Easy Meal Prep Tips
Ever wonder what it would be like to open your fridge to find a full week of healthy, delicious food that’s prepped and ready to be eaten? Sure would make sticking with your diet and achieving fat loss a lot easier…
Meal prep is a fantastic way to keep on track with your eating throughout the entire week.
The idea is to plan out all of your meals on the weekend, most often on Sunday, then do the shopping and the prep at one time for the entire week. This day is labor intensive, but then your food is ready-to-eat for the next 6 full days.
Here’s my 5 Step Meal Prep Guide to make your next food prep week really simple:
Step One: Planning
Get out your notebook and pen or pull up a blank note page on your iPad, it’s time to start planning for the week. Here are the questions that you’ll need to answer:
1. How many meals do I need each day?
Now it’s time to translate those meals + servings into actual recipes. Take a moment to consider the produce that is in season and any special requests or food allergies.
1. Find your recipes
Take your list of recipes and create a grocery list. A few things to keep in mind…
1. Pay attention to recipes that you’ll double or triple
It’s time to head to the grocery store! Take your list and, if you’re lucky, a helper down to your local market and go through each section item by item.
Step Five: Food Prep
You have options when it comes to the actual prep of each of your meals. Many you’ll be able to fully make right away and pack in the fridge. Other recipes you’ll want to simply do the chopping, measuring and organizing in order to make the meal hot and quick before you plan to eat it.
Which recipes should you fully cook in advance? The truth is that this is really up to you and your schedule. Here’s a good game plan if you don’t want to fully cook everything on Sunday:
Most of the time creamy dips are packed with calories and fat – but this one is low in fat and high in muscle-building protein! How’d I do that? By using plain Greek yogurt and mixing in delicious, smoked salmon, that’s how!
This dip is fantastic to serve with company, rather than chips and salsa. By slicing fresh veggies instead of using grain-filled crackers or chips, you’ll be saving yourself the guilt while enjoying delicious, creamy and crunchy goodness! Enjoy!
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Talk to 10 people and you'll get 10 different opinions on the best way to get fit. One will tell you to attend an aerobics class. Another will swear by jogging. Yet another will tell you that dance and biking worked for them. The truth is that there's really only one effective way to get fit. Before I get into the details, it’s important that we agree on the definition of 'fit'. Too often thin is mistaken for fit, and that's not what you should strive for.
When someone is thin, but has very little muscle tissue, they aren't truly fit.
Here’s why thin doesn’t equal fit:
Strength training is when resistance is used to challenge your muscles in order to gain strength and endurance. You could do this with traditional weights, exercise bands, medicine balls, cable machines, sandbags, kettle bells or even just using your own body weight.
Top 9 Reasons To Strength Train
1. To Build Muscle and Gain Strength: Don’t worry, ladies. This does NOT mean that you’re going to ‘bulk up’ or look too masculine. What will happen is that your arms, tummy and legs will become tighter, leaner and more defined.
2. To Lose Fat: When it comes to losing size, all that you want to see go is fat, not muscle. Strength training ensures that you maintain and grow those muscles and only lose fat.
3. To Build Strong Bones: The older we get, the more important our bone density is. A good strength training program is one of your best defenses when it comes to osteoporosis.
4. To Alleviate Anxiety, Stress and Depression: Sure there are plenty of pills out there that claim to give these benefits, but you and I both know that strength training is more wholesome and effective way. And besides, who really wants pharmaceutical side effects?
5. To Sleep Better: Here’s another pill you can stop taking once you start strength training. Study after study have proven that strength training improves sleep.
6. To Improve Chronic Back Pain: If you are one of the millions across the globe who suffer from back pain then you’ll love the benefit of lowered pain.
7. To Improve Insulin Sensitivity: Today diabetes is a huge threat. Minimize your risk by improving insulin sensitivity through regular, challenging strength training.
8. To Improve Good to Bad Cholesterol Ratio: Here is yet another pill that you could potentially stop taking while on a strength training routine. Blood pressure and heart health are of utmost concern, so why not give yourself the advantage of a strength training routine?
9. To Raise your Metabolism: This helps to reduce body fat and to keep that body fat off, even on the days that you aren’t able to exercise. Pretty awesome, right?
A solid strength training routine will tone your legs, lift your buns, strengthen your core, and will result in inches and pounds lost.
Is there anything better this time of year than a homemade casserole, hot from the oven? The comforting aroma and the heart-warming enjoyment of that first, delicious bite stay with you for days to come.
This fiber-filled casserole is simple to make, contains many vital nutrients and delivers a wonderful flavor that only gets better when enjoyed the next day for lunch. It’s a fantastic way to learn how to make and enjoy sprouted lentils – which are highly nutritious. Enjoy!
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It’s hard to find a dinner more satisfying than a steaming plate of flavorful pasta, but by now you’re well aware of just how fattening that is. Let’s not give up on our favorite pasta dishes…let’s make these dishes lighter, healthier and just as delicious by using noodles made from vegetables, rather than traditional, carb-laden pasta.
If you’re new to cooking with veggie noodles, have no fear! It’s simple and satisfying to create comforting guilt-free pasta dinners, and I’m going to show you how…
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #1: Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is the easiest of all the veggie noodles to prepare since the noodles are already formed in nature. Cut a spaghetti squash in half and you’ll find a mess of seeds and stings in the center of thick, firm, yellow flesh. The seeds and strings are discarded, and that thick, firm, yellow flesh is cooked until tender and scraped off the skin, into a neat pile of soft spaghetti-like noodles. Pretty cool, right?!
Make Spaghetti Squash Noodles:
Zucchini is such a tender squash that it really doesn’t require cooking, and in fact cooking zucchini noodles quickly turns them to mush. I’ve found that pouring hot spaghetti sauce over a pile of zucchini noodles is all that it needs to heat it up without causing it to get mushy. You’ll need a spiral slicer –a little kitchen contraption that spirals zucchini through grating holes to create long, spaghetti-like noodles.
Make Zucchini Noodles:
While zucchini and spaghetti squash noodles are light and soft, noodles made from butternut squash are a bit heartier. Not only does this translate into a more filling meal, it also means that need to be cooked on their own, before applying the spaghetti sauce, in order to achieve a tender consistency.
Now there’s a little bit of technique involved with cutting your butternut squash in the best way to run it through a spiral slicer. I’ve found that the narrow part of the squash, that’s completely solid, is the piece that works really well with a spiral slicer. Slice off the skin and then simply run it through the slicer. The part of the squash that’s hollow in the middle is trickier to use with the spiral slicer, since those pieces are pretty thin. A quick option is to simply chop those pieces thinly and use that along with the long noodle strands.
Make Butternut Squash Noodles:
Talk about truly guilt-free pasta – one made from asparagus spears! Rather than serve this one with traditional spaghetti sauce (although you could) I’ve included a dressing to toss the noodles with and I’d recommend serving it with meatballs for some added protein.
Make Asparagus Noodles:
Cold days call for warm, hearty comfort food and, boy, do I have the perfect recipe for you today. This Meaty Comfort Chili has all of the warmth, flavor and comfort that you could ask for in a healthy dinner. This recipe tastes even better the next day!
You have several serving options with this chili. You could serve it in bowls, topped with a sprinkle of cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh green onions. You could scoop it over freshly baked sweet potato. You could use it to dress up a serving of scrambled eggs. You could serve it, chilled, over a large salad. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!
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Close your eyes and imagine a world in where your snacks give you the upper hand in fat loss. It sounds like a dream, but if you pay attention to the snacks you keep on hand, you can actually use them to get leaner. No, they’re not diet pills that will magically shave pounds off your physique—they’re simply healthy foods that will go a long way toward staving off hunger and preventing you from gorging at mealtime.
Ready to find out what snacks you need in your cupboard? Read on to find out!
#1: Walnuts & Almonds
All nuts are great to eat, but there is something special about walnuts and almonds. They’ve got healthy fat and protein and are exceptionally filling. Grab a handful of either, eat them nice and slow, and you’ll be able to coast to your next meal with ease.
#2: Dried Fruit
Basically all fruit is great for snacking, but sometimes the effort required for fresh fruit can be an obstacle. Don’t let time restraints or the potential for a mess keep you from downing fruit. Go with dried fruit instead and you can easily chomp on whatever fruit you choose. As an added perk, saving leftover dried fruit is as easy as closing the bag. Just be careful not to get dried fruit with added sugars, as your effort to slim down will be in vain.
#3: Peanut Butter Toast
Nuts are on the list once again, but this time it’s peanuts, and they need to be nice and creamy. A toast-sized portion of peanut butter provides a solid protein boost, and if you spread it across Ezekiel bread, you’ll get an even greater fill of protein, along with a great big high five to your taste buds. A piece of this and you’ll be off to the weight-losing race in no time!
#4: Kale Chips
You’ve spent years of your life salivating at the thought of a fresh bag of potato chips or a sleeve of crackers and cheese. Not any longer. In 20 minutes or so, you can bake up some delicious chips made from kale that will fill your need for something salty with a nice crunch! As an added perk, they’re low in calories and are the good green stuff your mom wants you to eat more of.
#5: Cold Corn & Peas
It’s a hot day and you need a snack ASAP! All you’ve got to do is peak in your freezer and toss some frozen peas and corn into a small bowl. One by one, pop them into your mouth, letting the coldness cool you off, and the vegetables’ natural sweetness gives you a flavor that is just right in bite-sized portions.
It doesn’t get a lot more ordinary than oatmeal, but snacks don’t always have to be exciting. A small bowl of oatmeal, mixed with a scoop of high quality protein powder, will go a long way toward keeping you from the snack machine and a lot closer to your weight-loss goals. And with a few small slivers of apple or even a few pinches of ground cinnamon, it’ll have a flavor as satisfying as it is filling.
#7: Protein Shake
Another snack that will fill you up with fat burning fuel is a simple, classic protein shake. Start with a scoop, or two, of high quality protein powder, and add water and ice. It’s quick, it’s simple and it’s effective.
Remember that fat loss comes as the result of a consistent, challenging exercise routine that’s paired with healthy eating habits. You can’t achieve the body of your dreams simply by eating a certain way – exercise is an absolute must.
Dr. Tony Tanzi: Physical Therapist, Triathlete, Runner, Performance Coach