Meal Prep Types

So as you can see from the title, I’m going to do this blog on meal prep “types”.  I know I’ve recently blogged about meal prep (search “meal prep” in), but it is an important topic that people are interested about. I think this short post will wrap up most of what needs to be known about meal prepping, so I hope you learn something from all 3!

When you do meal prep, there are no specific guidelines or structure to it; it really depends on what works best for you, your time, your lifestyle, and your needs. These are just the two main routes people take, or, like me, you kind of mix both depending on the week. The first type is prepping your complete meals for the week, while the second type is prepping parts or components and then making meals throughout the week.

This first type is what I would suggest if you’re new to meal planning, meal prepping, etc. because it’s a simple, think-less way to do it. The first step is to sit down before you shop and write out your meals (breakfast lunch, dinner and snacks) for the week and then make a list from there. Then, decide what needs to be prepped and what doesn’t. For example, if you’re going to have a protein shake or eggs for breakfast, you may not want to prep those days ahead of time. (Although you certainly could make a batch of eggs or oatmeal for the week if you want too.) As for snacks, having fresh fruits and veggies washed, cut, and prepared will make grabbing them for meals and snacks a much easier choice!

Anyway on to meal prepping your main meals. Once you know what meals you are cooking, you cook it all and place in a tupperware in the fridge. You could either have one or two big tupperwares that you serve or pack your lunch from (into smaller containers) or you can put only one serving in each container for an easy, quick, grab-and-go meal. And here your meals don’t have to be fancy, although they can. For example, I’ve just cooked sweet potato wedges, green beans, and chicken before and placed in 5 different containers for the week. But, I’ve also made spaghetti or another big dish rather than just parts–so really it’s up to you and what you like! Mix it up each week too!

The second type is where you instead just cook different components of a meal, leave them all in separate containers, and mix-and-match throughout the week for your meals. So this would look something like cooking up a batch of chicken, quinoa, roasted veggies, and ground turkey. Then throughout the week you make each meal from what you’ve prepped as well as use other foods. One night it might be a veggie and chicken quinoa bowl, a lunch could be chicken and veggies on a bed of greens, and another dinner is making pasta with sautéed veggies, ground turkey, etc. This option allows more freedom, if you don’t want to be eating the same meal all week (although nothing wrong with that and I actually enjoy it sometimes), but it’s a little less planned and prepped too.

Lastly, you can always mix it up, which is what I do most weeks! I’ll give you an example from this past week of my meal prepping to show you what I mean. On Sunday, I prepared white rice, yellow potatoes, steamed broccoli, and ground beef to use for lunches in the week. Then, I also cooked up a big batch of spaghetti (using Banza chickpea pasta) with ground turkey, and veggies to have for dinner every night. So I had components that I used to make lunches each day by adding all the parts into a tupperware container for lunch, but I also had pre-prepared meals for dinner.

This, is just what works for me, but I switch it up week-to-week. Sometimes I’ll cook a meal Sunday night and Wednesday night for the week and just make a batch of chicken or buy lunch meat for lunches. The great thing about meal prep is that it is so versatile that you do it around your schedule and lifestyle. You can also easily switch the foods or routine up if you get bored. I would highly suggest using meal prep in some form because it really can help make living a healthy lifestyle, and eating a wholesome, nutritious diet much easier and happier!

Staying Healthy on the Holidays

So I know when most people think of eating during holidays most likely Thanksgiving comes to mind–course after course of bread, turkey, potatoes, pies…you name it! Next would be followed by Christmas, but really any holiday can bring celebrating with good food and, well, let’s be real lots of it! I have a few short tips on staying healthy during any holiday event or celebration, that will still allow you to enjoy your time. It’s important to spend time celebrating and having fun, but I also want to help you make the healthiest choices for your life too!

1. Don’t save it all for the one event/meal

What I mean by this is, make sure you eat throughout the day before the event. A lot of people will try and skip meals or not eat (think esp. before thanksgiving) before the event thinking they are saving their appetite and calories to enjoy the meal. But, what really happens is you get so hungry that once you get there you are almost uncontrollable, grabbing everything in sight, especially more of the not-so-healthy goodies like sugary treats, chips, junk, etc. and you actually end up way overeating and probably not feeling so hot. You don’t have to eat a lot beforehand so that you aren’t hungry at all, but make sure you eat normal meals and/or snacks so that you aren’t ravenous!

2. Make Healthier Choices Earlier

Most celebrations are at night, but even if they are earlier in the day this can still apply. Don’t just think that it’s a holiday so let’s go crazy and throw healthy out the window all day. While, yes you could do that, it won’t be very beneficial, helpful, or healthy for you or your body! Instead aim to make healthier choice for your meals and snacks prior to the event. Get lean protein, veggie and rice in at lunch or eggs or oatmeal at breakfast. Snack on fruits and veggies. This will all help your digestive system and your overall health by doing so. Then, you can splurge and enjoy yourself a little at the actual event.

3. Choose healthy options at the actual event

Healthy choices shouldn’t be made just prior to the event. And no, I am not saying forgo the delicious burger, chips, or sweet treats. Instead, try having a plate of raw or cooked veggies and fruit before your actual meal. Then, go for a little of the other stuff. This will help you feel better after eating so much and help you digest better than if you just ate all junk the whole time. If nothing like that is usually available, maybe you volunteer or sign-up to bring that! So while yes holidays are definitely meant to be enjoyed, a) healthy choices are still delicious and tasty and b) completely throwing everything out the window and indulging all day or event can lead to guilty feelings and unhealthy habits over the long haul.

4. Get Moving

No, I am not saying to go run after you’re stuffed to the brim with delicious food. But before the event, go for a walk, light jog, get a lift in, take a class, etc. to get some movement in. And this is not because you have to “burn off your food” or “workout to deserve to indulge”. For one, on holidays most people sit around more so it’s good to have some movement in. Plus, you won’t feel so stuffed and bad (health wise, not mentally) if you got a light workout in. Again, these tips are meant to help you with your overall health and how you are feeling!

So there are my quick tips for having a healthy holiday! Don’t stress if you don’t follow these completely, get a lot of movement in, or end up completely overindulging. One (or even a few) days like this will not hurt or hinder your progress! But, part of living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just eating healthy and working out, it’s about making healthier choices in every aspect of our daily lives in order to live and be the best we can be and give our bodies the healthy treatment they deserve!

 

Recovery Update #1

Normally, I post information meant to inform, help, motivate you, the reader! Today I decided I would post a little different. I think it’ll still be helpful to those who are or know someone who is going through similar things, and I’m hoping it’ll be informative and helpful to others to–to get the inside scoop on recovery, and the truth and difficulties behind it. I’m not really planning or formatting this one out; instead I just want it to be a collection of my thoughts and what I want others to see and know. So without further ado, here is recovery update #1.

I’m not gonna lie (nor does anyone else in this situation) recovery is hard. Fortunately and unfortunately for me, my ED took more of the mental toll rather than physical, meaning that while I did lose quite a bit of weight for myself, I never got down super low or fragile physical-state wise. Fortunately this meant that although I had to gain some weight (not easy btw), it’s wasn’t a dire situation. Unfortunately though, the mental state for anyone is usually the hardest. I hear or see a lot of people saying to or about anorexia why don’t they just eat. It’s literally a choice between eating and living or not and dying. And while the basis of this is true, it’s really not that simple. Trust me I wish it were. I wish it were as simple as you hear that you need to eat or that there are no “good” or “bad” foods, and that everything is okay in moderation, and you automatically comply and apply it to your life. But the mental struggle is still so tough that your mind starts trying to creep bad ED thoughts back in. Like that you don’t deserve this food or don’t eat that food, or maybe you ate a lot today so you’ll cut back tomorrow. Every single day is a battle to fight this.

But luckily, I have seen progress, and if you ask my family they will agree that I am way better place than I was before–but it’s still tough. People may think that gaining weight and eating a lot of food is the “dream” or “easy”, but it’s really not. It’s hard to have to eat food when you’re full, or to never feel hungry. I’ve slowed my metabolism way down with my ED so my hunger cues are off and I’m usually not very hungry. It’s hard to make sure that I’m fueling the gain with mostly whole, healthy foods with some slight treats here and there (rather than eating burgers, fries, ice cream, pizza, etc.). And most of all, it’s a hard battle when you know you need to gain weight–and you want to because you want to build muscle–but you’re scared of gaining weight all the same and you are afraid to eat in too big a surplus (needed for any weight gain).

On the other side, sometimes I get what is called extreme hunger. Times where even after having a full day of food (2400-2500 calories) I would go to the kitchen and start snacking on what I could find–pita chips, granola, berries, etc. I would even “hide” by standing in my pantry while I did this, ashamed that I was doing it. (Very hard to admit this). I thought that I had now gotten binge eating disorder, but that’s not true!! Extreme hunger is normal in recovery as your body starts getting the food and fuel it needs. It may seem contradictory to complain about both ends of the spectrum, but in recovery, this can be hard mentally and physically.

Now I don’t mean to just show the negative and bad parts because there have been good times! There are days when I stop in the middle of my workout because I look and feel so strong. There are days I wake up, start my day, and think to myself dang, I’m a bad*** and stinkin’ awesome for what I do and who I am. I overcome my fears like eating an entire slice of cheesecake (4000 calories that day) or not working out after eating a lot. There are plenty of good days to go with the bad days–body image wise, physically, mentally, facing fears, combatting challenges, etc.

I think if I could let everyone take one thing away from this post it would be this: in recovery there will be good days and bad days.But you cannot let those bad days beat you down and keep you from the good days. Yes recovery is hard and it’s a long journey (depending on where you started), but at the end of the road, it’ll all be worth it. I’m not where I want to be yet–I still have so much room to improve–but I know from seeing others that happiness will once again fill my life and I will no longer be in the hands of my ED. It’ll always be a part of me because it was a huge part of my life and it is what has made me who I am today, but it will no longer be the master of my life: I WILL! Everyday just keep your head high, keep fighting, and keep coming out on top! Keep being Beyoutifully Healthy!

Meal Prep Meal Ideas

So I know I have written about meal planning/prepping tips before, but I wanted to do a little post on some of my favorite “fun meals” that I create from my meal prep. I want to give you some ideas of how to make leftovers or big batches of meal prep fun, quick and easy, healthy, and most importantly, delicious!! I don’t ever usually have specific recipes, but I have some basic meal ideas that you can then take and create using what you have/like. Hope you enjoy these and that it helps make your healthy lifestyle a little easier, and, of course, tastier.

1. Sweet Potato Mexican Bowl

I love sweet potatoes and mexican flavors…so this works perfectly! I typically use ground turkey or rotisserie/baked chicken, but you could also use ground beef, ground chicken, or even lunch meat! For the sweet potatoes, you can bake/steam those ahead of time in your meal prep, or if you have time, cook them as you are making your meal. I try to buy express bake sweet potatOH because they come wrapped in a seal that steams it for you, or just steam your potato in the microwave in about 6-7 minutes. Then, you start assembling. I scoop out the potato into a bowl, add the meat, and then lots of toppings. My go-tos are: bell pepper, tomato, romaine lettuce, red onion, sprinkle of cheese, avocado, and salsa. In the bowl pictured, I also added white rice (I needed more carbs for the day), so you could also add beans or rice to your bowl too. Play around and find what works for you!

2. Asian Stir-Fry

Again, this is a pretty basic meal (we all know stir-fry), but it’s super delicious! The main things you’ll need for this are rice (I typically choose brown), a protein (I use frozen shrimp or ground turkey), and veggies (I use birds eye frozen). Frozen foods are a big help in making these quick meals and just as nutritious, so don’t be afraid to invest in those. I just cook everything up (or have it prepped) and then top it off with a little soy sauce and sesame seeds. Occasionally I’ll also add toppings like avocado or an over-easy egg–super delicious!!

3. Quinoa Bowls

If you follow me on instagram, it’s no secret that I love quinoa and eat it often. It’s so easy to cook up a batch of it on Sunday and have it for the week to use in many different meals. My quinoa bowls are a jumble of foods, usually different every time. I start with a base of quinoa and then add some type of protein (ground turkey, chicken, lunch meat, etc.) and then veggies! I go with PictSweet frozen steamable veggies for convenience, but you could add fresh, raw or cooked veggies–whatever you like. Then, on top of the bowl I add things like avocado oil, avocado, cheese, etc. I don’t have a picture of this one (there’s one on my instagram), but it is so versatile that you could make any variation of it to fit you, your needs, and your tastes.

4. Pizza

You heard me right…pizza! The thing that tops this whole thing off is using FlatOut wraps as the base!! These are by far the best I’ve found and make the pizza great. Again, after you have the base, it’s pretty much up to you for the toppings. In the picture, I used marinara sauce, laughing cow cheese wedge, mushrooms, spinach, chicken and red onion. I’ve also used basil before too! Make the pizza however you like, and the great thing is since each wrap is one pizza, you and anyone you’re eating with can have the pizza they want!

5. Banza Pasta Delight

As you may have seen or read before, I absolutely  LOVE Banza Chickpea Pasta–it tastes great, texture is perfect, and for me, it’s a better option than normal pasta. But of course, you could sub in another pasta into this recipe. While I am cooking the pasta (or if you pre-made a batch, reheating it), I cook veggies in a pan and then add in my meat at the end to warm it up. You could use any veggies or meat (shrimp, ground turkey, chicken, etc.), but some of my favorite veggies to use (depending on what I have) are spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, or zucchini. Then I add this mixture to the top of the pasta and add any cheese, pesto, or sauce you want! Absolutely delicious, healthy and easy!

So there are just a few of my meals I make with meal prep. I also sometimes I just throw random stuff together to make “bulk bowls” which helps make food fun and interesting not to mention allowing me to eat a lot. Try being creative and prepping a bunch of carb and protein sources at the beginning (and even veggies) and play around making different recipes. Healthy cooking is meant to be fun, quick, easy, and delicious!!