Back to work I go. Back to meal prepping, rushed mornings, (hopefully) 5 a.m. workouts, and pumping during my planning period and lunch break. I can’t say that I am excited to go back, Josh actually put in for me to stay out another month, but I need to go back. Only 98 days of daycare for Thomas, if I did my counting right, it was a 3 a.m. pumping session when I counted up the days.
Our meals have been very off since the week of Christmas. We have managed to eat relatively healthy, but I still never bothered to track my macros 100% and that is okay. I have been tracking my food for years now. Tracking isn’t supposed to be something you do for the rest of your life though. Tracking your macros is a tool that allows you to create healthy habits, learn what is in foods, teach you about what your body needs, and how to make smart food choices. Tracking macros is not a diet, but a learning tool.
Tracking your macros helps keep you accountable. Until you have learned the ropes I do encourage people to be as consistent as possible when they are tracking. If you are inconsistent when you track, there is no way of knowing what does and does not work. Tracking is not easy, it is definitely not a quick weight loss scheme, but it works. If you eat in a deficit you will lose weight. You cannot simply starve your body, well you can, but that is unhealthy and does not promote long term weight loss.
There is no sure way of knowing that you are eating in a deficit if you don’t keep track of what you are eating. Even if you simply write down everything you eat, you will be more likely to make smarter choices. There is a mental aspect of having to put in the food you are eating into an app or on paper. If you have to write down that you ate your kid’s ice cream or grabbed a hand full of m & ms (a few times) then you might not snag those next time. If you neglect to put those in the app or write them down, then it is like it never even happened.
Tracking (accurately & honestly) what you are eating will allow you to rule out the foods that are causing you to retain water, foods that might be making you feel sluggish, or help you understand why you are not losing weight like you want to. It is not a punishment to have to track your food. It really is the best form of accountability if you don’t have a nutrition coach. I know what is healthy for me and what my body needs because I have tracked for so long. Getting back into shape now, I need to track. I have to make sure that I am fueling my body properly to get the results that I want. If you want to lose weight, build muscle, etc. tracking is one of the best and healthiest ways to get you there.
I am going to start two programs, starting on January 18th. One program is going to be for those that are just starting on their macro-counting process or want/need to learn more. The second group will be for those that are well versed in macro counting, have been counting consistently, and want to learn more about cooking with macros. The second group will be more of a cooking class, but I will help change macros as needed. Both classes will follow the previous format of meeting in person for a consult if you are needing to set a macro goal and the remainder of the meetings will be online in a private Facebook group. If you are unable to meet in person, we can set up a FaceTime or phone consult. Both classes will last for 8 weeks and cost $50. If you are interested in either class let me or a coach at E8 know.
M E N U
Brisket + Yogurt Mashed Potatoes
This is a taco casserole, but I am going to track the meat and rice separately to get the most accurate count on my macros. To do this I am going to cook the rice on its own and leave the chicken whole on top of the dish to easily pick it out of the casserole. If you are using ground meat, then keep it out of the casserole entirely if you are wanting the most accurate count. The rice and meat can be added separately to each person’s dish depending on their macro needs. This could even be thrown in a tortilla if you are eating a low carbohydrate meals.
The recipe also does not want you to strain your meat before adding in the vegetables, but I am going to cook the meat, strain it, weigh it, then add in the vegetables. I am going to do this so I can get an accurate weight on my meat, rather than straining after I add in the vegetables. You might want to strain a second time once the vegetables are cooked to get out the excess water from the vegetables.
If you are adding rice to the mixture while it cooks in the oven, you will need to add the broth. If you are going to add rice to each serving after it has cooked, then you will not need the broth. The vegetables and tomatoes will prevent the meat and veggies from drying out. If there doesn’t seem to be enough liquid to your liking, add in 1/2 to 1 cup of broth. You don’t want it to be soupy, but don’t want it to dry out either.
Remember that the changes I make are not only for macros but also to ensure that I have at least 4 servings for two very hungry adults, plus some extra for the kids. We eat these meals for lunch and supper. Leftovers are great for tracking macros since you already know what the macros are!
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 1 lb. ground beef *20 ounces ground meat or chopped chicken breast ½ medium onion, diced *1 onion 1 small bell pepper, diced *4-5 ounces 2 small zucchini, diced *3 squash or zucchini 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 2 Tbsp. homemade taco seasoning (or store-bought) 1 (14-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste 2 ¾ cups beef broth *beef or chicken depending on meat used and if adding rice ½ cup frozen corn *80 grams sweet corn 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice *cooked separately 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, divided *20-30 grams fiesta cheese per serving Optional toppings: Salsa, diced avocado
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
Ingredients: 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 *Omit fresh parsley
I ate these tacos several times after I had Thomas. They are so easy and though the meat might be pricey it goes a long way. It is a hard toss up between a brisket omelet and brisket taco. Josh loves to cook brisket because it is delicious. This is probably one of Josh’s favorite meats to cook because he wants to get the method down perfectly.
The first time we had these tacos, had some leftover brisket from The Fourth of July and decided to throw some into tacos. I had some leftover Verde from that week and random toppings. Honestly, they ended up being some top quality tacos. I wasn’t expecting to like them as much as I did.
We kept the tacos super simple, but they ended up being so delicious. To make the Verde roast the tomatillos, garlic, green onion, and jalapeno in the oven until the tomatillos are tender and soft, 20-25 minutes on 425 degrees. Throw the roasted tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, and green onions into the blender with the juice of one lime and cilantro.
Ingredients: beef brisket, smoked to temperature Toppings: 1 raw red onion, diced 7-10 grams fiesta blend cheese per taco fresh cilantro, chopped fresh jalapeño, diced squeeze of lime per taco low carb/high fiber tortilla Tomatillo Sauce: 6 small tomatillos, husked *verde if you can’t find tomatillos 1 jalapeño 4 green onions juice of 1 lime 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Brisket + Yogurt Mashed Potatoes
One night we decided to make some mashed potatoes to go along with our steak. Friday and Saturday night is usually not planned but we still try to keep pretty healthy. I saw that I had some non-fat Greek yogurt in the fridge and threw it in there. Josh thought it was sour cream and I just let him think that until he tasted it. Once he gave the approval, I let him in on my secret. Since then that is how I have made our potatoes, even for guests and they have never been able to tell the difference. My super picky, traditional eating Step-Dad even loves them. Make sure to use caution when adding in the yogurt, the more you use the sweeter the potatoes will taste.
When cooking your meat make sure you cook it to temperature. Josh follows the recipe from Meat Church pretty closely. You can find their spices and lots of other great choices locally at Baell Mercantile. If you aren’t local, I highly recommend you order some of these spices, we use them on everything.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 1 12 - 14 lb whole packer brisket (Choice grade or higher) Meat Church Holy Cow Meat Church Holy Gospel unwaxed butcher paper or heavy duty aluminum foil Yogurt Mashed Potatoes: 900-1000 grams red potatoes 65-75 grams non-fat Greek yogurt 1 tablespoon butter 6-8 ounces fat free milk salt, pepper, minced garlic, fresh diced rosemary
The last time I cooked lasagna per Josh’s request was for his birthday. This time I am cooking it for a new mom. We don’t lasagna very often because it is LOADED down with calories and there is just no way around that if you want a real lasagna. I know people substitute noodles for zucchini but I can’t bring myself to do that to lasagna.
I am not planning to use a particular recipe as I did a few years ago on a birthday lasagna. I will use the combination of cheeses like in the recipe, but that is about it. I am going to use the Bolognese sauce that I make for my spaghetti and layer it with a combination of provolone and parmesan, ricotta, and mozzarella to top it off. I skipped the mushrooms because not everyone loves them.
To make the sauce, dice the onion and bell pepper, and saute’ with the minced garlic until soft. Add the vegetables to a large pot, along with the canned tomatoes. Once the meat has cooked thoroughly, drain and add to the tomatoes and vegetables.
Stir in the milk and wine, if you are going to put those in. Let the sauce simmer on low. Add the tomato paste to thicken the sauce if needed. The amount of tomato paste you add depends on how thick you want your sauce to be. I use to add the whole milk and wine but have recently opted out of putting it in. It is delicious with or without the wine and milk.
I like to add dried oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, parsley, and any other Italian herbs I have on hand. If you want to make this a bit healthier you can just make spaghetti. Carba-nada is a great low-carbohydrate noodle option or spaghetti squash!
Ingredients: 4 cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes 1 can Tomato Paste (about 1 cup) 3 cloves Garlic 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (diced) 1 Onion (diced) 2-4 pounds 80/20 cooked and drained *30-35 ounces cooked 8 ounces Whole Milk (optional) 4 ounces Red Wine (optional) Italian Herbs 2 cups provolone cheese shredded, divided 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated, plus more for serving *Reduced Fat Parmesan 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded Reduced fat ricotta chopped parsley for garnish Whole Wheat lasagna noodles