Sunday Meal Prep March 19, 2017

Hey everyone! Before we get going, I want to talk a bit about meal planning for your prep. This week really reminded me of how important it is to build up a list of recipes you really like! While some weeks you might feel inspired or be craving something in particular, there are going to be weeks where nothing sounds particularly interesting. For those weeks, having your list of go-to recipes helps so much!

This week was one of the uninspired weeks for me. I had a really hard time making my plan for this meal prep. Draz didn’t have any requests this week and nothing was coming to mind that I really wanted for the coming week. Enter Pinterest! This is seriously my favorite tool ever for meal prep. I’ve been menu planning for years and for the majority of it I didn’t use Pinterest. It was all cookbooks, printed off recipes and the occasional Internet search. Now though? When I’m stuck, I just go to my “Recipes Made and Loved” recipe board and pick from there! It’s so much easier. If you haven’t started using Pinterest for your own meal prep planning, I highly recommend it.
And now, on to this week’s meal prep! Enjoy!

Get your week started off right with this healthy and budget-friendly meal prep!

This week’s meal prep was super quick and tasty, plus being pretty budget-friendly too. I don’t know how you can get more of a overall win than that!
I hadn’t made Sweet Potato Banana Bites in a while and I forgot just how much I love them! They are such a dessert-type snack, but still healthy and made with wholesome ingredients. One of the first things I made when I started meal prepping, they have been a favorite of mine for over 2 years now! I also whipped up some more protein balls for Draz, some cinnamon bread for our breakfast, and more Cheeseburger-inspired jar salads! Overall, not a bad set up for our snacks and my lunches for the week.
weekly-food-prep
For our main dishes, I made Slow Cooker Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Chili and Easy Skillet Chicken Cacciatore. I also altered this Kielbasa Hash. Our two chicken dishes both turned out delicious! That chili is still our favorite one and it just makes me happy every time I eat it. Plus is so easy to make and macros-friendly! The chicken cacciatore turned out well, though I kinda wish I had thought to make some rice or pasta to go with it….so much sauce!
healthy-food-prep-main-dishes
For the Kielbasa Hash, I am so happy with how this one turned out! I was honestly a little hesitant about using sweet potatoes. Other than the sweet potato banana bites, I haven’t found many recipes that really make me love sweet potatoes. But this one definitely does! The only change up I made was sweet potatoes for potatoes. Otherwise, I followed the recipe!
breakfast-hash-fried-eggs
I have a serious obsession with all things breakfast foods and this one is by far one of my favorites. Peppers, onions, turkey sausage and potatoes, all combined with fried egg? Perfection! I will admit, this one is a little higher in fat than I would prefer, but it was well worth it! If you are wanting to cut a little of the fat, you could probably forgo the eggs on top. (Which would be crazy and sad, but you could do it!)
Speaking of macros, here are the macros for this week’s meal prep!
healthy-weekly-meal-prep
Want to join in and make this meal prep for yourself? Get your grocery list here!

And that’s it for this week! What are you making for your meal prep this week? Any delicious sweet potato recipes? I would love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below!

Sunday Meal Prep March 5, 2017

Hey everyone!! Ok, so I can’t really contain my excitement about this week’s meal prep. This week has some awesome new recipes full of flavor and everything is super macros friendly. Which is great for me right now, because I just started a 10-week fitness challenge! I’m super excited about it and can’t wait to see how it changes up my progress! So this challenge has me a bit more focused on hitting my macros and eating healthy, energizing food every day and this week’s meal prep definitely satisfies!

Enjoy!

Get your week started off right with this healthy meal prep! Get all the details here, plus your free downloadable grocery list!

So first I want to introduce you to what might be my new favorite salad. Based on this recipe, this cheeseburger inspired salad is delicious! I will be making this again next week (and possibly for the foreseeable future)! It was AMAZING and so different from salads I have made before.

My salads were as follows (in each salad, bottom to top):

  • Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard dressing
  • red onion, 1 Valsic Zesty Dill Pickle chopped, roughly 7 cherry tomatoes
  • a portion of the meat mixture that is in the recipe above
    • I use reduced sugar ketchup instead of regular ketchup
  • roughly 1 tbsp of fiesta blend shredded cheese
  • spring mixture salad greens

healthy-food-prep-mason-jar-salads-protein-balls-snacks

For our snacks this week I kept things pretty much the same, but I think they are going to be changing up soon too. But for now, our regular protein balls hit the spot (mine and his)! I was planning on making our new favorite muffins too, but sadly realized that I had mis-remembered how much rolled oats we had left….it was very sad and a good reminder to check the pantry when I’m making my grocery list!

For main dishes, this week was a fun mix of old favorites and new recipes! Draz requested this Slow Cooker Island Pulled Pork recipe, so that was automatically put on the menu. And happily, because I forgot just how tasty this one is!

  • For my pulled pork, I make it as a wrap using FlatOut Wraps, so that is what is included in the macros and on the grocery list. Draz likes them with onion hamburger buns, so those work well too if you prefer!

healthy-weekly-food-prep-main-dishes

He also asked for me to make some more Turkey and Bean Burritos. Those went straight into the freezer. They are great to have on hand! Here are the changes I make to this recipe:

  • I use 1.25 lb 97% lean ground turkey instead of 1 lb ground beef. This means that this recipe also makes a few more burritos than the original recipe states.
  • Low fat refried beans instead of regular
  • I don’t butter the tortillas
  • When I make them for me, I use FlatOut Wraps. Draz prefers regular flour tortillas. The macros below are using FlatOut Wraps.

The slow cooker dish of the week was Cashew Chicken. I hadn’t made this one in quite a while and it was a welcome change! I love how the cashews really soak in the flavor of the sauce! When served with jasmine rice they ended up a little higher in carbs than I would prefer, but not too bad. This could be remedied by making cauliflower rice instead if you want to! I thought about it, but honestly, I’m a little frustrated with that right now, so I opted not to make it.

  • I omitted the green onions this time and didn’t really notice much of a difference.
  • reduced sugar ketchup instead of regular ketchup

weekly-food-prep

Our new dish for the week was Skinny Bell Pepper Nachos! This was a nice twist on the normal stuffed bell peppers that I’ve made before and I really liked them! I did make the servings a bit small though and next time, I will probably go with a few fewer servings. I originally made this as 6 servings. Next time I will probably make it as 4, so that is what I’ve listed below for the macros. After all, that is how it ended up being eaten!

  • I used 1.25 lbs 97% lean ground turkey. I did have a little left over at the end
  • 4 bell peppers instead of 3
  • I didn’t measure the cheese and instead just sprinkled a small amount on each. I think it ended up coming out to roughly 3/4 c Fiesta Blend shredded cheese

Here is the macros breakdown for this week!

iifym-sunday-meal-prep

Want to give this menu a try? Get your grocery list here! This week I decided to change things up a little. You have two options to pick from for your grocery list, so you can do what works best for you!

Just the main dishes: 

All the food from this meal prep: 

That’s it for this week! What did you make for your meal prep? Any new recipes? I would love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below!

Sunday Meal Prep 2/12/17

Hey everyone! This week’s meal prep was a little different, in that I actually prepped for most of 2 weeks worth of food at the same time. I knew the following weekend I wasn’t going to have much time for meal prep, so I planned ahead! That is one of the things I love about meal prep…you can make it work for you and your schedule! So along with the dishes I’m sharing with you today, I also made extra cinnamon bread and 3 main dishes that all went into the freezer.

Next week I will show you the second week’s freezer prep and let you know how that worked out, so make sure to check back in then! As for this week’s meal prep, everything turned out delicious and I can’t wait to share these recipes with you. While two of these dishes are new to the blog, we actually tried them out a few weeks ago, right before I got sick, so I never actually got to eat them! Thankfully, Draz liked them so much that he was happy for me to make them again a few weeks later so I could try them too!

Enjoy!

Weekly meal prep can help you maintain your busy lifestyle and still eat healthy! Click through to check out this week's meal prep and get your own grocery list to get you started!

food-prep

This week’s snacks were delicious! I opted to keep with our regular snacks this week, so I made Sweet Potato Banana Bites, 5-Ingredient Banana Bread Muffins, and Cookie Dough Protein Balls. Along with that, I made 4 mason jar salads! For now, I will be cutting down on the salads I’m making each week. Draz has requested no more salads for him for a while, so it will just be mine 🙂

healthy-weekly-food-prep

On to the main dishes! I am loving this week’s meals and Draz did too. All of these will definitely be made again! I don’t know that either of us could pick a sole favorite. They were all delicious in their own way! This week’s main dishes were Slow Cooker Italian Red Pepper Chicken, Low-Carb Sausage and Roasted Peppers Mock Lasagna Casserole, and Low-Carb Deconstructed PizzaBoth of the low-carb dishes were from a site that is new to me called Kalyn’s Kitchen and I have to say, I will definitely be trying out more of her recipes!

Tracking macros? Here is how this week’s main dishes break down:

IIFYM-healthy-meal-prep

Want to try out this week’s meal prep for yourself? Get your grocery list here!

Have you tried any new recipes lately? Or tried prepping for later weeks using freezer recipes? I would love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below!

Sunday Meal Prep 2/5/17

Hey everyone! Have you been missing my weekly meal prep posts as much as I have missed doing them?! 🙂 I am so happy to be getting back to my normal schedule and a big part of that is being able to do meal prep again! This week’s prep is pretty small, but expect a really big one next week!

Enjoy!

Meal prep is my best tool to eating healthy the whole week! Come check out this week's meal prep and get your own free downloadable grocery list to get you started!

Things stayed pretty basic this week for our snacks and salads. I think I might try a new protein ball recipe soon though. This week’s included No Bake Maple Vanilla Latte Protein Bites and Cookie Dough Protein Balls Any suggestions?

One thing that didn’t stay the same: our containers! Just check out those pretty glass Pyrex containers! I finally gave in and upgraded our sad old collection and invested in some quality containers and I gotta say, I’m loving them!

healthy-snacks-and-treats-salads-weekly-food-prep

For our main dish this week, I decided to go with one of our recent favorites: Healthy Slow Cooker Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Chili. Pretty easy to get cooking, delicious and healthy, this recipe has quickly become my go-to! It turned out wonderful, as always.

weekly-food-prep-red-pepper-chicken-chili

And that is it for this week! This meal prep is perfect if you just want to spend a bit of time to make things a little easier on yourself the coming week.

What are you making for your meal prep this week? What is your favorite go-to recipe? I would love to hear about them, so drop an answer in the comments below!

Sunday Meal Prep 1/8/17

So how was your first week of the new year? Did anything wonderful happen? I had some great things going on this week, like seeing an old college friend who I haven’t seen in years, working on a project with another blogger friend and meeting for coffee and computer stuff with a friend from my business book group! All in all, a fun and productive week!

One of the things I love about meal prep is the flexibility that it allows be during the week! Most of these things came up kinda last minute and I was just able to say “yes!” and enjoy them! All while still keeping my eating (mostly) on track 🙂

For this week’s meal prep, we are fully out of the holiday craziness and back into the swing of things. I had a lot to prep this week, but it was well worth it! Enjoy!

Want a quick and budget friendly meal prep? Check out this week's meal prep with Healthy Baked Smothered Chicken and Cabbage Sauteed with Chicken! You can even download the grocery list to get you started even easier!

For our snacks and lunches, we had all the normal stuff, but we also had a new addition: 5-Ingredient Banana Bread Muffins! These things are amazing! I love that not only are they tasty, but they are macros-friendly enough that I can have one most days if I want to…and trust me, I wanted to! These are definitely going to be made again.

Healthy lunches, snacks and treats to make your week easier and healthier!

 

We were also completely out of breakfast burritos, so a batch of those were definitely in order! I also made up some cinnamon bread and some extra Turkey and Bean Burritos for Draz to have in the freezer. We didn’t particularly need the extra burritos, but they are nice to have around just in case. Check out the bottom of the post for the Cinnamon Bread and Breakfast Burrito recipes!

Freezer breakfast burritos and homemade healthy cinnamon bread make a quick and healthy breakfast a snap!

 

And now, on to our two main dishes of the week! The Cabbage Sautéed with Chicken was a repeat dish, but actually went over much better this time! When I made it last time the recipe called for a lot more paprika than it does now. And while I like dishes all kinds of spicy, Draz was not too fond of the heat! This time the flavor was much more mellow and I really enjoyed it.

Baked Smothered Chicken and Cabbage Sauteed with Chicken make healthy, flavorful meals easy!

The Healthy One-Dish Baked “Smothered” Chicken was a new recipe and a complete hit! Both Draz and I liked this dish and I will be making it again, probably soon! The flavors blended together wonderfully and it was very filling and tasty. Plus helped me hit my protein for the day! Overall, a win in my book!

Smothered Chicken and Cabbage Sauteed with Chicken are perfect for a quick and healthy meal prep!

Both of these main dishes can be served with rice, but I ended up ricing some cauliflower and sauteing it up right before eating. It turned out great and I think I’m finally starting to get this whole “cauliflower rice” thing down! It was a great way to enjoy the dish with rice without killing my carbs for the day. Draz opted to just have both main dishes with no rice and enjoyed them quite a bit on their own, so you can really go either way with this one.

Want to follow along and make these main dishes for your own meal prep? Get your grocery list here!

How was your first week of 2017? What are you making for your meal prep this weekend? I would love to hear about it!

Healthier Cinnamon Bread
Print Recipe
I have loved having cinnamon bread as part of my breakfast for a long time now, but I wasn't always happy about how healthy it was. Not so with this recipe! After a lot of adapting and experimenting, I created this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Healthier Cinnamon Bread
Print Recipe
I have loved having cinnamon bread as part of my breakfast for a long time now, but I wasn't always happy about how healthy it was. Not so with this recipe! After a lot of adapting and experimenting, I created this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
Servings: loaves
Instructions
  1. All of these directions are using an electric stand mixer. If you are using something else, adjust as needed.
  2. In your mixing bowl, add bananas, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla essence. Mix on low until combined. Add unsweetened almond milk, then lemon juice; continue mixing on low.
  3. One cup at a time, slowly add whole wheat flour while mixing on low, scraping sides of bowl between each cup. After adding the last cup of flour, add the baking soda. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then mix on low briefly to fully combine.
  4. Mix 1/3 cup sugar and the cinnamon to make a cinnamon sugar mixture.
  5. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray. Put 1/2 of the batter (or a little less) into the loaf pans; 1/4 in each pan. Sprinkle 3/4 of the cinnamon mixture on top of the batter in each pan.
  6. Add remaining batter to pans, then sprinkle with last of the cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife.
  7. Bake at 350 for 1 hr or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan to cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional Information according to MyFitnessPal: 141 calories - Carbs 32 g, Fat 1 g , Protein 3 g , Cholesterol 16 mg, Sodium 116 mg, Potassium 120 mg, Sugars 17 g, Vitamin A 1%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 5%, Iron 5%

Nutritional Information is for 1 slice. Each loaf, for us, comes to 13 slices.

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2 sizes freezer breakfast sausage burritos
Freezer Breakfast Burritos
Print Recipe
These breakfast burritos are a staple in our home! Tasty and filling, they are our favorite breakfast. Pair with some healthy homemade cinnamon bread and cottage cheese and you have a breakfast that will start your day off right!
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
2 sizes freezer breakfast sausage burritos
Freezer Breakfast Burritos
Print Recipe
These breakfast burritos are a staple in our home! Tasty and filling, they are our favorite breakfast. Pair with some healthy homemade cinnamon bread and cottage cheese and you have a breakfast that will start your day off right!
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: burritos
Instructions
  1. Brown sausage over med-high heat in a large skillet. When sausage is almost cooked through, add bell pepper and onions. Saute until tender. While sausage is cooking, beat eggs and any desired seasonings together.
  2. Once sausage and veggie mixture is cooked, add egg mixture. Cook, stirring regularly, until eggs are almost set. Add cheese and salsa; cook 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and eggs fully set. Remove from heat and allow to cool, 10-15 minutes.
    freezer sausage breakfast burrito filling mixture
  3. Once mixture is cooled, spoon into tortillas and fold into a burrito. Wrap in cling wrap (my preference) or aluminum foil.
    2 sizes freezer breakfast sausage burritos
Recipe Notes

Our burritos have two sizes. Mine have 1/3 c filling wrapped in a FlatOut wrap. Draz's have 2/3 c. filling wrapped in a larger (burrito-size) white tortilla. This recipe usually makes 30 burritos in total, 15 of each size. If you are just making the smaller burritos, it should make roughly 54 burritos.

To Heat: Remove from freezer and allow to thaw overnight. Heat in microwave 1.5-2 minutes, flipping once. (You can heat straight from the freezer, but I find it's harder to heat evenly that way)

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sunday meal prep 1/1/17

Happy New Year everyone!! I am beyond excited to start off the new year and I hope you are too! Did you have fun ringing in 2017 last night? Draz and I were at my parents celebrating our family Christmas a little late, so that was our excitement for the night. It was a great time!

I have so many thoughts, plans and hopes for 2017, some of which I will be sharing with you all soon! But for now, I want to focus on the one thing that makes my week work….meal prep! Meal prep is literally the only way that my week functions. With it, I can focus on the things that truly matter to me. I have a lot going on, so if I want to still be able to spend time with Draz (which I do :-P), then I don’t want to be worrying about what we are having for dinner!

Start your week off right! Use meal prep to save you time, money and hassle throughout the week. You can still eat healthy, delicious food without having to cook everyday. Get started today with your free downloadable grocery list for this week's meal prep!

For this week’s meal prep, I kept things pretty simple. With the busy nature of the holidays, I didn’t want to worry about spending too long prepping stuff for the coming week. Along with that, Draz and I both wanted to keep this one especially budget-friendly! The holidays can be expensive and groceries are one of the areas that you can save the most in! So I aimed to plan for meals that we already had some of the ingredients and that what we didn’t have was also budget friendly.

Mason jar salads for lunch and grapes with cheese for a healthy snack!

We both still had some protein balls left over, so I kept things really simple this week and just whipped up some salads and assembled my grapes and cheese snacks! For our main dishes, I made two that I had made before: Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup and One Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole!

food-prep-ham-and-potato-soup-cheesy-chicken-broccoli-casserole

One of the things that I love about this potato soup is how quick it is to make! But along with that, it is so filling and just perfect for these cold winter days here in Iowa. I did make a couple changes to the recipe to make it a little healthier

  • I substituted unsweetened almond milk for the heavy cream called for in the recipe
  • Instead of sour cream, I used plain Greek yogurt

The only thing I wish I had done differently was at the end of the recipe when I added in the last few ingredients. Instead of just adding in the three ingredients to the slowcooker, next time I will probably whisk the flour into the almond milk first, and then add the mixture to the slowcooker. This time it took a lot of work to get those little lumps of flour mixed in :-/

For the casserole, I only made a few small changes.

  • I upped the amount of broccoli a bit. I think it ended up being around 2 1/2 c total
  • Instead of shredded cheddar, I used a shredded fiesta mix. It’s what I had on hand and it worked out great!
  • I sprinkled in some red pepper flakes right before adding the broccoli.
  • At the end of the recipe, instead of broiling it for a little bit, I baked it in the oven. Bake uncovered, at 400 for 10-15 minutes.

Tracking macros? Here is the macro breakdown of our two main dishes, using MyFitnessPal:

jan-1-macros

Want to follow along? Get your free downloadable grocery list with everything you need to make this week’s main dishes here:

What are you making for your meal prep this week? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

sunday meal prep 12/25/16

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely holiday weekend and spending plenty of time with family. Draz is with his family right now and our Christmas with my family is next weekend 🙂
Due to the holidays along with having some extra food on hand, I have a super small meal prep today…possibly one of my smallest ever! But with it being Christmas and all, I think that works out just fine 🙂 You can do this prep in under 2 hours and get back to spending time with your family. If you are doing just the ONE main dish, it will probably take you less than 30 minutes!!

small-meal-prep

This week I made our salads, my grapes with cheese snack, some protein balls for Draz and this new Beef Stew recipe. This one had a mixed reaction with us. Draz wasn’t too fond of it. I thought it was okay taste-wise, but a lot thinner than I would have preferred. It was much more a soup than a stew. Maybe if I had mashed up some of the potatoes after cooking or added some cornstarch?

But honestly, I don’t think it would have thickened up as much as I wanted either way. I did eat it this week and did enjoy it, but I think we will be sticking with a couple other of our go-to beef stew recipes in the future. If you end up trying this one and find it to your liking I would love to hear about it! Especially if you manage to get it to thicken up to more of a stew-like consistency!

That’s it for me this week! I hope you continue to have a lovely holiday weekend and I will be back on Thursday with a new post!

sunday meal prep 12/18/16

Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?!? I can’t! With 2 weeks left in the year I’m sure many of us are thinking about 2017 and what we hope to achieve. For many of us there are some health and wellness goals in there somewhere…I know I have some! (More on that in an upcoming post!) And one of the practices that I believe has made the biggest difference to my health is meal prep! I know that with my busy schedule eating healthy wouldn’t happen nearly as much if I had to prepare it daily. And I’m sure you have your own busy schedules to contend with! So as this year comes to a close, don’t forget to either start or keep up with this healthy practice! It will make your week so much easier, just like it has mine!

This week I kept things pretty simple with our meal prep: A few of our favorite dishes and a LOT of healthy snack options! Enjoy!

With meal prep you can eat healthy all week and still have time for the things you love! And now you can download this grocery list to make things even easier! Tracking macros? You can now see the macros for everything in this week's meal prep!

Both Draz and I were running low on our favorite protein balls, so this week I made both! I have been having a couple a day right now and loving it! I usually have them right after I get home, before I head to the gym. They give me that little boost before my workout, plus I hate training when I’m hungry!

Mason jar salads help us to have a healthy lunch and having healthy snacks on hand helps keep our eating on track!

Along with those, I made up some of our favorite treats: Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins and Sweet Potato Banana Bites! Now, since I started doing If It Fits Your Macros, I’ve had to take a hard look at the foods I’m eating, especially the more “treat” type ones. Thankfully having 2-3 Sweet Potato Banana Bites usually falls well within my macros! The muffins are a bit harder to have and still fit in, but I did end up having one 🙂

Mason jar salads for lunch and healthy snacks on hand!

I did make one small change to our salads this week…a new dressing! I realize this might not sound like much of a change, but trust me, it was! When I was grabbing our regular Classic Ranch dressing off the shelf, I happened to see this Creamy Garlic one! Not only is it a bit lower in calories, it is super tasty! I’m sure we will still use the ranch one regularly, but this one will definitely be used again!

For our main dishes, I stuck with a few favorites: Slow Cooker Mongolian ChickenChicken Fajita Pasta and Spanish Chicken. Everything turned out delicious! In an effort to lower the carbs, I made some more cauliflower rice too. I learned a couple things this time around! One being that I really should put it in the food processor in small batches or it gets overly processed!

Mongolian Chicken, Spanish Chicken and Chicken Fajita Pasta to help us eat tasty, healthy food all week long!

For the Mongolian Chicken, I added in some raw broccoli in the last 30 minutes of cooking in the slow cooker, at the same time that you add in the rest of the sauce. It worked great! I did also make one change to the Chicken Fajita Pasta too: I used a chickpea pasta by Pasta Lensi. I think it turned out really well, though I might try it with the lentil pasta next time and see how that turns out.

chicken-and-rice-casserole-dish
Spanish Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
5 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 35-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 35-40 minutes
chicken-and-rice-casserole-dish
Spanish Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
5 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 35-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 35-40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, brown chicken in oil for 2-3 min on each side. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, saute the onion, green bell pepper, and garlic until tender. Stir in tomatoes, water, rice, chicken base, and seasonings. Bring to a boil.
  2. Pour into a greased 11x7 in baking dish; top with chicken. Cover and bake at 350 for 35-40 min. Uncover; pour salsa over chicken and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
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Mongolian Chicken, Spanish Chicken and Chicken Fajita Pasta to help us eat tasty, healthy food all week long!

This week’s macros breakdown (according to MyFitnessPal):

macros-dec-18

Want to make this menu for yourself? Now you can download your own grocery list to get you started!

I think this week’s food turned out wonderful. What did you make for your meal prep this week? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

ditching the diet mentality (+ 6 tips to help you do it!)

The diet mentality is something that we see all around us every day. The magazines at the checkout stand with headlines like “Lose 10 lbs in a week with _____ diet!” and “___ lost 50 lbs fast with _____ diet!!” It seems like there is always a new hot diet that is just the perfect fix to help you lose all the weight and you don’t even have to work out! We are inundated with these messages, so it’s no wonder that many of us have an unhealthy relationship with the word “diet.”

Ditching the diet mentality can be hard, but you can do it! These 6 tips helped me to develop a lifestyle that included healthy eating instead of "going on a diet"!

First appearing in the 13th century, the word diet is defined as “food or drink regularly provided or consumed” (Merriam-Webster). But that is not the way that many of us think of that word now. Instead, when we hear the word diet, we think of whatever fad diet has hit the shelves lately or cycles of restrictive eating. For many of us, this word may even bring on stress, anxiety or guilt. I know it did for me.

In my late teens up to my mid-20s, that was me. I would try a restrictive diet, only to fall off the wagon shortly after, binge, and then feel guilty….which would end up with me binging more. The only “diet” that I had much success with was calorie counting. But because I didn’t really have an understanding of what I was doing, it was overly restrictive and stressful. I was miserable and very hungry, all the time. I did lose some weight, but in the end the high level of restriction was too much for me and I stopped, gaining all the weight back plus some extra!

Does this story sound familiar? I imagine it does, because I know many others that have been through the exact same thing. Many people cycle through periods of restrictive dieting for years with these results. They feel the guilt, shame and stress of “failing” at their diet, of not being able to lose the weight and keep it off. Much of this, to me, seems to stem from how we view our diets.

In today’s diet mentality, diets are temporary. They are viewed as the quick fix or magic pill for weight loss. The diet industry is a billion dollar industry for a reason. People will go on a diet to “lose the weight” but for many, that is as far ahead as they think about it. So the diet works (for the moment), they lose the weight, stop the diet because they have succeeded at their goal, and then they gain the weight back.

And that is even if they get to the point of losing the weight to begin with! If they don’t lose the weight quickly, they inevitably become frustrated with the diet “not working” and being too restrictive and they give up. Either way, it’s unhealthy, both physically and mentally. It promotes disordered eating habits and in many cases, associates negative emotions with food. This was something I struggled with a lot in my younger years.

Even now I still sometimes struggle with guilt and stress about eating healthy. It’s better than it was, but it’s still present sometimes. The difference is that I now recognize it and I don’t let it throw me off track anymore. Yes, maybe I shouldn’t have eaten quite as much of that treat as I did. But I did, and now I’m going to go back to eating like I normally do. One unhealthy meal does not you have failed.

So what do I do differently now? Well, for one, I don’t view myself as on a diet. I do watch what I eat, and I don’t just eat whatever I want, whenever I want. I work to make smart choices and to find healthy alternatives to unhealthy foods. But I also have a cheat meal each week (gotta have some pizza!) and I still eat foods I love. But to me, it’s not a diet in the modern use of the word. It’s a lifestyle. It’s just how I eat. And that change in perspective has helped me a lot when it comes to staying on track and eating healthy for over a year now.

Healthy eating as a lifestyle takes work and practice, along with a healthy dose of understanding towards yourself. I spend time every week planning out my meal plan and making my meal prep. And now I’m actually adding to that and starting to track my macros and planning my meal preps accordingly. (More on If It Fits Your Macros, or IIFYM, later on!)

So what can you do to shift away from the diet mentality and start looking at healthy eating as a lifestyle?

6 Tips to Ditching the Diet Mentality

  • Make it sustainable. Along with being unsustainable long-term, heavy calorie restriction and cutting out foods entirely can be unhealthy in many cases. Restricting your calorie intake too much can wreak havoc with your metabolism. And cutting out foods you love is not going to work for the rest of your life!
  • Don’t forget to have fun! You aren’t “on a diet,” which means that you can still go out with friends for drinks or dinner or have that treat if you want to. And it’s fine to enjoy the food at a family gathering for the holidays! Just make smart choices about it and remember that you probably don’t want to be doing that every day.
  • Moderation is key. Love Reese’s? (Can you tell that I do!?) You can still have them! Just moderate how much of them you have and how often. Whatever your favorite treat or food is, you can still have it, just in moderation.
  • Plan. Planning is key to success for me. It is very hard to eat healthy on a busy schedule when you haven’t planned for it! There are too many quick and easy options out there that are unhealthy, like fast food.
  • Have cheat meals. Okay, I actually dislike this term, but it is the easiest term for it. You can plan for unhealthy or “cheat” meals during your week. I have one a week. And even if you have one that isn’t planned for, remember that it doesn’t mean you failed! You can’t fail at this….you will be doing it for the rest of your life! One meal or even a week of meals isn’t going to be that big of a deal in the long run. Just start eating healthy again! (And you don’t need to wait for a Monday to start either 🙂 )
  • Food is not a reward. This is one of the most important shifts for me. When I was still back in the diet mentality, food was a reward. If I did well on my diet for a while, I deserved a treat! This is not a healthy attitude to have any more than the guilt was. Yes I love my treats and I do still have them. But it is because I want one, not because I did something to deserve it. Instead, I reward myself in other ways with non-food things, like workout gear!

Eating healthy as a lifestyle takes some time and work to establish, but it is well worth it in the end! And I can promise you, it is less stressful and guilt-inducing than any diet I ever tried!

How do you view the word “diet”? Have you had positive or negative experiences with a diet? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

sunday meal prep 12/11/16

Hey everyone! It’s time for this week’s meal prep! I hope you are all enjoying your holiday season. I know how hard it can be to balance all of the things that the holidays entail…extra family gatherings, more cooking, less available time. This is where meal prep can come in to help! In this week’s meal prep, I’m not only prepping food for this week. I also made up a bit extra for the freezer as well, to help when things get really busy.

Enjoy!

Use meal prep to help deal with your busy schedule and eat healthier!

Our snacks and salads were pretty much the regular line-up this week. Grapes with cheddar and my current favorite protein balls were the highlight and our salads turned out great! Not pictured, I also made an extra batch of our breakfast burritos to make sure we have plenty in the freezer….we now have almost a month’s worth!

mason-jar-salads-healthy-snacks

For the main dishes this week, I stuck mostly to simple ones I know we enjoy! Some Baked Beef Chimichangas (or in our case turkey), Sesame Noodles with Broccoli and Almonds and a relatively new Slow Cooker Red Pepper Chicken Chili were our repeat recipes for the week. Our new dish: Easy Chicken Fajitas, paired with Cauliflower Rice!

Baked-Turkey-Chimichangas-Chicken-Fajitas

I have been working hard lately to try to make things a bit healthier in my diet lately, so that inspired a change up for both my chimichangas and the fajitas! I ended up using FlatOuts wraps on a portion of the chimichangas just for me and those are what I used for my fajitas too. It worked out great! They are a bit pricier than most regular tortillas, but they are quite a bit healthier and, in my opinion, worth the cost.

Baked-Turkey-Chimichangas-Chicken-Fajitas-Cauliflower-Rice

For the chimichangas, I do make them slightly different: I don’t brush them with butter or anything else. I just bake them for 5 min, sprinkle a little cheese on them and then bake them a couple minutes more. I also use a slightly larger package of ground turkey (1.25 lbs), because that is what is usually available for me. So this recipe makes a bit more for me than it says it will in the original.

This was my second or third attempt at making cauliflower rice and I think it turned out pretty good! I didn’t use a specific recipe this time around. I chopped up some cauliflower, tossed it in the food processor and then stir-fried it in a large skillet, seasoning it with a little bit of fajita seasoning towards the end. Still needs some work, but was a pretty good alternative to regular rice!

Red-Pepper-Chicken-Chili-Sesame-Noodles-Broccoli

The Sesame Noodles and the Chicken Chili were both delicious and perfect as pretty quick recipes for the meal prep. This chili may be my new favorite overall…healthy and tasty!

You may end up seeing some changes coming up soon on my meal prep posts. Nothing major, but I have been changing things up with my diet and our meal prep will be a bit along with it. As of last week I started tracking macros! A good friend of mine who is also a personal trainer set them for me and I can’t wait to see how this helps me work towards my fitness goals! (You can learn more about her here!)

I do plan on writing more about that and sharing my progress on here, but for now I’m still learning and figuring things out. So for now, I am going to start including a basic chart with the macro breakdown for each of the foods that I cooked that week! So for this week, here is the macro breakdown:
Dec-11-Macros

Want to follow along with your own meal prep? Get your grocery list for this week’s main dishes here!

Do you track macros along with you meal prep? Or maybe use some other method to eat healthy? I would love to hear about your experiences and thoughts, so please leave a comment below!