The Importance of Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” I often wonder if the individual who thought it up was trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy is not easy. There’s several components that go into the equation when it comes to trying to reroute your daily diet into something that your body will appreciate more than those greasy drive-through french fries. The most important components? Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep. Lets face it though. Not everyone loves meal-planning and not everyone loves cooking. I think you have to enjoy both in order to have a deep and committed relationship with planning a menu and looking forward to prepping food. And while meal planning can be time-consuming and meal-prep, a process (think 2-4 hours spent in your kitchen on a Sunday morning) they’re also the key to a successful healthy lifestyle.
foodprep

When I started out on my journey towards becoming more fit and healthy one year ago, I actually looked forward to the process of meal-prep. I was following an e-guide program that lasted 28 days and came with an already scheduled meal-plan for the week, grocery list to check off, which foods I was prepping on what day and what my workout was. Everything is easier when simply laid out for you. But doing so, this taught me how to continue making healthy choices when the program was over. I just had to follow two rules

1. Allow yourself 5 meals a day. That’s right. FIVE!:

Now before you get all bug-eyed, hear me out. I understand you’re either looking to lose weight or maintain. Eating 5 meals a day isn’t going to contribute to weight gain if you’re eating correctly and not just anything and everything in the fridge or pantry – in fact, 5 meals allows your body to use energy stores and burn more fat.

The easiest and most foul-proof way to do it is to fit one small snack in after breakfast and another after lunch. This leaves less need to over-indulge at dinner and less chance of finding your hand in the chip bag. That’s right – no more Doritos fingers!

2. Prep twice a week.

Yes, my friends. When I say twice a week, I mean you will be eating left-overs. I’m sure when you were younger the thought of eating last night’s dinner again for dinner tonight gave you the hebeegeebees. Not anymore! Left-overs are now your body’s best friend. Please don’t imagine microwaving frozen pizza. That’s not the kind of left-overs I meant.

It’s a lot more easier for you to schedule repetitive meals for a few days. This calls for less overall prepping and saves you some cash at the grocery store. It also rids you of that “what should I cook for dinner tonight?” headache. I, personally, meal-prep on Sunday and Wednesday. That means Monday-Wednesday I eat the same breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner. Thursday-Saturday, same thing. Sunday is my exception day. I try to maintain healthy choices, but don’t have a set plan.

Seems easy enough, right? Everything is as enjoyable as you allow it to be. Prep and dice your vegetables while listening to music or use Pinterest to find healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. And don’t forget the tupperware! Not only are you going to need plenty of it, but you get to pick some out in all shapes and sizes. The cute little dressing ones are my favorite!

 

(Pictured above is ingredients for Chorizo Breakfast Burrito)

Loaded Potato Soup

Loaded Potato Soup

What’s the first thing you think of when the cold, winter weather finally shows up outside your doorstep? Is it hot soup? If so, I think you’re going to really enjoy this recipe. Not only does it call for just a few ingredients, most of which you may already have. But it’s a quick cooker! We’re talking hot, homemade soup in 30 minutes. And it’s really, really good.

Loaded Potato Soup
Serves 4
Perfect warm soup for the winter season.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 tablespoon flour
  3. 3 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  4. 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (think 1.4 inch)
  5. 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  6. 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  7. bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional, but adds taste if you add it prior to serving)
Instructions
  1. 1. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until melted.
  2. 2. Add flour, whisking until brown.
  3. 3. Next, slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil.
  4. 4. Add potatoes, reduce heat. Stir often, letting sit 15-20 minutes before adding cheese and sour cream.
  5. 5. Let sit another 5 minutes to thicken.
  6. 6. Serve with cheese and bacon ontop, if desired.
Notes
  1. I like to add some bacon prior and stirring it in. It gives it a more salty taste doing so.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Natural Marinara Sauce

1naturalspaghetti
Spaghetti is a household staple as far as dinner for at least 2 nights per month. Sometimes even as frequent as once a week, depending on how good the spaghetti itself (or sauce) is. I like to compliment my pasta with homemade meatballs that have been soaking in marinara sauce for hours ala crockpot.

 
Because I’m doing my best to avoid as much processed food as possible, I’ve decided that spaghetti for me is best as natural as possible. The kids’ aren’t especially big on raw tomatoes, so they stick with the traditional spaghetti marinara, but I can get my husband to eat his spaghetti natural because he does like raw tomatoes. Phew, nothing like a night where you AREN’T the only oddball plate at dinner.

naturalspaghetti

The great part about natural sauce is you can mix and choose whatever ingredient to add to it as you like. I, personally, like just a slight hint of kick so I add crushed red pepper to mine. That also helps it to not taste too bland, as it can; tomatoes are good, but let’s be honest, they aren’t really flavorful.
 
Suggested Ingredients: 5 diced roma tomatoes, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper, dried oregano, dried italian seasoning, crushed black pepper, salt.
 
Directions
1. Add all ingredients into a processor and only process for a few seconds. This allows the mixture to not only mix, but liquify just slightly. You do want some whole tomatoes.
 
 
Note: Processing is optional. Sometimes I just mix in a bowl and eat as is.

131 Calorie Blueberry Muffins

131 Calorie Blueberry Muffins
Did you click on the link to this recipe because of the pretty pictures without looking at the post title? Look at it now. Look closely. No, your eyes are not deceiving you. You read correctly.

 
Blueberry muffins that are only 131 calories a piece. I think that deserves repeating in capital, bold letters. 131 CALORIES
 

And the second best part is that they taste AMAZING. It’s almost unbelievable that something this low in fat could be this yum. But it is. And you’ll use that as an excuse to eat two of them in one sitting. I did. I don’t regret it.

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Like most, I spend a good majority of my Sundays meal-prepping for the upcoming week. It makes life so much more easier. And while I like to have a variety as far as breakfast goes, I almost always prefer a good and sweet treat to start the day. 
 
Blueberries are my most absolute favorite fruit. I like to stock up on them when prices are low in the grocery store and I like to whine when prices are extremely high. This week, I happened to have 2 pints in the fridge that needed to be used soon or they were headed to the freezer where they would see Smoothie-Days in the near future. 
 
So because I had made loaf of blueberry banana bread (that recipe, soon!) and a loaf of healthy banana bread in the past two weeks, a blueberry muffin sounded perfect. Small and fluffy and easily thrown in a ziplock bag to take along to work, run errands or even have as a little mid-day snack.
 
Just make sure you remind yourself, they’re only 131 calories. That itself will feel like an accomplishment. Enjoy!
131 Calorie Blueberry Muffins
Serves 6
Low-Calorie, Delicious Blueberry Muffins. Finally, you can have more than just one!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
33 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
33 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1/4 cup organic honey
  6. 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  7. 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  8. 1/4 cup greek nonfat yogurt
  9. 1 large egg, beaten
  10. 3/4 cup almond milk
  11. 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using nonstick cooking spray, grease muffin pan.
  2. 2. Combine dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Shift well.
  3. 3. In a separate bowl, combine honey and brown sugar. Use a fork to break up heavy clumps that may form. Add mashed bananas, greek yogurt and egg. Mix well.
  4. 4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well. Continue to mix together gently adding milk. Mixture at this point will feel and look doughy. Add blueberries, folding gently.
  5. 5. Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling each muffin nearly to the top. Bake for 18 minutes or lightly brown. Check to see if their done by using a toothpick. If the toothpick does not remove clean, muffins may need to cook a couple additional minutes. Be sure to supervise if so to prevent from burning.
  6. 6. Allow to cool completely on a baking rack before serving.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/