Well Grand Cayman was GORGEOUS. Paradise. Perfection. Amazing. Clearest water I have ever seen. First time scuba diving, spa day, beach time, adult time…it was all amazing.
The Ritz, is ritzy.
The best breakfast you have ever seen. We literally looked forward to breakfast more than anything everyday. The friendliest and most helpful staff. I am pretty sure they cleaned our rooms non-stop. I could go on and on.
The ride home, not so much. Flight delay, after flight delay…not cool. So while I wait for an extra 3 hours, I will be productive and tell you all about the amazing food I plan to cook when I get home and some advice.
So my gym has asked me to join them in teaching a nutrition/meal prep class. * Cue happy dance & all the anxiety * How awesome is that?! Now they can’t back out since I have put it on the internet…right??? 😉
While I was on vacation I was doing some reading on nutrition. Isn’t that everyone’s typical light beach reading? Lots of reading on macros in general, mass-gaining, caloric deficit, maintenance diets, and nutrient timing, I am not finished yet but so far, I am learning some great things to share with you.
The old adage, calories in vs. calories out = weight loss is still true. The one sure fire way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you are eating. It is as easy as that. Now working out + a caloric deficit is the best way to ensure that you will lose weight, IF that is your goal.
In my reading 3,500 calories is the equivalent to 1 pound of fat. If you are looking to lose weight a safe way to do so, is to lower your daily caloric intake by 250 calories. A large decrease in calories can send your body into starvation mode and store fat, instead of shed it. Slowly increase the amount of calories you are cutting by 250 every two weeks until you see results.
For instance if you typically eat 2,000 calories a day, you should consume 1,750 calories a day. If you are not seeing weight loss results from that decrease after two weeks, then drop another 250 calories from your daily intake.
Weighing daily will give you lots of data points but is not the best way to tell if you are losing or gaining weight. I know I personally fluctuate 2-5 pounds on any given day. Weighing consistently, twice a week for two weeks is enough data and eliminates the error of water weight. This will give you enough data to know if the current calorie intake is working toward your goal or not. 1 to 2 pounds lost each week, is a safe amount to weight to lose. Much more lost than that on a weekly basis, can result in loose skin.
On the flip side, if you are looking to put on weight you should add 25o calories per day to your diet. If in two weeks you have not gained any weight based on your twice a week, for two weeks weigh-ins you should increase your amount of calories by another 250 per day. An easy way to add weight is to up your fat count. Fat contains the most grams per calorie and are very easy to add to meals. Think olive oil, avocado, bacon, peanut butter. All great additions to already existing meals.
In order to know if you are adding or reducing your daily intake, you will need to know how many calories you are currently taking in. Unless you are eating the same exact thing EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. (boring) and can eliminate or add food/drink that is equivalent to 250 calories, you will need to be tracking your macros. This why tracking is so important. Even though you may be eating healthy, you still need to know the amount of food you are taking in daily, especially if are not very active.
Josh and I have always eaten healthy, but we were eating TOO much healthy food. Too much of a good thing, can be a bad thing. If you want to lose weight or gain weight, you can’t simply just add in or take away food. You need to know how much you are adding in or taking away. You may think that by adding two cups of grapes or banana instead of the 1/2 of bagel you were eating is healthier, but you would be wrong.
Knowing what you are eating is a powerful tool.
M • E • N • U
Steak + Watermelon, Beet, Tomato Salad
Salmon + Chickpea Cauliflower Salad
A common theme among a lot of meals we had in Grand Cayman, were the jerk spices.
Jerk chicken. Jerk shrimp. Jerk steak. Jerk vegetables. Jerk quiche. The options were endless.
Unknown to me, jerk chicken is one of Josh’s favorites, so obviously I am going to try and recreate a few meals this week and probably for weeks to come that we had while on vacation.
This recipe calls for a slow cooker or instant pot. Winner-winner! I love a boston butt in the slow cooker. It literally makes the most tender pulled pork. You can eat this as a sandwich or tacos. I am going to make this as a sandwich, since tacos are already on the menu.
There are a lot of spices in the jerk recipes but don’t let that discourage you. Most of these seasonings you probably have in your pantry and the rest will last for a long time!
It says to use 6 ounces of pineapple juice as part of the liquid in the slow cooker. I am debating on just adding in some fresh pineapple instead and letting it cook down with the meat. I think that would help cut down on some of the carbs. Obviously the type of bun or tortilla you choose will help lower the carb count as well. This kind of meal is ideal for meal prepping. Put the pork on that morning before you start prepping your other dishes. 8 hours or so later, you will have a meal done and with little effort!
One thing we definitely enjoyed while on vacation were tacos. We had shrimp jerk tacos and fish jerk tacos. Delicious. The people at The Ritz sure do know how to cook.
This recipe has notes for a homemade jerk seasoning or you can buy a pre-made seasoning at the store.
Homemade Caribbean seasoning
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Since both Caribbean recipes call for pineapple, I am going to get a big fresh pineapple to use for both of them.
One thing I love about meal prepping is you can use one item in several recipes! Less waste is always a good thing. Sometimes it is intentional and other times, it just falls into place. When you do have recipes that call for the same ingredients like an onion. Chop all of your onions at the same time. You can separate them into bowls as you chop them for the individual recipes. There is no need to constantly wash the cutting board to chop an onion or whatever produce you have. Do it all at one time, then move onto the next step.
Multitasking is your friend when meal prepping!
Steak + Watermelon, Beet, Tomato Salad
While we were on vacation (I know you are getting tired of me saying that), we had several sponsored dinners. One dinner we went to was on the beach. There was seared Wahoo (delicious), braised short ribs (amazing). vegetarian lasagna (so good), jerk pork loin (yummy), jerk chicken (yeeeees), and so much more! We literally ate so many different things, it is hard to remember every thing there was.
One thing that stood out was the watermelon, feta salad they had. A woman that we were eating with made a comment about how she and her husband would walk two miles to this local restaurant just to get a similar salad. I used to make a salad that was only watermelon, feta, and mint or basil depending on your preference. It is that simple. No added dressing, just the natural flavors.
Josh mentioned to her that she needed to get my recipe for my watermelon feta salad. Well I told her about this one with beets. Always trying to make people into beet lovers. This salad just has so much more to offer than just watermelon and feta. It has so much more flavor.
Remember when cooking your beets you can boil them or roast them wrapped in tin foil. Once they have cooked all the way through, rub the skin off.
To assemble the salad chop up the beets and watermelon into bite size pieces. Slice the tomatoes in half. Tear the mint and drizzle balsamic and top with feta and you are done. The amounts you use is totally up to you and your macros, but as a guide I use:
1 cup bite size watermelon, 1/2 cup of bite size beets, 10 cherry tomatoes halved, and 1 inch cube of feta
I told you last week that my mom bought a ton of blueberries. Well our son pretty much ate them all, so she bought a flat of blueberries! We had to sort through them, but it was worth it. Now he can have a great snack, Scarlett can keep on, keeping on eating blueberries, and mommy and daddy can have fresh salads like this one.
This recipe calls for you to marinate the chicken for at least 20 minutes in the dressing. If you are doubling the meat to have supper and lunch, you will need to make sure you are doubling the dressing as well. Sounds like common sense, but sometimes the dressing gets forgotten about.
You can make the dressing at the beginning of your meal prep and stick the chicken inside the Ziploc bag with half of the marinade. Once you have gotten a few things chopped and going on the stove, your chicken will be ready to cook! I am going to slice my chicken into bite size pieces before putting into the bag, to cut my cooking time in half.
Salmon + Chickpea Cauliflower Salad
I know that salmon was on the list last week, but who can really complain about salmon two weeks in a row? I know I wouldn’t. Even if it was two nights in a row.
We were just going to throw some vegetables on the grill with the salmon, but Josh really wanted this chickpea salad. It’s not as easy as grilled vegetables, but it tastes better!
If for some reason you are tired of salmon (weird-o), you can make this salad into a bowl. The recipe calls for quinoa but it is hit or miss if I put it in or not. If you want to make it a bowl, add in the quinoa and your meat of choice. I would add-in chicken breast and double the dressing to ensure the chicken gets coated well.
Don’t forget the list!