Tag Archives: portion control

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)

586335178
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.

586336710

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

586359580

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).

586338813

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.

567623178
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!

567629508
So here is a look at everything cooked and ready to go into containers!
011
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.

013
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.
001

Next I cooked up my quinoa, followed by my brown rice and oatmeal. The quinoa and brown rice will be mixed together later.

554803727

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!

004

Steamed a mix of broccoli and cauliflower.

012

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

013

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.

016
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!

 

21 Day Fix – Day 8!

21_day-fix

Today was official weigh in and the start of a brand new week! I am happy to report that I am officially down 2.2 pounds. While it may not sound like much, my scale hasn’t budged in months, so this is a giant win. Also, if the momentum keeps up I have the potential to lose about 7 pounds in the first 3 weeks.

Some things I’ve learned along the way. The first couple days are the hardest while you are adjusting to portion sizes. You may feel a little “off”, but once you do adjust (and you will), you do start feeling really good. And while the containers seem small at first, they really do hold a lot of food.

This program also makes you think, and I mean really think about food. Where you want to use the containers and how. For example, I know I am going out tomorrow night for my Birthday dinner, and I know I would like to enjoy a glass of wine with my meal. I also know that a glass of wine will cost me 1 yellow container leaving me with only 1. So the question becomes, where do I want to use it? Lunch? Dinner? I decided on lunch as I need the carbs to fuel me for the afternoon at work. I can skip it at dinner and have a salad or veggies in it’s place and be able to enjoy my wine.

The containers take a lot of guess work out of the food, but it still requires a bit of forethought and planning on your part.

The workouts are wonderful. I’m really enjoying all the weights. My muscles are sore, but in a good way. It’s a nice mix of different things, cardio, weights, yoga. It really incorporates everything.

So today was Total Body Cardio Fix, and nice mix of cardio, weights and working those abs. I feel this one for several days after.

Todays food!

Breakfast:

001Chocolate Shakeology (red container), water and ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snack #1:

004Greek yogurt (red container) and mixed berries (purple container).

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

008Spinach salad. Baby spinach, onions and shredded carrot (2 green containers), 1 hard boiled egg and crumbled bacon (1 red container), honey dijon dressing (orange container), 12 raw almonds (blue container). Love this salad.

 

Snack #2:

006Apple (purple container) and 100% all natural peanut butter (2 tsps).

 

 

 

 

Dinner:

004Oven baked pork chop seasoned with a bit of oregano (red container), roasted brussels sprouts (green container), baby red potatoes (yellow container).

 

 

And that concludes Day 8!

Want to join my next challenge group ? Simply email me at exerciseeatlove@gmail.com or find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ExerciseEatLove and check my event listings!

21 Day Fix – Day 2!

21_day-fix

This mornings workout, and the 2nd in the set is Upper Fix. This workout focuses on arms, chest, shoulders, back and abs. There are 2 rounds, with 5 workouts lasting 60 seconds each repeated once in each round. 20 second breaks in between. You will need weights or resistance bands for this workout. And because most of the 2nd round is spent on your back, you will want a mat as well. Not a big calorie burn, but you are building muscle and muscle burns fat!

I should also mention, thanks to yesterdays Total Body Cardio Fix, my quads hate me and stairs are not my friend.  So you have that to look forward too.

All my meals prepped for today the night before. I am loving the containers for planning. So simple!  Because I work away from home, I am definitely going to invest in a 2nd set so I don’t have to keep moving stuff to other containers.

So here is my day 2!

Breakfast: 001Chocolate Shakeology (red container) made with water and ice. My daily dose of dense nutrition. I used to skip breakfast before Shakeology. Now I have no excuse. And it truly is my healthiest meal of the day.

 

 

 

 

Snack #1: G003reek yogurt and berries, take 2! Red container and purple container, respectfully. Filling and delicious.  Taken at my desk at work. I did mix them in another container after.

 

 

Lunch: 004I’m all about leftovers when I have them. Waste not want not and all that. So todays lunch consists of 5 oz of turkey meatloaf (red and yellow container), spring mix lettuce (green container), chopped pecans and walnuts (blue container), homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing (orange container), and finally, carrots, onions and radishes round out the last green container.

Snack #2:006Super simple, an apple (purple container) and peanut butter (2 tsps).

 

 

 

 

Dinner: 007Baked Haddock, lightly coated in seasoned bread crumbs (red container), wild rice (yellow container) and mixed green and yellow beans for my final green container.

 

 

And that officially rounds out day 2! All containers used and I’m feeling satisfied.

Want to join my next challenge group ? Simply email me at exerciseeatlove@gmail.com or find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ExerciseEatLove and check my event listings!

21 Day Fix – The Containers

 

21-day-fix-containers-e1391284791291

I received my copy of the 21 Day Fix last week, and although my Challenge group doesn’t start until the 17th I couldn’t resist taking it for a spin.

What makes this program unique is the coloured containers (seen in the picture above).  These containers are designed to take the guesswork out of weight loss. Each coloured container corresponds to a different food group. If it fits, you can eat it.

What first crossed my mind when I opened my containers was “boy they seem small”, followed by the realization that we have a very distorted view of portion sizes.  Think about ordering a meal in a restaurant. We are probably given about 3x the amount that we should actually eat. We see this as normal. Also, think of the ratio on that plate. Meat and carbs take up most of the plate, while veggies take up a small corner. Is it any wonder most of us do not know how much we should eat and of what?

The containers completely eliminate counting calories, weighing, measuring and best of all how much of each food group. It’s the answer to my prayers, the missing piece of the puzzle.

So how do they work exactly?

First thing you are going to do is calculate your required calorie intake per day. “But you said no counting calories”. Don’t worry, you won’t have to, but you do have to know how much fuel your body needs.  Once you have your number you will refer to your guide to find your daily allotment of the fixed colour coded containers and list of foods by coloured container that you can use to fill them!

Use your worksheets included with your program to track your containers. Along the top you will place your daily allotment for each colour (as laid out for you based on your required calories) and then mark it off when you’ve eaten it. I find it really easy to plan and pack my containers the night before so all my food is ready and perfectly portioned. If you are like me and work out of the house, you will probably want to order an additional set of containers.

Below are the tracking sheets (additional sheets can be printed off at the Beachbody website). The are easy to use and make planning so simple! There is even an area to track your water.

1510615_10152217764541942_681103473_n[1]

 

Want to find out more or order your copy? Just click HERE!

Next I will look at the workout programs and give a little overview of what you can expect!