Meal Prep 101

 

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So I’ve gotten a lot of emails asking me how to meal prep…. therefore! I’m going to show you how easy it is, the trick is to do it all at once.

Meal Prepping is a great way to stay on track, especially when you are low on time and just want to grab something fast. Our first instinct is to go to fast food or something simple when were in a rush right? … So this way, you’ll already have it made and set to go so therefore your diet and all the hard work you’ve already put in with trying to eat clean and workout doesn’t go down the drain.

So what it basically is, is preparing everything you’re going to eat for either that week or more (depending on how much you cook). I like to do my meal preps about every week or even twice a week depending on what days I have off work.  In a nutshell- its cooking in bulk and eating left overs….

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First things first though, you’re going to need a good variety of Tupperware.

Then, you may be asking…. “but what do I cook???”

Well pretty much anything that your diet calls for… My meal preps usually consist of these things:

– LEAN PROTEIN ( chicken,  catfish, tuna, tilapia, salmon, shrimp, beef (shoot for the leanest you can find) , turkey, game meat(deer, elk) protein powders … eggs and egg whites would be good too. Hard boil them, it will make it easier too. )

– VEGGIES ( pretty much all is accepted. I like salads with different green blends, mixed veggies (frozen or fresh) zucchini, squash, carrots, celery, broccoli, asparagus…. you get the drift…)

– COMPLEX CARBS – Yams, sweet potatoes, brown and wild rice, quinoa, couscous, Oats, Whole wheat bread, beans.

– FATS (almonds, cashews, pistachios, avocado, coconut, walnuts, peanut and almond butters, flax, chia, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and oils and oil based dressings. )

– FRUIT – obviously you don’t have to “cook” these..  (pretty much any, Berries, apples, banana, peach, pear, orange, strawberries …etc. )

DAIRY- I don’t eat dairy for the most part, it makes me sick… every once in a while Ill have a Quest bar which has Whey protein isolate in it and I seem to do fine. If your going to add dairy, pick these! ( Low fat mozzarella, low fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt (shoot for plain and add your own goodies!), low-fat milk and creamers for coffee and whatnot  )

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Now that we’ve got the basis of whats pretty much “healthy” and whatnot, how much do you cook? ? ?

Well that all depends on how many days your prepping for. You can do an entire week or a few days. Up to you. Best part of this way of eating (notice I didn’t say diet) is that you DONT STARVE and your constantly eating to rev up that metabolism to ultimately .. lose weight or gain muscle. You ideally want to eat every 3 to 4 hours so that makes about 5-6 meals a day. Now these meals .. since there are more than your average three, are going to be smaller in size, but that’s ok because every 3 hours your going to eat more.

Here is a basic every day meal plan for me currently.

Meal 1: Oats with 1 banana

(this is the time I workout usually)

Meal2: Protein Shake with a piece of fruit

Meal 3: 4oz grilled chicken, 1 cup brown rice and 1 cup mixed veggies

Meal4: 4 oz fish, Big salad with as much veggies as I want. 2 tbsp. oil based dressing  (you can add in a complex carb here if you’d like )

Meal5 : 4 oz turkey, 1 cup veggies (add carb if wanted)

M6: Protein Shake

SO in example I really only need to “prep” 3 meals per day. The oats and shakes take like 2 minutes for me to make on the spot … So when prepping keep in mind how much you actually need to make. Now I’m not saying to follow THIS plan, this is just an example .. Do what you want, make it fun, add in some fricken cottage cheese ( man I miss that stuff haha) and make it YOUR meal plan and make the food towards Your Goals!!

So basically cook like your having a party or barbeque haha. Light up the grill and grill up some chicken and turkey burgers, meanwhile while that’s going, cut up salad and veggies and also have either some rice on the stove or a few sweet potatoes in the oven. Its really quite simple, just start cooking and see how it ends up. Use different spices so things don’t always taste the same or seem bland. (I like Mrs Dash a lot because its salt-free yay!)

Put it all in Tupperware and you can even mark what day they are for on the containers if you want. The more organized you are the easier it gets. Preps usually only take me an hour (that’s 4% of my day) .. You have time, just find or make the time =)

Also, get creative, find new recipes and learn to have fun with it =)

HAPPY PREPPING!

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ps. I do a lot more “prepping” and what not on my instagram! FOLLOW ME! @amanda_fit_

 

 

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Benefits of Cucumbers

Since I’m eating an entire cucumber right now… lets talk about the benefits =P

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  • Very high in water. (95% water actually) So they are good for hydration and eliminating toxins that are in your body.
  • High in vitamins, and almost all vitamins that you need for the day. Remember to eat the skin (which is high in vitamin C)
  • Since its high in vitamins (Including vitamin B) they can be eaten as a snack to help pick you up when you’re body starts to feel tiered. . . . (any food will do this that has a good source of vitamin B by the way…. vitamin b is a mood and energy lifter!)
  • Good for you party people out there. . . eat a few cucumber slices before you go to bed after a night of partying and since it has a good source of water, vitamins and electrolytes …. its none to help with hangovers… (haven’t tried this, just heard about it.)
  • Can be used as a skin soother for sunburns… like aloe does.

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  • Not only on the outside does it help with burns though, its a natural heartburn reliever too.
  • Good source of silica which can help with joint pain.
  • High in fiber so helps aid digestion and keeps ya regular 😉
  • Helps with bags under your eyes. (eat it or put slices on your eyes like they do in the movies… )
  • cancer fighting food. YAY
  • Helps with weight loss because since its a super food (very high-density, high vitamin, and full of fiber and nutrients) you’ll actually feel fuller and wont eat as much.

 

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Eat to Live Book Review

eat to live 1 So I just got done reading Eat to live by Joel Fuhrman M.D. and I must say the more he dug into the concepts of how were “supposed to be eating” rather than the Standard American Diet (SAD) the more it made sense. His main focus is eating foods that are high density in nutrients is ideal. When the ratio of nutrients to calories is high you will not only lose weight but crave low nutrient foods like sugars, sweets, bad fats and high calorie foods.

Health = nutrients/ calories

His research is very well put together and coming from all different sources (and even some other books I’ve read) , not just 1 or 2 like most books use when researching a topic. He is basically suggesting that veganism is the ideal when filled with mainly veggies and fruits, and limiting the grains. Cutting out all processed junk and man made foods and eating as organic and from the earth as you possibly can. He does realize that this diet is not for every one and does say to try to stay on track 90% of the time with a 10% cheat to add in any dairy, meat, or some processed foods because … realistically its very hard to be “super healthy” in this world today because of how the American Diet is and everything that is around us.

But on a side note you don’t have to count anything like calories, carbs or anything if you follow his guidelines so … it will make it easy since there really isn’t any “thinking” to do … you wont be hungry on this diet because you can eat as much veggies as you want and they are high in nutrients so you’ll be fuller faster and longer throughout the day. And another side note, the pounds will naturally fall off and stay off when you eat this way.

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There are also benefits of disease fighting components within this diet as well. He states that not only does weight naturally drop off of the clients he’s helped over the year, but some client’s that were diabetic were able to get off insulin within the first month. Along with diabetes, this diet has helped lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and made it possible for most of his clients on medications to no longer need them anymore. How awesome is that?! So pick up the book, read it and give it your own thoughts.

His guidelines for Eat to Live include:

UNLIMITED (eat as much as you want, or till you feel full)

  • All raw vegetables (goal is 1 lb. daily)
  • Cooked green and non-green nutrient rich vegetables (goal is 1 lb. daily) – which include eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots and cauliflower.
  • Beans, legumes, bean sprouts and tofu. (goal 1 cup daily)
  • Fresh Fruit (at least 4 a day)

LIMITED

  • Cooked starchy veggies or whole grains. Such as butternut and acorn squash, corn, potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, bread, cereal.  ((no more than 1 serving or 1 cup a day)
  • Raw nuts and seeds (1 oz per day )
  • Avocado (2 oz max per day)
  • Dried Fruit (2 tbsp. a day)
  • Ground Flax seeds ( 1 tbsp. a day )

OFF LIMITS

  • Dairy products
  • Animal products
  • Between meal snacks
  • fruit juice
  • Oils

He recommends doing this for 6 weeks but can continue to do it for the rest of your life if you’d like. . . Just stick to the 90%/10% rule.

OTHER TIPS:

*Only eat when hungry and eat till you feel satisfied

*  Mix it up, eat a variety of different veggies, fruits and beans. Try new things.

* Salad it up! He recommends 2 salads or more a day. Include any and all veggies!

* Avoid caffeine and alcohol (obviously)

* Exercise daily

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Surviving the Holidays!

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So .. holidays is what got me a little last year when I was watching my weight. With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, you’re bound to be around a few sweets and some “not-so-healthy” choices.  So I’m going to give ya a couple tips on how to survive the holidays when your either on a specific diet or just trying to watch your weight. =)

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Its all about having a plan!

  • Know what’s being served- whether that means a few extra workouts through the winter, or just smaller portions of you favorites, have a plan before you go into it blindsided. My aunts are super nice and they understand what I’m trying to accomplish so they do their best to have a few options I can have. I have even just randomly asked what they are planning to make so then if it doesn’t fit into my diet, I can bring something or have a plan for that. If your family gets offended that your not necessarily eating something they prepared, don’t take it personally. Your making these choices for your health, not theirs. Usually people will look at you weird the first time, but as you continue on, they just don’t ask anymore. …. and if its a huuuge ordeal, no offence to them, but that usually means they are insecure with their diet and eating habits and don’t like for others to make it obvious. . . . (which in all reality, you aren’t…. unless you telling your family how all that gravy on their turkey isn’t good for them….. which by the way DONT! .. if they want help, advice, or an opinion, they will ask you for them… otherwise keep some thoughts to yourself lol.)
  • Use a smaller plate- when you start dishing up your food, yes you can still have some of your favs, but first load up a plate of veggies, salad and fruits… then add the other stuff. Don’t over-do it on the other stuff either. But if you do this right, you should be pretty full already from your veggies and fruit. =)… Or skip the appetizers unless they are fruits and veggies.

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  • Eat slower and savor each bite – haha I have trouble with this one because I tend to devour foods, but if you actually sit there and focus on the foods, the texture and the taste, you’ll notice you fill up longer because your actually focusing on it instead of mindless eating. . . .
  • Offer to bring something– This way you’ll know there will be at least an healthy option there and you wont be completely screwed if there isn’t anything healthy. …
  • Remember the bottom line- yes, its the holidays, enjoy it. But don’t make it an excuses to eat everything in sight because your diet doesn’t start till New Years .. that’s just ridiculous…. Start now and you wont have such a hard time. Holidays / weight gain/ and New Years Resolutions do not need to go together. Sure you can have a goal for New Years to “loose some extra pounds” or “be healthier” but that was probably on your resolution last year… am I correct??? Don’t give up on this year just yet! =)

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Benefits of Beans

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Beans are super healthy. With many benefits like fiber, vitamin B, iron, protein and antioxidants…plus they are fairly affordable! You can add them to all kind of dishes like salads, soups, casseroles, stew and chili, and just as a side.

With their high fiber content, they will make you feel fuller longer leaving you full and satisfied after your meal and for a while afterwards. They are very low  in fat and saturated fat, making them a more nutritious choice as a side with your meals.

They also say that the foliate in beans can help lower cholesterol, keep the heart healthy and even help prevent and/or lower your risk of diabetes.

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They are also a great protein option for vegetarians and vegans.. or just to even have on a “meatless Monday ”

There are tons of different kinds of beans out there. Some include…

  • Garbanzo
  • Kidney
  • Pinto
  • Black
  • Black eye peas
  • Red beans
  • green lentils
  • Red lentils
  • navy beans

There is more than the ones I named, but try some new ones you don’t usually have, find new recipes to try them in.

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Benefits of Olives!

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Green or black, olives are great for you! Just keep in mind moderation is key with them because they are higher in fats

  • Some key things that olives help with that they are very rich in mineral content. (phosphorus, iron, magnesium, iodine.. to name a few)
  • They also oleic acid which is beneficial to helping the heart.
  • They provide essential amino acids and vitamins.
  • Cancer Fighting Properties – particularly colon, breast and skin cancer. They are higher in monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce inflammation.
  • Good source of fiber
  • They are known to act as a pain reliever, mimicking the same affect ibuprofen would have on your body. A compound called oleocanthal is what causes this, lowering any inflammation.

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Things to put olives on or add with:

  • In a salad
  • In scrambles egg whites or an omelet
  • Add into burritos or any Mexican dish (my fav is fajitas!!)
  • Have plain as a snack
  • Cut up and put into hummus
  • Take a piece of toast put some guacamole or hummus on it and top with sliced olives
  • Put on top of a potato

Ps Olives are my favorite food, a get a case of them every Christmas! =)

Clean Eating 101 – Its a Lifestyle not a Diet!

English: Healthy eating pyramid similar to tha...

English: Healthy eating pyramid similar to that of the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. Temporary image as original is non-commercial use only. If you have a better image please replace this. Thanks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So some of you might not know what I mean when I speak of “clean eating”, so here I’m going to kind of go through what it entails and what it all means to “eat a clean diet”. (basically my diet- give or take some cheats here and their =))

What is Clean Eating??

  • Clean Eating is based off of eating whole and natural foods. It cuts out all processes man made products for the most part and focuses eating mainly things that come from the Earth to feed your body. (Nuts, Fruit, Veggies, Lean cuts of meat, and Legumes). It gives your optimal nutrition to function property and when done correctly can leave your feeling amazing!
  • Realistically there really isn’t fitness or weight loss goals that can be achieved without it. Its the basics of most nutrition and diets (with out cutting out natural sources) and it doesn’t leave you feeling deprived or hungry.
  • Feeling health, being healthy and loosing weight or maintaining a good weight is mainly based around nutrition. People seem to think that weight loss ideally comes from working out and spending hours at the gym, yes it does help but nutrition is about 80% of the battle, whereas, fitness and physical activity is 20%

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What are the basic Principles?

  • Avoid all processed food. Whole grain bread and natural cheeses are ok, its the stuff with 80 ingredients that you cant even pronounce.
  • Eat Whole Foods. Things that haven’t been messed with like veggies, fruits, grass-fed meats, natural nut butters and milk, and unsalted and processed nuts and seeds. Herbs and Spices will become your best friend, so will natural oils.
  • Get used to cooking your own food! This way you know what’s in it, how it was prepared and you don’t have to second guess whether or not its healthy or not. Makes it SO much easier! Pre-made meals does not count as “clean eating” even if its a lean cuisine meal haha.
  • Eliminate the sugar! sugar and fake sugar really isn’t good for us. You will use very little natural sugars in  this diet because you wont need them! (stevia, honey and agave nectar are some you can use)
  • Include Protein, Carbohydrate and fat within every meal- Your diet will mainly consist of lean meats, a healthy starch (such as a sweet potatoes or brown rice), a ton of veggies and fruit here and there. You’ll fell more satisfied with this way of eating because you will be eating for optimum nutrition. You’re giving your body what it needs and once you get past the food addictions (things like craving sugar and bad carbs) you wont really have any trouble eating this way for the rest of your life.
  • Eating 6 smaller meals a day! – eating 6 smaller meals revs up your metabolism because your constantly giving it healthy foods, therefore its receiving its proper nutrition, but then again your pretty much eating every 3 hours so there is either no time to even get hungry or have your body “feel” hungry because you wont be going hors without eating.
  • Drinking Calories is a Big Fat NO- sugary drinks are obviously a no-go. Make water your first choice by far (if it get boring you can add fruits to it) but you can also have unsweetened tea, and coffee with little skin milk and stevia, low-fat milk, and nut milks.
  • Physical Activity becomes apart of your day- yes just like any other diet you read or see, you have to ideally get moving. No it doesn’t have to be 3 hours at the gym everyday but even a walk around the block is better than nothing.

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What to Expect from Eating Clean:

  • More energy and alertness
  • Clearer skin, whiter eyes, and stronger hair and nails
  • Provides a natural detox
  • Weight loss (if there is weight to loose)
  • Leaner body
  • Motivation and a sped up metabolism
  • Feeling more healthy all around and more happy as well.

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