Diet is a horrible 4-letter word, it holds a lot of negativity. When someone asks me what kind of diet I am on, I always respond with I am not, I tracking my macros. In my opinion, when someone hears the word diet, they are thinking of losing weight and restricting calories. They are not thinking about diet in terms of the literal definition, that is simply the food regularly consumed by a person.
When I was breastfeeding and pregnant, my macros were 2232 calories, 174 grams of protein, 230 grams of carbohydrates, and 68 grams of fat. Scarlett just stopped nursing Thursday, can I get an hallelujah, it has been a long 15 months and 7 days. This is a decent amount of food. I really eat more than some guys that are much larger than myself and I am not one bit ashamed. I love/hate when people make comments about how little I must eat. I am by no means a 100 pound tiny little girl, but I am in pretty decent shape. I love to tell them that I truly eat a lot, but usually that falls on deaf fears. They would much rather believe that I eat like a bird and only eat vegetables and fruit. Whatever makes you feel better about your bad diet I guess.
Now that I am officially done with nursing, I need to step down my calories. I really don’t want to. I certainly don’t want to change my carbohydrate intake. I love my carbs. My pre-workout oatmeal and post-workout bagel are my favorite. Oh, and lets not forget the bowl of cereal at night…peanut butter and chocolate Cheerios are my favorite! If it fits I can eat it and I love that. I feel ZERO guilt eating any of that, because it fits within my macros. Now that I am planning to cut back a couple of hundred calories, I am going to have to change up something. I will have to be more careful with the fats and carbohydrates that I am eating throughout the day, so that when it comes time for supper I am not starving and have no room for food.
Planning is key people, tracking BEFORE you eat it is key. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I try to put in all my food up to my afternoon snack in my app every morning. I want to know what I will have left for supper, well before supper time comes. There is nothing worse than standing in the kitchen trying to figure out what you can eat. Making sure you plug-in your food before you eat it will help keep you balanced. I require two snacks because going 4-6 hours without eating is torture. You can’t just eat any random snack though, those are what can really kill your macros. Be very cautious. Plug in some different options along with your meals for the day to see what will work best for you.
I am sure you are wondering how you even know how much you are supposed to eat and possibly what macros even are. There are a million different apps, websites, and companies that will calculate this for you. Personally, I like to do the math myself. From experience your basic app or calculation online that just wants your weight, height, and BMI are not as accurate. You can pay someone like RP Strength or Working Against Gravity (or me) to tell you what your target macros are. The more information you have to put into the equation the better…just my opinion. I want something that is specifically tailored to me, not for every girl my age and height.
Macros are simply the building blocks of your nutrition; protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Personally, I think all 3 are needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eliminating one of the macro-nutrients creates extra stress and raises the chances of you not being able to maintain the macros you have set. I try to never compromise on my protein goal. Protein builds muscle, so if I am under eating I still make sure to hit my protein goal so I do not lose any muscle. For me carbohydrates come next and then fat.
Depending on how your body processes fat and carbs, you will likely eat more of one than the other. I am not sure if I have ever met someone that eats the same amount of both. I am sure it is possible though. For every gram of protein you are consuming 4 calories, every gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories, and every gram of fat is 9 calories. Since fat contains more calories per gram, you need to be mindful of the invisible fats found in foods, like cooking oils.
Make sure you are tracking EVERYTHING you eat. Even the handful of chips you grab in the break room, off your kids’ plates, etc. You would probably be surprised to see how much snacking you really do. Snacking with my kids and dark chocolate are my weakness. Make sure you are honest with how much you are eating. Track your intake for a week and then evaluate your daily intake versus how much you are supposed to be eating.
I recommend that you track for a week, honestly, and then evaluate what you need to be eating. Learning how to track and work the app is half the battle. Really study your app and practice how to create recipes and servings. Make sure you are double checking the nutrition of the food in the app. I hate it, but a lot of times it is not accurate. Even when you scan a label or bar code, the information does not transfer correctly. This is very important. I feel like I could teach a class just on how to track in the app. It can be very frustrating for some people. I use MyMacros, but there are many free apps out there and many other options. I like MyMacros because it allows me to follow other users and see what they are eating each day. This is really helpful if I am helping someone stay accountable.
New Food Review
W O W. So many new foods this week! Not 100% sure if I have made the lemon thyme before, so I added it to the list of new food to review it for you.
Lemon Thyme Grilled Salmon Cauliflower Rice
This meal was pretty simple. I really liked the vegetables and the tomatoes on top of the dish were key in this recipe. I didn’t use salmon, but it turned out great regardless. I used regular jasmine rice instead of cauliflower rice. If you are concerned about over doing it on carbohydrates, then I would use cauliflower rice instead.
I cooked this dish in the crockpot. I didn’t use thighs, so I wanted to use the crockpot to keep the chicken breasts moist (sorry, I had to use that word) and to help make meal prepping easier. The rice did stick a bit to the side of the pot, so next time I will use more chicken broth and lemon juice to combat this issue. I will be making this again. It was super easy to modify to keep meal prepping easy and did not put a huge dent in my macros.
Garlic Butter Creamed Spinach Salmon
HANDS DOWN THE BEST DISH I MADE ALL WEEK. Seriously, the best. Personally, I do not think I could handle the dish with all the fat she intended for it to have. Since I don’t consume a lot of fat, I am very sensitive to it. It was super rich even with the modifications I made. I was very strapped on fat for the rest of the day, but it was well worth it. Josh has already told me all the different ways I could use this sauce, so you will be seeing it again!
Spicy Potato Kale Bowl with Tahini Dressing
I was pretty surprised with this salad. I have never used yellow mustard with tahini, but it was really good. A little bit of this dressing goes a long way. I cut my dressing into 4 servings and I could have truly used 5 or 6 servings and it would have still been planets. The salad was more filling than the meat we had to go with it. I liked the simplicity of ingredients this dish had and that it was not difficult to assemble and track in my app. Make sure you are tracking your dressing, because that is where a lot of your carbs and fat are!
M E N U
Hamburgers + Beet Salad
Grilled Salmon + Mashed Cauliflower + Asparagus
Pork Tacos + Verde
There is no link for this recipe, because it is so simple that you don’t need anything to guide you. I love being able to get a pork butt cook it one way and make two completely different meals. If you see BBQ sandwich on my menu, pork tacos will be following.
I cook the meat in the crockpot for 8 hours on low. To season, I evenly coat all sides with yellow mustard and season with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and paprika. Once the meat is cooked thoroughly, let it cool and then separate the meat from the fat. It really does defeat the purpose of healthy tacos and sandwiches if you leave the fat in there. Plus it is just gross.
Make sure you weigh out meat for tacos and the sandwiches prior to mixing in the sauce/salsa for each meal. To avoid overeating or coming up short on meat for the tacos, I weigh out the total amount of meat and then separate the meat according to how many meals I need to make.
I do not add the BBQ sauce until I am ready to eat each serving. I make sure to weigh out my sauce for every sandwich. Simply put the BBQ into a bowl, place the bowl on the scale, weigh out the sauce in grams or ounces, depending on the nutritional label. Toast your bun, top with the meat, and pickles, and enjoy!
*Change I make to meet my macros.
1 Boston Butt
I have been wanting this salad for a few weeks now. There aren’t many places I can think of that serve a salad this simple and delicious. The dressing is everything. Don’t skip it or try buying some store bought version, because it won’t be the same. Any dressing made with lemon juice is right up my alley. I skip the olive oil and just up the amount of lemon juice and it makes it extra healthy. I don’t mind eating fats but I wold rather save my fat for the almonds or avocado, not the olive oil.
For the chicken, you can grill it if you are firing up the grill for hamburgers anyway or simply season well and put it in the oven while you get the meat ready for the other dishes. I like to put a lot of blueberries in each of my salads, but you can put from 1/2 cup to a whole cup. I also pick between almonds of avocado. I don’t want to go over on my fat because of one dish.
*Change I make to meet my macros.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
8 cups mixed salad greens
1 cup blueberries
* 1/2 cup to 1 cup per salad
1 large avocado sliced
* almonds or avocado
1 cup almonds
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
* non-fat feta
1/2 large red onion thinly sliced
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
* omit oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
* add more lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
* 1 ounce of honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 2 tablespoons
2 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Hamburgers + Beet Salad
I know beets are not your typical side for hamburgers, but I haven’t had a beet salad in a while and feel like I need one. This is the first beet salad I ever made and I still love it. I feel like that says a lot about a recipe. A lot of times a recipe you made 10 years ago would not still appeal to you. Your taste buds do evolve and food trends are a thing. This recipe has stood the test of time, so far.
Hamburgers will never go out of style and can be healthy if you don’t smother them in cheese, bacon, and mayonnaise. When I track my hamburger I weigh out my meat after it has cooked. This is controversial in the world of tracking food, but I think that it makes sense. The fat is going to cook out of the meat, so I don’t actually end up eating all of the fat that is cooked out.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
5-6 small beets cooked and peeled
2 medium carrots peeled
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine
* Omit wine
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* Omit oil
1/4 cup pistachios chopped
* Omit nuts
1 tablespoon chives chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
flaked sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Grilled Salmon + Mashed Cauliflower + Asparagus
We are actually going to have the salmon this time. I think every time I put salmon on the menu I end up replacing it with another meat. I just really only like salmon grilled the way we cook it. I don’t want ot mess it up with a sheet pan dinner. I would rather use pork chops or chicken breast for that.
This grilled salmon is super easy and tastes great. I love the clean fresh taste of the zested lemon, garlic, spiciness, and lemon slices. It is very easy and can be done in the oven if you aren’t in the mood to fire up the grill.
Lay your fish on a large enough piece of tin foil to completely cover. Oil both sides of the fish, then season well. We season our fish with lemon zest, garlic, , and lemon slices.
I promise the cauliflower mash is the closest thing you will get to mashed potatoes, minus all the guilt of mashed potatoes. I cooked this for my step-dad and I don;t believe he would have known the difference if someone had not clued him in. You can cook the asparagus with the salmon in the oven or on the grill. I prefer to keep it simple and just use salt and pepper to season with.
*Changes I make to meet my macros.
2 small heads cauliflower cored and leaves removed and cut into small florets
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pork Tacos + Verde
Normally, I am super basic when it comes to my pork tacos. This time I really want to use a salsa that I used a couple of weeks ago with chicken tacos. This taco won’t be nearly as healthy as the plain verde with peppers and onions, but it will be mush tastier. The last time I made this salsa the macros were 52 calories, 0.6 grams of protein, 13 grams of carbohydrates and 0.2 grams of fat for 4 servings. If you pick a low carbohydrate tortilla and stick to keeping this salsa low in carbs, you won’t break the bank and it will taste better! I am pretty excited to have my pulled pork tacos taste a little bit different this time.
I will be using the same pulled pork as I did in the sandwiches. I do not use a BBQ sauce when I cook the pork butt, so it is easy to use in different recipes.
1 Boston Butt
Tortilla or jasmine rice
4 tomatillos, husked and halved
2 cloves garlic, skin on
juice of 1 lime
juice from half an orange
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1/4 cup diced mango
E N J O Y !