We all have our limits, things we can’t do or simply won’t do. I talked about a list of “don’ts” a while back that I came across on FaceBook. I would never create a list of don’ts, but I know there are certain things, common sense things that I will not place on my to-do list because they would interfere with my goals or lifestyle. Being able to set boundaries for yourself is a great way to ensure you stay on track.
A natural boundary or rule that I have set for myself is meal prepping. This is not something that I have always done. I did not need to meal prep when before I was married or married sans children. I had plenty of time (even though I thought I had no time) before children to workout in the afternoon, cook at night, clean the kitchen, and even watch a show of my own choosing.
Now, I cook all of my family’s meals on Sunday morning before church (and finish after Sunday lunch if necessary). The kids are a different story, they can’t fully commit to their meals like adults can for a whole week and certainly don’t eat everything Josh and myself eat. I can throw their meals together quickly while I weigh out the food Josh and I are planning to eat that night. I might spend 30 minutes in the kitchen every night preparing their food and plating the adult’s food for supper and lunch the next day. Not too bad. In comparison to the time it would take to make a meal from scratch and cook the kid’s preferred meal that night, it’s a cake-walk.
As a mom, there are many to-dos on my list. Laundry, cleaning, dishes, food, chauffeur, referee, constantly picking up nerf-gun bullets (dinosaurs, legos, blocks, socks), etc. and I know that I have to give myself grace, but also set myself up for success. Meal prepping did not start out about eating healthy and clean for me. Meal prepping started because I wanted to ensure I had time with my family. I didn’t want to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else played. I wanted that quality family time too.
Meal prepping is more than just a way for me to gain that time with my family now. It is also preparation for the week ahead and is greatly focused on macros. It all started with one simple goal and evolved into so much more, which is what your goals are supposed to do. Through meal prepping I cut down on the grocery bill, keep our waistlines in check, better control our calorie intake, reduce stress, and increase my family time.
Without my boundaries or rules firmly in place, I know that I would not be as successful on a simple day to day tasks and certainly would not be as successful in the gym. Typically I grocery shop after work on Fridays. This forces me to have my plan for the next week ready to go before the week has even started. I don’t have to worry about a trip to the store on Saturday and focus on something fun instead.
If we are going out of town like we did this past weekend, I make sure we plan for it. We know that the smart thing would be to grocery shop on Thursday instead of waiting until Sunday when we get back. Nothing is worse than coming home to unpack, wash all the dirty clothes, grocery shop, and still have to cook. Meal prepping takes hours to complete, so if you can cross off an hour-long trip to the grocery store beforehand, why not?
Goals are not always easy to achieve, but having those boundaries/rules in place will force me to get them done and aid in my efforts to reach them. If I did not hold myself to the rule of meal prepping every Sunday, I would have spent this whole past week miserable and frustrated that we even went out of town, because I would be in the kitchen cooking every night, plus catching up on all the laundry, cleaning up millions of toys, breaking up fights over who has what toy…all the mom things. Make sure you set some realistic boundaries or rules for yourself when it comes to reaching your goals. It won’t feel like punishment, yet just another part of your healthy lifestyle that actually makes life a little bit easier.
M E N U
This is probably one of Josh’s favorite dishes. Pasta + mushrooms = his jam. He L O V E S mushrooms, me not so much, but in this dish they are great. It is just a texture thing for me. They don’t really have a taste on their own, but with the right seasonings and in just the right dish, I can scarf them down.
This dish can be high on the number of carbohydrates, it is pasta after all. I am going to use carba-nada to cut back on the carbs a little and up the protein. Carba-nada has 170 calories per serving, 15 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.5 grams of fat.
The last time I cooked this with regular farfalle pasta and whole milk the macros per serving (there were 10) were 349 calories, 11.6 grams of protein, 39.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 5.1 grams of fat.
When I am making a dish like this I keep my chicken and pasta separate and make a recipe just for the sauce. You can make your servings larger or smaller depending on your macro needs. This is without any meat. I am going to bake some chicken breasts and add them to the dish.
*Changes I make to meet my macros.
Ingredients: 16 ounces uncooked whole wheat farfalle pasta *can substitute with carba-nada or vegetable noodles 2 tablespoons butter *1 tablespoon 2 tablespoons oil *Omit 24 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini and shiitake) *680 grams 1/4 cup minced garlic or shallots, or a combination of both a splash of white wine (about 1/3 cup) *2.4 ounces 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream *1 cup non fat milk 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth (as needed) *1-2 cups Vegetable broth depending on how my liquid you want in your sauce 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese *60 grams reduced fat parmesan cheese 2 cups spinach, chopped 6 ounces goat cheese *4 ounces *add in cooked chicken breast
This is a new recipe. I am loving these lighter pasta dishes that are just a little creamy but don’t leave you with that heavy pasta feeling. I am going to cut way back on the butter, add in cooked chicken breast (cooking it covered on the stovetop), and lower the amount of goat cheese. You can either add in the goat cheese to the whole recipe or top off each serving with the amount you would like.
I like that this recipe has broccoli and that I will be substituting with carba-nada. I like the carba-nada because I can use less chicken breast to meet my protein goal. If you are vegetarian this pasta option would be great for you!
*Changes I make to meet my macros.
Ingredients: 2 stalks of broccoli 4 tablespoons olive oil *spray with olive oil 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning 1 teaspoon garlic powder 4 lemons, sliced in half 1/2 pound bucatini pasta *carba-nada or spaghetti squash 6 tablespoons butter, I like using salted for this *2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons olive oil *omit 4 garlic cloves, minced 2/3 cup white wine *1/3 cup white wine *add in 2 cups vegetable broth 3 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs, parsley, basil, thyme – your fave! 8 ounces goat cheese chevre, softened *4 ounces *add in protein of choice, I am going to use chicken breast
I can’t help but think of our trip to Grand Cayman two years ago, when I see the word the Caribbean. I love to sightsee, but I think my favorite thing about traveling is eating local food. Grand Cayman and The Ritz Carlton did not disappoint, the breakfast, in particular, was the highlight of my day. No joke. Best breakfast buffet I have ever seen in my life! I wish I would have taken a picture, I know a buffet doesn’t sound fancy and delicious, but this one was.
I am going to substitute chicken for pork. Since I am using the pork for two different recipes I won’t be seasoning it as this recipe calls for, which is good because I will be skipping a lot of extra macros and calories that aren’t necessary. Make sure to get all the ingredients if you are just cooking a pork butt for this recipe, You can also replace pork with chicken breast and cook it in the crockpot.
*Changes I make to meet my macros.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil *Omit 2 pounds pork shoulder roast *pork butt 1 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes 1/3 cup ketchup preferably organic 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon fresh ginger or ground *Fresh ginger 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon all-spice 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/3 cup orange juice 3 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon molasses *omit 2 1/2 cups cooked black beans *1 can black beans (1/4 cup per serving) 1-2 mangos peeled + chopped *3/4 a cup TROPICAL RICE 1 cup uncooked jasmine or basmati rice *Jasmine rice, 1/4 to 1/2 cup cooked per serving 1 cup canned coconut milk *Non-fat coconut milk 3/4 cup coconut water *Water 3 tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut *Omit 1 tablespoon coconut oil *Omit juice + zest of 1 lime 1/2 cup grated carrots 2 green onions chopped *matchstick carrots 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper
Pork and tacos go hand-in-hand in my household. If we buy a pork butt, chances are we will be making a bowl or taco or both. I never get tired of pork tacos or just your basic BBQ sandwich.
These tacos are good, meal prep friendly, macro-friendly, and easy. If you are not into meal prepping, you can at least chop up the vegetables prior to cooking, to save yourself time. Roasting the vegetables in the oven versus cooking them on the stovetop is another good option. I like to season my peppers and onions with cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. If you want to add a little extra heat to the dish, sautee a jalapeno with the vegetables. The salsa verde is often very mild and requires some hot sauce.
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. I pour in a little apple cider vinegar to the crockpot so the pork has some extra juice to mix with. Once the meat is cooked thoroughly, let it cool and then separate the meat from the fat.
Side note: Make sure you weigh out the meat before adding your Verde. It is a good idea to make sure you have enough meat for both meals, so you don’t end up short for lunch on your last meal with pork.
Sautee your vegetables or roast them in the oven while you get the Verde together. If you are making your own Verde, you can roast the vegetables and tomatillos at the same time.
Once you have your meat weighed out, cover the meat with salsa verde, you can make your own if you have time or buy a jar already made, let the meat simmer. I always make sure I get the high fiber, low carbohydrate tortillas so I don’t overdo it on the carbohydrates. Fill your tortilla with the sauteed vegetables, meat, and favorite hot sauce.
*Changes I make to meet my macros.
Ingredients: 1 Boston Butt 2 Green Bell Peppers 1 Red Bell Pepper 1 Yellow Onion 1 jar Salsa Verde or make your own 1 Jalapeno - optional Olive Oil Spray Spices for Pork Butt: Cumin Paprika Salt Pepper Yellow Mustard Onion Powder Chili Powder Garlic Powder Top with hot sauce
So. Much. Food. For less than 400 calories you can’t beat this meal. I upped the number of vegetables and lowered the amount of avocado. I love the creamy avocado sauce mixed in with the rice, vegetables, and chicken. When I went to the grocery store to get the groceries, all the avocados were hard as bricks. I am hoping to still find one before I cook all the meals.
When I first made this dish I was a little impatient and didn’t let the marinade sit long on the chicken. I put the chicken on a sheet pan, sprayed both sides with low-calorie olive oil, and seasoned up. I love it when a marinade has tons of fresh herbs. I skipped mixing the herbs and seasonings with olive oil and used lemon juice instead. You might want to use parchment paper when cooking this in the oven because juices will usually burn. You can obviously cook the chicken on the stovetop covered and it will not burn and usually turns out more juicy.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: CHICKEN 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenders *chicken breast 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil *lemon juice 1 tablespoon lemon zest 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary 1/4 cup fresh parsley or basil, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried) kosher salt and black pepper THE RICE + VEGGIES + AVOCADO 2 red bell peppers, cut into fourths 1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds *3-4 zucchini depending on size 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil *omit olive oil 2 avocados, mashed very well *3 ounces juice of 1 lemon 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced or grated 2 cups cooked basmati rice *1/2 cup cooked rice per serving jasmine rice or your preference of rice 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved *8-10 per serving 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped *omit walnuts 1/2 cup crumbled feta, goat, or blue cheese *non-fat feta or goat cheese