Meal Prep 5 | Morefitme

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I kept things simple for meal prep because I want fresh ingredients for my meals this week. For breakfast I am having my favorite breakfast bowl (will do a recipe card later this week), which requires a good bit of chopping to save time in the mornings. Otherwise, the meal prep was mostly chopping to skip the prep step in the evenings. I was able to hit my freezer up for beans, rice and meaty marinara sauce, which means my beginning of the month prep is not going to waste. As you can see below, meals this week are best if prepared in the moment:Meal Plan

This time I misspoke in the video. The fajita vegetables I prepared are for burrito bowls, but the same principles apply. Fresh cooked veggies are really the most flavorful and nutritious. Like I stated, this weeks meal prep was simple and finished in under an hour due to frozen ingredients. Details can be seen in the video below:

 

The 21 Day Total Fit Challenge

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No, I’m not talking about the 21 day fix. MrShutUpandTrain is a personal trainer to many celebreties, and once a year he shares a 21 day challenge for free! The challenge includes workouts as well as meal suggestions. 

I have been waiting for the announcement, and it’s here. The challenge begins this Sunday and is for 3 weeks. It’s right on time because I finish the Melissa Bender Lean Body Challenge this Saturday and was trying to decide what to do next. I will post pics next week of my Bender Fitness before and after, but in the mean time I am geeked for this total body fitness challenge.

The woman pictured lost 12 lbs and several inches in just 21 days! Photo from Facebook

What about this challenge appeals to me most?
The challenge is actually completely free! There are no shakes, supplements, etc to buy. Its a combo of clean eating and great exercise. All you have to do is sign up here, and you will receive emails with grocery lists and links to the workouts. Check out the website for more details and then join us! Like I said it’s a completely free challenge, so why not? 

I will be sure to post my results, continue with #whatiatemonday on instagram and I will of course share on social media outlets along the way. It’s time to Shut Up and Train!

*All photos are from the Mr. Shut Up and Train Facebook page

My Food Trigger Hour

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You may say to yourself, huh? I’ve heard of trigger food, but a trigger hour??????

Welp, I discovered that there is an hour in the day where I am most likely to eat something not so great for me, or when I decide to not follow through on my fitness plan for the day. I often found myself stopping at a gas station on the way home to get some Jalapeno chips, a Nutty Butter Bar, a Honey Bun or a Cheesy Danish.

I finally decided to get that “little cheat” under control by first recognizing that I was indulging so frequently. It is quite easy to tell oneself that you are not cheating too much, but the scale tells me differently. I tried going cold turkey and that failed miserably (can you say super snack!). Last month I decided to just have a piece of fruit on standby in the car, I started with an apple, then graduated to halo’s, then a banana, etc.

 

Lo and behold, it’s working! I do not even eat my snack all of the time. It’s something mentally comforting about having an option for satisfaction that takes the power back from the food. This has been a breakthrough for me. I have found myself eating healthier and really sticking to my planned meals, and somehow that snowballs into me sticking to weekly fitness.

Who knew! Do you have a trigger hour?

 

 

Recipe Review | Ina Garten Lemon Chicken Breasts

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As stated in my 2015 goals video, I have decided to try one new recipe each and every week this year (or just about every week). First up is the Ina Garten Lemon Chicken Breasts Recipe, which I found on foodnetwork.com.

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First up, I have to confess. I have tried this recipe two times since first giving it a go in the second week of January (yes, this review was a long time coming). I do not have a love affair with chicken like most southerners because well, I just have not seen it as incredibly exciting due to boneless skinless chicken breast burn out. It was not until I tried this recipe that my faith in chicken was renewed. I know that bone-in or skin on chicken is truly the only way to go in the world of serious flavor, so I was immediately drawn to this recipe.

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I created the marinade as instructed and I must say it went just as well for me as it did the Barefoot Contessa. This recipe is definitely high on the easy meter because the prep really only consisted of zesting a lemon, and chopping up garlic and thyme!

 

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My kitchen smelled delightful and the taste of the marinade alone was enough to make me yip with surprised glee! The first time I tried the recipe I poured the marinade straight into my baking dish and continued as directed, the second time I marinated the chicken for four hours before throwing the chicken in the dish to bake.

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I paired the chicken with broccoli the first time and asparagus the second time, no grains necessary for such a large piece of chicken. Let’s just say, my taste buds died and went to heaven! I was so very surprised at how delightful this recipe turned out. I really do not enjoy seriously lemony tasting chicken, and I have tried lemon chicken recipes that leave me disappointed. The marinade has such a wonderful balance of flavors that I saved it and poured it over Quinoa the next day! If you are looking for something new to try, give this recipe a whirl!

Tip: The second time I prepared this recipe I poured a drizzle of honey in the baking dish before placing the chicken on top. That addition to the recipe earned it a permanent place in my personal recipe book.

Be sure to leave a link to your favorite recipes below!!!!!

Dinner Index

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The meal I ponder the most each week is dinner. I have no issues with breakfast, I eat pretty much the same thing a week at a time and never get tired of it. Lunch has its limitations due to the fact that I am at work and have very little time to eat, so I take things that are easy and very portable. Snacks are the same. That leaves dinner to wonder over.

I enjoy cooking, but not every night. Plus I eat dinner out every weekend as my SO and I enjoy doing so. This means that I just need to make two dinner options with left overs each week. I have been able to come up with several options that I enjoy. Regardless, I often struggle over what to purchase for dinner each week, so I decided to create my own dinner index.

Maybe something like this?

What is a dinner index? It is simply a list of meal options and recipes that I enjoy for dinner. I am currently keeping a running list in my planner, have recipes pinned, bookmarked or favorited on Youtube. My goal is 30 dinner options that I enjoy and will satisfy my random cravings, I am currently at 22.

I currently like this option best right now.

I have yet to decide how I will take these meals from various places and compile them in to one. I have a recipe book where I keep family recipes, so I could create a section within that, or some kind of laminated page for easy access.

I will update this project each month, so feel free to throw suggestions my way.

Fitness Update : May 2014

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So,  you know how I signed up for a gym and was going to spinning and les mills classes, yea…….I haven’t done that in MONTHS! I still pay for the membership because I am under contract, but I have decided that Gym Memberships just are not for me.

Have I quite exercising completely? HELL NO! If anything I am much more consistent now that I am not forcing myself to go to classes. I run 4-5 days a week depending on the length of my long run and practice at least 30 minutes of Yoga daily. Post run, I like to do Yoga for Strength and Flexibility, on non run days I focus on inversions, breathing and the meditative side of things. I purchased the Tara Stiles DVD set a couple of months ago, so I just pop in a DVD and do one of the many flow routines. Once my Gym membership runs out, I will rejoin my favorite Yoga studio in town and go to classes a couple of times a week.

How is this working out for me? Quite well! My exercise is now consistent, I have lost more weight, I look leaner and am just plain happier with life (my legs look freaking awesome!). I am even getting up Earlier to get my exercise in (which is major for someone that likes to stay up nights and wake up later than the 8-5 crowd).

Legs 🙂

Like I have said along this journey before, I am finding what works and sticking with it!

Freezer Staples | Making Healthy Eating Easy and Cheaper

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I have come to realize that the most practical way to purchase healthy food on a budget is by purchasing items that will be held in my freezer. This also makes cooking for one easy as well.

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In my last post I spoke about my soup files, which have really made lunch easy. With the remainder of my freezer staples I kept that same meal portions concept in mind.

First up, Chicken Breast. I eat chicken every week in soups, curries, wraps, etc, so I wanted to find a good economical frozen bag of breast fillets. However, I still wanted hormone free, organic chicken packaged with as few preservatives as possible. I went to my three favorite stores for purchasing meat, perused their selection, and chose the best option.
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Of the options, Trader Joe’s won, hands down. This 2lb bag of frozen breast meat is hormone free , there are no preservatives, and is individually frozen (meaning I don’t have to pry stuck pieces of chicken apart. Each breast is 4oz., which for me is a perfect portion. Continuing with meat, seafood and beef.

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I live in Florida with easily accessible, cheap seafood, so it’s a must in my life. I go to the market, buy a few large fillets, cut them into the portions I need and freeze them in water (keeps frost bite away). For example, I bought one sizeable Salmon fillet and cut it into 4 portions ($6.99/lb), a good size Mahi Mahi fillet (9.99/lb, cost $7 that day) and cut it into two portions, and a pound of Bay Scallops (5.99/pound) portioned into 4 clumps. I froze each portion separately and ended up with about a months worth of seafood. I also purchased a pound of lean ground beef from Trader Joe’s (5.99/lb), seasoned and froze it in two separate portions (spaghetti and stuffed peppers).

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Last of the seafood is frozen shrimp. I almost bought shrimp from the same seafood market, but my sister pointed out that the bag from the Publix Frozen food section is peeled and deveined, which will make those tired nights easier, so I splurged and purchased the one pound bag for $18.99. Seems expensive, but when you do the portion math, it’s not so bad, none the less it’s a splurge. Next up was Smoothie fruit:

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My sister kindly pointed out to me that I could purchase a 5 lb bag of mixed fruit from Sam’s Club for $10.98, and that was that. I make a green smoothie daily and this bag of frozen fruit is by far more economical than anything else I was purchasing. I still add a piece of fresh fruit to my smoothie (banana, mango, avocado or pear), and save lots of money. Last but not least is veggies:

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I was hesitant to purchase frozen veggies because they do not have as much flavor as the fresh variety, but the nutritional value is higher, so I decided to give it a try. Economically, Walmart wins with these three pound bags of Bird’s Eye veggies are $2.99 a piece. As you can see I am almost done with one of the bags. These are so easy to steam, throw in a stir fry, noodles or curry dish. They have cut down on cooking and prep time tremendously.

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I have to admit that while economical, they do not have as much flavor as their never frozen counterparts. Plus, pesticides and preservatives, well you decide. None the less, these freezer staples have made life sooooooo much easier. My weekly grocery spending is sooooo much cheaper and meal planning now starts with the freezer!