Josh has decided that he wants to do a cut again after Scarlett’s birthday, which is this Saturday. We are having a donut party and no one needs to be on a cut prior to that! Not sure how the past two years have flown by so quickly, but man they sure have.
A little walk down memory lane…
There are so many pictures I want to post of her life so far, but just quickly I will reminisce on these and pause for a moment.
Life/time is so fleeting. Granny (pictured below) is no longer with us and that almost bald, dark-haired baby is so different. She talks nonstop now, can count (a little), can recognize most of the colors, is trying to read her books at night (from memory), and of course, wants to pick out her own outfits. She is so boldly independent and yet still loves to be on my hip. I love her sassy skip when she is running and the fire inside of her.
Back to the Cut
Josh was really successful with his last cut, he dropped a good bit of body fat and held onto his muscle/strength. Josh was growing tired of the cut towards the end but stuck to it. Honestly, it was a struggle even for me. There were some nights that he left the table very hangry because his portion of food was so small, he was left wanting/needing more. I tried to still cook good food and not the boring baked chicken and vegetables. In doing that, the calories were still higher than what he needed in the meals, so he had to eat smaller portions.
This time around I’m going to make a more conscious effort to watch the calories and worry a little less about repetitive foods so he can be successful and not be hangry in the process. I am going to plug in recipes and look back at old recipes to see what the macros will be per serving BEFORE I serve it. It is a bit of a chore for me, but I guess that is just the role I play in his nutrition.
Normally, I calculate the macros as I am weighing out the servings just before we eat. I am pretty good at guessing if a meal will have too many carbs or fat and can adjust accordingly. When you are cutting calories to lose fat, it is different. You have set a strict amount of calories to meet and you don’t want to be UNDER or OVER that amount. You need to know what your macros are well before you eat them, so you don’t fall too short or go over at the end of the day. You don’t want to be at your limit by supper time and only be able to have a handful of macros.
The issue for me is, I don’t want to go on a cut and Josh is at the mercy of my cooking because I am not that wife that is going to cook two different meals. I don’t want to eat the typical “cut-food”. I don’t want to eat twice the amount of food that I normally do to still meet my macro goals and I don’t want to overload on snacks to meet my goal either. I am going to try and find some common ground that allows me to still have the good recipes that we are used to, but still, give Josh a large amount of food with the fewest amount of calories.
I am going to list a few go-to recipes that I will be counting on for myself and Josh to stay satisfied during this dreaded cut in calories. I will have the link for the original recipe but also put in the link to the post in which I list the changes I made to make the meal more macro-friendly. I am going to be relying heavily on my mid-day snack and after-supper-snack to meet my goals during this time.
Rosemary, Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Salad I made this just this week. When eating this meal during a cut, I do not recommend eating it over rice. The original recipe called for this to be a salad, not a bowl. Josh will have this with spinach and I will eat it over rice. He can really pile on the chicken with this being served over spinach, which is very important when he is on a cut. We don’t want him to lose any muscle, so he will keep his protein in-take the same.
Spaghetti– You might not think of spaghetti as cut-food, but it really is fairly healthy and super filling. I don’t use pasta noodles already, so using spaghetti squash is not a sacrifice for us and (bonus) it is one of Josh’s favorite meals. I don’t use someone else’s recipe so you will have to look at my blog for the recipe.
Greek Chicken Traybake Holy cow was I impressed with this dish! I loved it so much and it was so super easy too. I did not deviate too much from the original recipe. I did make minor changes to the amounts used, but still kept all the same ingredients. As with most dishes, I add rice to them, if you are on a cut I would recommend leaving the rice off or significantly reducing the amount you use.
Chicken Kabobs You really can’t go wrong with kabobs if you leave off any unnecessary sauce. I like to serve my kabobs over rice, but you can use cauliflower rice or just leave it out entirely and up the number of vegetables and chicken that you use. I don’t usually cook my food on the grill because I am in too much of a rush for that. I like to get out my cast iron skillet and sear my vegetables. I will marinade my fajita bowls or kabobs overnight so they get as much flavor as possible.
Black Bean Tacos + Avocado Cilantro-Lime Sauce I ended up using chicken instead of shrimp. One shrimp is more expensive and two it would take more shrimp to meet my protein goal. If you don’t use large portions you can easily keep this meal around 300 calories. I split my beans into 6 servings and my avocado sauce into 4 servings. I made sure to pick a low carb tortilla, but you could even eat it over spinach or arugula to eliminate more calories.
Chicken Salad Wrap This chicken salad wrap is a no-brainer kind of recipe. It has literally nothing bad in it, if you leave out the oil, and can be super filing depending on the amount of chicken you put into the wrap. I stick with a low carb-high fiber wrap even when Josh is not on a cut. There really is no need in wasting so many carbs on a wrap when you can fill that macro need with Halo Top later on.
M E N U
Pulled Pork Sandwich
I have two different chili recipes that I use for white chicken chili. One has very few ingredients and the other just gives you more options as far as flavor goes. You can’t really go wrong with either one. Josh requested this dish specifically for this week and since it is his birthday week, I will happily oblige.
There is a local restaurant in town that makes white chicken chili that he adores, so I tried my best to find a recipe that could hold its own. If I tweak the recipe that contains very few ingredients, then it is a hit.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 6 C. Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth *4-6 depending on broth 3-4 C. Cooked & Chopped/Shredded Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (1 1/2 lb.) 2 (15 Oz.) Cans White Beans, Drained & Rinsed 2 C. Salsa Verde 2 Tsp. Cumin Salt & Pepper to Taste *add in: onion, cilantro, jalapeno
Pulled Pork Sandwich
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 to cook it one way and make two completely different meals. Usually, I will have a sandwich and tacos on the menu to use up the whole pork butt. I am planning on freezing half of the meat for tacos next week.
I cook the meat in the crockpot for 8 hours on low. To season, I evenly coat all sides with yellow mustard, then 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.
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 before I put on the bun. I make sure to get a low carbohydrate sauce, so I don’t over waste too many of my carbs on the sauce. Simply put the bowl on the scale, weigh out the meat and the sauce in grams or ounces, depending on the nutritional label. Toast your bun, top with the meat, and pickles, and enjoy!
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 1 Boston Butt Paprika Salt Pepper Yellow Mustard Onion Powder Chili Powder Garlic Powder Brioche Bun Pickles Low Carbohydrate BBQ Sauce
You can make this with chicken as a sheet pan or use the extra meat from the pork butt as your protein. I actually prefer the pork over chicken.
Tomatillos can be hard to find around here, but you can substitute with jarred salsa verde. It really hasn’t made much of a difference when I have had to substitute, other than I like the fresh-roasted taste. I added all the ingredients in the blender with the Verde, topped it off with pineapple, and it was still a great salsa. I am going to hopefully find some tomatillos this week and roast them in the oven with the vegetables. I only used 1/3rd of a cup of pineapple in each bowl this week, but plan to use more.
For the pork butt, 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
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips *pork butt 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil *omit 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder 2 teaspoons smoked paprika 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder kosher salt and black pepper 2 bell peppers, sliced 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced 6-8 small flour tortillas, warmed *low carb/high fiber or 1/2 cup cooked jasmine rice per bowl *limes for topping ROASTED PINEAPPLE SALSA VERDE 6 small tomatillos, husked *salsa verde if no tomatillos 1 jalapeño 4 green onions juice of 1 lime 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped *add garlic 1 cup diced pineapple *1/2 cup per bowl For the pork butt: 1 Boston Butt Paprika Salt Pepper Yellow Mustard Onion Powder Chili Powder Garlic Powder
This was meant to be a side dish or maybe even a vegetarian main dish. I like to add grilled chicken to mine and make it a full meal. I have used it as a side dish and it is great. Adding in the chicken instead of just eating alongside the chicken, really changes it. I don’t think I could ever get tired of this dish. I loved this dish so much. It was beautiful. It was delicious. Since Josh will be going on a cut I am going to decrease the orzo a bit, but not too much. It already sits around 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving, minus the chicken and pepper calculated in. Not too bad.
This is one of those meals that you tuck away in the back of your mind for the next time you have company and want to impress them without having to try too hard. It is crazy simple and so good. Tracking the macros for this meal isn’t too hard. I made sure each pepper had the same amount of pasta, chicken, and toppings so that no matter which pepper was picked, they were the same. I weigh out the peppers after they cook, then stuff them and heat up when I am ready to eat. Easy breezy.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 3 red bell peppers, halved *4 peppers 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil *spray olive oil 3 sprigs fresh oregano kosher salt and pepper 1 cup dry orzo or quinoa *285 grams or less 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives *76 grams 2 pepperoncini, chopped *66 grams 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, chopped *Omit nuts 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese *non fat feta Lemony Basil Tomatoes: 1 cup fresh basil, chopped 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil *lemon juice crushed red pepper flakes zest from 1 lemon kosher salt *add cooked chicken breast to peppers
This salad has so much flavor and is so simple and macro-friendly. It has all protein, carbs, and fat you need and you can completely tailor it to what you want. Olive oil does not have a pleasant taste to me, so I don’t use it in any of my salad dressings. If I need more liquid, I will add more lemon juice or vinaigrette.
I usually skip the green beans in this just because Josh doesn’t like them. I monitor my intake of potatoes closely. I weigh and count everything. The eggs, potatoes, and tuna are the key players in this meal. If you like this salad, you really should try the toast version. IT. IS. HEAVENLY. but make sure you aren’t on a cut because you will be strapped for calories then.
*Changes I make to fit my macros
Ingredients: • For the dressing: 2 tablespoons champagne vinaigrette * White Wine Vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard *1-2 Tablespoons depending on taste 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil *omit oil use lemon juice salt and fresh ground black pepper • For the salad: 4 ounces green beans *fresh green beans if desired ½ pound small new potatoes *1 small bag, weigh the potatoes for each serving 2 eggs *1-2 eggs per salad 2 small heads lettuce *romaine lettuce 1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes *2 pints ¼ cup assorted olives *1 Tablespoon per salad 7 ounce jar Italian tuna packed in olive oil, drained *1-2 pouches of tuna in water per salad ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped