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Meal prep is great and all, but in my opinion, the real key to success with nutrition is being on top of your snack game. SNACKS. Aren’t they the greatest? I don’t know about you, but I am constantly hungry, and pretty much always in the mood for a snack.

A lot of feedback I get about meal prep is that people are afraid of being hungry, or that they don’t think the meal will be enough food. Well, that’s kind of the point, and that’s also where snacks come in. By eating lighter meals and then having small snacks throughout the day, we are constantly fueling our bodies for the day! And by having nutritious snacks prepared in advance, you won’t need to worry about going hungry at all.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you should be chowing down on chips, candy or just anything you can get your hands on. I’m talking about planning balanced, nutritious, and tasty snacks to keep your metabolism going all day long and to prevent yourself from getting hungry.

The Rules of Snacking

Snacking is often vilified as some evil thing that makes you fat and unhealthy. Let me shake that stigma. Snacking shouldn’t be something you do when you’re bored, but more so something you do every couple hours or so when you need a boost of energy, if you’re feeling a little hungry, and to keep your metabolism going.

Ideally, you should try to eat one snack between every meal, before and/or after a workout, or late at night if you’re hungry but don’t want to eat a big meal before you sleep.

A good snack will have protein and some carbs (slice of cheese and an apple). Maybe some healthy fats (such as avocado or peanut butter or nuts). I usually crave savory things in the morning, and sweet things in the afternoon, so my snack schedule will look something like this, for example:

  • Mid-morning (after breakfast, before lunch): 1/2 cup baby carrots with 2 tbsp hummus
  • Mid-afternoon (after lunch, before dinner): small apple with 2 tbsp peanut butter

Before a workout I’ll usually go for carbs with a little protein for energy (think, slice of toast with peanut butter). After a workout I’ll usually go for some protein so I can build some muscle! (usually I’ll go for a protein shake or some eggs or chicken sausage)

How to Prep Snacks

Snack size Ziplock bags and multi-compartment reusable storage containers are your friends. I personally love to create little “Snack Boxes” to bring with me to work each week. I made these for my guy to bulk up at the gym too, and he loves them! Snack boxes are good for portions, and heck, they’re just fun. Look at em. Prep them on a Sunday, throw them in the fridge, and grab one every day before you head out the door to work.

Healthy Snack Options

The goal here is to watch your servings. Shoot for 100-200 calories per snack, and pay attention to your portions!

  • 1 chicken sausage link
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1 handful unsalted nuts
  • 2 oz cold cuts like turkey breast or salami
  • string cheese
  • 2 tbsp hummus & 1/2 cup baby carrots
  • 1 small apple & 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 slice toast with 1/4 avocado mashed, or 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • Greek yogurt with blueberries & drizzle of honey
  • Protein shake
  • sliced strawberries & string cheese
  • Protein bar (lower in sugar, the better)

There are soooo many other snack options out there, but just by looking at these, it doesn’t seem too difficult to prep some snacks right? Happy snacking everyone!

 

April 7, 2017
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Yes, you read correctly. I made some buffalo this week. In hopes of impressing my ever-manly fiancé (think Khal Drogo meets Tarzan… that’s him) I thought to myself, what’s a sort of exotic meat I can likely execute in a dish this week? While strolling through Whole Foods over the weekend, I came across some ground buffalo and bam! Inspiration struck.

I’ve never cooked buffalo before, and I can’t really say I’ve ever eaten it either. Foodies everywhere rave about it being a lean, high protein meat so I figured why not give it a shot. I decided to incorporate it into a red meat sauce, adding some chopped spicy Italian sausage for a little kick and some sauteed carrots for a little crunch. I served the sauce over some spaghetti squash, which is delicious and light on it’s own and allows this hearty meat sauce to take center stage on your palette.

Did I mention this wound up being f*&#ing delicious? I mean, geez. I might start using buffalo in place of ground beef any chance I get at this point. And since this sauce is even more delicious the next day, it makes the perfect meal prep or sauce to throw in your freezer.

If spicy is not your thing, you can always swap for a mild Italian sausage, or go ahead and skip the sausage all together if you prefer!

Easy, lean, healthy, and delicious. Serve it over pasta, spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or layer it into some lasagna. I’m drooling already….

Scroll down for the recipe!

Prepped! Served over spaghetti squash, this makes a delicious meal prep for the week!

RECIPE:

465 calories per serving: 27g carbs/18g fat/37g protein

 

April 4, 2017
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Sometimes you just need to keep it simple. And usually my meal prep is so simple already, but this one is truly as simple as it gets: chicken breast, potatoes and kale. With lots of flavor, of course!

A lot of people use kale in salads, but my favorite way to make it is actually sauteed with a little olive oil and garlic, just for a couple minutes until it’s not so crunchy and you no longer feel like a beaver chewing through wood chips with all that roughness.

For the chicken, I am a fan of using the thin cut chicken breasts. I buy mine from Trader Joe’s, but if you can’t find them cut thin at the store, try slicing a chicken breast in half, covering with a piece of plastic wrap then using a meat pounder (or the bottom of a sturdy glass) to even it out. Not only do the thin cut pieces of chicken cook easier, but I feel like they keep better for meal prep. Nothing I hate more than eating rubbery refrigerated chicken!

Pair the chicken and kale with some fingerling potatoes for a little bit of carbs, and you’ve got yourself a super easy, delicious meal!

Scroll down for the recipe. 

Recipe makes enough meal prep for 5 days for one person (one meal).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 packages of thin-cut chicken breast
  • 1 bag fingerling potatoes
  • 1 bag kale
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • assorted spices (I used Flavor God lemon pepper spice)

Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Rinse the potatoes and spread on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and a the juice from half the lemon. Bake for 25-30 mins or until tender.

Chicken

Generously sprinkle the chicken breasts with seasoning on both sides (I love the Flavor God spices – this week I used the lemon pepper one!). Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a skillet on medium and cook chicken about 4-5 mins on each side or until brown and crispy on the outsides and cooked through. Shouldn’t take too long if you’re using the thin cut slices.

Kale

Mince the garlic. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high. Once hot, add the kale. Mix until covered with olive oil and leaves start to turn darker green. Add the garlic and season everything with salt and pepper. Cook until garlic is fragrant and the leaves are dark green and slightly wilted, about 5 mins. (Be careful not to overcook!)

To plate: Add 4-6 oz of chicken to each container, and evenly spread the kale and potatoes between each serving. Top with a lemon wedge from the remaining lemon. Enjoy!

 

February 20, 2017
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One of my friends introduced me to this recipe awhile back and it stuck with me ever since – the mixture of citrus, tequila, and smoky flavors make for a delicious marinade on pork. Did I just say tequila? Yep. Don’t mind me if I take a little swig as I’m cooking… (I’m kidding. My tequila days are way behind me!)

I love this recipe because the meat is very versatile – serve it over rice with some chopped onions, cilantro and avocado, serve it in corn tortillas topped with some mango salsa for tacos, or put some on top of a salad with some roasted corn, red bell peppers and black beans… so many possibilities!

I can’t take full credit for this recipe because I followed a recipe I found online. However, I did modify it bit to save time and work with personal taste. The original recipe calls for you to grind the spices up yourself, while I wound up buying pre-grinded spices from Whole Foods. Also, while the original recipe calls for 4-6 hours of marinating and 4 hours of being cooked in the oven wrapped in banana leaves, I found using a pressure cooker to be just as effective for getting that super soft, juicy meat as you would in the oven. And it only took 30 minutes!

As a foodie, I definitely appreciate the detail that goes into self-grinding spices, marinading for a long time, and letting something cook slowly in the oven for hours, so I don’t mean to say that my version is better than the original. But as a meal prepper, I also don’t want to have to spend a whole day cooking in order to prep something delicious. So that’s where the pressure cooker comes in for me.

Haven’t used a pressure cooker before? That’s too bad. It’s my favorite meat-cooking method! I highly recommend looking into purchasing one, especially if you’re a fan of shredded, juicy meat!

Marinating the pork butt in the spices, orange juice, white vinegar, chopped garlic, and a generous sprinkle of tequila 🙂

Check out that juicy goodness straight out of the pressure cooker!

Meal prep plated with rice, zucchini and yellow squash and the pork, topped with chopped onion and a lime wedge. Don’t forget to drizzle with sauce!

Don’t forget to drizzle some of the juice from the pressure cooker on top of the meat and rice!

As a side to this meal prep, I cooked some zucchini and yellow squash rounds with some chopped onions in some olive oil over medium heat until slightly browned. I seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. Easy peasy.

I prepped my pork with 1 cup of rice this week, but like I said before, you can eat this meat as taco fillings or even as topping to a salad! I find that tortillas don’t really keep well for meal prep purposes, so rice was a good choice for this. But feel free to prepare it however you wish!

February 13, 2017
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On the menu this week: Ground turkey, brown rice, beans, and salads full of veggies. This might be one of the easiest, leanest meal preps I do. And when I am looking to cut back after a long holiday season, vacation, or weekend of crappy eating, I go straight to this meal prep. Why? The ground turkey and beans are full of lean protein to keep me full, the brown rice gives me energy, and the salads are full of veggies for all those delicious green nutrients. Plus, this meal prep is SUPER easy to make!

This meal prep is ideal for anyone interested in weight loss, gains at the gym, or anyone just looking for a reset with their diet.

I usually wind up cooking high-calorie meal preps for my fiancé since he likes to train heavy in the gym and burns a TON of calories with his workouts every day. However, recently he sustained an injury on his shoulder and needs to take a break from heavy eating. As a result, I have been making him lower-calorie meal preps for the week so he doesn’t over-do it.

A common misconception about meal prep is that it takes a long time or is difficult to make. Wrong! This meal prep took all of about 30 mins or less – most the time was spent chopping the veggies and assembling into the food containers!

For the salads, I chopped up some kale, raw broccoli, white mushrooms, Persian cucumbers, radish, and topped with some sprouts for a nice punch of fresh veggies! Since the meal prep this week was protein heavy with the beans and ground turkey, I chose to not add additional protein to the salad. But feel free to add some chopped chicken or tofu to this bad boy if you wish. When you’re ready to eat your salad, top with some olive oil and a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon juice, and enjoy!

And now for the meal prep – check out how easy this recipe is! (Links to the Flavor God spices below).

Flavor God spices:

Garlic Lovers: https://flavorgod.com/shop/product/garlic-lovers-seasoning/#804879389859

Italian Zest: https://flavorgod.com/shop/product/italian-zest-seasoning/#FGS-ITZ-1B 

February 11, 2017
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The first time I heard of a zoodle, I legitimately thought it was the dorkiest name for a food ever. Like one of those names your mom comes up with to sound cool, and you just roll your eyes like “OK mom, whatever, I get it, you’re trying to make vegetables cool.” Turns out, zoodles are pretty damn delicious (and also pretty cool). For those who don’t know, zoodles = zucchini noodles. Or more like an actual zucchini cut into noodle shapes. As a health-conscience pasta lover, these have completely changed the game for me.

So how do you make them and what do you do with them? My favorite way to make these is simply by swapping out regular spaghetti for the zoodles in your recipe. But if you need to ease your way into full-blown veggie mode, try mixing half pasta with half zoodles – you will still feel like you’re eating all pasta, but you’ll be getting in your greens – double win!

Equipment

Let’s talk equipment. I have this awesome spiralizer from OXO ($40 on Amazon) that easily helps you turn your zucchini into noodle shapes with the quick turn of a handle. The great thing about this tool is that it comes with different blades, so you can cut your veggies into different shapes for whatever recipe you want to make! You can also use it to spiralize carrots for a yummy salad – the list goes on. Don’t get me too excited right now!

Cooking Zoodles

Once you’ve zoodled your zucchini, it’s time to cook. The trick to cooking these is to not over-cook them (easier said than done!). You don’t want your zoodles to turn into mush, so my approach is to cook them in a skillet with olive oil and minced garlic for about 3-4 minutes, or until soft but still slightly crunchy. Top with some salt & pepper to taste, and there you go! One thing to note: these bad boys totally shrink once they’re cooked, so get yourself a lot of zucchini! I would say maybe 3-4 zucchini per person.

Some ways you can serve the finished zoodles:

  • Top with some turkey meat sauce
  • Cook with some shrimp, lemon juice, and white wine for a scampi sauce
  • Serve on top of some brown rice with a piece of teriyaki salmon
  • Replace any pasta (or half of your pasta) with zoodles for a splash of veggies

There are so many possibilities! I love to top these with a good homemade turkey meat sauce for a super low-calorie, delicious, lean protein meal!

How do you zoodle? Leave me a comment below!

February 7, 2017
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You know how some people talk about what they would eat if it was their last meal? Well mine would 100% for sure be shrimp scampi pasta. So you’ve got shrimp (yes), garlic (hell yeah), butter (omg yas), pasta (yassss carbssss), and WINE (hallelujah!) all combined into one plate of goodness = pure happiness in my belly.

I’ve cooked scampi so many times, I can’t even count. The pros of this is that I have tested many ways to make this dish, and finally feel I have “nailed” it. So when my fiancé made a special request for shrimp scampi for this week’s meal prep, I was more than happy to oblige. While this meal is definitely not the healthiest if you’re looking for weight loss prep, you can always swap the pasta for some zucchini noodles (my fav!) for a much lower-calorie and veggie friendly option.

Since we decided to go with the regular pasta for this week (we picked fettuccine instead of linguine this time around), we balanced out all the carbs with some huge leafy green salads topped with sliced red bell peppers, Persian cucumbers, radish, and broccoli. Even though this pasta is delicious, you can’t forget to get your greens in!

And now for the main event – the shrimp scampi recipe! I must say, writing this post has made me really hungry. I can just taste all the garlic now…. mmmm….. OK! Go forth and try this recipe – I can’t promise you won’t fall in love with it….

 

 

Try this recipe out? Like it? Love it? Hate it? Leave a comment 🙂

February 6, 2017
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It’s the most important meal of the day, and it’s even better for lunch! This week for meal prep we switched it up the regular lunch meal prep with some scrambled eggs, mixed vegetables, baked sweet potato rounds, and at my man’s request, some oh-so-delicious thick cut slices of bacon. Mmmmmm bacon. 

I might be an early riser during the week (I’m usually out and about by 6:15 am), but I’m not a big fan of eating actual breakfast thing in the morning. I usually opt for a protein shake on my way out the door, then enjoy a heartier lunch closer to noon. Maybe that’s why brunch is so dear to my heart. Well, maybe that and the fact that it’s acceptable to day drink (see: bottomless mimosas).

The real reason why this meal prep is so delicious is the lean protein from the eggs, loads of nutrients from this hearty mix of vegetables, and the creamy carb goodness from the sweet potato. Oh, and the bacon of course. (Sorry, no mimosas!) If you aren’t a big fan of bacon or are trying to cut back on your fat intake, go ahead and swap it in for some turkey bacon or chicken sausage. Or skip the meat all together. Either way, you’re bound to enjoy this meal, whether you have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

January 24, 2017
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