Baby Steps + Menu

I feel like there are different stages of healthy. I am somewhere in the middle…I think. It is hard for someone that doesn’t typically eat healthy to wrap their mind around tracking food or counting macros.

“What is a macro? What does a macro do? How can you count macros?”

All of these questions seem like common knowledge to me, but really 3-4 years ago I had no clue and actually thought that I was super healthy. I thought that cutting out my sweet tea, taking cucumber and smoked salmon for lunch was the picture perfect image of healthy. So naive.

Flash forward to now, I weigh everything, even my dark chocolate and cereal (which is way worse than weighing out my peanut butter…why must Bark Thins have so many carbs!?). I have cut out using olive oil in my dressings lately since Josh has been on a cut and honestly I don’t miss it at all! I have tried using only 10 ml of oil when I oil my pans instead of the typically suggested 1-2 Tbsp of oil and you wouldn’t believe how much of a difference it makes not having that extra fat.

When I was single I would eat what I thought was easy. I didn’t like to cook for just me, so I would make smoke salmon toast for lunch and eat cereal for supper. Like a huge bowl of cereal with some kind of fruit in it. My word at the carbs I was consuming and I certainly wasn’t kicking my own butt at CrossFit everyday, to “deserve” all those carbs. I liked to cook and loved to bake desserts even more, but cooking for one was hard and I knew nothing about meal prepping then.

Once Josh and I started dating I cooked for us most of the time. We ate what we thought was healthy. We never weighed anything, just ate healthy-ish food. Chicken thighs and legs were a go-to, which isn’t horrible but when you eat two thighs and two legs every time that much fat really starts to add up. I did progress from the cereal to eating whole meals, so that was a step in the right direction.

Figuring out how to replace your unhealthy options and even simply recognizing that the things you are consuming are unhealthy is the first step. First step is always admitting you have a problem, right?

The second step is making a plan and putting it into action. You have to start substituting those unhealthy foods for something healthy. Some people get overwhelmed with this. They don’t really even know what is healthy and their idea of healthy is the most boring bland foods.

I can’t tell you how many times people have made comments about what they think I can’t eat. Like meat. Why do people think that to be healthy you can’t eat meat? I could eat potato chips for every meal and be considered a vegetarian. Vegetarian doesn’t mean healthy. Just because you eliminate a certain food group does not make you a healthy person or a hip person or someone that knows anything about nutrition. Just means you cut out a certain food group that you will need to supplement for in another area for your body to function properly.

The third step is where I think I am at now: setting a goal and tracking. Goal setting and the level of dedication to tracking varies from person to person. Some are very strict, where others put some effort into it, some may only do it out of guilt, and some people possibly “forget” to log that hand full of chips they swiped in the employee lounge.

I am more on the strict side. I log it all. My chocolate. My Halo Top. My breakfast. My kombucha. If it contains calories I log it. Getting to this point did not happen over night for me, but it was a major eye opener once I started to track my food and saw what I was really eating.

Most people that approach me for help or guidance start with the same line, ‘I eat healthy but, (fill in the blank)’.

Personally, I love to see what people are really consuming. I usually suggest they track all of the food they are eating for a whole week. No changes, just tracking. I like to see what they are eating and this allows you to target their problem areas. Some people are way under the amount of calories they need to be eating and some are way over and don’t even know it. Tracking is the only way to really know if you are eating healthy or not. You might think all that fruit you just ate was healthy, but in reality you just ate a lot of carbs, more than you probably needed.

Yes, the fruit is healthier than the box of Swiss Rolls you keep in your desk, but you really have no idea what you are consuming. People see fruit and trail-mix and they go crazy. It is labeled as “healthy” so they eat it until they are full and by that point have probably exceeded the amount of carbs they need for the day in one sitting. Fruits carry different amounts of carbohydrate levels, just like different meats have differing amounts of protein and fat. Knowing how many grams of carbs/fats/protein your food has is powerful when it comes to your nutritional goal.

My next step is going to be a cut and I am (& Josh) going to need a lot of prayers and patience for that one. Start with small changes and work your way up. If you need help figuring out your goal, healthy food choices, etc. ask for help. Everyone has to start somewhere!


MENU

Hamburgers

Black Bean Tacos with Chicken

Healing Bowl with Sliced Pork Loin

Pork Chops+ Mustard Carrots, Cauliflower, & Lentils

Cabbage Roll Ups


Hamburgers

Hamburgers are such an easy meal for meal prepping and can be healthy if you aren’t loading them down or stuffing them with anything that compromises your macros. We used to use an egg and bread crumbs to hold the hamburgers together, but they do just fine without that and we can skip the added fat and carbs.

As far as the bun goes, ditch it and make a lettuce wrap if you can’t make room for 20-40 carbs of bun depending on the type of bread you choose. I like to get the fresh baked buns from the bakery, but if you need something with less carbs I have seen small buns with around 20 carbs.

Josh has used fennel seeds in our seasoning before and it adds a nice twist on the typical hamburger seasoning. Some lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, and pickles is all you need to make a healthy hamburger. I usually eat one patty with a bun and then have a second hamburger patty naked. According to the USDA website, cooked and drained 80/20 has 42 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 2.5 grams of fat per ounce. Not too bad.


Black Bean Tacos with Chicken

These black bean tacos are great and have a delicious avocado sauce. I have been skipping the oil in all of my dressing the past week or two. To make this avocado sauce thinner I am going to add more lime juice than what it calls for. As long as you don’t go crazy on the black beans and use a low-carb tortilla these won’t break the macro bank.

These are meant to be vegetarian but I am going to add chicken to them. I will use similar seasoning that the black beans are cooked in. A little cumin, paprika, and garlic powder should go really well with these tacos.

You can always skip the tortilla and make these into a yummy bowl if you aren’t feeling the wrap. One avocado can be up to 2 ounces, don’t be fooled that avocado is a healthy fat and forget to track it! Healthy fats count too!


Healing Bowl with Sliced Pork Loin

This has got to be one of my favorite bowls. The way the sweet potatoes are cooked and just the taste of the potatoes and turmeric go so well together really hit my taste buds in all the right ways. I am the type of person that adds absolutely nothing to my sweet potato. When I see someone buttering and salting their sweet potato I cringe. It makes no sense to me, they are so perfect all on their own! But this is different.

I am going to skip the olive oil when cooking the sweet potatoes. You add in vegetable broth soon after the sweet potatoes are warmed up. I don’t think they will stick to the pan in the short time between you heating them up and adding the broth. If you are nervous about them sticking, just spray a little bit of oil into the pan vs. using a whole tablespoon or even teaspoon of oil.

I will also be skipping the oil in the dressing. I don’t feel like the oil adds much flavor and I have a love for lemons like none other, so I don’t mind a tart dressing. There is an option to scramble or poach your eggs. Personally I am not that great at poaching eggs, so I will just have to make my eggs over-easy and call it a day. You CAN meal prep your eggs like this. I eat my breakfast at work most days and have to heat up my eggs. Just make sure that you don’t heat them up too much and heat the egg up to the point that it is dry.


Pork Chops+ Mustard Carrots, Cauliflower, & Lentils

There are a few key things that I am going to be changing to this recipe. I am substituting kale for mustard greens, chickpeas for lentils, and skipping the olive oil in the dressing. When you are cooking the cauliflower and carrots, add in the chickpeas to roast with them.

I can’t wait to try out this recipe. It seems very simple and combines a lot of this I love about past recipes (after I made some changes).

You can cook the pork chops at the same time you cook the vegetables. Don’t forget to set a timer so your meat doesn’t overcook. I like for my vegetables to get a little crisp on them, so they will be in for a while. I haven’t made preserved lemons before but I might start after reading this recipe. For now, lemon zest will work. I am all about substitutions!


Cabbage Roll Ups

THESE. ARE. THE. BEST.

I have some leftover matchstick carrots and ginger from last week, so obviously it made me think of this recipe. I haven’t made these in a while and am already looking forward to the night that we eat them…probably Sunday night because why wait until the end of the week. The last time I made these the macros were 159 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 10.2 grams of carbs, and 7.7 grams of fat. Typically I will eat 2 or 3 servings per meal. The fat comes from the beef, canola oil, and sesame oil. I may eliminate one of the oils if Josh can’t handle that much fat on his cut.

If you don’t like cabbage, you can skip the cabbage and make it into more of a bowl with the rice. I would leave the rice out of the dish when you put it into the oven. After you cook the meat in the oven, you can top it over the rice. If you do like cabbage, I have found that it is easier to roll if you snap the cabbage in two places, about an inch apart starting from the base of the cabbage. I add equal portions onto each leaf to keep my serving sizes accurate.

The hoisin sauce is key, so don’t skip that!


Don’t forget the list

& Go DAWGS!

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