Meal planning is probably one of the hardest part of any healthy lifestyle change. It can be time consuming and overwhelming and for the most part it is NOT fun. Thankfully I like to eat the same thing over and over so it makes planning a little easier when I can plan my leftovers. When I’m meal planning I pull out all of my old plans and nutrition guides to make it easier.
I just wanted a share a quick tip regarding meal planning. I try and get my meals planned the week BEFORE so that it’s DONE. Also, make your shopping list while you’re making your plan, seems like common sense but trust me people try to wing it in the store and are not prepared.
We travel a lot on the weekends and I work Sunday afternoons and don’t always have time to hit the store up on Sunday (though I try really hard to make time). One of the biggest excuses I hear is I don’t have time to plan my meals. Having the plan done is half the battle, the other half is cooking and preparing the meals. Suck it up and get it done, it makes life SOOOO much easier to be prepared as possible. That hour you’re watching TV in the evening…. open pinterest and find 1 new recipe for next week. Write down what you need and add it to your planner.
Oh, and while we’re talking tips… print out a bunch of planners ahead of time so they are ready! Or maybe you’re ahead of times and doing it digitally.. great! I suggest saving all the different meal plans so you can go back and reference them. AHH so many great ideas I should actually write a better blog post about meal planning… hmmm… more to come!
What are some tips you have for making meal planning easier?
It’s grilling season! We eat off the grill as much as possible during the summer and these Cajun grilled shrimp kabobs are AMAZING and so so easy. Better yet, you prepare the dry rub from your own spice cabinet so they are 21 day fix approved, clean AND can be salt free (which is virtually impossible with dry rubs). Grill with your favorite veggies on a kabob and pair with a side salad or grill up some corn or sweet potatoes. Let me know what you think.
Cajun Grilled Shrimp Kabobs
Makes 6 skewers/4 servings
1.5 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 red bell peppers, cut into chunks (or vegetable of your choice)
Skewers (if using wooden soak for 20 minutes)
Dry Rub Ingredients:
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (here’s your HEAT!)
2 tsp dried oregano
.5 tsp salt (optional)
Preheat grill to medium
Combine the spices for the dry rub in a small bowl (garlic, onion, smoked paprika, pepper, salt, cayenne, oregano)
Rinse and pat dry the shrimp
Add the dry rub to the shrimp and mix until shrimp are well coated
Alternating peppers and shrimp on the skewers
Place skewers on grill (3-5 minutes per side) until pink and fully cooked
Remove shrimp and peppers from the grill and serve immediately
NOTE: Shrimp shouldn’t go in the fridge more then 2 days so plan accordingly.
21 day fix:1 red, 1 green per 2 skewers (may vary depending on vegetables and size of shrimp)
You know by now that I support meal prepping as much as possible to set yourself up for a week of success. One super easy way of doing this is by making sure all of your veggies and fruit are washed and ready for the week. That way in a moment of hunger you’re not reaching for temptations when an already washed apple is sitting out waiting. Every little bit you can prepare before hand is worth it. I try and throw my veggies and fruit that need to be washed in the clean sink when I get home from the grocery store. This way they soak while I put away grocery and are done when I’m finished. Then I just need to dry them and put them away. AND they last longer when they are washed and don’t taste like vinegar… I swear!
Vinegar Wash for Fruits and Vegetables
*1 cup white vinegar
Fill your clean sink with cold water half way and add 1 cup of white vinegar
Peel the stickers off of your fruit and add to the water
Let soak for 10 minutes (about half way through I’ll rearrange the fruit/veggies so all sides get soaked)
Rinse and scrub the fruits/veggies
Remove fruit and let completely dry before storing
This is different but the flavor combinations are amazing and I probably drink this once a week when I’m getting tired of fruit in my shake. If you have a texture issue this is NOT the shake for you as the oatmeal can be chunky but I offer a suggestion below.
Oatmeal Cookie Shakeology
Makes 1 serving
I scoop vanilla shakeology
2 Tbsp dry oatmeal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
12-14 oz water
Add water to the blender with the oats (if you have the time soak the oats for 10ish minutes)
Add shakeology and cinnamon
Add desired amount of ice, I like 5-6 ice cubes
21 day fix containers: 1 red, 1/4 yellow, honestly I don’t count,cinammon is FREE
I hear it all the time, as I am saying it to myself a lot as well… weekends are tough. You plan and stick to plan for the first 5 days and then Friday night hits and everything unravels. There are several reasons for why you do it and I suggest you look at yourself for the answers as to why you sabotage all of your hard work. For me, I feel like it’s a time to unwind, celebrate and reward myself for surviving the week. It sounds silly when you say it out loud but we all think similar thoughts. Or we tell ourselves, I can have 1 drink…. well that 1 drink turns in to a bottle… or 2 depending on how crazy you feel like getting.
We are out of our normal routine, surrounded by temptations, we usually haven’t set plan because we don’t know where the weekend will take us. We also tell ourselves “just 1 won’t hurt me” but that quickly turns in to “oh that’s pretty good, I’ve already had 1, what’s wrong with another one” and THEN that turns in to “well I blew my diet… might as well enjoy it”…… sound familiar? I am going to be doing a 2 part surviving the weekend blog post but wanted to start with my thoughts on surviving the weekend without wrecking all of you hard work. Will you be perfect all the time? I hope not. Will you commit to making healthier choices? I hope so!
1. Get your workouts done early. Schedule your workouts for first thing so you can’t talk yourself out of them. I know this is a time to sleep in but why can’t you nap later? Fear you won’t have time… well that’s why you’re getting your workout in so you can’t tell yourself that excuse later! Plan your workout with a friend! This is great especially if you’re traveling and are seeing someone you haven’t seen in awhile. Invite them to workout with you! I’m not saying bust out your Insanity DVD with your great grandma but take a walk or plan some other fun active outing. I’ve found more often then not if I include the people I’m spending time with in my activity I’m more likely to get it done and it’s usually A LOT more fun.
2. Drink LOTS of water!!! This is when I tend to stray from my water and mistake my thirst for hunger. Carry your water bottle with you, refill often, add extras (mint, lemon, lime) to jazz it up a bit. If you are partaking in alcohol- limit and drink water between drinks. While we’re on the topic of alcohol stay away from sugary drinks (especially those including soda or syrups). When I was pregnant with Elizabeth I drank flavored seltzer with frozen fruit in fancy glasses so I didn’t feel left out.
3. Plan as best you can for the weekend. You may not know what you’re doing that weekend or what meals you’re eating so plan your workouts, plan your breakfast or plan some snacks you can easily take with you. I highly suggest having a backup plan if your plans find you at home, have easy meals on hand that don’t take much prep time. If you aren’t cooking and are at the mercy of someone else cooking all weekend, offer to bring something and then make it a healthy meal you could eat for dinner (see #4). Things may not go as planned, stay close to plan as possible and let it go if you have some slip ups, no one is perfect. Trust me the hot dog and potato salad you just ate will not completely undo all of your hard work that week, the faster you get back to plan the better.
4. Bring a healthy main dish you can eat to parties and plan to not go to the party hungry. Being a vegetarian I am used to always bringing a dish with me so I know I have something I can eat, so I just make sure it’s healthy and that it’s filling! A simple cold pasta salad can add tons of flavor, fill you up and you can make it healthy. Try eating a filling snack before the party so you’re not going ravenous and devouring those peanut M&Ms that are in dishes everywhere. I find a healthy fat (almonds) and fruit fill me up and are satisfying, so throw some peanuts and an apple in your bag on the way out. Blue diamond almonds containers fit in your cup holder AND their lid is the portion size… I mean how GENIUS is that!
5. Plan for NEXT week THIS week. I can’t tell you HOW important I think this is if you’re really trying to stay on track. If you’re out of town on Sunday the LAST thing you are going to want to do is come home and think about what you’re going to eat the rest of the week let alone for that night at dinner. Just get it done! Even if you just plan Sunday dinner and all your meals Monday- it’s a HUGE help. I save all of my meal plans and have several I’ve listed as my Go-To’s of simple but effective meals I’ll pull out when I’m in a time crunch.
5. Have lots of on the go snacks ready! I’ve mentioned this before but I feel the need to mention it again because I can’t stress it enough! You either LOVE snacking or you forget to snack, either because you’re so busy and you didn’t plan or maybe you’re “saving” your calories for later that day. A healthy snack can go a LONG way! My favorite are nuts, seeds, peanut butter with apples or carrots, string cheese, kind bars, rice cakes with nut butter or shakeology. Throw them in your bag, plan them in your day and have them ready to grab when hunger strikes and you’re out and about so you don’t buy a snack at the gas station… which I don’t even know about you but I am NOT buying an apple from a gas station as a snack. Grosssssss
6. Do something outside and keep BUSY. Keep your hands busy with other things other than shoveling food and alcohol in your face…. seems simple enough right? Not if you’re looking to relax. Even on unplanned weekends plan SOMETHING, you’ll thank me later. These days it seems like all we’re doing is rushing around so when we find some time to relax we take it! So enjoy your downtime if you have it and feel blessed because a lot of us don’t but try and get outside and avoid a netflix marathon on a Saturday afternoon (even though that sounds like HEAVEN). Do something your future self will thank you for!
So, what do you think? Any of these tips helpful? This is what I’m thinking about as we gear up for memorial day weekend. I haven’t been the best with my goals since Sunday so I’m looking to the weekend to buckle down and get serious so I can start Monday with a bang! Here’s to a healthier weekend and taking it 1 day at a time. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite memes:
I did my first round of the 21 day fix EXTREME April 13- May 3, 2015. I bought it to clean up my nutrition, get a handle on my portions and to tone up. I saw so many others being successful so I had to give it a try. I decided to skip the original 21 day fix because I had already completed Insanity and most of Insanity Max:30 and thought I needed the extra challenge. I posted a little about each workout below as well as the average calories I burned per workout (based on my garmin viviofit heart rate monitor). You can read the first part about my journey HERE.
I lost 5 pounds and 2.5 inches in the 21 days. I followed the meal plan (but I did have cheats, so I was closer to the original 21 day fix meal plan), drank 1 shakeology a day, completed a 30 minute workout every day for 21 days. Overall I was impressed with this program. I did not stick to it 100% and was excited about my results. The meal planning is overwhelming at first but once you get a handle on it’s so easy and adaptable to every day life. I can see definition in my arms and legs and am fitting into clothes I didn’t think I’d be fitting into until after a 2nd round of this. I think I may have taken my measurements wrong…
How was this program being a vegetarian:
So it should be noted that I am a lacto octo- pescetarian (as in I eat some dairy, eggs and fish) I do not eat red meat, chicken, pig, or turkey. I think doing the count down to competition (CTC) plan would be a little more challenging as you need to eat a lot of animal based protein throughout your day. I choose not to do CTC because I didn’t want to eat eggs all day long. You can do the extreme program as a vegetarian without altering the plan. I chose to eat beans once a day measured in the yellow and counted as a red, this is NOT according to plan but I still saw great results and you will too even if you count beans as a yellow. I got my reds/protein through eggs, tempeh, greek yogurt, fish, beans (never more than once a day) and drinking shakeology (this is counted as a red) so I felt like I had enough to have a lot of variety. You can also eat tofu but I have not mastered cooking this and tend to stay away from it. I also don’t like eating too much soy and have really enjoyed eating tempeh.
Who would I recommend this program to:
Seriously, anyone looking to get results who is already started on their fitness journey. Anyone looking to get toned in a short amount of time who doesn’t have much time to workout, the workouts are only 30 minutes. The workouts offer a lot of variety, so you’re never bored and they are challenging. I chose not to do the Count down to competition track mainly because I thought it would be too hard to get all of my protein (red containers) in for the day without overdosing on tofu and eggs.
21 day fix Extreme is not for beginners. They have a modifier but she is still jumping and lifting weights and is NOT at a beginner level. This is probably not for someone who travels a lot as you have to have different sized weights, unless you want to travel with weights.
Equipment needed: A set of light, medium and heavy dumbbells. I started using 3’s and 5’s and upgraded to 8’s the last week. You will also need a resistance band with handles. Be aware that the base kit for the 21 day fix does not include this. It is also recommended you have a yoga mat.
PLYO Fix Extreme: Lower body workout that uses plyometrics (explosive jumping/resistance moves) to build muscles and torch calories. Lots of lunges and squats using weights 30 seconds of workouts, 30 seconds of rest. Average calorie burn: 260-300
Upper Fix Extreme: This is a non-stop upper body workout using weights that focuses on chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps. Average calorie burn: 250-300
Pilates Fix Extreme: You use the resitence band throughout this 30 minute workout focused on the core and basic pilates moves. Average calorie burn: 150-200
Lower Fix Extreme: I think this is one of my favorite workouts in the Extreme. Lower body workout that targets the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. Average calorie burn: 320-330
Cardio Fix Extreme: HIIT (high intensity interval training) using weights. Average calorie burn: 300-325
Dirty 30 Extreme: This is the all over calorie burning workout built around working out multiple muscle groups at once. Average calorie burn: 260-280
Yoga Fix Extreme: Fast paced yoga elongating muscles while working on strength, balance and flexbility. Average calorie burn: 100
The Fix Challenge (Bonus workout if you order through a coach): No weights or resistance bands needed as you build upon a routine of classic moves. Average calorie burn: 220
The average calorie burn was determined from my garmin viviofit heart rate monitor. Actual calorie burn will vary depending on person completing the exercise, weights used, intensity etc. Remember adding muscle to your body burns calories long after the workout is over!
Credit to my sister, Sara, for introducing me to this easy, versatile salad that is packed with flavor. The key part of this recipe is the dressing, so simple but give it a try! I pretty much always have these ingredients on hand so it’s an easy throw together dinner when I don’t feel like being creative and it is filling! Remember, keeping it simple will make it easier to stick to the plan.
Mexican Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing
Makes 1 serving
Lettuce (I like Spring Mix or Romaine with Spinach) 1 or 2 green
Black beans – 1 yellow
Chopped veggies (red peppers, tomatoes, onions) 1 green
MEAT VERSION: Add 1 red container of ground beef made with fix approved taco seasoning
OPTIONAL: 1/4 avocado, diced (add 1 blue container)
I LOVE greenberry, it’s fruity flavored and so refreshing. Surprisingly this is the one my daughter loves as well. This recipe isn’t rocket science, it’s super easy and in being so it is a favorite. I keep the freezer stocked with frozen fruit for this reason.
Blueberry Greenberry Shakeology
Makes 1 serving
10-14 oz of water
1 scoop greenberry shakeology
1 cup frozen blueberries
OPTIONAL: Dash of real maple syrup to give it a blueberry muffin taste
6 ice cubes (may vary depending on your preference)
Place the liquid in your blender first, then add shakeology, frozen blueberries and ice.
The weekends are tough, holidays are tough, Mondays are tough, that time of the month is tough, a break in your routine is tough….. we all get off track! No one is perfect in their nutrition and fitness journey. One of the questions I get asked ALL the time is how do I get back on track after a bad day/week/month. The difference between winning and losing is quitting. Those who succeed don’t give in, they get back on track. I made simple visual to help get back on track when you find your clothes starting to fit a little snugger or your energy starting to deplete. These are the things that I find myself doing when I get off track a little, whether it’s a bad meal, skipping workouts, a cheat meal that turns into a cheat weekend or after vacation. What’s something you do to get back on track?
Reach out for support, if you need help, ask for it! We all find ourselves straying from the path, guess what, a lot of people you know are on the same journey and need the same support that you do. Find someone who will hold you accountable or join one of my groups! We offer support, accountability and motivation, email me for details (firstname.lastname@example.org). Have a great week!
Spring in to summer 30 day challenge starting May 25!
Summer is only 45 days away. This group will focus on getting healthier, more fit and feeling and looking your best. This isn’t about getting skinny, it’s about feeling good about yourself and enjoying life!!
You’ll pick your favorite flavor of Shakeology and your favorite beachbody fitness program and join me (and several others on my team) for 30 days as we challenge ourselves to get fit for summer.
30 days of:
-REWARDS!! Not only in the form of your health but actual give aways!!
You are not going to want to wait another day much less another summer to start. I will help with meal planning or whatever else you are struggling with on this journey to make it as easy as possible for you. Who wants to join me? Shoot me an email (email@example.com) or comment below!