healthy meals

Monday Meal Plan 7/14

Can you believe it’s already the middle of July?? This summer is flying by! I sat my butt (which is getting more and more toned every day, hooray!) on the couch most of the weekend and happily wasted it… At least it was raining and cloudy all day Saturday. I got a few good naps in too, and planned out all of our meals for the week. Here’s what’s on the menu:

Breakfasts:

Avocado, Chopped Hardboiled Egg and Mozzerella on Toast, with a Banana

On Rest Days – Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Shake

(Sorry, I don’t have recipes for either of these, I’m kinda just throwing some things together and hoping for the best. I’ll add recipes later this week if they turn out well and I remember!)

 

Lunches:

Dinner leftovers and…

Avocado and Apple Chicken Salad over Spring Mix Greens (I never made this last week…)

 

Dinners:

Polenta with Roasted Red Peppers and Fontina (and I’m adding crumbled Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage to the skillet mix)

 

Biggest Loser’s Sexy Joe’s on a Whole Wheat Bun with Cauli-Tots (I’m making 6 servings out of the Sexy Joe Filling)

Avocado Chicken Parmigiana with Steamed Green Beans and Carrots

 

All of these meals are about 330 calories each. 3 meals a day at 330 calories each = 990 calories, plus a 240 calorie afternoon snack, and a 200 calorie dessert each day, brings me my goal total of 1430 calories per day. Just like last week, I also planned my carbs around my runs. I’m excited to give this diet plan a real chance this week since it’s a more “normal” week for me.

What’s on your meal plan this week?

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Monday Meal Plan

Mondays are my easy run days. I think the longest run I have on a Monday during my marathon training is just 5 miles. Just 5 miles. Who would’ve ever thought I’d be saying 5 miles was just 5 miles!? Anyways, I digress. I figured since I had easy runs on Mondays, and a pretty predictable day of watching my niece and maybe going to yoga at night, I’d dedicate my Monday posts to my weekly meal plans. I’m always looking for new good recipes, maybe some of you are too? If I’m going through this much work to put together my recipes for the week, I may as well share! So….

Breakfasts:

Ham and egg English muffins (homemade – cross your fingers!), with fresh pineapple

Whole Wheat English Muffins

On rest days – hardboiled eggs with fruit (banana, strawberries, cherries)

Lunch :

Dinner leftovers and…

Avocado and Apple Chicken Salad

Avocado and Apple Chicken Salad

Dinners:

Baja Style Turkey Tacos on homemade Corn Tortillas

Baja Turkey Tacos

Homemade Corn Tortillas

 

Thai Chicken Curry with steamed broccoli and brown rice/or steamed carrots and cauliflower for lunch leftovers

Thai Chicken Curry

 

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato and green beans

BBQ Bacon Burger

Meat stir fry with veggies – This is my “just it case” meal and will be whatever’s left in the fridge at the end of the week!

 

There are also snacks and desserts in there too. We have standard inexpensive snacks that we keep in the house and a Kitchen Safe full of fun sized chocolates for desserts. But that’s all another story for another day. What’s on your menu this week?

Wolf Lake

I officially have a new favorite running trail. This morning, I decided I was sick of my normal neighborhood running route, and since I only work afternoons on Tuesdays, I went to Wolf Lake in North Hammond to run the trail around the lake. I couldn’t find much info online about the length of the trail (it’s either a 3, 5.4, or 7 mile loop?) or even a map of it. And, unfortunately, I only had a 3 mile easy run to complete today so I didn’t get to explore too much. The portion that I ran (and almost ran) was gorgeous though! It truly captured the Northwest Indiana vibe. Vintage industrial meets Wetlands and Wildlife.

Wolf Lake Hammond Indiana Trail

Wolf Lake Hammond Indiana Trail

Wolf Lake Hammond Indiana Trail

Wolf Lake Hammond Indiana Trail

My pace was all over the place because I had to stop to walk through a very large gaggle of geese. Twice. I still got my 3 miles in and I found a new favorite running place so no harm done. Oh, I also saw a swan and a giant turtle out on my run today. So cool!

I promised the other day that I’d post my balsamic marinated grilled summer veggies recipe. Well, it didn’t turn out as good as I’d hoped. A little too vinegary and sweet. I might add a little molasses and/or cinnamon next time to cut the vinegar. Also, I know I let it sit too long. Next time, just 15 minutes in the fridge! Here’s the recipe if you feel like testing it out with the tweaks. (Let me know how it goes!):

Balsamic Veggie Ingredients

Balsamic Veggie Ingredients

Balsamic Marinated Summer Veggies

You’ll need:

2 Zucchini

2 Yellow Squash

1 Red Pepper

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 TBSP Low Sodium Soy Sauce

2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar

2 tsp Basil

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1. Thinly slice the veggies and place in a large bowl.

2. In a smaller bowl combine the olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, basil (and here’s where I’d add 1 TBSP molasses and 1 tsp cinnamon)

3. Pour the marinade over the veggies and mix to coat. I used my hands.

4. If grilling, place in a tin foil packet and put on the second shelf, or out of direct flame. Leave on the grill for 15-20 minutes with the lid down. If baking, place in a shallow baking dish and back at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until some edges begin to brown.

Grilled Dinner Du Jour!

Grilled Dinner Du Jour!

 

An Update One Week In.

Has it been a whole week already? Time flies when you’re having fun really freakin’ busy. First things first. Sunday is my weigh in day and since that’s today I have a weight update! This past week, by eating healthy (in moderation, no strict dieting!) and working out (again, moderately) I lost 3 lbs! My clothes fit better, I feel a lot better, and my stomach is nearly flat again (not that it’s been totally flat since I was 15…). I’m pretty happy about it and proud of myself that I stuck it out a whole week. It means I went 7 days…

-without binging

-eating a diet heavy in fruits and veggies

-consuming no more than 100 calories of candy/chocolate/sugar

-making exercise a priority

How did my husband do you ask? Well, he was really on track for the first 3 days. And then we went out of town for 2 days. He ate what was given to him at his work conference (including a large piece of chocolate mousse cake), and had a pretty big (free at least) breakfast with pancakes. We both had pizza for dinner last night. Totally a fail. But I was still only 500 calories over my daily goal. I’m sure he was way over that. Tonight he’s at a graduation party so I’m sure he’s enjoying the spread. I know he’ll get back on track tomorrow.

I do have quite a bit to share tonight, but I think I’m going to save it for another time. For now I’ll leave you with our meal plan for the week:

Megan Breakfast: Breakfast Hash with Sweet Potato and Chicken Sausage (from Cook This Not That!) or Banana-Berry Green Smoothies (1 frozen banana, 1/2 C Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness juice, 1/2 C frozen strawberries, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder)

Husband Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Nut Crunch with Cream Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles (a few leftover from last week) or Special K (The Aldi version) with Almond Milk and a banana

Megan Lunch: Dinner leftovers or Breakfast Hash

Husband Lunch: Sandwiches on whole wheat bread with fresh fruit and sweet potato chips

Dinner #1: Greek Marinated Chicken with Grilled Balsamic Marinated Veggies (chicken from Budget Bytes, veggies my own concoction – recipe soon to come!)

Greek Marinated Chicken from Budget Bytes

Dinner #2: Spicy Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Lime Crema with Best Black Beans (tacos from Foodess, black beans from All Recipes)

Spicy Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Lime Crema from Foodess

Dinner#3: Chicken, Cashew, and Red Pepper Stir Fry with brown rice (stir fry from Cooking Light)

Chicken, Cashew, and Red Pepper Stir Fry from Cooking Light

Snacks will essentially be the same as last week. Speaking of – everything we ate last week tasted sooo good! I didn’t have high expectations for the Asian Turkeey Meatballs with zoodles, but it was super quick and easy to make and tasted delicious. I actually added matchstick carrots to the zoodles for some color and they added some nice sweet flavor. The Chocolate Chilli wasn’t really chocolately at all, but it tasted a lot like mole. Kinda Tex-mex with the polenta fries. Will definitely make it again! And the Zesty Chicken bites. Hands down the best chicken nuggets I’ve ever made. Ever. The seasoning was so perfect! (Although the salt zoomed out of the canister faster than I thought so they were a little saltier than they should’ve been!) I would make then again tonight if I had the patience to dip them in egg, then seasoning, then turn them while baking. I hate making chicken nuggets, but these are worth the effort without a doubt!

What about you? What are you eating this week?

Together.

This afternoon’s conversation:

Husband: What are we doin for dinner tonight?

Me: I don’t know.

Husband: You know, if we’re gonna start eating healthy again tomorrow, we should eat one last bad meal.

Me: I know. I think so too. So what should we have?

Husband: I don’t know maybe a pizza from the store?

Me: I don’t wanna cook. I’ll have to cook all week. Let’s pick something up.

Husband: Pizza?

Me: Panera?

Husband: I don’t know. What else is there?

Me: We could do Chili’s To-Go. Or maybe just make some appetizers?

Husband: You didn’t want to cook.

Me: That’s right. I forgot. We could get a 10 pack of tacos from Taco Bell.

Husband: Nah. How about Domino’s?

Me: Alright.

The moral of the story is – You know you’ve eaten too bad too long when you nothing bad sounds good.

We’ve both been complaining for a couple weeks now about how we haven’t been eating well and how we’ve gained some weight. My main problems are laziness and a certain minty candy that I am hopelessly addicted to. My husband’s problem is lack of a plan. He’ll actually eat really well if a healthy lunch, dinner, and snack are prepacked for him. But when I get lazy and don’t cook in a timely manner, he ends up snacking on junk food at work and then eating dinner late at night when he gets home. So we decided we’re both going to buckle down on our eating habits together.

I’ve got 3 dinners planned, then a breakfast for myself and a breakfast for my husband. I have a decent variety of snack foods, and I bought some fun sized candies for dessert. Even with having preplanned recipes, I still managed to stay on budget for groceries for the week. ($60, in case you were wondering.) I just tried to pick things that were simple – didn’t take long to make, used basic ingredients, and I’ll be swapping some “fancy” ingredients for some simpler ones (like olive oil in place of sesame oil). Here’s the plan:

Megan Breakfast: BLTE’s (from the Biggest Loser Family Cookbook) or Banana-Berry Smoothies (frozen banana, 1/2 cup Naked Berry Blast juice, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder)

Husband Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Nut Crunch with Cream Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles (from Our Best Bites)

Megan Lunches: Dinner leftovers or BLTE’s

Husband Lunch: Sandwiches on whole wheat bread with fresh fruit and sweet potato chips (from Aldi!)

Dinner #1: Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce over Zoodles (from Skinnytaste)

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce via Skinnytaste

Dinner #2: Chocolate Chili with Polenta Fries (Chili recipe from The Clothes Make The Girl and Polenta Fries from Oh My Veggies)

Chocolate Chili via The Clothes Make the Girl

Polenta Fries via Oh My Veggies

Dinner #3: Zesty Chicken Bites with Lighter Loaded Potatoes and Green Beans (Chicken bites from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen and Loaded Potatoes from Undressed Skeleton)

Zesty Chicken Bites via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Lighter Loaded Potatoes via Undressed Skeleton

For snacks, we’ve got hummus with red peppers, carrots and pita chips (which I baked from pita bread today, just added a little olive oil and salt and left in the oven on 400 while I did the dishes – so 8-10 minutes?), string cheese, protein bars and Larabars, cherries, strawberries, apples, apple sauce, fruit leather strips, almonds and other nuts, popcorn, sweet potato chips, and tortilla chips with salsa.

We’re gonna prep our breakfasts tonight, and always make our lunches and pack our snacks the night before. I’m going to make two of our dinners tomorrow, and the third on Wednesday. So we should have plenty of healthy meals in the fridge.

As far as out diet “rules” go, we are (I am?) just watching calories. Each meal is about 340 calories per serving. My husband will eat a serving and a half of each plus a 300 calorie snack and a 200 calorie dessert – a little over 2,000 calories per day. I’m having a single serving of each meal, a 200 calorie snack, and a 200 calorie dessert – a little over 1,400 calories per day. We should each be losing about a pound a week. Really, this is how we should be eating all the time. (Hopefully, eventually, we’ll get there!)

But for tonight, pizza. And Jr. Mints. (And gummy bears for the husband) Last time for a while! Cheers!

Detox Day 4

It’s a good thing that my blogging voice has nothing to with my actual voice. Because I hardly have one. It has been a long few weeks of sickness. And to top that off, I know have a complication with a 3 year old root canal. There’s an infection in my gum line because either my root canal is fractured or there’s decaying roots in my gums. I’m an utter mess from my top lip to my collar bone. Fortunately, all of these weird issues have made it pretty easy to stick with my detox diet. The first three days were easy, I ate lots of smoothies, salads, Larabars, and potatoes with beans (It was the easiest thing to make that felt good on my throat). I even came up with a healthy and filling baked apple dessert. Today, however, has been more of a struggle. I had another pb&j smoothie for breakfast, a Larabar as a snack, and then a simple veggie chili for an early dinner/late lunch.

Simple Veggie Chili with Avocado

Simple Veggie Chili with Avocado

It was pretty good for being so simple. (Sorry for another terrible pic, it bubbled up in the microwave and I didn’t feel like dirtying an extra bowl just to get a better looking picture.) I mixed salsa, veggie broth, and great northern beans with some cumin, paprika, and chili powder. After a couple minutes in the microwave, I topped it with about 1/3 or an avocado, sliced. Sadly, it just didn’t hit the spot. Now here I am, sitting on the couch snacking on potato chips (just potatoes and oil!). I know it’s time to add in some more nutrients. I need some meat. And I need my carbs back! Surprisingly, I don’t miss dairy too much.  I’m going to add back in a little bit of dairy. I’m going to finish out today strong, and then tomorrow I’m going to add a few servings of meat, dairy, and grain back each day.

I feel a little bad that I couldn’t keep this up for a full 7 days, but I was only planning on 3 and I’ve done 4! My cravings for sugar have pretty much gone away, my skinny jeans fit again, and I’ve lost almost 5 pounds! I’d call that a success. Just 3 more days of really healthy, balanced eating, and I think I’ll be totally back on track!

Simple, Balanced, and Delicious

Since I’ve gone to part time and my whole meal planning routine has gone out the window, I’ve been working on easing into a new system that will work for us. I used to plan breakfast for my husband, breakfast for me, and 3 dinners that I’d double so I could have the leftovers for lunch. Everything but my husbands sandwich and snack stuff would get prepacked into tuppeerware containers in the fridge at the beginning of the week. I’d spend about 4-5 hours one night (Sunday or Monday) and make everything all at once with my husband’s help. It was seriously efficient, rigidly structured, and a huge time saver throughout the rest of the week.

Post-cooking frenzy fridge.

Post-cooking frenzy fridge.

I thought that when I went to part time, I’d figured I’d be so excited to have more time to make these meals. I wouldn’t be up doing dishes at midnight on a Sunday night after making 4 meals. I’d be able to make even better food cause I’d be able to try out new recipes and make more from scratch. Now that I’m actually working part time, I’m enjoying a slower pace of life. I don’t want to stress myself out cooking extravagant meals. I don’t want to spend my mornings washing dishes. I’d rather be reading a book, writing a blog post, working out, spending time with family. So I’ve adopted a new mantra when it comes to my eating/cooking/dieting:

Simple, Balanced, and Delicious

There are tons of benefits to eating this way.

  • It’s cheaper! Eating simply made meals require far less ingredients. For example, this past week I made a turkey breast in the Crockpot with roasted red potatoes and a side salad. Total number of ingredients – 9 (plus seasonings). Total cost = about $12 (for six meals!) I’ve been spending about $65 a week on groceries at Aldi instead of my normal $85-100 at Meijer. And we have plenty of food stocked up. In a couple weeks, we’ll probably just need to buy some cereal and milk and lunch meat. We could probably cut our grocery budget by 30%!
  • Less clean up! By having cereal, milk, and a banana for breakfast I only have one bowl and one spoon to wash. When we’d make more complicated breakfasts, there’d be extra pans, knifes and cutting boards, skillets, pans and even appliances to clean up. An easy egg bake which we probably would make every other week would require me to wash a knife, a cutting board, a skillet, a casserole dish, and then a plate and fork for each serving.  That’s a whole lot more than a daily bowl and spoon!
  • It satisfies cravings! Back when I would meal plan for an entire week, I’d have three options for all of my lunches and dinners all week. If I got sick of a meal, I’d have to eat it anyway. If something didn’t taste as great as I’d hoped, I’d choke it down. Now, if I want Italian (like I did last night), I throw some turkey sausages in the Crockpot with sliced peppers and marinara, along with a small scoop of whole wheat pasta, dinner’s made, craving’s satisfied, and I’m less likely to binge later.
  • It’s fresher! Almost all food will last in the fridge for a week, easily, cooked or uncooked. Not that our tupperware food ever tasted bad because it sat in the fridge for a few days, but fruits and veggies have a much better texture when you eat them right after they’ve been cooked or chopped. This week, we made tacos and I threw together a zucchini/corn saute to top them with. There’s no way the soft and crunchy texture would have been the same after sitting in it’s own juices in a tupperware for 4 days. Edible, yes, delicious, not really.
  • It saves time! Meal planning, grocery shopping, and managing the food in the cabinets/fridge (putting groceries away, clearing out stuff that had gone bad in the fridge, etc.) used to take me 3-4 hours a week. And that wasn’t even cooking anything or cleaning up! Now, I grab a quarter and my reusable grocery bags, shop without a list (the horror!) at Aldi, take a few minutes to clear out the old stuff from the fridge, put the groceries away, and I’m done for the week. It takes me at most and hour and a half. Even if I need to stop at another store for a few things, it takes me maybe another 45 minutes. Still way less time than it used to take me.
  • Less Waste! Since there’s no meal plan, I use what I have. When I grocery shop, I just get the basics. No fussy ingredients. I’ve found that everything fresh gets used up quicker and we throw out a lot less!

Sure, there are a few downsides to eating this way too:

  • Tracking calories may be harder. I haven’t been tracking my calories lately, just watching my portions. But if/when I do start to track them, I won’t just be measuring and weighing out 3 meals a week, it’ll be potentially 4-5 dinners a week plus breakfast and lunch. I’m hoping to lose a little more weight before I begin training for my marathon which will mean some serious calorie counting for a few weeks. Things could get a little dicey.
  • Forgetting to plan ahead. Sometimes my husband works a day shift at one job and then an evening shift at another. If I’m not careful, he won’t be home for dinner and there won’t be any leftovers for him to take to work for dinner. Not a huge deal breaker, but something I need to work on for his sake.
  • More processed food. I was on track to eating almost exclusively all non-processed food. I still stick with foods that have fewer ingredients, but I am buying more premade foods. Mostly sauces, pastas, and some snack foods. I’m always careful to watch for high sodium and added sugars.

All in all, the pros outweigh the cons. And it fits for my current lifestyle. I imagine this is actually how most people “meal plan” and eat. What about you? Are you more of a strict planner/shopper/cooker? Or a fly by the seat of your pants/shop without a list/eat what you crave in moderation kind of person? How does it work for you? Anything you’d like to do differently?