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  )

meal prep

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!

meal prepping 1       meal prepping

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

 

 

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Tilapia with Quinoa and Veggies!

tilapia

You’ll Need:

1 large tilapia fillet

Olive oil cooking spray

3-4 lemon slices

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon rosemary

pinch of oregano

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup quinoa or whole grain brown rice

Veggie of choice (preferably green)

How to:

Preheat oven to 400

Spray oven safe dish with a little olive oil, and place fish into dish. Sprinkle spices and seasonings on top place lemon slices inside dish as well.

Bake for about 15- 20 min. Until cooked all the way through.

Cook quinoa or brown rice according to package and steam your veggies! add a little salt and pepper to taste!

quinoa

Clean Eating Meal Plan (Month 2)

So this month is going to be a little less strict, but still make it so that your eating a cleaner and healthy diet! I made this plan so that you can choose from the options for each meal so that way you wont feel bored or overwhelmed. Try to mix it up as you go and remember, you’re eating to fuel your body and give it the optimum nutrition it needs… therefore picking whole, complete and nutritious foods are ideal.

meal plan1

A cheat is ok here and there (hell, were all human right?!) But now I want you to start to notice how you feel when you eat healthy as opposed to not healthy and also remember to pace yourself, don’t push yourself too hard and don’t think miracles are going to happen over night, changing your lifestyle can take weeks, months and even years to learn how to incorporate into your life. Remember where you started and be proud of your accomplishments, but also don’t loose sight of what’s to come =)

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TIPS BEFORE STARTING:

  1. Drink 2-3liters of water a day..  if not more
  2. You may have tea, coffee with stevia ad light creamer if needed
  3. NO soft drinks and sugary juices!!! – make your own juice!
  4. Make sure you’re getting a good amount of sleep
  5. Get active! Find and new sport or play with your kids, there are many ways to “be active” without a gym.
  6. No negative thoughts, stay positive!

Upon waking – 8oz water

Breakfast:

**Add a multi- vitamin with breakfast (make sure you eat first because it will make you nauseous otherwise)

    • Protein shake made with low-fat milk or almond milk
    • Smoothie with both fruit and veggies
    • 3 whole eggs, 3 egg whites scrambled with as many veggie as you want
    • 1/2 cup plain oats – I have great oatmeal recipes here:   Oatmeal 101
    • Greek Yogurt with 1/4 cup granola and fruit of choice
    • 1/2 grapefruit with stevia (if needed), 1 slice whole wheat toast with almond/peanut butter
    • 1 rice cake with almond/peanut butter on top, 1 piece of fruit
    • 1 whole grain or gluten free waffle with1 tbsp. agave nectar
    • Whole grain cold cereal (Cheerios, Oat Squares, Kashi) – make sure to read the serving sizes! and feel free to add a piece of fruit! =)

Snack (Pick one):

  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • Any veggies – pretty much as much as you want (no corn)
  • Greek/ dairy free yogurt with low-sugar granola
  • 1 low-fat string cheese with 10 almonds
  • Protein shake made with milk or almond milk
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • Rice cake with 1 tablespoon peanut/almond butter on top
  • Mixed nuts (unsalted)
  • 10 sticks of carrots or celery dipped in hummus
  • 1/2 cup plain oats made with water – dash of cinnamon
  • 3 oz of any lean meat
  • 1 apple, 10 almonds
  • 1 apple dipped in 2 tablespoons of almond/peanut butter
  • Pretty much any fruit, pair it with a nut of choice (1/4 cup)

Lunch (pick one):

  • Mixed Greens Salad with 3 oz lean meat on top, add whatever veggies and as many as your want on top. Top with 2 tbsp. of Balsamic Vinegar or Olive oil and vinegar dressing.
  • 4oz lean meat with 3 cups veggies of choice, 1 cup brown rice
  • 4oz grilled chicken with 1/2 large sweet potato and 2 cups of green beans
  • Lightly sauté 2 cups spinach and put 4 ox salmon on top

Snack (Pick One) :

  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • Any veggies – pretty much as much as you want (no corn)
  • Greek/ dairy free yogurt with low-sugar granola
  • 1 low-fat string cheese with 10 almonds
  • Protein shake made with milk or almond milk
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • Rice cake with 1 tablespoon peanut/almond butter on top
  • Mixed nuts (unsalted)
  • 10 sticks of carrots or celery dipped in hummus
  • 1/2 cup plain oats made with water – dash of cinnamon
  • 3 oz of any lean meat
  • 1 apple, 10 almonds
  • 1 apple dipped in 2 tablespoons of almond/peanut butter
  • Pretty much any fruit, pair it with a nut of choice (1/4 cup)
  • Egg Whites with hummus or guac inside them instead of the yolk!

Dinner: (You can mix and match these, I’m just going to give you a couple of examples. * Make sure you have a lean protein, a good carb and TONS of veggies!)

  • 6oz lean meat (Chicken, steak, turkey, game meat, fish, shrimp, crap, lobster, bison)
  • Starchy (healthy) carbohydrate – around 1-2 cups (Brown Rice, Quinoa, Couscous, Sweet Potato, Baby Potatoes, Black, Pinto, Kidney, Garbanzo Beans, Whole Wheat or gluten free pasta)
  • With as much veggies as you’d like! (preferably green!, Asparagus, Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, a salad, squash, zucchini, green beans… ohh the list can go on forever!…. limit the corn… )

Snack (if needed): NO FRUIT in last “snack for the day” too much sugar and carbs.

  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • Any veggies – pretty much as much as you want (no corn)
  • Greek/ dairy free yogurt with low-sugar granola
  • 1 low-fat string cheese with 10 almonds
  • Protein shake made with milk or almond milk
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • Rice cake with 1 tablespoon peanut/almond butter on top
  • Mixed nuts (unsalted)
  • 10 sticks of carrots or celery dipped in hummus
  • 1/2 cup plain oats made with water – dash of cinnamon
  • 3 oz of any lean meat

Before bed- 8 oz water.

** Note: you may switch lunch and dinner if wanted.

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Benefits of Salmon.

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So besides that they are high is Omega-3’s , everyone pretty much knows that, there a re many other health benefits to the pink fish we call salmon!

  • The protein in Salmon and fish in general is easier for people to digest and absorb its nutrients. Its an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids like mentioned above but its also high is vitamins A, B and D. This type of protein helps muscle and tissue growth as well.
  • One piece contains 1/2 of your daily B12 recommendation.
  • With its high Omage-3 content, it helps with things like inflammation, diabetes, heart disease and much, much more!
  • Works against aging, along with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Helps speed up metabolism.
  • Helps with lowering blood sugar levels and with sugar absorption.
  • Gives you vibrant skin, hair, nails and brighter whiter eyes.
  • Helps improve or prevent depression.

salmon 2

Prepping can go so many different ways. I personally love to grill it on some tin foil with a little bit of olive oil and spices… but you can bake it, broil, poach and even steam it. Doesn’t really require any seasoning to be tasty but you can definitely get some different types of meals with different seasonings. ex. Italian, mango, chili, brown sugar, rubs, marinades, sweet and tangy. . . . the list goes on! You can have it plain, mix into dishes or even have it as a breakfast option!

Wild caught salmon is the way to go, that way your not eating all the hormones and antibiotics. But if its too costly (which it can be) you will still get most of the amazing benefits with farm-raised fish as well. Store in freezer or the coldest part of your fridge.

salmon 3

My Nifty Salad Holder!!

Isn’t this like the coolest little thing?! It collapses too! ahaha! The top green piece get put in the freezer and it will be like a mini cooler and then it even comes with a little dressing holder too. LOVE this thing!

A few other things I’ve done with it.

  • Put carrots or baby tomatoes and hummus in the top.
  • Put chicken strips on the top, salad on the bottom the leafs stay fresh
  • Put Meats, cheese and crackers on the top.
  • Put meat and potatoes in the bottom and steamed veggies on top ( leftovers from night before).

PhotoGrid_1372610713020P.S. I got it at Wal-Mart …

The Salad Bar – Building a Kick-Ass Salad! =)

So when it comes to salads, you want to stick to somewhere around 400- 500 calories. That way its enough to sustain you but not to much to where you should have probably just of had a pizza or some pasta. . . And remember calories aren’t everything, you need your good fats in there too to absorb nutrients and adding some protein is always good too.

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  • Picking your Greens – pile them on!!! (keep in mind a usual salad has about 3-4 cups at least depending on how much you want.)

Spinach- Only has 7 calories per 1 cup and very high in Vitamin A, low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Romaine-  10 calories per cup. a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium.

Spring Mix- 6 calories per cup. Since this is a mix, you get all kinds of good-ness!!

Iceberg- 8 calories per cup ( not my fav, because it doesn’t have many nutrients, its basically eating a plate of water.. id skip this one, but if your not that used to salads all the time this may be a way to wean you into them. )

Mixed Baby Greens – 6 calories per cup. Since this is a mix, you get all kinds of good-ness!!

shrimpchicken sabeanssteaksalmon shard

  • Protein

Shrimp – 60 calories, 1 gram of fat per 3 oz.

Chicken (breast, skinless) – 179 calories per 4 oz. 4g fat. 35g protein.

Beans-  calories, 0 grams of fat per 1/2 cup. (there are SOOO many different kinda too! My fav ?, black, kidney, and chickpeas)

Steak – 162 calories, 9 grams of fat per 3 oz.

Tofu- 34 calories per slice (around 84g). 1g fat. 5g protein.

Tuna (canned, in water)- 179 calories per cup. 1g fat. 39g protein. Good source of Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.

Salmon (Wild, Atlantic) – 281 calories per 1/2 Fillet. 13g fat. 39g protein.

Hard Boiled Eggs- 78 calories per Med. egg. 5g fat . 6g protein.

fetacheddar   blue c       ameri

  • Cheese

Feta- 99 calories, 8 grams of fat per 1/4 cup.

Cheddar- 114 calories, 9 grams fat per 1/4 cup

Blue- 119 calories, 10 grams fat per 1/4 cup.

American- 94 calories per 1 oz. 6g fat.

Dairy-free (G0-Veggie Brand) – 90 calories per 1/3 cup. 6g fat.

straw         apples     grape     pear

  • Fruit

Strawberries- 24 calories, 0 grams fat per 1/2 cup.

Dried Fruits  (Apricots) – 34 calories. 0g far per 4 pieces.

Dried Fruits ( Cranberries) – 123 calories per 1/3 cup.

Grapes- 52 calories. 0g fat per 1/2 cup.

Pears- 1 pear 86 calories. 0g fat.

Apples – 95 calories per 1 medium apple.

Mandarin Oranges-103 calories per 1 cup. 1g fat

cucumber          tomato      bell       mush     olive    brocl

  • Pile on the VEGGIES! – and they pretty mush all have 0g fat.

Cucumber- 8 calories per 5 slices.

Broccoli- 20 calories per 1 cup.

Olives-  63 calories per 4 jumbo olives, slice them up, they will go a long way!

Cauliflower- 27 calories in 1 cup

Onion- 8 calories on 2 tbsp.

Carrots- 50 calories in 1 cup of shreds.

Tomato – only 3 calories in 1 cherry tomato.

Bell Peppers- 5 calories in 10 strips.

Mushrooms- 22 calories in 1 cup

Sugar Snap Peas-  41 calories in 1 cup

Radishes- 9 calories in 1/2 cup

corn       avo       whater

  • Other Random Goodies!

Corn- 16 calories per 2 tbsp. o g fat.

Avocado- 23 calories per 1 tbsp. 2g fat.

Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin ,etc.) –  depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

Mixed Nuts –  depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

Water chestnuts- 60 calories per 1/2 cup

Croutons- 122 calories per cup

  • To Top it Off — Dressings. (ALL PER 2 TBSP. )

Oil and Vinegar- 81 calories. 7g fat.

Light Balsamic- 20 calories. 1g fat.

Fat-free Italian – 13 calories. 0g fat

Thousand Island- 111 calories. 11g fat.

Honey Mustard- 139 calories. 12g fat

Ranch- 149 calories. 15g fat.

Caesar- 163 calories. 17g fat.

Salsa -depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

salad 1       salad 2       salad 3         salad 4

Olive Garden Healthy Options

So.. I love me some Olive Garden. And its safe to say that its one of my fav’s and I almost ALWAYS get a gift card to that place from a family member for Christmas or my birthday. So needless to say its a known fact that I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN! haha

But not everything there is healthy either. Just like other restaurants, they have good healthy options, and … eh, lets just go with the fact that they have poor decisions as well…So.. which do you choose? How do you know what’s a “healthy” option without bombarding the waitress about all the nutritional information and looking like a crazed, obsessed dieter.

And that my dear friends, is why  I’m here!

AMANDA to the RESCUE!!!

So being the salad and breadstick lover I am, I’m sad to say that one serving of their delicious salad (that’s drenched in awesome dressing I might add) and one breadstick is a whopping 500 calories alone. Sad, but true. And don’t go and try to blame the breadstick either! ok. One breadstick is around 150 calories, so most of the issue is actually coming from the drenched salad… ironically. So, quick fix, as for the dressing on the side! YAY! (don’t drench it when you get it on the side either- that’s defeating the purpose) Instead, dip the prongs of your fork into the dressing and, then, get a fork full of salad. Tastes the same, saves some un-needed calories.

  • Next .. say you want an Appetizer.

Stuffed mushrooms is probably your best option – 280 cal.

Mussels de Napoli which is 180 calories but extremely high in sodium so … only have a few.

Unlike the Lasagna Fritta that’s around 1,030…HOLY SMOKES!

  • Next, the main meal!

Soups and salads are always a better choice (usually) depending on where you go….

Now I know I just bashed the famous Olive Garden salad, bit its not that bad, if its your main course, just go light on the dressing.

Best Soup option – Pasta e fagioli  (it has the lowest amount of sodium)

Other options include

  • Cheese ravioli with marinara sause
  • Linguine alla Marinara
  • Parmesan Crusted tilapia
  • Plain ol’ Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Herbed Grilled Salmon
  • Apricot Chicken
  • Ravioli Portobello
  • Chicken marsalla (kind of high in sodium , so if you cut in half, that would be ideal)

And as good as that Tour of Italy dish looks , its almost your entire days worth of calories along in that one dish! oh my.. – 1.450 calories and 3,800mg of sodium. WOW

To make your dish even healthier .. you can always ask for Whole grain or Gluten free noodles. Regular linguini and penne are the other two better options.

And choose marinara over any white cream sauce.

Also – here is the link to Olive Gardens Menu and Nutritional Information if you want to look for yourself. https://www.olivegarden.com/Menu/Nutrition/

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