Tag: nutrition

Why Meal Prep?

If you’ve ever followed anyone who is into health and fitness, they probably talk about meal prep and show you how to meal prep. I recently heard from my husband that a friend of his, who is interested in joining our health and fitness community, had never even heard of meal prepping, so I thought to myself, maybe other’s need to know why meal prep is so easy and important, and how to do it… Here are my top 5 reasons to meal prep (and don’t worry, I have plans for next week to share my weekly meal prep plans)

  1. It saves time! I make a plan on usually Saturdays or Sundays and then go shopping for the week. It takes me a total of two hours I would say to make the plan, go to the store, and put the food away. I don’t have to do any more thinking and I don’t have to take extra trips to the grocery store. This may look different if you live in NYC for instance though. If you do go to the grocery store more than once a week, you go in with a plan and leave with what you need. The meal planning makes it less likely for you to buy random junk.
  2. It saves money! Now I’ll be honest – we have been known to waste some food since we meal prep for the week (and would love suggestions to avoid this), which drives me crazy (and something we’re working on), but we eat out less and we order less. When I wasn’t so into meal prepping, we would eat out regularly or order delivery more than once a week… While I still love a good take out night and a good date night, we plan those… It no longer becomes a random choice to enjoy someone cooking for us, and we honestly enjoy it more and we save money by not eating out so much. Plus we’re finding ways to enjoy take out tasting food with less calories and more importantly, less sodium.
  3. Mornings go faster! My husband and I eat the same thing each week for breakfast so we just grab and go. Almost regularly I have an egg bake made for him that he can just take and heat up at work. For me, I  like to switch it up weekly, but I like to eat the same thing each day in a week. This week is overnight oats and I just grab and go.
  4. You’ll be more likely to try something new. When I have a lot of time to meal prep, I always find really exciting new recipes and avoid the mundane same 5 recipes. While I definitely have my go to meals, we’ve come across some amazing recipes that both my husband and I cook.
  5. The obvious one – it’s healthier! We know what we are eating, when we’re eating, and have more control of what we’re eating. We’re able to plan for our dietary needs right now and not hope that there is healthy food in the house to eat.

The best part is it is easier than it looks. Meal prep can be as simple as cooking up some protein, chopping some veggies, and prepping some breakfast.

 

Thinking about posting my weekly meal prep recipes and plans? Let me know if that is something you’d be interested in reading!

Healthy Chicken Cacciatore

(Gotta love the image… this is what happens when you post to Insta Stories and don’t save the photo first)

I always work to find and make healthy and quick delicious meals for the weekday! Most days I get home after 7 pm and want to be in bed before 10, so my goal is to make it quick and simple! I’ve also been working on eliminating carbs at dinner and finding alternatives!

Since my honeymoon, I’ve lost 8 pounds and am 0.4 away from wedding weight (hoping to be at wedding weight at my weigh-in Saturday). One of the biggest things that has helped me is no carbs at dinner and mostly veggies instead. Carbs give you energy so you don’t need them to sleep. Veggies on the other hand get you full and the little protein I add keeps me full until the next day!

So here is a healthy version of chicken cacciatore that can be made in 1 pot and in less than 30 minutes (and even less time if you buy precut things)

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pounds of chicken breast, cut into bite stir pieces
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used coconut oil, but olive oil works well too)
  • 1 onion, cut
  • 2 peppers, cut
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small potato (I added this because it came in our CSA this week but totally does not need it)
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • Basil, salt, pepper
  • Directions
    1. Heat oil in large skillet or wok… add chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes
      Add onion, pepper, and garlic and cook for additional 3-4 minutes, or until veggies begin to soften
      Add tomatoes, optional potato, and eggplant. Season with salt and pepper and basil… I used a few pieces of fresh basil but dried would also work
      Simmer for 7-10 minutes or until eggplant is soft… Enjoy!

    Serving Options

    1. My husband and I love hot sauce so we naturally put some in
    2. The tomatoes make it a little liquidy, which I like and the broth is delicious! You can serve this over a veggie rice like cauliflower rice or brown rice if you are eating carbs at dinner
    3. Feel free to add any veggie to this dish! The original recipe I got this idea from (The Beachbody Blog) had mushrooms and zucchini.
  • As alway, let me know what you think! If you post it on social media, make sure to tag me at @lovelearninghealth
  • Just Keep Pushing Forward

    Friday is my “weigh – in day”. It’s the day that I track my weight and measurements to see if I lost anything and for the first time since starting 80 Day Obsession, I gained weight. Over a pound. This is disappointing for a lot of reasons, especially since I have my first dress fitting today (though, I am still less than I was when I bought the dress)…

    However, I have two choices. I can be upset and blame the program and say things like it isn’t working for me, nothing works for me, I’ve tried everything, and give up.

    OR

    I can reflect on the type of week I had… and I’m going to be honest. Last night, I had two margaritas, a glass of wine, guacamole and chips, and half of a salad… (wow just writing that out makes me realize how much it was)… Most likely the weight gain has a lot to do with salt, but reflecting on how much I ate shows me that the program works if you follow it.

    I am not going to dwell on this weight gain today and I am just going to keep pushing forward. I am going to push hard in my thirty minute cardio workout today and make as many good food choices as I can. I know I am doing Happy Hour with my best friend tonight, and I’m not going to hold back because we only live once, but it means the rest of the weekend will be clean eating and lots of water.

    When you have a set back, reflect on why versus giving up. Then keep pushing forward.

    Why Coaching Inspired Me to Workout

    In 2015, I was approached by someone who I never met to become a Team Beachbody Coach. This person was my coach, assigned to me because I knew his sister, but other than that, I didn’t know much about him besides that he worked out regularly and posted some videos about it. Each time he asked, I said no… thinking it wasn’t for me.

    But then one day, something in my head, and I still don’t know why, made me stop and think about it. I already was working out, and more importantly, I desperately wanted a body that I didn’t hate and that others admired. I didn’t agree to coach to make money, and to be truthful, I didn’t agree to coach to help others either… I agreed to coach to help me.

    Since that day in April 2015, my coaching journey has been a lot of ups and downs, and again, not because of money or because of helping others, but because of my own belief in myself… I completed programs, but did not follow the calendar faithfully and took more rest days than prescribed… sometimes stopping and restarting, and rarely ever completing a program. More importantly, I did not follow the nutrition components and so while I was getting in better shape, I was not seeing the results that made me comfortable in my own skin or the results that I wanted to inspire others.

    Until April 2018.

    After I ran the Boston Marathon, I thought a lot about coaching and my commitment, and late one night, after eating way too much food and feeling pretty disgusted with myself, I wrote myself a letter… a letter that said I wasn’t going to help others until I learned to help myself. a letter that said I was no longer going to be X pounds and from this day forward I would lead a healthy life, a letter that said I deserved better, and had a choice to make. I spent the next two weeks doing the 21 Day Fix, and then jumping into 80 Day Obsession… and when I say jumping into it, I meant giving the workouts my all, having all of the supplements, and following the nutrition plan 80% of the time (have to be realistic with all of the wedding celebrations)…

    Since this new dedication, I have lost 6 pounds and some inches… but more importantly, I feel more comfortable in my skin than I ever have before. For the first time ever, I can look at pictures and not hate my arms, and I can sit at the beach or pool and not find ways to cover my stomach. Am I completely satisfied? No… but this just makes me hungrier to keep pushing each and everyday. This program is challenging, but I also know if I wasn’t a coach, I wouldn’t be doing it. I would have said that Beachbody was just another program that didn’t work and would have tried something else.

    Being a coach means people are watching… they may be judging or thinking it is some pyramid scheme, but in the end, even if I make no money, I am healthier, I feel better, I am confident.

    Being a coach means developing as a person. I listen to Personal Development almost everyday, and it has helped me focus more in work, in my relationships, and on me.

    Being a coach means helping people. Even when that is not my main motivation or my initial reason for signing up, I love getting messages from my coaches or customers about scale and non – scale victories.

    Being a coach means getting a check each week to help me pay for my Shakeology and supplements.

    Being a coach means I am working on the best version of me each day.

    If you read this at all and it resonated, send me a comment. Maybe today is the day you become a coach so you inspire yourself to be the first version of you.

    My Healthy Relationship with the Scale

    Since starting the “wedding diet”, I’ve learned a lot and I’m excited to share this experience with you because I don’t feel like this “diet” is something I’ll only do for the next 7 weeks, but a lifestyle change, I’ve truly enjoyed…

    Prior to this time, I’ve been told so many things about how to be healthy and how to lose weight… so many fad diets, so many quick fixes, so many restricted foods… but none of those are sustainable nor have they worked for me… I’ve also been told this, and I’m sure many of you have as well… track everything, and don’t go on the scale more than once a week…

    I also know this about myself… I HATE tracking… I’m one of those people who tracks until they go off track and then just “forget” to track until the next day when I can start over – anyone else? Similarly, if I knew I was going out or to a gathering I would just not track that day because it was too hard.

    And what about the scale? The times in my life I have stepped on the scale daily resulted in two things – hatred for the scale going up aka hatred toward myself or a celebration for the scale going down… only so it would go up again… A vicious cycle that never helped me. The times in my life I have stepped on the scale weekly have resulted in almost anxiety every night before “weigh – in” and if I gained weight that week, whatever program I was following, I just assumed it wasn’t working for me or it was too hard given whatever circumstance I wanted to use as an excuse and I would quit.

    Well recently, on top of following the 80 Day Obsession, I have started learning about the 2B Mindset and Ilana, the nutritionist who created the program, has taught me two things… scale everyday and track everything… I’ve been skeptical until today… Yesterday, I didn’t track everything but I was also very conscious of the fact that Tom and I got Starbucks for breakfast, went out for lunch, and ordered Thai for dinner. This morning, I went on the scale and it was up three pounds. Here is the great thing (and yes, I said great thing…) It was the first time, I wasn’t frustrated or disappointed in myself… The difference was I looked at it as a learning opportunity… Clearly eating out three times in a day does not help me reach my goals.

    The scale can feel scary and depressing or it can be used as a tool… Do I look at today’s weight gain as an actual weight gain? No! My official weigh – in days are Friday, but I know what I need to do now to help myself avoid a three pound weight gain in a day… What will I do differently next time? I could have brought breakfast. I also could have had way more water throughout the day.

    It is important to remember that this is a lifestyle change and a journey and the more you learn and understanding, the more successful and the more happy you will be in the long term.

    Interested in learning more about the 2B Mindset or 80 Day Obsession? Let me know! New groups are always starting and 1 on 1 coaching is also provided at no extra cost!

    Sausage Minestrone Soup

    Oh my gosh! This was maybe the best soup I made and so so easy! I adapted it from Fixate which is a cookbook/show that focuses on clean eating and correct portions! I was very pleased with how this came out and how filling it was!

    Ingredients 

    • Chicken sausage (remove from casing)
    • 3-4 carrots, chopped
    • 3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
    • 1/2 onion
    • 4 gloves of garlic, chopped
    • 6 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
    • 1 lb of Swiss chard
    • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomato
    • 1 can of canenneli beans 
    • Salt & pepper to taste
    • Olive oil or similar for sauté

    Directions

    1. In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots, celery, and sausage in oil until sausage is almost cooked. Add garlic 
    2. Add vegetable broth and continue cooking over medium high heat
    3. Cut tomatoes and place in pot with liquid remaining in can
    4. Chop swish chard (remove stem) and add to pot
    5. Drain beans and add to soup
    6. Add salt & pepper for seasoning. Simmer for 15-20 minutes 
    7. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired

    Notes

    • I would definitely make this again and play around with vegetables 

    Chicken Curry

    It is super exciting when one of your best friends also blogs recipes (Pantry Portfolio) and you can talk about what you are making, but even more exciting when you can make a recipe from her site!

    I love Indian so I wanted to try this super easy and delicious Chicken Curry!

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 onion
    • 3 carrots, diced
    • 1 pound of chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
    • 3 tablespoons of curry powder 
    • Salt & Pepper to taste
    • Snap Peas (use as much or as little as you would like)
    • 1 can full fat coconut milk
    • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • Brown or cauliflower rice
    • Olive oil
    • Red pepper flakes if you want spicy 

    Directions

    1. In a small bowl, cover chicken with curry, salt, and pepper.
    2. Add olive oil to a pot and add the onions. Cook 2-3 minutes before adding carrots
    3. Add chicken and cook until almost done
    4. In same bowl as chicken, combine coconut milk, ginger, and garlic
    5. Pour coconut milk mixture over chicken. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. If you want your curry spicy, add red pepper flakes.
    6. While waiting for chicken to cook, cook brown rice or cauliflower rice
    7. Serve chicken mixture over rice! Add some of the sauce onto the rice to get a nice rich flavor throughout!

    Notes

    • Due to our love of spicy, we added hot sauce! I highly recommend sriracha
    • I also added some cayenne pepper to the mixture, to increase the heat