Deficit + Menu

More often than not when I meet with someone about losing weight, I get the same confusing answer to a basic question. I always ask a client two basic questions to start with: how much do you eat on a daily basis and how active are you. These two questions are the most important and require honesty. Rarely do I get a straight answer. I usually hear them say how they barely eat anything and workout 5 days a week as hard as they can or they just don’t know. Both of which are fine, because my job is to educate people on what works for them.

A client that busts their tail 5 days a week in the gym and sees no results, is certainly overeating at some point during the week. There are cases of under-eating coupled with no weight loss, but that is rare and usually, only a plateau that will pass. If you are consistently eating in a deficit and still not seeing results, then your activity level is likely inconsistent. If you still aren’t losing weight, then your method of tracking might be wrong.

For those that are eyeballing their food, measuring it rather than weighing it, or only tracking during the week are really doing themselves a disservice. If you want to track your food, you need to be disciplined and consistent. Once you have tracked for a while you can eyeball foods or skip a few days of tracking because you have taken the time to learn what works and will naturally make healthy choices. When I take days off of tracking I naturally eat less than what I should, it is not purposeful, I just know how much I need from consistently tracking.

Healthy choices don’t always come naturally. I thought I made some pretty healthy choices before I started tracking. I would eat yogurt + granola + grapes for lunch almost every day during the week because it was so easy to throw together. Little did I know just exactly what I was consuming. I was not overweight, but my body composition just was not what I wanted it to be. I went to the gym at least 5 days a week and really never saw any kind of progress. My calories weren’t out of whack, but my macros sure were. I was consuming very little protein and a whole lot of carbohydrates and fat.

I get asked a lot if I grew up eating really healthy foods. My mama did not fry all of our meals by any means, we ate your typical spaghetti, red beans and rice (my favorite), Italian chicken (chicken baked in Italian dressing), mashed potatoes, etc. We ate well and as kids, we didn’t need to limit our calorie intake as we do now as adults.

When I went off to college my idea of breakfast was two pieces of bread with a slice of Kraft cheese on each piece, lightly melted in the microwave…15 seconds, because 30 seconds made it too runny and hot. I ate the salad bar but gorged on pizza and strombolis for supper. I got burrito bowls because the tortilla was too many carbs and then proceeded to cover my bowl with cheese dip and eat it with chips. I ate that probably 4 or 5 times a week. I was not too concerned with educating myself on proper nutrition in my college days. I wanted to look and feel better but never put in the work to do so.

As an adult, I knew I had to make a change with my nutrition so that my time spent in the gym was not in vain. I do not see the point in spinning my wheels. If I am going to invest my time and energy at the gym, the last thing I want is to undo all of that work because I have no willpower or knowledge about food. You can work out all you want to, but if you do not educate yourself on proper nutrition, then you likely will not reach your goals. Starving yourself will only lead to failures in the gym and is just a plain bad idea. Eating healthy does not have to be hard or expensive. You can eat clean basic meals without breaking the bank and reach your nutrition goals.


Duke’s Mayo Bird + Orzo + Zucchini and Tomato 

Lemon Parmesan Salmon+  Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Orange Vinaigrette Dressing

Black Bean Tacos + Avocado Cilantro-Lime Sauce

Creamy White Bean + Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Healthy Turkey Chili

Duke’s Mayo Bird + Orzo + Zucchini and Tomato

I am excited to test out cooking my first turkey. Usually, when I think of cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving my mind immediately goes to frying a turkey. Josh got a new grill over the pandemic break, as did several others because they have been out of stock for a while.

I will not be using Duke’s Mayo on my bird, even though this recipe came from the mayonnaise company’s website. I happened upon it on Pinterest and it just looked great. I am going to make some changes and hopefully still come out with a delicious first bird. If you aren’t worried about keeping it healthy then don’t worry about my substitutions.

When I calculate this for my macros, I am not going to add in the wine and orange juice. The bird will not soak up all of the juice and will lose water so knowing the amount it takes in would be very difficult to track.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

12 to 14-pound turkey
1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
*non-fat Greek yogurt
1 orange, zested and quartered
3 Tbsp The Spice Hunter ground sage
3 tsp The Spice Hunter garlic powder
3 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic bulb, halved widthwise
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups orange juice

5 oz uncooked orzo pasta 
*200-250 grams (weighed uncooked) 
1/2 large zucchini, 1/4-inch dice (5 ounces total) 
*2-3 zucchini 
1 small plum or Campari tomato, diced 
*10-15 cherry tomaotes per serving 
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
*1 lemon juiced 
kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste 
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino 
*20 grams reduced fat parmesan per serving

Lemon Parmesan Salmon+  Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Orange Vinaigrette Dressing

Oh my goodness, I didn’t think I would like salmon any other way than how we normally cook it, but this was great. High protein, low carb, low fat. This left all the room for some good snacks. This is probably one of my favorite meals to make. I love this salmon and this beet salad never disappoints.

Usually, I like salmon our way and try to never deviate from it, but this was too good not to try. Since purchasing a  RecTec Grill, we don’t wrap the salmon in tin foil any more with it being on a pellet grill. It does have a different taste to it, but I really loved it the last time we ate it. It is well worth the money in my opinion.

This recipe has oranges and uses orange juice in the dressing. I make sure to weigh out my orange juice and not to overdo it on the orange slices. The juice/dressing is where you will really get a lot of calories if you are not mindful. To track your dressing, make sure you are weighing every ingredient. Get the total weight of the dressing and then divide it into equal servings.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
*spray olive oil 
kosher salt and black pepper 
4 (5-6 ounce) salmon fillets 
2 teaspoons smoked paprika 
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated 
zest of 1 lemon 
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes 
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 
*10 grams reduced fat parmesan per serving

1/4 Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
*omit oil 
2 Tablespoons Honey
* 1 Tablespoon Honey 
1/2 teaspoon Stone Ground Mustard
* 1 Tablespoon Stone Ground Mustard 
Pinch Salt/Pepper

Fresh Baby Romaine or a Peppery Greens Salad Blend
Micro Greens
4-5 Cooked Beets - cut into chunks
Goat Cheese Crumbles
*1 serving per salad  
1 Orange - segmented 
*1/4th of an orange per salad 

Black Bean Tacos + Avocado Cilantro-Lime Sauce

This is dish is originally intended to be meatless, but I need more protein than what the black beans provide. I used to use tilapia with this dish, but there was a huge tilapia scare about 3 years ago, so we stopped using it altogether. It was only “safe” to buy the fish from one certain place, so I quit making these and haven’t thought about them until Josh brought them up this past week. I had to scroll to the very bottom of my Pinterest board to find these.

To add protein to this dish we are going to use chicken instead of fish. If you would rather use shrimp, I have used this recipe, zesty shrimp salad with the shrimp. It is the easiest little spice mix and tastes amazing.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Two 15 oz. cans black beans
*1 can 
1 cup salsa
*Fresh salsa in the produce section 
1 tsp. cumin
Corn tortillas
*high fiber/low carb tortilla 

Lettuce, tomato, onion, roasted red peppers, corn, avocado, cilantro, dairy-free cheese, etc.
*cilantro, lime

Avocado Sauce 
1/2 ripe avocado 
*3 ounces 
3/4 cup cilantro (stems removed) 
Juice from 1 lime 
1 clove garlic 
1 Tbsp. olive oil 
*omit oil
1 tsp. agave (or other sweetener) 
*1/2 ounce honey 
1/8 tsp. salt 

2 pounds shrimp or meat of choice 
Zest of one lime and one lemon 
1/2 ounce honey 
olive oil spray 
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder 
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Creamy White Bean + Turkey Pumpkin Chili

To be honest, I am very hesitant to make this. I am just not sure if I am going to like it or not. I feel like it is going to be sweet, but we will see. I love roasted pumpkin and the butternut squash soup I made a few weeks ago is fantastic, so I am hoping this will be a winner.

I am not going to use ground turkey in the soup. I will likely use shredded chicken breast instead. I have a can of pumpkin, but I am going to save that for muffins. I am going to roast a pumpkin instead and blend it the same way I do with the butternut squash soup.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
*spray pan with olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
2 carrots, finely chopped (1- 1 1/2cups)
*10-12 ounces baby carrots
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds (675 g) ground turkey thigh
*shredded chicken breast 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, rosemary or sage (or a mixture)
1 (285 g) 15-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin purée
*roasted pumpkin
2 (850 g) 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained
*1 can
2 cups (500 ml) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Kosher salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy whipping cream
*non fat milk or whole milk 

Healthy Turkey Chili

You would not think that chili could be low calorie, but I assure you that it can. If you keep watch on the number of calories that you are taking in throughout the day, you can still have great “normal” food. There is no need to starve yourself to lose weight! Promise. This also means, do not throw any extras into this chili, like cheese, crackers and/or sour cream. Those extras will add up very quickly and you will be in a bad spot.

Keep in mind when you look at my changes that I am making enough for my kids to eat (hopefully, kids can be so picky) and for Josh and myself to have for supper and lunch. Typically this can easily get around 7 large servings. Each serving is 391 calories, 35.6 grams of protein, 25.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 16.5 grams of fat.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 lb. extra lean ground turkey
*2-3 pounds 80/20 or ground venison
1 bell pepper -red, green, yellow or orange 
*6-7 ounces of green bell pepper
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
*4 cans fire roasted tomatoes  
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
*2 cans black beans 
1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Garnish (optional)
shredded, low fat cheddar cheese
fresh parsley 

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