She Cooks. She Cleans. She's a Dork.

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It’s ok to be a dork. It’s not a put down, or representation of lack of confidence. For me, it’s something I’m rather proud of, actually. Every day, I do something totally dorky and I love it - it’s my thing and it’s hot. I love to cook and love to clean (and I love to dance in between). I get super in-broiled and obsessed about things and put plans into action.

I get sh*t done. But working in the corporate world for over 10 years, my relationship with food was complicated. I called it my #foodlationship. If I was up at 5am, from gym to work by 8 and not home until well after 7pm… WHAT and WHEN was I even eating? Being lactose intolerant (and later gluten-free) didn’t mean I wasn’t going to cheat or grab unhealthy snacks – I was crafty and would find a way.

Last year, I decided to leave the corporate world for good and follow my dreams to pursue a full-time career in acting. At the same time, I enrolled in Real Estate college. If I'm not studying scenes, I’m studying property ownership and its law. Why? Because… why the hell not? Why choose one dream when you can conquer them all? 

But hold on a second, what does this have to do with food? Or being a dork? A LOT.

Keeping healthy while balancing two very intense careers is a challenge unto themselves… but together? This is where the food comes in. How can I stay healthy and positive while I’m managing many expectations, constant rejection and never-ending deadlines? For me, the answer was Meal Prep. 

About six years ago I decided I wanted to feel GOOD and was sick and tired of being… sick and tired. I got mad and then I got obsessed. My mother had always cooked and baked a ton in advance to support our family of seven, so I wanted to try too. I started meal-prepping and posting lunches and dinners with #shecooksshecleansshesadork on my Instagram thejacquelineyouknow. I began to see results over a short period of time. I was feeling better, getting sick less often and had so much more energy. My weight was more manageable, I ordered in less and I also noticed I was becoming quite the cook! Sunday night meal prep became something to look forward to. 

Just like committing to going to the gym is easier if you put it in your calendar, or set out your workout clothes the night before… meal prep in itself takes preparation, but it’s hella worth it. Having meals at your fingertips that you know are well thought out for whatever food lifestyle you have, means you’re more likely to eat them and less likely to grab something that hampers your progress or worse – makes you feel guilty after. Additional benefits are that you’ll save money and time, while reducing the stress of ‘what’s for dinner’? Continued on next pagThis isn’t a new concept and there’s a lot of information out there, but where to begin? Start by getting the right tools to make things easier: 

Handy Meal Prep Tools 

  • Glass containers – easy and safe microwaving and reheating 

  • Mason Jars – work for salads (stacked top dry to wet bottom), smoothies or greens shakes and homemade soups 

  • Salad containers with separators – keeps proteins and greens from mingling 

  • Portion sized containers for nuts & veggies – snack without overeating 

And no, you don’t have to be an expert cook or have gourmet skills. Check out Tasty’s recipes, which are so easy to understand and fun to watch. I also follow some great nutritionists, fitness gurus and coaches on Instagram. Why? Because they all know how important it is to plan meals in order to help reach your goals. Plus, these ladies are SUPER fun while being inspirational (and quirky!). Check out some of my favourites: • meowmeix – Amanda Meixner • KatieCrewe or creweskitchen – Katie Crewe • jaquioh – Jaclyn Phillips 

Nowadays, I’m obsessed with baking. In addition to weekly meal prep, I try one new baking recipe a week. In the last year, I’ve gone gluten-free and have enjoyed the difference it’s made. I also love turning old childhood favourites into healthier versions that work for my new and improved #foodlationship (we’re still together, but now it’s much less complicated). 

Whatever your lifestyle, reasons or goals, do it for you. Put meal prep in your calendar, research what meals or snacks work for you and commit to it, girl. You’ll be amazed how quickly meal-prepping can become a habit and how much easier it makes the day-to-day. Plus when you feel good, you look good!

Happy Prepping. 

Jacqueline James

thejacquelineyouknow 

#shecooksshecleansshesadork 

Sources: Tasty: https://tasty.co/topic/meal-prep