A Beginners Guide to Meal Prepping

meal-prepping
Prepping your meals can save you a ton of time, money and ensure that you are eating healthy throughout the day. I have personally dropped 10 pounds since I started prepping my meals 6 weeks ago. Along the way I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to it that I’d like to share.

1.  Plan it out

Every Thursday I sit down and plan out my meals for the week. I am personally following the 21 Day Fix so I make sure that I have all my containers accounted for.   For me I only plan out breakfast, lunch and snacks as I make my dinners fresh every evening after work using the balance of my container count as a guide to what I can have. But if you feel you would slack off by not preplanning/prepping dinner, do that too.

Plan out when you are going to prep. I prefer to do it all in one go on a Sunday afternoon. Some people prep 2x a week. Make it something that works for you when you know you will have time to set aside.

2.   Make a grocery list

Once you’ve planned out your meals, write out everything you will need. Check your pantry after and cross off what you already have and then bring that list and stick to it! If it’s not on your list, it doesn’t go in your cart. I do all my prep on Sunday, so I will typically go Friday or Saturday evening to get everything I need. I can say with all honesty that I have drastically cut my grocery bill by planning and sticking to my list.

3.  Keep it simple

You don’t have to make lavish meals, the easier the meals the less time consuming your prep day will be. I typically pick 2 different lunches consisting of a protein, carb and veggie that I alternate. If I make brown rice, I typically make enough for lunches as well as for a quick reheat to serve with dinner.

4.  Invest in some good containers

Get some containers that won’t crack after a few uses and that are freezer friendly. I will put my first 2 days of meals in the fridge and then freeze the rest so they keep (and put them in the fridge the night before), so spend a little so they go the distance! You can find some good ones on Amazon.

5.  Don’t try a new recipe

If you don’t like it, you are stuck with it for several meals. Play it safe and only try out new ideas on the weekend.

6.  Portion control

I use my fix containers for the most part, but often I will weigh out my protein. A scale has become a key fixture in my kitchen. And they are relatively inexpensive. While you’re at it, if you don’t use the Fix, get yourself some good measuring cups too and be diligent about using them.

7.  Slightly under cook your veggies

Remember, you are going to reheat them so you don’t want them turning to mush. This was a lesson learned through my own failings. Unless, of course, you like mushy veggies.

The options are endless when it comes to prepping food ahead of time. There really is no right or wrong way to do it. It all comes down to planning, and making time to get it done. Just like any weight loss strategy, to be sustainable it needs to fit into your lifestyle. So do what works for you. If the only thing you want to prep each week are lunches, then that’s fine. Do whatever meets your needs. The more you do it, the better you will get at it!

 

 

Sunday Meal Prep – Week 5

Sunday-Food-Prep

Today was a very rainy and cold day, perfect for cranking the tunes and getting to work on the next weeks meals!

Sunday Meal Prep all planned out!

Meal 1: (Mon/Wed/Fri): Tropical Shakeo w/mixed berries
Meal 1: (Tues/Thurs): Chocolate Vegan Shakeo

Meal 2: (Mon/Wed/Fri): Spinach quinoa scramble & 1/2 container strawberries
Meal 2: (Tues/Thurs): Oatmeal and banana pancake*

Meal 3: (Mon/Wed/Fri) Waldorf Chicken Salad Pocket*
Meal 3: (Tues/Thurs) Salmon, brown rice & asparagus

Meal 4: Fixified Broccoli Salad*

Meal 5: Chicken, fish, beef – Veggies, Yellow on Mon/Wed/Fri, Purple on Tues/Thurs

* recipes posted below

My 21 Day Fix daily container counts:
4 red
3 green
2 purple
1 blue
2 yellow
1 orange (typically used for dressing on salads at dinner)

 

‘Fixified’ Broccoli Salad
Makes 6 – 1 cup servings

Ingredients
For the dressing:
1 cup 2% or low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup 1% or fat free greek yogurt
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs raw sugar

For the salad:
5 cups broccoli florets
1 cup red onion, chopped small
1 cup shredded cheddar
8 slices reduced-fat turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
black pepper, to taste

Instructions
Add all dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour dressing into a large bowl.
To the bowl, add your remaining ingredients and mix everything together. Does it get easier than that?! Enjoy!

Container Equivalents: 1 GREEN, 1/2 RED, 1/2 BLUE, 1/2 TSP RAW SUGAR

586332678Banana oatmeal pancakes:
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

1 ripe banana
1 egg
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp coconut oil

Directions
Heat a small pan over medium heat with the coconut oil. In a bowl mash the banana with the egg, then stir in the oats.

Pour into heated pan, and allow to cook until that first side sets ~ about 4 minutes. You want to make sure your first side is pretty set or else when you flip it the pancake will break. Flip and cook on second side for 2-3 minutes.

Top it with peanut butter if you like!

Container Equivalents: 1/2 RED, 1/2 YELLOW, 1 PURPLE, 2 TSP (if topping with peanut butter)

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Waldorf Chicken Salad Pita’s

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients


2/3 cup cooked chicken, diced small
3 Tbs nonfat greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped sweet apples
1/4 cup red grapes, halved or quartered
1/4 cup celery, chopped
5 pecan halves, roughly chopped (optional)
black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh spinach
1/2 of a whole wheat pita

Instructions
Mix all ingredients together except spinach and pita. Season to taste with black pepper. Fill the pita pocket with the spinach and the chicken salad mixture. It might not all fit into your pita – you can either fill another pita half if you have another half of a yellow to use, or you can just do what I do and eat it on the side smile emoticon
Container Equivalents: 1 RED, 1/2 PURPLE, 1/2 GREEN, 1/2 YELLOW, 1/2 BLUE (if using pecans)

I bought chicken already cut up for a stirfry and cooked it in my Pampered Chef Oven Baker then cut it up into little cubes.

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Salmon and asparagus baked in the oven, brown rice per instructions. 🙂

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Finally, everything prep and packed.  Split down the middle, bottom photo shows Mon/Wed/Fri prep (including spinach quinoa scramble which I will make fresh on the day of, this one I ate after taking the picture).

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Hope this has given you some prep ideas!

Meal Prep Sunday -Week 4

Sunday-Food-Prep

Meal prep day once again! I have to say, I’m getting quite efficient at it, and I find cooking quite relaxing if I’m being honest. So time in the kitchen isn’t really a burden to me, especially when it will save me a world of time during the week!

So, here is my menu for the week, following the 21 Day Fix of course.

Meal 1: Shakeology
Meal 2: (Mon/Wed/Fri): 1 hard boiled egg and a banana
Meal 2: (Tues/Thurs): Spinach omelette & berries/grapes
Meal 3: (Mon/Wed/Fri): Chili Lime Shrimp, quinoa/brown rice and veggie mix
Meal 3: (Tues/Thurs): Salmon, quinoa/brown rice mix, asparagus
Meal 4: (Mon/Wed/Fri): Vanilla Peanut Butter Dip and Apple – I’ll throw in some almonds
Meal 4: (Tues/Thurs): Oatmeal, almonds and an apple
Meal 5: Fish, chicken or turkey sausage, salads, veggies. Mon/Wed/Fri will have a yellow added.

And we are off!  Boiling, boiling, and boiling some more. Oatmeal, rice, eggs (I only boiled 3 eggs, but for the sake of efficiency I am recycling photos).

567616193Next I put my salmon and asparagus in the oven and sauteed my shrimp. For the Chili Lime Shrimp you will need the following:

– Shrimp
– Chili Powder
– Garlic Powder
– Salt
– Olive Oil
– Lime

Heat 1-2 tsp olive oil in pan, cook shrimp on med heat. Season liberally with salt, chili powder, garlic powder and lime to taste.

576548696Steamed my veggies that will go into my Chili Lime Shrimp bowls.
576546932Next I whipped up the Vanilla Peanut Butter Dip. I have to warn you, this stuff is sinfully delicious. Hard to believe it’s actually healthy. To make it, simply mix together the following:

1/2 red container plain Greek yogurt
2 t peanut butter
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t vanilla
Sweetener of choice (stevia for me)

576550423Finally we are ready to assemble our meals for the week. Left side being Mon/Wed/Fri and right side being Tues/Thurs, with the Shakeology every morning for my breakfast. *note I did not pre-prep the omelette. I will make it the morning of as it is quite simple to throw together. I ate this one after taking the photo 🙂 And again, I prepare dinner each night fresh, so no prepping done there either.

576551998And that is another week of prep in the bag! Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday Meal Prep – Week 3

Sunday-Food-Prep

Posting a day late, but food was prepped yesterday and ready! I was thankful for it today too, since it was a Statutory Holiday and I took it upon myself to do a long overdue clean out of the utility room. So it was nice when I started getting hungry at lunch to just throw my container in the microwave! Easy!

I want to mention that I am down another 3 pounds this week! That is 7 total since I started seriously prepping following the 21 Day Fix eating guide! Planning is key! Here is how this Sunday’s meal prep played out.

Meal 1: Shakeology
Meal 2: (Mon/Wed/Fri) Plain Greek yogurt and mixed berries
Meal 2: (Tues/Thurs): 2 hard boiled eggs and mixed berries
Meal 3: (Mon/Wed/Fri): Turkey burger (no bun), sweet potato, Brussels sprouts and avocado
Meal 3: (Tues/Thurs): Salmon, quinoa/brown rice mix, asparagus
Meal 4: (Mon/Wed/Fri): Apple & peanut butter
Meal 4: (Tues/Thurs): Oatmeal, almonds and an apple
Meal 5: Fish, chicken, turkey sausage, salads, veggies. Mon/Wed/Fri will have a yellow added.

My 21 Day fix daily container count:
4 red
3 green
2 yellow
1 blue
2 purple
1 orange

First all the boiling! Eggs, brown rice and oatmeal! Pretty self explanatory.

567616193

Sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and asparagus all into a 350° oven. 1 1/2 hrs for the sweet potatoes and about 20 min for the veggies which were lightly sprayed with olive oil before baking. I prefer to under cook the veggies just a bit as you will be reheating them.

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And finally my meat! Turkey burgers on the BBQ, which was nice as the oven had been going for 2 hours! Salmon in the oven at 450° for 20 min! I have little lemon dilly dip I’ll mix up for it and pack in my lunch. About a tsps worth. Not much. The turkey burgers will be served with avocado, just to add a bit of creaminess. You could add a bit of cheese instead!

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So here is a look at everything cooked and ready to go into containers!
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And finally everything prepped for the week (sans dinner and my Shakeology that didn’t make it into the photo shoot). Split down the middle the left side is Mon/Wed/Fri and the right side is Tues/Thurs with the fruit happening all days.

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And there you have it! Hope you enjoyed and maybe got a few ideas for your own food prep!

Sunday Meal Prep – Week 2

Sunday-Food-Prep

Week 1’s meal prep went so well, I was down 4 pounds on the scale, that I was extremely motivated to get prepping for my second week using my 21 Day Fix containers and eating guide!

Week 2 is as follows:

Meal 1: Shakeology
Meal 2: 2 hard boiled eggs and mixed berries
Meal 3 (Mon/Wed/Fri): 4 oz rotisserie chicken, ½ cup sweet potato, and 1 cup broccoli and cauliflower mix.
Meal 3 (Tues/Thurs): 4 oz ground turkey seasoned with 21 Day Fix Southwestern spice, ½ cup quinoa and brown rice blend, and mix of sautéed asparagus, onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms.
Meal 4: Oatmeal. Slivered almonds, and an apple. This works for me in the afternoon perfectly.
Meal 5: Salmon, cod, turkey burgers, chicken sausage, or chicken with veggies.

4 red
3 green
2 yellow
2 purple
1 blue
1 orange

First on the list, boil some eggs! Doesn’t get much easier.
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Next I cooked up my quinoa, followed by my brown rice and oatmeal. The quinoa and brown rice will be mixed together later.

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I decided on a mix of asparagus, mushrooms, red peppers, and onions for my roasted veggies. Popped into the oven at 350°F for approx. 30 min. I had enough left over for dinner tonight too!

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Steamed a mix of broccoli and cauliflower.

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And finally my sweet potatoes and ground turkey (not shown). The ground turkey was seasoned with the 21 Day Fix’s Southwestern Spice. Yum!

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And here we have everything prepped and ready to be measured out!

014And here is how a day in my week 2 will look (both lunches shown, dinner not included).  Dinners are planned and will be cooked fresh each night since it gives me time to do a workout while it’s cooking.

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Overall my meal prep takes about 2 hours to do, and worth every second in time saved during the week. I just grab my food and go. I’m on track and it’s paying off on the scale!

Hope you enjoyed!

 

Sunday Meal Prep – Week 1

Sunday-Food-Prep

A big part of a week of successful eating, is a day of successful planning! And the 21 Day Fix takes most of the guesswork out. However, it can still be quite easy to slip. But if you have everything packed for the week, and you just need to grab and go, you are less likely to get lax where eating is concerned.

So, Thursday I sat down, planned out my meals for the week, made a grocery list and off to the store I went.

Now I fall into the lowest bracket of the 21 Day Fix, so my list and prep are based on that. Your mileage may vary.

Meal 1: Shakeology.
Meal 2: Two egg “muffins” (1 whole egg with 3 egg whites, mushrooms and spinach, baked at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes). Mixed berries and grapes.
Meal 3 (Mon/Wed/Fri): 4 oz. grilled chicken, 1/2 cup sweet potato, roasted mixed veggies
Meal 3 (Tues/Thurs): 1 veggie burger, roasted cauliflower, roasted mixed veggies.
Meal 4: 4 oz. Oatmeal, sliced almonds and an apple.
Meal 5: Salmon, cod, turkey burgers, chicken sausage, or chicken with veggies. Brown rice on Tues/Thurs.

My counts per day:
4 red
3 green
2 yellow
1 blue
1 orange (olive oil)
2 purple

First up I did up my mixture for my egg muffins. I mixed 1 egg with 3 egg whites and placed in muffin tins and continued until I had enough for my work week. Came out great, and smell SO good!

eggs
Next was my roasted veggies. I decided on a mix of mushrooms, onions and red peppers. I measured out 5 green containers worth, spread them out on my baking stone with some olive oil, and cooked for approx 20 minutes at 350°.  TIP: Measure a bit over your green container count as they will shrink during cooking so you’ll come up short. Lesson learned.

Veggies

Next was my cauliflower and sweet potatoes. I seasoned my cauliflower with Buffalo Wing mix from Epicure Selections. All natural, no additives, preservatives or MSG. Just spices to add some flavour! 21 Day Fix approved! Cauliflower was in the oven for about 30 min, the sweet potatoes were around 1 hour.

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Now, for some oatmeal! I used organic rolled oats and just followed the instructions on the bag. Added some vanilla (a 21 Day Fix freebie) for some flavour and will season with a bit of cinnamon later.

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Last but not least were 2 veggie burger patties. I have never had them, this will be a first for me. Baked according to the directions.

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Everything now cooked and ready to package.

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Below is the finished product of a day of eating (both meals for lunch shown below).  Dinners not shown. They are planned as laid out above, however will be cooked fresh when I get home from work.

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And there you have it! Sunday Meal Prep – Week 1 in the bag! Hope you enjoyed!

3-Day Refresh – Day 3

3-day-refresh

I decided to wait until the day after so I could post my outcome and my overall thoughts of Beachbody’s 3-Day Refresh.

A quick rundown of day 3:

  • 1o ounces of water upon waking
  • Breakfast: Tropical shakeology + fruit option. I had fresh strawberries and ate them separately
  • Green tea
  • Fiber Sweep
  • Vanilla fresh, raspberries, cucumber and avocado
  • Snack: Cucumber and avocado
  • Dinner: Vanilla Fresh, asparagus w/almond slices (this was very good, and will be going into regular rotation)
  • Peppermint tea w/stevia

Done! Day 3 was by far the easiest day, even with the anticipation of getting back to my 21 Day Fix meal plan in the morning.

Overall I never felt sluggish, I was never starving and I still had enough energy to do some PiYo workouts. The fact that you can do workouts with the 3-Day Refresh, something you can’t do with the Ultimate Reset, was a bonus to me.

I weighed myself the morning after and I was down 5.7 pounds! Crazy. And I’ve noticed 2 things throughout the day.

  1. Ordered my usual coffee in the morning. I cannot express my excitement to have a cup of coffee again. What I found was the way I normally would take it was too sweet and the cream bothered me! I couldn’t even finish it. Will have to adjust tomorrow and see how that goes. This is a good thing.
  2. I have a renewed focus on my eating. I want to keep this momentum going. Another good thing.

I won’t lie, getting through those 3 days was tough, but I’m glad I took the plunge!

Want to try it for yourself?  Simply click on this link and go to shop! http://www.beachbodycoach.com/Sooz471

3-Day Refresh – Day 2

3-day-refresh

A quick rundown of day 2:

  • 1o ounces of water upon waking
  • Breakfast: Tropical shakeology + fruit option. I had fresh blackberries and ate them separately
  • Green tea
  • Fiber Sweep
  • Vanilla fresh, strawberries, baby carrots and avocado
  • Snack: sliced red peppers and avocado
  • Dinner: Vanilla Fresh, cucumber and tomato salad
  • Peppermint tea w/stevia

In addition, lots and lots of water.

Today seemed easier than yesterday. I didn’t wake up hungry, felt satisfied after the meals, though I find I get a bit hungry after 8:00, and not the typical boredom hunger. I’m drinking enough water to know it’s not thirst. It is a big adjustment going from 1400 calories to 900. Interestingly, I’m not lacking energy. I was able to get through a PiYo workout no problem and do some housework.

Day 2 down, one more to go!

3-Day Refresh – Day 1

3-day-refresh

So today begins my 3-Day Cleanse journey.

Upon waking you are to drink 8-10 ounces of water. Water fires up your metabolism, hydrates you, helps your body flush out toxins, gives your brain fuel, and may even make you eat less. Luckily for me, I’m always super thirsty in the morning. So drinking it is a snap!

014First meal of the day is Shakeology + a fruit option. The fruit option can be blended into your Shakeology. I added some frozen blackberries to my Tropical Shakeology.

 

 

 

 

A little later I had a 8 ounce up of green tea. The tea is optional, but considering I’ve had to give up coffee for 3 days, it’s almost a necessity.

015Mid-morning brings my first Fiber Sweep. Looks awful, doesn’t it? The taste isn’t too bad. Seems to have a hint of citrus to it. I won’t be craving it any time soon, but it’s drinkable.

 

 

 

 

It should be mentioned that each step is done an hour or more apart from each other.

 

020Lunch! This time consisted of a Vanilla Fresh shake, baby carrots, an apple and 2 tbsp of avocado (not pictured here as it was on route back from the grocery store via the helpful hubby).

I was pretty hungry at this point. Not starving, but hungry. This actually satisfied my hunger.

 

 

Afterwards I did Define: Lower Body from PiYo. I had plenty of energy to get through it.  Mid-afternoon snack consisted of cucumber and more avocado.

 

022Finally dinner! Another glass of Vanilla Fresh Shake and  a carrot-seaweed salad sans the seaweed from the dinner recipe of the book. Simple.

 

 

Finished off with a cup of peppermint tea for the day.

So my thoughts. I’m not hungry, per se, I do however feel like snacking which I  attribute to drinking most of my meals. No coffee is also a struggle for me. But it’s only 3 days right?

Onwards to day 2!

 

3-Day Refresh

3-day-refresh


What is the 3-Day Refresh?

The 3-Day Refresh is designed for those looking for a fast, clean break-to drop a few pounds in a hurry, break through a plateau or break some bad habits.

This gentle cleanse consists of three daily shakes, a fiber drink, plenty of filtered water, plus a wide array of fruits, veggies, and healthy fats throughout the day to keep your energy and metabolism going.

Though the plan is simple, it offers many alternatives, including some creative ways to prepare your meals, so you’ll see that you can actually enjoy eating healthy food without having to season it in ways that can damage your health and undermine your weight-loss goals.

What is included?

  1. Shakeology
    It’s your daily dose of dense super-food nutrition. Shakeology has 70  different healthy ingredients mixed together to offer you the best possible nutritional meal. Your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.
  2. Vanilla Fresh Shake
    This patent-pending, high protein vanilla shake not only helps satisfy your hunger throughout the 3-Day Refresh, it delivers the essential nutrition your body needs for healthy weight loss.
  3. Fiber Sweep Drink
    With it’s scientific formulated blend of soluble and insoluble fibers, this patent-pending fiber drink gently and naturally eliminates waste from your digestive system, while supporting healthy intestinal flora.

What would a typical day look like on the 3-Day Refresh?

  1. Wake up: Drink 8-12 ounces of filtered water
  2. Breakfast (within an hour of waking): Shakeology plus a fruit option
  3. Mid-Morning: Fiber Sweep
  4. Lunch: Vanilla Fresh plus options from the fruit, vegetable and healthy fat list provided with the program
  5. Afternoon Snack: From the fruit, vegetable or juice options list.
  6. Dinner: Vanilla Fresh plus a delicious meal made from the dinner recipes list included.

Can I exercise during the 3-Day Refresh?

  • YES! Mild to moderate exercise during the 3-Day is recommended. Can you hammer out a harder program? Probably, but the 3-Day Refresh will use your energy more effectively to help clean up your system if you’re not. You many want to put your copy of Insanity way for a couple days.

How do I get my 3-Day Refresh kit?

Day 1 starts tomorrow!