How I Plan My Meals

While I usually do lots of posts on the topic of meal prep, today I’m flipping it and writing about my before-the-prep work: meal planning! I’ll be going over my general thought process with an example to help readers get an idea. HOWEVER, it is important to understand that there are so many different ways to plan and prep your meals. This works for me, but make sure you find and do what works for you–trial and error process.

I used to write out a chart with every meal of every day of the week planned and written out. I would easily spend an hour stressing out about what to plan and make for the week–trust me it was not fun. I’m not saying write out your plan is bad, it’s actually a great thing especially if you’re new or have trouble planning and sticking to plans. However, with my obsessive control during my ED and even now in recovery I took it over the top. Now, I still plan out my meals however I think of it out in my mind, and create my list from there. 1) It’s much easier this way and 2) I eat more random bowls or plates of food thrown together rather than actual meals. I’ll still cook 1 maybe 2 meals a week such as spaghetti squash, pasta, or stir fry; however, most of my lunch and dinners consist of random bowls with the different components I’ve prepped.

The first way I go about it is to think ahead to my week and decide if there are any meals I won’t be preparing. This may be I feel like going out, going home so I won’t need to cook, or another event such as an intern BBQ or lunch meeting at work. So let’s say that I have an intern BBQ Sunday lunch and am going out Friday for dinner to treat myself; that’s 12 meals I still need for the week. From there, I break that into meals and the different components I want. I’ll decide on zucchini and broccoli for my veggies in my bowls, turkey lunch meat for lunch (5 days), ground chicken for dinners (4 nights), etc. Typically ground meats come in 16 oz packages creating, for me, 4 meals. Then, I’ll leave 2-3 meals open per week because I’ll make eggs, protein pancakes, oatmeal, etc. as I feel it that night.

I’ll do the same breaking out my carbs, healthy fats, etc. I typically just estimate how much I’ll need (3 large sweet potatoes for 5 days) or buy potatoes in bulk, boxes of rice, bread, etc. I’ll also add other veggies in such as bell peppers, tomatoes, or spinach to add on the top of bowls or put in my eggs as well as fruit and other snacks. From here, I’ll make my grocery list. This is very important. Creating a list and sticking to it ensures that you have enough food for the week and that you don’t over indulge and splurge on other items you don’t need, not on your list.

With meal planning, you can be as strict or specific as you want or as free as well. I would recommend doing some sort of planning to create a shopping list and to make sure that you have plans for dinner. This will help you resist eating out or grabbing fast food so often, and stick to your healthy lifestyle. For meal prep examples, ideas, types, etc. search “meal prep” on the blog!!


Personal Development Book Review #1

So I know I said in this post that I was going to get a review out on the personal development books I had read by end of May…and here we are middle of June and it obviously hasn’t happened yet. So I’m making it happen now! Honestly, I had hoped to have a 3rd book finished by now to add to this review, but life has been busy so I only have 2. But that’s okay because these two books are seriously amazing and worth reading!

Book #1: You Are A Badass (7/10)

So as you can see, the first book I read was You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. I actually read this one for a book club a few months back, not really knowing about the book, just wanting to take part in the book club for that month. The tagline for the book is: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. I was really intrigued to read it because for a while now I’ve been wanting to level-up, do more, go farther, go higher, etc. As I’ve grown up and gotten older, I’ve kinda always been getting that way; where I don’t want to just get complacent with where I am; I want to constantly and continually grow, become better, and learn more–working towards my potential. This book definitely helps with that.

Each chapter has sound advice on how to become yourself-the best badass there is! So many of us have so much potential but we don’t go out there and get it because we doubt ourselves, or we have fears or are scared to jump in. Well, this book certainly helps you realize things in life and about yourself to understand that YOU CAN DO IT. You can take control of your life, be confident, and go out to conquer whatever it is you want to do. Each chapter also has an ending not with “homework”. I say homework, but it’s really just ideas and real-life actions to take in taking steps towards living your awesome, doubt-free life.

The only downside I would have to this book is–compared to my next one I’m about to review–the action steps were sometimes harder to implement. You see for me, I am really good at reading and love the idea of growth and change, but sometimes am not the best at applying what I’ve read. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot from this book. And maybe it just takes time to implement and apply what you’ve read to your life. I may go back and read this book in a few months to see if things have changed. But anyway, whether or not you doubt yourself or feel like you are living an awesome life, this book is a great read to everyone and anyone who wants to personally develop and consistently grow!

Book #2: The Happiness Equation (10/10)

The second book I read and just finished last week is The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha. I absolutely LOVED this book. This had been one of the books on my list and I had heard good things about it, so I went in with high expectations (as should you from reading this review) and let me tell you, it did not disappoint!! The basics of the equation, because yes there is an actual equation, is in 3 parts. Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything. The book is written into 9 secrets, split 3 secrets into each section of the equation. So 3 secrets for Want Nothing, 3 for Do Anything and 3 for Have Everything. What I really liked about it was that each secret seemed more applicable to my life and I actually find myself remembering the secrets throughout my day such as “Do it for you” or “Remember the lottery”. I am really focusing my mind around embracing these secrets to be my happiest, and best self!

Each secret is broken up into chapters with real-life example, action ideas, history, etc. all on these secrets, what they mean, how they work and why you need to implement them in your own life. For example, I’ll give you the first secret..but no more because I want you to read and discover them on your own. The first secret is: The First Thing You Must Do BEfore You Can Be Happy which is “Be Happy First”. Might sound cliché, but his explanations and examples so good and help you to see life and your attitude in a whole new light. The current happiness circle people assume is: Work Hard –> Be Successful –> Be Happy. Yet so many celebs, professional athletes, people with money successful people are still unsatisfied or unhappy even when they get to that top-level. And that is because happiness should not be based on an event or certain level of something–no, you need to be happy first. The new circle looks like this: Be Happy First –> Work Hard –> be Successful. When you’re happy right where you are being who you are, you will want to work hard which will in turn make you successful–however that looks in your life.

As I mentioned before, reading PD books may have started out as a book club, but the reason I read them now is because I never want to stay right where I am. One of my biggest fears in life is missing out on my potential and never fulling realizing what I can and want to do,and then doing it. I’m constantly wanting to learn and grow, working on myself to become the BEST that I can. I want to get in this habit now so that I won’t look back with regrets when I’m older. Personally, I have a list of about 15-20 (and am always looking for more) and you don’t have to be exactly like that, but I do encourage you to read a few personal development books like these because it can honestly only make you better Never stop learning or growing so that you can achieve exactly all that you want!

Easy Ways to Get More Protein

In the health and fitness world, and just in general life, protein can be a big topic of controversy. One minute we aren’t getting enough, the next TOO MUCH. While everyone’s protein amount is going to differ, I do believe that a lot of people are lacking good amounts of quality sources of protein in their diet. Whether or not you’re trying to build muscle, lose weight, or just stay the same, protein is an important building block and essential to making certain things in your body. It also helps keep your feeling fuller! For more information, check out this article.

1. Eggs/Egg Whites

Just to clarify first, EGGS ARE NOT BAD FOR YOU. Okay, there I said it. There was some belief that started that egg yolks are bad for you and you should only eat the whites, not true. Anyway, both eggs and egg whites are great sources of protein, for any meal! Add hardboiled eggs to a salad, make scrambled egg/egg whites for breakfast or dinner, add egg whites to your oatmeal, etc. I typically do a mix of 1 egg and 3-4 egg whites. They’re also great for adding to pancake or waffle batter to increase the protein content!

2. Greek Yogurt

If you follow me on social media, then you know I love my greek yogurt! I use it in oatmeal, yogurt bowls for breakfast or dessert, fruit dip, smoothies, healthy chicken salad…you name it! I love getting plain because A) It has no added sugars in it, and B) I get to add the toppings and flavorings of my own. But, I also do love Dannon Light and Fit Greek yogurts too when I’m feeling more of a sweet treat! The great thing about greek yogurt too is that it’s portable and an easy snack to eat while being so versatile!

3. Lean Meats

This one is the obvious choice. Any source of meat gives you protein, but look for the lean choices when possible. Lean ground turkey or beef, chicken, shrimp, fish, lunch meat, turkey or lean beef burgers, etc. are all great options!

4. Cheese

While cheese can have a lot of fat, it can also provide a healthy source of protein. Look for reduced fat cheeses like mozzarella, feta, goat, provolone, and swiss. These are going to be your healthiest options. Sprinkle some on your eggs or salad, or mix into pasta. String cheese  is also a great snack on-the-go. One of my favorites that I’ve recently found is laughing cow wedges. They come in about 6-8 different flavors (favorites: light swiss and mozzarella sun-dried tomato and basil) and are great to add to eggs or pasta, spread on sandwiches or wraps, or dip crackers in!

5. Powders/Bars

On the market, there are thousands of different protein powders and bars, all claiming they are the next best thing, which can be good considering everyone’s tastes and preferences are different. I personally am not one of those people who say you should never use or eat powders or bars because being an athlete and always busy, I know how convenient and easy sources of protein these can be. When looking for a bar, make sure it has a good amount of protein and carbs, quality ingredients, and limited added sugar. Same goes for powders: limited added sugar and quality ingredients. From there whether you choose egg, whey, isolate, etc. is up to you. So yes I do believe that these are okay to add to your diet. However, they should not constitute the main sources of your daily protein. What I mean is if you have a protein shake, don’t have two bars later to get your protein needs in (unless you’re some big bodybuilder who has insanely high macros for protein and then you do you). I limit myself to one a day, either protein powder or a bar so that I can ensure I’m getting the rest of my protein from quality sources like lean meats, dairy, etc.

6. Other

Other include items that have protein, but aren’t a main component. A lot of these are what vegetarians and vegans get their protein from. This would include beans (garbanzo, black, kidney, etc.), lentils, quinoa, some healthy breads, edamame, and hummus. If you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, I would suggest you use these to supplement your protein intake, but not have them be your main source.

Hopefully now you have a better idea of some good ways to get in your protein! Like I mentioned before, each person’s amount is going to be different based on a variety of factors; however, every person needs quality sources of protein in their diet! These are some of my favorites  and go-tos!


What to do after Overindulging?

I bet a lot of you know the feeling, you grab a handful of a snack at a or just a bite and suddenly it turns into many, many, many bites, handfuls, etc. and you realized you have overindulged. Or maybe just going out to eat you have overeaten a lot or just eaten too much. It happens. I’m not going to lie and pretend it doesn’t happen to me–it just did this past weekend with lucky charms. (Also not going to lie and pretend admitting that was easy, hey I’m human). But when this happens people often think they need to restrict the next day or rest of day, starve themselves, workout for hours, (especially if you’ve ever struggled with an ED) etc. when instead there are a few things that are crucial to do to help you! I want to share some of those tips today to help you realize that you didn’t “fall off track” or “lose anything”. I want to help you make choices to continue a  healthy happy lifestyle no matter what!

1. Return to your normal eating routine

The biggest thing you DON’T want to do is restrict, starve, or not eat the next day or the rest of the day. Since a lot of this happens at night, it’s most likely the next day, but it could be the rest of the day too. I’m not saying you have to force food down your throat if you aren’t hungry, but restricting only puts you and your mindset in a bad place. Keep eating, eat like you would filling yourself with wholesome, nutritious foods and go on like normal. Hopefully you’re choosing to eat healthier foods anyway, but if you did overindulge you do want to try to get your micros in (fruits and lots of veggies). Also, protein helps keep you feeling fuller as does complex carbs (brown rice, whole wheat, sweet potatoes,  oatmeal, etc.) so try filling most of your diet with those.

2. Drink water

If you overeat, especially things with lots of sodium like chips, processed foods, or most things at a restaurant, you will likely retain water and look and feel a bit more bloated. This can scare people into thinking they’ve gained a lot of fat/weight overnight when in reality most of it is water. After overindulging, make sure you continued drinking lots of water (at least 8 glasses or more) to stay hydrated and flush your system out. This will help you feel much better the next few days.

3) Movement

While I mentioned that it’s important to not think you have to go in the gym and run for hours, it is a good idea to get some movement in. For example, the morning after my lucky charms indulgence, I went for a 20 minute easy walk around my area. Nothing big, I didn’t run until I had burned X amount of calories, I just let my body move a little to help me feel healthier and help my body digest and get things moving. Whatever that may look like for you, a little bit of exercise and movement will do you good.

4) Don’t feel guilty

This is probably the biggest piece of advice I could give you. Coming from a place where every “treat” and indulgence (even if it wasn’t “too much”) left me feeling guilty, and overindulging was an even worse feeling, feeling guilty makes it worse! Then, your mind and body makes you feel bad, over-exercise, under-eat, etc. and it is an unhealthy mindset to get into. The best thing to do after overindulging is figure out why, and what you can do next time to prevent it. Were you bored? Next time you feel bored/hungry, go outside and do something or occupy your mind elsewhere. Emotional eating? Try talking to someone or finding another way to cope. Restricting yourself during the week? Find the balanced way to enjoy treats during your everyday life. At a restaurant? Practice choosing smaller portions, boxing up half your meal, not ordering an app, dinner and dessert, etc. Find a way to help yourself in the future without feeling guilty because guess what, crap happens! It’s life, you live, learn and move on.

Those are my top tips for when you overindulge. It happens, but it’s important to know how to take care of your body afterwards so that you can continue living a healthy and happy lifestyle that works for you!