Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Food Prep 101 with the 21 Day Fix
When it comes to eating right, getting in shape and making a change to your lifestyle, food preparation is KEY! A lot of people try to lose weight by trying to find a quick fix such as a pill, a cleanse that eliminates all solid foods, a program that supplies microwaveable meals, etc. That may work in helping you lose weight but you will not be able to keep it off because you did not establish healthy habits!
In order to eat right and establish healthy habits, you have to first practice it on a regular basis and this usually involves food prep. When you prepare ahead of time, you help avoid temptations and falling victim to hunger. I've been food prepping for as long as I can remember and below are some of the ways I try to prepare for the week in order to avoid eating foods that will not make me feel better and will not help me reach my goals.
In my opinion, the easiest way to prep is using the 21 Day Fix idea. You first choose a protein such as chicken, ground turkey, or fish and make enough for the week. You can choose two of them if you need variety or make just one type of protein if you want to keep it simple. I usually make either balsamic chicken, salsa chicken, ground turkey or tuna salad (made w greek yogurt & egg whites). I also make salmon or chicken salad but it depends on what's in my fridge or what's on sale that week! I make enough for the week and portion it out in containers for lunches and dinners. That way, when I have to eat it, I just put it on a plate and heat it up. I combine it with a carbohydrate and a veggie ( see below ).
Ideas for a good carbohydrate are quinoa, brown rice, ezekiel bread or sweet potato. I prepare one or two of these and pair them with my protein and my veggie as described above. Then pick your choices of fruit for a snack or dessert & veggies to pair with your meals. For fruit, I almost always stick to frozen berries in my shake and maybe an apple for a snack later in the day. I also like grapefruits, oranges, melons and kiwi. This is the easy part to prep because it usually doesn't involve any cooking.
Veggies are something I eat A LOT of so I always keep certain ones in stock. I always have lettuce for salads and spinach for my omelets and my Shakeology. I also like to eat grilled veggies and my faves for those are bell peppers, eggplant, asparagus, squash and onions. Since I can't always grill either because of time or the weather, I make sure to have steamed veggies ready to eat in my fridge at all times. My faves are steamed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and squash (they come all together in the Normandy Blend at Costco).
I'm a snacker so I always have healthy things to eat that are easy to just grab and munch on. I usually have my little man in my arms or hanging from a leg so doing this helps me avoid going a long time without a meal and/or eating something that I shouldn't (such as kid's snakcs!). Some of the snacks I like to keep handy are hard boiled eggs, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, nitrate free deli meats, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, sliced fresh veggies such as peppers, brown rice cakes, PB2 and almonds.
For breakfast, I always have my Shakeology. I have half of it before I leave to drop my daughter off at school, then do my workout and have the other half when I get home as my post-workout recovery snack. It is VERY filling and, because of all of the spinach I add to it, I make A LOT and it keeps me full until lunch time! A lot of people say they don't have time to prep their shakes in the morning but when you prepare, there WILL be time. I put all of the ingredients for my Shakeology in the blender the night before (except for the ice) and put it in the fridge. Then when I wake up in the morning, I just pop it on the blender and it's ready in one minute! I put it in my huge insulated Bubba Keg mug and it stays thick, cold and with the consistency of a Jamba Juice all morning! Even when I take it to work and work patrol, I keep it in the car and drink it throughout my shift .
And condiments, condiments are important when it comes to food prep because they help give food flavor. And flavor is important so you keep eating the healthy stuff and steer clear of the not so good choices! One of my favorites is the Costco Kirkland Brand No Salt Organic Seasoning. I always have that in my kitchen. Another favorite is the Flavor God seasonings. Those come in a wide variety and can be added to literally anything. I have the Kirkland and Flavor God and add them to my eggs, chicken, fish, salads, veggies and anything else I eat.
I also l like to use salsa! Salsa is low cal and adds a bit of flavor and spice to any food. I put salsa on my scrambled eggs, veggies and make my Crock Pot Salsa chicken with it too :)
As far as portions are concerned, that all depends on what your goals are, what your current weight is, what you want your weight to be and what your activity level is. This is exactly why the 21 Day Fix is so helpful. It tells you exactly how many servings of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats to eat in order to reach that goal and it gives you containers to help you understand what a healthy serving size should look like :). At first glance, the containers seem small and difficult to understand but, after you use it for a few weeks, you build healthy habits and, within about 3 weeks, you can eyeball your portion sizes, you know what you SHOULD be eating because you've been prepping your meals and you can eat anywhere while making healthy choices.... hence the name "21 Day Fix". It isn't called that because it guarantees that you'll reach your weight loss goals in 21 days. That would not be realistic nor would it be credible. It's called because it takes the average individual 21 days to establish a habit and, if you've been in any of my challenge groups and followed the plan as I've presented it, you'd agree!
Hope this has helped you! If you have any questions about food prep, portion size, my challenge groups or the 21 Day Fix, feel free to comment below or, better yet, shoot me an email at info@FitFluentialMom.com.