types (different types of apple or potato). Take recipes from the web and muck around with them. Invite a friend over and cook your best stuff for them (or with them- whip up a couple of courses between you)
If you're interested in any of the stuff above, I'm happy to post more specific instructions like cooking times and ingredient quantities. If you're happy to give me your general area I can probably pull my starsenses and see if I can't find you some suppliers for good stuff.
Last edit: 2010-08-24 14:26:46
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Phyre United States. August 25 2010 04:23. Posts 1227
So you work from 8 to 9, pretty much? That's rough. At one point in my life I was working and attended class after work, with a 1 hour commute each way, and I was struggling to home cook and eat healthy. But I managed to do it... most of the time.
-I usually try to include a protein source and a vegetable in each of my meals. -If I can't cook lunch/2nd lunch/dinner the night before, I cook in the morning as I cook breakfast. -Protein super shakes can be good meal replacements. Use a high quality protein powder, toss in some berries, some nuts, and water/almond milk/hemp milk and you're good to go. Add a greens supplement to get the vegetable part down. -Stretch every 30 minutes. Get up and walk around. Eat at your desk and go for a walk during lunch break. You might be losing weight, but you could be losing muscle mass and still gaining fat and it might not be entirely diet related. -For healthy snacks, jerky, nuts, and fruits are the way to go. Be careful of added sugar in trail mixes. -For cheaping it out, cans of beans are awesome. $1 and you get 4-5 servings. Look for stuff that is easy and quick to prepare, like sausages, bacon, smoked wild salmon, hamburgers, etc. Look for stuff you can prepare in bulk, like giant vats of pasta or curry rice, and try to prepare those on the weekend so that you can just grab it on the weekend and go. -Many times when people switch to healthy eating, they don't prepare as many calories, they get hungry afterwards, and then they binge on something unhealthy. Make sure you eat enough. -Unhealthy stuff is still delicious. As long as it doesn't make up the majority of your meals, you'll be fine.
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