The Loyola Ramblers men’s basketball team begins their season tonight with an exhibition game. I have season tickets and I go to pretty much every single game I can for both the men’s and women’s teams.
Over the last couple months I had found a rhythm with cooking dinner on weeknights that suited me fairly well. I’d often return home from work and running either around 6:00-7:00 pm, or after a racing team workout a bit after 8:00pm. I would spend an hour preparing my typical meal, usually baked chicken with either baked/boiled potatoes, or boiled pasta.
However, the start of Loyola’s season poses a clear problem on weeknights. With these games starting at 7-8pm, lasting around a couple hours, followed by a not terribly long train commute home… I walk in the door sometime around 9-10pm.
I like to get to bed before 11pm at the latest, and obviously coming home at 9-10pm doesn’t allow much time to cook dinner before 11pm. Staying up late just to cook a decent meal is not workable. The conventional meal plan isn’t going to work.
I don’t want to buy a ready-to-eat or easy-to-bake $7-12 meal on the way home after every game, because that gets expensive in a hurry, and most workable options are not the most nutritious. Plus, it’s likely I’m already going to need to buy something to eat after leaving work, before the games. I can’t go 8-10 hours without a meal.
Of course, I also don’t want to rely on eating arena food during the game for the same reasons.
I also don’t want to rely on some sort of snack food, which in my experience doesn’t really satisfy, which poses a huge problem overnight as I tend to wake up overnight when hungry.
I also don’t want to prepare a meal in advance and then re-heat it in the microwave when getting home. Never minding the lacking quality of such a meal, microwaving can sap or zap various nutrients, plus materials from the plating can leech into the food. I avoid microwaving food in general.
So… what to do? Going entirely without is not a workable option while running regularly. I’m not going to just miss games to get my meals in, of course. There has to be a way to make this work.
And it turns out there is.
Recently I bought an egg cooker device at Target. I once had a Cuisinart Egg Cooker in Seattle (that I had to dump once I moved to Chicago), and it worked quite well with making steam-poached eggs. It turns out this cheaper Copper Plate model does just as well, steaming two eggs at a time in a few minutes.
I had been eating steam-poached eggs as a snack, but it’s entirely possible to steam them and eat them as the protein portion of a dinner.
While I could prepare rice in my Aroma Automated Cooker to be ready when I return home… a more nutritious solution would be to boil about 400 calories of pasta, and also heat some marinara sauce to eat with it. Combine the eggs, the pasta and the sauce, and that’s a decent post-game meal, in less than 20 minutes.
It certainly beats paying for a sandwich or a burrito every time I come home for a game.
This is one of many possible examples of the meal planning my training requires. You can’t cut corners with nutrition any more than you can cut corners with your training
A lot of people, when life intervenes, elect to either cut life and focus too much on their training, or to skimp on meal planning only for their development and health to suffer in kind.
But with some advance effort you can totally find workable solutions that avoid having to cut corners in any way.