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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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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Tip of the week #9 Prep the week Ahead of time

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When wanting to loose weight or even practice clean eating prepping meals ahead of time can make it soooo much easier to stick to your goals. So next day you have (for most people its Sunday) take a couple hours out of that day off work to prep all your meals for that week.

Whether it be for just you, you and a significant other or even a big family, meal prepping can be easy and effective. Plus it makes it super easy when you get off work and don’t really feel like preparing a meal for the family. haha.

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There are tons of resources out there (blogs, pinterist, Google, you name it) to find clean eating recipes and frozen dishes. Ideally you’ll want to do foods that don’t go bad fast and eat the ones that do sooner in the week rather than later.

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I usually just prep my dinners because that’s the hardest. (usually some form of lean meat, veggies and a sweet potato or brown rice). For breakfast its usually something simple and quick like oatmeal (I can even put that in Tupperware and eat it on the drive to work) or sometimes I’ll prepare some scrambled egg whites with mixed veggies when I’m doing the meal prep too so then ill have a little bit of a mix for my mornings.

Usually prepare my lunch (usually a salad) the night before, throw some lettuce mix in a bowl, add a shit ton of veggie and viola!

But I mean you can find healthy options that you could probably freeze (like a lasagna) and be fine too. Find out what the family would like to eat, make a plan and stick to it! =)

Happy preparing!

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Saving more money at Grocery Store!

  1. Make a grocery list and stick to it! Even if something is calling your name… even if its on a good deal. Even though those chips you love are on sale … You don’t need them and they are NOT on your list! Don’t get them. sticking to your list can help with your diet and sticking to it and it can also help you save money!
  2. Plan your list around your meals for that week.. If you plan out your meals and what your planning to make for the whole week, you wont be tempted to buy the extra stuff…. planning is key if you haven’t noticed. I have this awesome app on my phone, it works as a grocery list planner and a meal planner so I know and can stay on track .. . I’m sure there are plenty of free ones online too if you Google search them too. . . =) The app I use is called Food on the table and its a little yellow icon.
  3. Look at your adds! I love Sprouts farmers market for produce, second choice Kings…. but things like cereal can be cheaper at Wal-Mart or Kings apposed to Sprouts.. So when you get to shopping, take a look at the prices and note where things tend to be cheaper for certain stuff… (with my app it shows me deals that are going on it local stores around me)
  4. Generic stuff is usually cheaper than the brand name stuff… most of its the same try it out.
  5. Use cash instead of your card, I know when I use my card I pay less attention to what I’m spending. Where as if I bring 80 bucks with me only to the store Ill make sure I only spend that much. Or also (I know King Soopers has it.. not sure out some of the other ones) They have a credit card for their store, the more you use it, the more point  and so on and so forth then you get free foods and coupons on things you buy regularly.
  6. Sure the pre-packaged items are cute and already in the smaller proportions sizes you should be eating… but chances are they are more expensive than if you were to buy the non pre-packaged stuff. So instead buy the whole package ad the small “snack size” plastic baggies and make your own “snacks”. The serving size is on the back of the bag- if it says 17 pretzels, put 17 pretzels in each bag.
  7. Some grocery stores will give you credit towards the store if you re-use your plastic bags or bring re-useable bags with you to the store.
  8. Cuopons.com or clip coupons… every dollar counts. Also a lot of stores lets you “load” coupons onto your frequent shopper card online so when you get to the store they automatically come out when you pay.
  9. Watch your sales…. stores are really good at advertising things to make them “look” like they are on sale when usually they aren’t really that great of a deal (example: Gatorade, 10 for $10… well besides that , if there isn’t a deal, they usually are $1 anyways… so really 10 for $10 isn’t a deal at all. )
  10. Don’t shop hungry, and try to shop without your kids, then they wont be begging for things that 1. you don’t need and aren’t on your list (because you made a list.. right?!) and 2. it just goes a lot faster haha.

Garlic Chicken Pasta w/ Spinach, tomatoes and chives!

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SOOO Good! Made this the other night and everyone in the family liked it!!

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You’ll Need:

1 box Whole Wheat or gluten free linguini.

3 large skinless chicken breasts (cut into chunks, or you can buy the already cut up kind)

1 small container of mushrooms

3 cups baby spinach

8 small cherry tomatoes (halved)

1 small can sliced black olives

3 chives (chopped)

For the sauce – You’ll need:

2 tbsp. butter ( I used Earth Balance Brand)

4 Garlic cloves (mined)

4 tbsp. Whole-wheat flour or Gluten free flour.

1 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth ( I used chicken this time) -LOOK for LOW SODIUM!!

1 1/2 cups Almond milk, or low-fat milk will work too.

3 teaspoons Parsley flakes

2/3 cup graded parmesan or mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to taste.

HOW TO:

  • In large skillet, season chicken to taste with some chicken seasoning (I like Ms. Dash) and place in skillet. Add about 1/2 cup water and cover. (My mother taught me this trick when cooking chicken so it doesn’t dry out! =) …)

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  • Meanwhile, in another med-large skillet, put in butter and garlic cloves till butter is melted and garlic is starting to break down. Cook for around 1 min. (this will be your sauce pan)
  • Start noodles according to package in large pot. And drain when does cooking. Set aside.

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  • Go back to sauce pan, add flour and cook for 1 min, stirring so all the flour is dissolved evenly.  After, add broth and almond milk, stirring occasionally till sauce thickens and boils. Then add parsley, salt, pepper and cheese into sauce and cook till cheese is melted and sauce is thick. Turn to simmer-low until ready to serve.

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  • Meanwhile, to keep from burning your chicken, you can always add a little more water to pan and let simmer covered. Cook chicken till done (no pink in middle of the chunks) And when chicken is done, place in bowl and set aside to chop up. In same pan (leaving some of the chicken juices), put in a little olive oil, add spinach, tomatoes, chives, mushrooms and olives into the pan and sauté.

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  • Cut cooked chicken on cutting board into bit size pieces and add to veggie mix.

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Once everything is done, pile noodles on place, add as much veggie/chicken mix as desired and top with a little sauce … YUMM!!

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