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In Between the Meal Prep

"But what else do you eat?"

Chris's fiance, Danielle, here! We've been getting some pretty great feedback about our blog recently. We're so excited that people are trying and liking some of the recipes, and some say it saves them time to just pull up the recipes and print out the shopping list. One question that we have been asked by a few people is "what else do you eat during the week?" The blog hasn't covered what we do for breakfast or snacks yet, so here we go!

Before you ask, yes... that is a SMASHBURGER coupon on the fridge. It's okay to indulge in moderation, and you can still make some healthy-ish decisions with their menu! With that aside, lets start with breakfast. We always have a fresh pot of coffee on in the morning. I don't think either of us can make it through our crazy days without it. Chris loves the egg muffins that we included in the last blog. We have been using those for a quick, easy, and nutritional breakfast for a while now. He also likes the gluten free granolas that we buy at Aldi's, topped with some fresh or sometimes canned, fruit. If we're out of egg muffins and granola, he whips up some pretty good eggs and toast. Eggs bother my stomach most mornings, so I really like to start my day with a shake/smoothie. We bought a Nutri Bullet, and it is by far the best appliance we've used for a making good smoothie (or the occasional margarita on the weekend). Its really quick, and they make single serve containers that you blend everything in. The containers also come with a top so that you can take your breakfast on the go. The Nutri Bullet comes with a recipe book, and there's a ton of recipes online. My simple smoothies contain the following: a handful of frozen spinach, a few frozen strawberries, 1/2 serving of almond milk, 1/2 serving of water, and 1 scoop of chocolate Vega Protein & Greens. The Vega Protein & Greens come in a lot of different flavors: vanilla, chocolate, berry, tropical, natural, and coconut almond. I like the chocolate... Its like drinking a chocolate covered strawberry every morning! A healthy one at least. The protein powder is 120 calories per serving, has 20 g of protein, 2 g of fiber, and has a good amount of calcium and iron. It is plant based, gluten free, and non-gmo. You can also find it in stores such as CVS and Target.

We vary our snacks. Eating small snacks in between meals keep our appetite under control, and also gives us fuel for the day. They include eating portioned out cheese and crackers, Aldi's gluten free pretzels, tortilla chips & salsa, portioned out fresh veggies, and also fruit like apples, bananas, and oranges. I'll admit, we have had lots of treats in my office right now due to the holidays... I've made the choice of eating cookies over my pretzels or veggies more than I'd care to admit. Thank goodness our holiday stash is almost gone!

Sometimes if we get bored of our meal-prep meals, we'll make a pot of pasta with sauce, or maybe some rice with a veggie mixed in. One thing this meal prep blog has taught me is that by adding a few spices, you can really make a boring/bland meal more exciting to eat. As I've mentioned, we do indulge some, and when we do, they're not that bad health-wise. We'll make personal pizzas with Naan, some sauce, cut up veggies or left over meat from meal prep, and some cheese. No one should have to live without pizza! We also occasionally eat out. However, being on a tight budget limits us. Plus, it kills us when our dinner bill (~$50-$60) is about equal to what we pay for a week's worth of groceries. I suggest that if you have an Aldi's near you... check it out. It really is a great store, with great products (even organic), and you save a ton of money. We've turned a lot of people into Aldi shoppers: patients, personal training clients, and even our family! If you go on their website (https://www.aldi.us/) you can look at the weekly specials, read their blog, and even find some great recipes!

Find out what works best for YOU!

One thing to keep in mind is that everyone is different. It's really important to find your own groove. Figure out what works best for your schedule, what you won't get tired of eating, what your favorite recipes are, etc. I've noticed with both myself and my patients, that the extreme diets don't work. They're not sustainable. I mean, who wants to go the rest of their lives without dairy, sugar, and bread? I've failed so many diets like the Whole 30, Paleo, and the Auto-immune Diet because they're too restricting or require too much work/money. Getting into a diet where you consistently eat more healthy food consistently, and the other "unhealthy stuff" in moderation is way more attainable, and much better for your body. Yo-yo-ing in weight can be detrimental to your body, and result in health complications or comorbidities as you age.

We like to post what we're doing to give others ideas. We're far from perfect. We still like wine/beer, and I could never give up chocolate. As someone recently mentioned: "I have some not so great days/weeks". And that's allowed! Don't beat yourself up or lose your motivation because you spent your Saturday night polishing off an entire pizza and sleeve of Oreos. I used to have the mentality of "well I've already messed up my diet for the day, I'll just continue to eat like crap". Chris hates hearing that. He usually follows my statement with "if you run one red light, it doesn't mean that it's smart or okay to run the rest of them". And he's right. (Go ahead Chris, let this be on the record that I've said "you're right, and I'm wrong"!) Keep working hard to make healthier decisions become a part of your everyday life. It takes time, and practice, but in the end, it's worth it.

Be a part of the Blog!

I am working on a meal prep week that involves other blog viewer's recipes! People have made recipe recommendations to us that they really like. So here's what I'd like to do: Email Chris one of your favorite recipes to cook/eat (ctaterun@gmail.com). We'll pick some recipes and if we pick yours, we'll let you know which one we're going to try for that week. We would then love for you to write a little blurb about why you like the recipe, what motivates you to work out/meal prep, what you have found useful about our blog? We'll post your story and picture along with the recipe!

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