Weekly Meal Prep: Residency Edition

****Totally titled this “Residency Addition” before my wonderful mom corrected me- Edition, not addition!  Whoops!  That’s what I get for writing this post-call!  Please forgive me :-)


Phew!  I haven’t done a What I Ate Wednesday from Peas and Crayons in ages!


This past weekend I had a night shift, which means I had the entire day off until I went into work at 6pm.  So, in addition to napping throughout the afternoon, I did some solid food prep to get me ready for the week.


Sometimes I feel overwhelmed doing a weekly food prep because I haven’t picked out defined “recipes” or I just don’t feel like making actual recipes.  While this seems like it would impede a large-batch cooking day, not having any set “recipes” actually makes for great food prep!  I’ve found that all you need to do is prepare a few different veggies, a few different proteins, and some extra snacks and you are good to go.

Just having prepared foods on hand is already a huge advantage when it comes to eating healthy when you’re busy.

For protein this week, I made some tilapia:


I seriously love the plain tilapia filets I buy at Costco.  I know they are probably a terrible choice because they are farmed fish and I’ve read lots of articles about how dirty tilapia can be… but sometimes I feel so frustrated buying food- nothing is good for you anymore!!!!!  Unless it’s wild, organic, sustainable, blah blah blah, it’s going to kill you.


So, I accept the dirty tilapia and eat it anyways because 1.) It’s delicious 2.) It’s a lean protein and 3.) It’s convenient.

Most of the time I just pan fry it on the stove with some salt and pepper.


I also bought some beautiful local eggs which are super healthy so they will offset my farmed tilapia right?  I don’t think eggs do very well made ahead of time, so I will cook those each day.

For veggies, I already had a salad mix that I divvied up into tupperware.  I also bought some red skin potatoes that looked really tasty at the store.  After boiling them, I smashed them and then pan-fried them on the stove with garlic powder until they were crispy.  I topped them with some pre-made pesto I bought at Trader Joes and….. YUM!


With some peas on the side I had the best dinner of tilapia and potatoes with pesto.  I would highly recommend this simple but flavorful meal!!



For some carbs I tried a new quinoa/rice mix I bought at Costco:


Kyle and I sampled it at the store and both agreed that we would eat it enough to make it worthwhile to keep on hand in the panty.  That was a weird sentence- did you get that?

I actually just added it right into my salad for a little extra carbs and texture.  I really like putting rice or quinoa in salads- have you tried it?


For snacks, I made a few really big protein pancakes.  For the batter I blended up 1 1/2 banana, 3 egg whites, 3 scoops protein powder, less than a tsp coconut flour (I was down to the very very end of my can :-( ), cinnamon, 3 TBS oats, and 3 dates.  I threw in a huge handful of blueberries with each pancake:



Being on call is so hard when it comes to eating healthy.  I get so tired throughout the night and so I want more food to stay awake!  My classmates all go to the cafeteria at 2 am and it is so hard to turn down mozzarella sticks!  I haven’t bought any yet- but it’s a struggle!!

During my neurology rotation, I was able to sleep for at least 4 hours, sometimes closer to 6 hours during the night!  But in the ICU, sleep isn’t even an option.  You are busy all night and don’t even think about going to sleep.

After I get off in the morning, I feel almost hungover!  It’s how you feel after going out with your girlfriends all night, or staying up all night studying.  You know how after an all nighter you just want a big greasy meal?  That’s how I feel after being on-call!!!  It’s terrible!   I’m still working on the best healthy but satisfying on-call foods.  I can tell you right now that a salad at 3am is not going to cut it.  Maybe soup?  I guess I will just keep you posted!

Have a great Wednesday my friends!!


  1. tiffany says

    looks so good! it is definitely a struggle to eat healthy on call! i am on q3 for surgery (32 hrs sometime!!!) and all i want is ALL that fried foods.
    and as you mentioned, the catered foods are my best and worst nightmare. i love the free food but i end up gaining weight..bah!!

    question for you regarding specialty choice.i know you said you wanted to do optho all along. for me, i wanted to do EM for awhile but i really don’t like the soft cases and primary care stuff so i am reconsidering that. meanwhile, i am really enjoying surgery! i know ppl say the ppl are mean and arrogant, but i really haven’t had any bad experiences! sure in traumas, they are very straightforward about what you should or shouldn’t do, but i don’t think thats a big deal and they NEED to do that! anyway i love the work of surgery, minimal patient interaction (sorry just not a peoples person), the people (surgeons i’ve interacted with tend to joke around more, easier going, a lot more down to earth no-bullshit fluffy beating around the bushes), etc. However, i know i definitely want a family and be able to spend lots of time with kids/family and have a few dogs, so that is pretty much almost non-compatible with gen surg right? i am not competitive enough for ENT, urology, plastics, or optho, so ones with good lifestyle are out of the question.

    in that case, what would you recommend? do something i enjoy with a shitty lifestyle or something i like less with a good lifestyle?

    would love to hear your thoughts on this subject matter!

    • aawenzel says

      Hey Tiffany! I totally feel you with the soft cases in EM- I am really looking forward to the day I never have to treat low back pain or nausea again. Surgery can be tough on your outside life (especially during residency) but there are many many women surgeons who have families and make it work. I think you can find residencies that are more time consuming than others as well. I’m sure there are some gen surg programs that are super super intense (I actually think Mayo is pretty intense) and others that are more laid back. You might be able to have more of a life outside the hospital at a lesser program.
      The other thing I thought of when I read your post was critical care. If you like procedures and like emergency medicine, you might really enjoy the ICU. There is some patient interaction, but not tons because your patients are SICK (and often ventilated). You get to do lots of procedures like central lines, art lines, bronchoscopy, intubation, thoracentesis, paracentesis, etc. But, it’s not as all consuming as surgery… just a thought.
      It’s so hard to chose lifestyle vs. career satisfaction… I have no idea which is a better choice. I hope this helps maybe a tiny tiny bit!

      • tiffany says

        thanks for the tip andrea! are you going to do a post on ICU work? i have actually been thinking about that before you mentioned it, i do enjoy working with really sick pts. however, the biggest thing drawing me back is 3 yrs of IM residency. i absolutely hated my IM rotation due to a combo of bad attendings and how detail oriented it is. it’s just hard for me to think that a headache is a big deal but it still goes on the problem list when it’s very very very likely not like a subarach hem or anything serious.

        have you had any exposure to PM&R and what are your thoughts on that specialty? i should shadow, but i’m starting to consider it as a career because there can be a lot of procedures (pain injections, interventional spine procedures), it overlaps with 2 specialties i LOVE (ortho and neuro), and the lifestyle and pay are all great. the only downside is, i’m not sure if it will feel like being a doctor at all? i know ppl who do spinal cord injuries still do medicine (we consulted them on trauma, they still did a systems based A/P and gave medicine recs), but idk about other pmr ppl?

        would love to hear your thoughts, thanks!!

  2. says

    I LOVE red potatoes, especially when I have the time to roast them. It’s amazing how just a little salt, pepper, and few seasonings can make them taste so delicious.

    I’m sure it’s ridiculously hard to stay up all night on a regular basis. I know you already bring snacks to work, but are there some healthier “treats” that you can bring with you on calls so that you can also have a snack with your classmates at 2am without feeling like you’re eating crap? I find that it’s much easier to turn down unhealthy food when I have another option that I like a lot.

    • aawenzel says

      Yes, I bring SO many snacks- it really helps. Also, I discovered these little dark chocolates in the cafeteria for 25 cents and so I buy one every time I get a coffee!

  3. Marianne says

    Thank you for not being crazy like it seems like everyone else is about never ever eating anything that isn’t the most organic, wild-caught, gluten-free, etc!! It’s good to know there are still some sane people left! Phew!

  4. Brooke says

    I am currently a Pre-Med student and work nights in an ICU; I LOVE it! I am always learning so much, and get to see the perspectives of both nurses and the doctors in the care of a patient. This job is what helped me to realize I definitely want to go to Med school. I typically gravitate to soup during the night. I love eating Lentil soup for the good protein and fiber; it is delicious and fills me up for a good 4-5 hours. Your blog makes me excited for what the future holds! Thanks for taking the time to write it!

    • aawenzel says

      Brooke, that is amazing you are working in an ICU as a pre-med. That will give you such great insight into medicine! I think soup is going to be a staple in my diet- especially this winter! I just bought a thermos to keep stuff hot all day since there isn’t a microwave in the resident work room- so soup is a great option!

  5. Katie says

    Oh I totally know what you mean about the cravings! Way to go on saying no! One idea I have for you is to make healthy mozzarella sticks to bring with you! I got a recipe off of skinny taste.com that used string cheese, a little bread crumbs, and were baked instead of fried and they were seriously so good and easy! I wonder if you could pack them and microwave really quick?!

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