Food + Menu

Assuming what I do or do not eat happens all the time. Recently someone made an assumption that I do not eat bread, since we did not have any bread with our meal. Maybe I missed the boat on where bread is unhealthy, but typically I eat a bagel every day. This morning I had oatmeal and half a doughnut. I do not follow a diet. For the most part, I eat whatever I want to, as long as it fits into my macros. Counting macros is not a diet. Counting macros is a sustainable way to ensure that you are getting all the macro-groups.

Diet is a 4-letter word, that holds a lot of negativity. When someone asks me what kind of diet I am on, I always respond with I am not, I track 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. My diet is all of my favorite things in moderation, within my set macros.

I really eat more than some guys who are usually 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 ears. They would much rather believe that I eat like a bird and only eat vegetables and fruit. Whatever makes them feel better about their poor nutrition, I guess.

I love my carbs. My breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, which usually consists of oatmeal and an egg scramble. I cannot forget about my nighttime snack, which is usually a bowl of cereal (peanut butter and chocolate Cheerios are my go-to). 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. Right now I am playing around with my macros because I need to keep up my milk supply for Thomas. It was easy to do when I was on maternity leave and starving. Five months postpartum, my appetite is subsiding, but I need more calories to produce more milk (at least that is what I have noticed). The more I eat and the more water I drink the better my supply is. It is fun to eat more, but I also do not want to gain weight. It is a struggle between breastfeeding or having a flat stomach.

When you count macros planning and tracking BEFORE you eat 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 constant food because going 4-6 hours without eating is torture for me. 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. Even though I am going up on my macros does not mean I can eat just anything. I still need to make sure my macros are balanced and I am not overdoing it in one area.

Getting started is the hardest part of tracking. You have to be committed to weighing out your food and tracking every bite. If you are not sure how to get your macro numbers, 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 is not as accurate. You can pay someone like RP Strength or Working Against Gravity (or me) to tell you what your target macros are and guide you through the process. 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 woman my age and height.

Make sure you are tracking EVERYTHING you eat. Even the handful of chips you grab in the break room, that leftover chicken strip or macaroni and cheese from your kid’s plate, etc. You would probably be surprised to see how much snacking you really do. Snacking with my kids, dark chocolate, and sweets are my weaknesses. You have to make sure you are being 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 to everyone that they track for a week (honestly and consistently) and then evaluate what you need to be eating. Learning how to track and work the app is half the battle. You really need to play around with the app you choose 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 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 and you can copy someone else’s food with this app, which is especially helpful if you and your spouse are tracking.

Use this as a guide to help you when you need to hit several macros at one time or want more bang for your buck.

M E N U

Chicken Salad Wrap

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

Sweet Potato Fry Steak Salad + Blue Cheese Butter

Pulled Pork Sandwich

30 Minute Chicken Fajitas with Roasted Pineapple Salsa Verde


Chicken Salad Wrap

This chicken salad is not like your local chicken salad sandwich with mayo, pecans, and grapes. Honestly, it is boring and very healthy. You MUST season this dish like there is no tomorrow and add some hot sauce to the wrap as well. I like to drizzle sriracha on my chicken salad once I have it wrapped up in a low-carb, high fiber tortilla shell.

I always boil chicken breasts or cook covered on the stovetop, just because it is easier when meal prepping. If you aren’t worried about macros or meal prepping, a whole rotisserie chicken would be much easier. If you boil the chicken it will be pretty bland from so make sure to season it a lot more than normal when you cut it up to mix with the sauce. I used to use an egg version of mayonnaise but last time I cooked this I used non-fat Greek yogurt and it turned out to be the best healthy chicken salad I have made.

I love that this meal doesn’t have any actual mayo. You make your own mixture to hold the chicken together with non-fat Greek yogurt, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and hot sauce to taste. I don’t use any oil in this mayo and it makes it low calorie and cut friendly. The last time I made this I had 26.8 ounces of cooked chicken breast. It made 6 servings, each at 134 calories, 27.1 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.7 grams of fat, without a tortilla. Make sure to grab a low carbohydrate tortilla. The ones I use are only 50 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of protein. Not too bad compared to the normal 45 grams of protein that most tortillas have.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Ingredients:  
1 whole roasted chicken or 2 pounds of chicken
*chicken breast
½ cup finely chopped celery
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning

Mix with:
1 lemon juiced 
70-80 grams non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
hot sauce, optional

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

Ingredients: 
Salmon:
Salmon 
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

Vinaigrette:
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

Salad:
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 

Sweet Potato Fry Steak Salad + Blue Cheese Butter

I have a lot of favorites, but honestly, THIS is on the very tip-top of my list for salad favorites. It is the most amazing flavor and you can go as light or heavy on the sweet potatoes as you want. I go easy on the butter and make sure to pick a lean cut of steak so I can have more potatoes. If you like a high-fat meal, go crazy with the butter and steak, but keep the potatoes to a minimum.

Josh loves to challenge my macro cooking abilities and boy did I deliver. I made several changes and left a few things off, intentionally and unintentionally. I skipped the avocado because I did not want it to be too much on the fat side. I had plenty of fat leftover at the end of the night for a snack, so it was a good choice. I used reduced-fat blue cheese and sirloin steak to keep the fat at bay as well. The recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of butter, but I used 1.5 tablespoons for 4 servings and it was plenty for us.

To track this I weighed out the steak amount first and then put on the butter-cheese mixture. The size of the steak does not matter as long as you input it separately into your macro count, but the serving size of the butter-cheese mix needs to be the same for every salad.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Ingredients:
3 small-medium sweet potatoes, cut into matchsticks
*2-3 ounces cooked potato per serving
4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
*spray olive oil 
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 (8-10 ounce) ribeye steak or 1 1/2 pound flank steak
*sirloin steak
6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
*10-12 per serving 
1 avocado, sliced
*0.5-0.8 ounces per serving 
4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
*1-2 tablespoons 
3-4 ounces gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled
*40-50 grams reduced fat blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*1 lemon juiced 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon honey
*0.5 ounce 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
*1 tablespoon 
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

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 or a pork bowl on the menu.

I used to cook the meat in the crockpot for 8 hours on low. Now, we smoke the pork butt on the RecTec util it is to temperature and season with the honey bacon bbq seasoning from Meat Church. Delicious. If you can’t get that seasoning, what we used to put on our meat is a great go-to basic seasoning that can be used for any recipe.

To season, I evenly coat all sides with yellow mustard, then season with preferred seasoning. Once the meat is in the crockpot I add soy sauce and apple cider vinegar so the meat does not dry out and soaks up some extra flavor. 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 it 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 
honey bacon bbq spice 
OR
Paprika 
Salt 
Pepper
Yellow Mustard 
Onion Powder 
Chili Powder 
Garlic Powder 
1/4 cup Soy Sauce 
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Brioche Bun 
Pickles 
Low Carbohydrate BBQ Sauce

30 Minute Chicken Fajitas with Roasted Pineapple Salsa Verde

This recipe is pretty identical to the 20-minute shrimp tacos I have made, which are delicious. If you haven’t made them yet and you have some shrimp on hand, run and go make them now! Seriously, one of my favorite salsas yet. The shrimp version had more ingredients in the salsa, but I like that this recipe is a bit more simple. This is my go-to bowl when I want to use pulled pork in a taco or rice bowl.

The only thing to really track in the salsa is the pineapple and tomatillos. The tomatillos are awesome roasted with the other ingredients. If you can’t find tomatillos, you can use a jar of premade Verde. Add the Verde, garlic, jalapeno, and spices to a mixer pulse together until blended well.

These fajitas always turn into rice bowls for me instead of tacos. I love this salsa so much and the macros are so great that I can have a lot of it. If you are going low carbohydrate, then skip the rice and just eat in the tortilla or alone. Some fresh cilantro, lime, and maybe avocado to top it off and you are set!

I interchange pork and chicken breast in this recipe often. Since I am making pork sandwiches this week, I will have extra pork on hand. Pork is probably my favorite way to eat this bowl, so I am really looking forward to this meal.

*Changes I make to fit my macros

Ingredients: 
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips 
*chicken breast or pulled pork
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
*Spray with oil 
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 
*High fiber/Low carb tortilla or rice 
crumbled cotija or shredded cheddar cheese mashed avocado and limes 
*Omit cheese OR avocado
 
ROASTED PINEAPPLE SALSA VERDE: 
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 
1-2 cup diced pineapple
*1/4 -1/3rd cup per serving

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