Category Archives: Recipes

Meal Planning – You can do this!

I’m proud to say that despite having a new baby in the house, my hubby and I have maintained our “make meals for the week in advance” schedule. We usually hit up the grocery as a family on Saturday or Sunday morning with our list in hand. We prepare lunches for both of us for 4 days and get ingredients for dinners as well for 4 nights. We also plan out what we’ll eat for  breakfast and make sure to have that prepped and ready, too.

If you are having trouble staying on track with whatever health goal you have and you AREN’T pre-planning your meals – my advice would be to start now! Even if your excuse is that your schedule is too hectic – I would argue that taking a few minutes to pre-select your meals, hit the grocery store ONCE and get all the goods and spending a few hours in the kitchen one day a week would help you have MORE time during the week. I can’t believe how much time I used to spend deciding what to eat on the day of before work. I would open my fridge and stare at the contents, look in the panty for any sign of something decent…and then struggle to think of anything  I could put together with what I had already. This often ended in frustration and I would just get something “out” which was typically unhealthy and more expensive than bringing food from home.

We have been doing this “meals in advance” thing for almost 4 years and we have definitely seen savings in terms of calories and dollars. And of course, time. If you aren’t a chef in the kitchen – there are so many resources for quick and easy meals available on the internet. Your meals don’t have to be gourmet!

Have I convinced you yet?

To get started you have to follow some rules:

1) Pre-select the meals. Check out some websites (eatingwell.com & cookinglight.com are 2 of my favs, as well as paleomg.com if you are looking for wheat free ideas) and select FOUR meals to make. You’ll pick 2 lunch style options and 2 dinner options.

  • You’ll be eating each meal twice which helps with the excuse of not wanting to buy a meal for just one person – because you’ll always be eating it twice. OR I guess if you don’t mind repetition – you could just pick 2 meals and eat them all 4 times instead (this would only work if you are doing this solo though)!
  • We give ourselves one lunch out and one dinner out each week so that we can still be social or attend work events that are over lunch/dinner, etc.
  • Make sure you consider your circumstances for lunch – do you have a fridge at work, a microwave? Toaster oven? Pick meals that will be easy to eat at work.

2) Make a LIST with all the ingredients you’ll need from each recipe BEFORE you set foot in the grocery store. Pick recipes that use the same ingredients to save even more money. So say you are going to make steak tacos and want to do a home made pizza – you could use the same cheese and vegetables for both. See?

3) This must be said: STICK TO THE LIST WHEN YOU SHOP. DO NOT VENTURE FROM THE LIST!

4) Pick a day, afternoon, night, morning (whatever) to prepare your meals. We always make our lunches in advance and put them in 1 serving containers so in the morning it’s a quick grab and go before work. Over the past year we’ve gone back and forth between making dinners in advance and waiting till the night of to make the dinner. It all depends on your schedule. But knowing what you are going to have for dinner and already having all the ingredients will save you tons of time and energy night of!

  • One thing we’ll do is do any prep work that might need to happen for dinner in advance. I’ll use the taco example again (we love tacos) – you could do that as a dinner but you could make the taco meat/veggies in advance so you just have to heat it up and crisp up the taco shells. Throw some beans on the side and you’ve got a meal.

Pyrex Storage Set from Amazon $25

One thing that really helps with this approach is to invest in some decent containers to store your portioned lunches/dinners. We use glass pyrex containers and we have a variety of sizes (small and large rectangles, different sizes of bowls, etc). Make sure whatever you get has lids that seal effectively to keep your food yummy.

The bottom line is that everyone is busy – but scheduling in time to eat healthy (or just to eat within a budget) is do-able. If we can do it in a family where we both work full time and have a new baby, you can do it, too! Start small – maybe just prepare lunches in advance and see how it goes!

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You Can’t Finish Without Starting

Ready?

Yesterday was my first day “back on the wagon” so to speak. I always feel more committed to sticking to my goals when I share it on this blogspace. So for what it’s worth, and to whoever may be reading this blog – thank you for helping me stay honest.

So, as I mentioned, my hubby and I are trying to get pack to more paleo/primal eating – so this week our meals are pretty on track! Here’s the run down:

Lunches:
Quick Chicken Enchiladas (with corn tortillas) from Cooking LightBeef Hamburgers with beans (no bun)

Dinners:
Shrimp-n-grits
Chicken Caesar Salad

So I had the hamburger and salad yesterday. I also made what is quickly becoming my signature breakfast dish and it was great once again. For 2 easy recipes – check out my old post about it over on my recipe blog. The great thing about both of them is that you can change up the ingredients to make it match what you like best! I don’t really follow a specific recipe anymore…and I feel like this is one of the few times in my life I am actually “cheffing it up” as my hubby would say!

For snacks, I indulged in some cashews, a small piece of 90% dark chocolate and greek yogurt. All pretty decent snacks in my opinion! And you know what? I was full and the food was good yesterday. I can do this! I still find myself looking to munch on processed crap – it will take a few weeks for those ridiculous cravings to go away, I know. Isn’t it terrible the bad habits we pick up and how food becomes an addiction that you have to kick?

While I wasn’t able to do much in terms of being active yesterday – I bet I burned a ton of calories breastfeeding since my little one had his 2 month shots and wanted nothing other than to eat and sleep in my arms all day long. I guess I can’t complain – I know that before too long he will be running around, uninterested in falling asleep in my arms. Savoring these moments while I can!

So, I could do it for one day, I can do it for another. The lesson here is that you can’t be successful at something unless you actually attempt it. What is stopping you from starting?

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Holiday Weight Gain – How are you preparing?

Happy Monday! There are a lot of reasons I hate the onset of colder weather, but lately I’ve been appreciating the lack of mosquitoes eating me alive every time I go outside to play Frisbee with my pups. As winter approaches, it’s easy to slack off on your fitness and healthy living goals. Putting on those comfortable sweaters instead of squeezing into your swim suit makes those extra pounds seem nonexistent. Trust me, they are still there!

Even though I’m not in weight loss mode now since I’m pregnant, I’m still trying to get my head focused on staying as healthy as possible during and after this pregnancy. And if you are like me, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years (and all the other holidays celebrated) all mean yummy food, tasty drinks and time NOT spent at the gym. So even though I’ve accepted that I will indeed be gaining weight over the next 6 months, I want to be gaining weight for the right reasons. Note to self: Giant Gingerbread Cookies & Triple Fudge Squares are not the right reasons. Continue reading

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The one where I didn’t run

Today has flown by – full of appointments and even being interviewed for the student news station. Hopefully my hair looked nice 🙂

Last night’s work out class was a major flop. I would compare it to a belly flop in the water since we ARE taking about a water running class. This class didn’t suck or anything – it just didn’t actually happen! For whatever reason, the instructor didn’t show. So that was disappointing – and I’ll admit that I was a bit irritated because I was already in the water and ready. Only having a swimsuit is sort of limiting when you are at the gym. I certainly wouldn’t be running barefoot around the track in my Speedo suit which looks slightly less attractive every time I put it on now that I’m gaining weight/width in the mid section.

Pretty soon I’ll need some more forgiving spandex materials than the Speedo in order to get in the water. So since i was already in the water – but didn’t want to get my hair wet (I Know! I’m in the pool – just get your hair wet! But I had to get back to our house for our neighborhoods trick-or-treating events. I certainly couldn’t be left holding all that candy in the pantry. Kids, please take it away from me!) I decided I would make up my own version of water running. I didn’t work out for the whole hour or anything because I wasn’t really sure what else I should do other than “run” from one end of the pool to the other. I did add some chin ups at the end and flutter kicks upon recommendation of the other ladies who have been to this class before. I will say that “running” the length of the pool and back is actually pretty challenging. It got my heart rate up and I could feel all the muscles in my legs working. So I am looking forward to next week when I actually have someone directing me on what I should be doing for the class. I guess my official review will have to wait a week.

In the meantime, I would like to go on record saying I am very happy to have an excuse to wear stretchy pants throughout the holiday season. This is always a trouble season for me because I  basically like all types of fall holiday treats and being preggers makes it even more challenging to say no thanks. The exception to fall holiday treats I love would be fruit cake. I have no idea why those things exist. Does anyone eat them? I’m not really even sure what they are made of. Ugh. If only all fall holiday treats reminded me of fruit cake, I probably wouldn’t ever gain weight during this season.

As much as I’d love to eat everything on this platter…I must be stopped!

What are some strategies you use to help avoid gaining unnecessarily weight during the holiday season? I know that being pregnant means that I am not dieting – but it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try and eat healthy and avoid bad for me things! Some things will never change!

Here are my thoughts on ways I can stay healthy during the holidays:
When attending a holiday party – bring a healthier option to the party so you know that at least one thing is not terrible for you there
Use recipes from magazines like Cooking Light to find healthier versions of my holiday favorites
Give myself the ability to indulge every now and then so I don’t binge on sweets
Share a treat instead of hording it all for myself. “Sharing it with baby” doesn’t count!

Would love to hear your tactics on saying “no thank you!”

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Weekend Review: The Wheat Wean

Well – somehow it’s Monday again. Today I’m checking in from a brand new location – my office is under construction so we got moved to a newer (and much sleeker) building on campus.  So while I don’t miss the mildew smell of my old office, it’s weird being totally by myself in this new office. Welcome to my July,  I guess! After a bit of a rocky start this morning, I’m feeling more “tuned in.”

Weekend Review

So this weekend was a success, I believe. I finished the book Wheat Belly in record time. Some of it was a little dry (no pun intended), but I found Part 3 of the book to be more hands on and helpful in terms of a game plan for moving more towards a wheat free lifestyle. And I was wondering if I had just read part 3 of the book, would I have been as inclined to jump toward this radical change? Reading the first two parts of the book where you get a really in depth look at the scientific changes modern day wheat has gone through, and studies of how it impacts your body and brain – it really made me want to just start making some changes immediately.

The Wheat Wean

Shocking, but it seems very true!

This week starts a wean away from wheat week. I am not sure how I’ll react as some people say they go through major withdrawal symptoms. But this weekend, I ate basically wheat free and I was super surprised at how little food I needed to feel full.  For breakfast both days I did an egg based scramble – with veggies, fresh herbs and some meat (shrimp once, turkey sausage the next). And I seriously was full well past my normal span of time from when I eat my wheat based breakfast option.

On both days – I didnt’ really eat a real lunch. I snacked on things like nuts, string cheese and olives. Carrots & hummus. And I was good to go. I even worked out twice on Sunday (my TurboFire work and then I went to the Y with my neighbors as one of them teaches Pilates there – so we went to check it out).  I’m completely weirded out by it already – how can this sort of stuff fill me up?

I will say that I completely overheated on Saturday – I went to see a movie (Magic Mike – stop judging me!) and it was like the theatre didn’t have the AC on – and I was SOOOOOOO freaking hot. And while I wasn’t hungry going into the movie – I was really hungry by the time I got home. But the hubby was over at a neighbors house, and then it was decided that we would bring our dinner over to their house and grill out together…and as soon as I ate I felt absolutely terrible. I had to get home quick because I thought I was going to be sick. I never was – but I had the worst stomach pains ever. YUCK!

It passed once I fell asleep, and I’m still not sure what happened or what I ate that set me off.  Probably just a combo of being hungry & overheated.

Wheat Free Recipes

I got really excited about finding yummy wheat-free recipes this weekend as well. Fortunately, Wheat Belly had some great recipes – so I picked out a few of those to try this week. I took my time at the grocery store – inspecting the ingredients list of all the items – and I’m proud to say the only “processed” thing I bought this week was some chex mix for the hubby.

Normally, the hubs does our cooking, but he went on this 30 mile mountain bike ride yesterday out of town and ended up taking way longer than expected. So I had to cook all our meals. I’m not going to brag until I taste lunch today and tomorrow – but I was pretty freaking impressed with myself. (UPDATE: Just heated up my Pecan Encrusted Chicken with Bacon Brussell Sprouts and I’m officially bragging – recipe to come!).

New Things I did this Weekend:

  • I ground pecans in our food processor (okay, so I may have had to watch 2 youtube videos on how to work a food processor).
  • I learned how to prep & cook brussell sprouts
  • I went to the Y & did a Pilates class for the first time in like 5 years
  • I made a healthy and non processed Cinnamon Cashew Popcorn snack & it turned out great!
  • I actually made a “breaded” chicken breast starting with raw chicken – cut it and trimmed it, pounded it out flat and used my ground pecan mix to bread it.

Wow – I’m like a beast in the kitchen these days. My hubby was UBER impressed with me. Now – I’m just waiting on him to tell me how he liked the Pecan Chicken today & then I’ll know for sure that I’m an awesome chef.

I’ll post some recipes later this week so if you want to give it a go – you can. Even if you aren’t opposed to eating wheat – these recipes were still delicious!

Next week will be the beginning of my 30 day Food Challenge. If anyone wants to go along with me – feel free to write me on FB, leave a comment – etc and tell me about your plans! More on this as the week continues! You can make your 30 days be about whatever you want – it just has to be a 30 day commitment to change your diet up in some way!

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Lunch @Work: Chicken & Broccoli Rice Bowl

So this is a recipe/healthy eating site my husband and I started a few years ago. There are already a lot of great recipes and idea on here, but we are going to be posting again with fun healthy recipes, restaurant reviews, etc. Please check this out if you are interested in FOOD! 🙂

We’re baaaaccckk! Today’s recipe is super simple. Not only is it easy to make, you can quickly change any of the ingredients to something you’d prefer.

This is the recipe that inspired us from Cooking Light: Check it out!

So we didn’t really follow the recipe completely so here’s what we did:

What you’ll need to make 4 servings:

8oz. Chicken (you can buy it fresh and cook it up – we grilled ours) or you can make this SUPA easy and get a “ready to eat” grilled chicken from Tyson or something similar. If you aren’t sure what I mean – check this out. I used to buy these pre-made grilled chicken packages all the time to cut down on time and prep.

1 package of Broccoli – we just bought the bagged broccoli in the veggie section of the store. Ready to go!

1 onion – we went…

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