Category Archives: 21 Day Fix

Meal Planning 101

meal planning 101b
Last week I shared some tips on meal prep 101, but looking back, I really should have started here, with meal planning 101. You really can’t prep without a plan, right?

This Monday, I am starting the 21 Day Fix Extreme with an amazing group of people. The focus for this week was on making a meal plan, so that we could take time this weekend to meal prep and be ready to tackle week one of the program.

Meal planning can seem like a challenge on its own, add in a bunch of color coded containers like you do with the 21 Day Fix programs and your head might exploded at first glance. I promise you, it’s not as difficult at you may think it is. You just need to keep it simple, especially for the first week and be repetitive with your meals. This doesn’t mean you have to eat the same thing for every meal, everyday, however that’s kinda what I do and it works for me.

When making my meal plan, I tend to rotate with 2 different breakfasts and 2 different lunches. This gives a little variety without killing my grocery budget AND it allows you to meal prep so you’ll be all ready to just heat & eat when meal time rolls around. Start by making a list of your favorites:

Breakfast Favorites:
Egg Muffins
Healthy Pancakes
Shakeology
2 Scrambled Eggs with veggies

Lunch Favorites:
Turkey Chili
Asian Meatballs
Fajitas (the recipe in the eating plan is the same)
Shakeology
Leftovers from Dinner

Snacks:
Veggies with Hummus
Veggies with guacamole
Lettuce Roll-Ups
Apples with peanut butter
Banana Roll-Ups

I personally cannot have dairy but these are also great snacks:
Greek Yogurt with fruit or nuts
Cottage Cheese with fruit or nuts
Nitrate-Free deli meat with cheese rolled up

Dinner is where I like to add variety. We always have something different for dinner each night, so I like to start my meal plan by filling in each nights dinner first. I calculate how many of each container I’ll be using, mark it on the sheet and remove those colored containers from my daily allotment.

photo 1

Check out my 21 Day Fix Planning Tools to make meal planning easier.

Dinner Tips:
Plan a Balanced Meal
Make sure you have at least 1 green and 1 red included
If you’re doing the Fat Burning plan on 21 Day Fix Extreme, make sure you have dinner BEFORE 6pm if there is a yellow or purple included.

Once you have your dinners filled in across the week, you’re ready to fill in the rest of the sheet. If you’ll be using leftovers for lunch at all, fill those in next, since you already have your containers figured out. If you will not be using leftovers, I like to fill in my Shakeology next. If you only like your Shakeology prepared a certain way, make sure you include whatever you like to add and subtract those containers from daily allotment.

photo 2Example: Shakeology with water, banana and PB = 1 red, 1 purple and 2 tsp

If you are not as picky about what you mix with your Shakeology, leave it open for now so you can use up any stray containers that might be left over.

Once you have those items filled in, I like to fill in what I plan on meal prepping for lunch. I typically have the same meal for 3-4 days, but I’ll change it up a little depending on my containers for the day.

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Example: Monday is Turkey Chili w/ sweet potato and a fruit, Tuesday is Turkey Chili w/sweet potato, shredded lettuce & chopped tomato + fruit and Wednesday is Turkey Chili w/sweet potato, avocado and fruit. They are small variations to use up different containers and make each meal a little different. You could use rice or quinoa instead of sweet potato to change things up if you prefer. It’s up to what you have on hand and what you feel like making.

Fill in the rest of your lunches using a similar container count as you did for your other ones. This will keep your days pretty even and make adding breakfast easy for you.

Next, fill in breakfast and subtract those containers from your allotment.

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Finally, you’ll want to add in your snacks and add any leftover containers to existing meals or Shakeology recipe.

Sometimes you get creative in this process. I added a cup of baby spinach to my Healthy Pancake recipe one morning because I need to fit a green container in and I didn’t want to eat pancakes with a side of spinach. I figured if I could add baby spinach to smoothies and like them, why not try adding some to my pancake batter?! They ended up being delicious and they would have made Dr. Seuss proud!

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As you see, meal planning can be as simple or as complicated as you wish to make it. The first week you do it, I highly recommend being repetitive with your meals. It will eliminate some of the stress and help you to adjust to everything. It will also make meal prep a lot easier!

You may have noticed that my meal plan is split up differently than the sheets I have shared in my 21 Day Fix Extreme Planning Tools. That’s because I really wanted to follow the Fat Burner plan, but I know how hectic weekend can be around here and eating every 2 hours would be very difficult. Yes, I know this is only for 21 days and I could make it work, but I view this as a lifestyle. I am also being a realist and by looking at my schedule for the next weeks, there is no way I could make the Fat Burner plan work on the weekends right now, and that’s okay.

Being able to foresee obstacles and coming up with a plan for them is how you achieve long term success. I’m not cheating on the program, I’m simply following a different style of meal planning for those 2 days of the week. The Energy Balance plan gives me more room to play and that’s exactly what I need in order to be successful with this.

21-Day-Fix-Weekly-Meal-Planner

For more 21 Day Fix Extreme Meal Planning sheets, CLICK HERE.

I hope this Meal Planning 101 post has helped you with your meal plan concerns. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them below and I’ll answer them as best I can.

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21 Day Fix EXTREME Planning Tools

21 Day Fix Planning Tools
The 21 Day Fix quickly became one of my favorite Beachbody programs thanks to it’s focus on nutrition and those super easy to use, color coded containers. Team that up with the fact that the workouts were all beginner friendly and offered a modifier and you have a winning program designed to get anyone started off right!

Click here to learn more about 21 Day Fix.

However, now it’s time to kick things up a notch and get seriously shredded with 21 Day Fix EXTREME!

Celebrity trainer and national bikini competitor Autumn Calabrese is back with her simple eating and has teamed it up with extreme fitness, to help people get shredded and shed off those final pounds.  Here is what I know about 21 Day Fix EXTREME:

  • This is NOT a beginner program
  • 3 different meal plan options to choose from (Energy Balancer, Fat Burner and Countdown to Competition)
  • 7 brand-new, intense workouts
  • Workouts are all 30 minutes in length
  • Color coded containers to eliminate calorie counting and guessing
  • All of the 21 Day Fix Extreme workouts include weights or a band (the workouts were designed to be used with the pink band from Beachbody)
  • There will be a modifier, but if you are new fitness, you should start with the original 21 Day Fix.

The containers are the same as in the original 21 Day Fix but depending on which calorie calculation you fall into, your container amounts might be different. This is designed to give you EXTREME results based on your daily activity level as well as your personal goals for the program. This program also takes away the treats that were allowed in 21 Day Fix and it has a much cleaner food list (no more waffles and english muffins – but it’s only 21 days…you can do it!).

If you have never done a fitness program before (any Beachbody program or other gym activity other than just walking on the treadmill or using the elliptical)  it is highly suggested that you start with the 21 Day Fix and then move to the 21 Day Fix EXTREME.

My program just arrived yesterday and I couldn’t wait to crack open the new guide books to see what this new program was all about.

I was happy to see that there are a lot recipes in the Eating Plan this time around. That was my biggest gripe with the first program…lots of foods on the lists and a sample meal plan, but the recipes were very basic and boring to me. I was also happy to see variations of recipes I’ve already been using in there like Turkey Chili, Turkey Meatloaf and Egg Muffins.

The other change I really liked was the calorie calculation. There are now options to choose what kind of lifestyle you lead (sendentary, moderate or active) so there is no longer a “one size fits all” aspect to this. The other plus to me is that there are 3 different meal plan options depending on what your goals are for the program. You can now choose from 3 different options:

  1. The Energy Balancer: This one is similar to the original Fix meal plan. You plan out your breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as two snacks. The goal is to eat every 2-3 hours and use a variety of containers during your main 3 meals and fill in with leftover containers for your snacks.
  2. The Fat Burner: This plan spreads your eating out across 6 meals, so you eat roughly ever 2 hours. However, you need to make sure you finish your purple and yellow containers before 6pm.
  3. Countdown to Competition: This is the strictest of the plans. You’ll spread your eating into 8 meals, roughly 2 hours apart. You’ll follow the Countdown to Competition plan for 2 days, then the Extreme plan for 1, routing throughout the entire 21 days.

As soon as I saw all of these choices, I KNEW I needed to design some new 21 Day Fix Extreme Planning Tools!

21 DFX Planning Tools

Click to Print

These planners can still be used in conjunction with the 21 Day Fix Planning Tools I posted about when I first started the program. I believe the Tally Sheets that I link to will still work, if they do not, I’ll design some new ones and add them to this post once I take a closer look at things.

If you’ve ever considered trying the 21 Day Fix or if you think you’re ready to tackle 21 Day Fix Extreme, I have an accountability group starting on March 2nd and I’d love to speak to with you!

 

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Meal Prep 101

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Meal prepping is a life saver for me. It allows me to stay on track with my nutrition goals and it helps to save a lot of time during the week.

By taking some time on a Saturday to make a meal plan for the week and then go grocery shopping, I not only form a plan for my week, but I save money! When you sit down and plan out what you’re going to eat for the week, you take the guess work out of grocery shopping and cut down on impulse buys.

Sundays are typically my prep days. I take the plan I’ve created along with the recipes and go to work in the kitchen. On average, this takes me about 1-2 hours (including clean up) depending on what I am making for the week. That’s not a lot of time when you consider that you’re prepping your entire week. By taking the time to prep, you’ll also never stand in front of the fridge, staring inside of it, wondering what you’ll eat when you’re hungry. That’s in itself makes prepping totally worth it!

MealPrep101

 

Here are some Meal Prep 101 tips to get started:

1. Find what works for YOU.  Some people will shop and prep all of their food for the week in one afternoon. Others find it more manageable to prep the night before for the next day. Meal prepping is all about making YOUR life easier, so experiment and see which method fits your lifestyle best. Personally, I prep enough food on Sundays to make it through to at least Wednesday or Thursday, then I repeat.

2. It’s okay to start small.  If you’re new to food prep, begin with prepping just one series of meals. Think about which meal for the day is your toughest (which one will you most likely skip or grab drive-thru for?) and start there. If breakfast is your downfall, consider whipping up a batch of these Egg Muffins or making some Overnight Oats. Does lunch send you to the drive-thru? Consider prepping some Mason Jar salads or a big pot of Turkey Chili to get you through the week. Once you have mastered that one meal, add on one more!

3. Prep BEFORE putting the groceries away.  If you begin your prep work as soon as you get home from the grocery store, you can save yourself the hassle of having to put everything away twice! You’ll be more motivated to prep foods while they’re still sitting on the counter then you will to have to pull them all out again after you just put them away. I like to wash and chop my vegetables, breakdown family packs of meat (buying family packs is a money saver!) and ration out nuts, fruits and other snack items. By doing this I have snacks and recipes ingredients ready to go when I’m hungry!

4. Keep your meal plan and recipes within arms reach.  This is a habit I got into during my first round of 21 Day Fix. I began hanging my meal plan for the week right on my fridge so I could see it whenever I walked into the kitchen. This kept me organized and on track. If I was hungry, my next meal with right in front of my face (and prepped and waiting in the fridge) and it allowed me to double check I had everything I needed for the next days meals. (Let’s face it…sometimes we think we have garlic or chili powder but we don’t!) 

Click here a printable meal planner to get your started.

5. This is not an all-or-nothing task.  Don’t think you need to wash, chop and pre-cook everything for an entire week in one shot. It’s best to ease yourself into this new habit. Maybe your first step with be making a meal plan and just shopping for it. Next you’ll conquer that one troublesome meal and then maybe you’ll graduate into a half week prep. Prepping and portioning food for cooking later, or even for one weeknight meal is better than doing nothing at all.

If there is one thing I’ve learned over my last five years of trial and error, it’s that mastering one small change before moving on to the next one is key. When you try to change too much at once, you can become overwhelmed and give up on everything.

kitchen tools

Some items you’ll need to successfully meal prep:

  • Glass or plastic containers with lids: Wide mouth mason jars are great options. If you opt for plastic, make sure they’re BPA-free!
  • Ziptop bags: These come in many different sizes and they even make colored sandwich size ones which are PERFECT for 21 Day Fix.
  • Basic Cookware: A skillet, soup pot and at least 2 saucepans should be enough for you to prep. Baking trays /cupcake pans will also come in handy.
  • Measuring Cups/Spoons: These are needed for most recipes and will be important for portion control.
  • Knives/Vegetable Peeler/Grater: Those veggies aren’t going to chop and peel themselves!
  • Aluminum Foil/Plastic Wrap/Parchment Paper: These help to cut down on clean up and as well as storing your prepped meals.

Of course as you embrace working in the kitchen more, you’ll look to add items like a good blender (not the $10 one you can get at Target when Back-to-School dorm life items roll around) and food processor (doesn’t have to be top of the line) as well as a cast-iron pan, griddle or grill pan. Oh and a zoodle maker would be good too….if you’re into that type of thing. The world of kitchen gadgets is never ending and I’d own a lot more if I had a larger kitchen!

I could go on and on about meal prep, seriously! There is so much that can be discussed, but I think this is a really good starting point. I can always do another post with some step-by-step advice as well as some meal prep hacks if you’re short on time. If you would like more info on meal prepping, comment below and let me know!

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Energy Bites

Energy Bites.jpg
Every afternoon I find myself looking for something…

A cup of coffee? A cookie? A nap?

I don’t know what it is but 2:30-3:00 pm is a tough time of day for me. I try my hardest to avoid that cup of coffee, because as good as it will taste, I will kick myself come 9:00 pm when I’m trying to relax for bed and my brain is going a million miles a minute thanks to the caffeine that seems to linger in my body. As for the cookie… well… most days I do have my Banana Oatmeal Cookies on hand, but they don’t always satisfy my craving.

Thank goodness Pinterest was invented. A while back I found a recipe for Energy Bites and they became a staple in my fridge. Then I got lazy and stopped making them.

Last week I was heading to over my friends house to help her take some photos and she told me to bring something to photograph for my blog as well. (As you can tell from most of my photos, I use my phone to take them. While I’m getting better at it, it’s not the same as using a DSLR.) As my brain started scrambling for something I could quickly “make & take” I remembered these little life savers.

Much to my dismay, the link I had on the old post no longer worked and while Pinterest has tons of these gems, I couldn’t find one that looked right. Thankfully I rarely clean out my junk drawer, so I dug through it, hoping to find the piece of paper I had scribbled the recipe on…and I did, but it was ripped, so I tried to fill in the gaps and came up with these, which were perfect to me.

Energy Bites Square

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or vegan chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  2. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  3. Makes about 20-25 balls.

Don’t be afraid to have fun and experiment with these. Swap out the chocolate chips for some dried cranberries or raisins. Toast the coconut or add some chia seeds to the mix. Changing the type of nut-butter you use will change the flavor profile too!

*If you are doing the 21 Day Fix, you can use these as a yellow container treat. I would count 2 of them as a serving.*

Have you ever tried making Energy Bites? There are sooooooo many different versions of these out there, I would love to hear of variations you’ve tried and liked.

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The Big Game Workout Challenge

Big-Game-Healthy Tips.jpg
Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!?

While my favorite team is not in it to win this year, I will be watching the game along with millions of other people.

Big Game parties are known for chips, dips, wings, pizza and other fried finger foods. Let’s not forget the beer and the fact that we are all just sitting around while enjoying all of these high calorie goodies.

Today I thought I would share some healthier food options that you could serve or bring for the party, as well as some tips and “The Big Game Workout Challenge” which could be a fun way to burn off some of the treats and get you off the couch!

Game Plan:
1. Don’t arrive for kick-off with an empty stomach. Make sure you eat a light meal with lean protein before game time. This would actually be a good time to drink your Shakeology, specially since you could take it on the go with you. Doing his will help curb junk food cravings because you won’t be starving.

2. Don’t sit within arms reach of the snack table or the buffet set up. When you arrive you’ll want to take a look at what your choices are so you can form a mental plan, but you don’t want to sit where it can tempt you. Doing that could end with you mindlessly reaching out and stuffing chip after chip into your face.  No good!

3. Be involved in the game! Make sure you actually watch the game and the commercials! (we all know they tend to the best part when your team isn’t in it). Talk to your friends, cheer, talk smack about the other team…whatever it’ll take in order to move your focus away from the food.

4. As I stated in number 1, there will be beer as well as other drinks. You’ll need to have a plan for how many you’re going to drink before you start. (21 Day Fix people, you can swap a yellow here but it’s not for a 6 pack!) If you plan on having multiple drinks, make sure you drink a bottle of water between each one. It will help to keep you hydrated, reduce your risk of a hangover and it can help to keep you from going over the predetermined number of drinks you’ve set.

5. Participate in “The Big Game Workout Challenge” that I have below! It’ll get people up and moving, which means less time for snacking. It can also be a good way to get people laughing and joking. Parties are about having fun right?!

The Big Game Workout Challenge

*This is not meant to be a full workout. It’s just designed to get you moving and burn a few calories while enjoying the game.

 

Healthy Snack Options:

1. Buffalo Wings: They are a staple item when it come to football. We all love them but they aren’t exactly the healthiest things around. Check out these healthier versions:

2. Dips: This best friend to the chip is typically filled with sour cream, mayo or both mixed together. Not exactly friendly to your waist but oh so easy to go overboard with. Here are some healthier recipes that use greek yogurt as a healthy swap:

Don’t forget homemade salsa, guacamole and hummus are quick and easy to make and allow you to flavor things to your liking. Be sure to offer fresh veggies as a dipping option in addition to chips.

3. Food: Pizza, sandwiches and chili all tend to be popular at Big Game parties. The first two are easy to hold and eat and chili is just warm, comforting and allows the guys to show just much hot sauce they put in their food without crying, right?! I’m a huge fan of chili and if you need a recipe, I highly recommend this one which I posted a few weeks ago – Turkey Chili.

Here are some ideas for making these items a little bit healthier:

  • Opt for whole-wheat or whole-grain crust pizza. (Many pizzerias offer these now, so if you’re ordering be sure to ask.)
  • Have some veggie topped pizza options for your guests or a Margherita style pizza, which is usually topped with fresh mozzarella (less greasy) and basil. Not everyone wants greasy pepperoni, sausage or supreme!
  • Opt for whole-wheat or whole-grain for your hero or hoagies (depending on where you are from) too! Many people think wraps are healthier but that isn’t always the case. Some wraps pack a bigger calorie punch than bread and can have less nutrients. If preparing them yourself, check your labels!
  • Consider a vegetarian option. Roasted veggie wraps are really delicious. (Just be sure to ask wherever you order from to go easy on the oil.)
  • When ordering wraps or sandwiches, make sure the condiments are on the side. This will reduce calories and leave things up to your guests.

4. Think outside of the box: Many of you eat healthy on a daily basis. There is no reason why that needs to be tossed out of the window because of a game. Think of the foods you typically opt for and use them:

  • Instead of potato skins loaded with cheese, use sweet potato and top them with nitrate-free turkey bacon and a dollop of greek yogurt.
  • Make your own baked tortillas to go with your dips.
  • Serve fresh fruit with a simple fruit dip: Mix together 1 cup of vanilla greek yogurt, 1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter and 1 Tbsp honey. Store in the fridge in an air tight container until ready to serve.

Do you have any healthy swaps or recipes that you plan on serving this weekend? I’d love to hear about them!

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21 Day Fix Motivational Quotes

21 Day Fix Motivational Quotes
If you have been doing the 21 Day Fix, you may have noticed that Autumn starts each workout with a motivational quote and repeats it throughout the 30 minutes. If you’ve really been paying attention, you may have even noticed fun blackboards in each workout video with the motivation quote of the day written on it.

I noticed these back in the spring during my first round of 21 Day Fix and I fell in love them. I even searched for still images of each one but I couldn’t find them anywhere, so I began sharing similar ones from Pinterest with my accountability group participants and they began listening to these little nuggets of motivation during their workouts.

Today as I was working out, I decided to attempt to take photos of all of them. When I completed Upper Fix, I grabbed my phone and my remote and I went through each workout trying to catch a good decent semi acceptable photo of each one to share.

(I warn you they aren’t great after these first three, but I tried and I think you’ll get the point. Also, they are semi out of order.)

21 Day Fix Motivational Blackboards

  • Dirty 30: Don’t Wish For It Work For it
  • Total Body Cardio: One Day at a Time, One Pound at a Time
  • Upper Fix: It Doesn’t Get Easier, You Get Better

21 Day Fix Motivational Blackboards 2.jpg

  • Lower Fix: If You’re Tired of Starting Over, Stop Giving Up
  • Pilates Fix: Believe in Yourself Right Now
  • 10 Minute Ab Fix: Earn The Body You Want

21 Day Fix Motivational Blackboards 3

  • Dirty 30: Don’t Wish For It Work For It (I really like this one so I included it twice)
  • Yoga Fix: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Body
  • Cardio Fix: When You Feel Like Quitting, Think About Why You Started.

These are all phenomenal quotes and they are super important to hear, especially during a tough workout. There is nothing quite like being stuck in your head and thinking about stopping then suddenly Autumn reminds you to think about why you started, or if you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.

I encourage everyone to take notice of these and if one really hits home for you, hop onto Pinterest, find it, print it and hang it where you work out as a reminder!

Did you notice these motivational messages while doing the workouts? Do they help you stay focused and believe in yourself?

If you’ve been thinking about starting 21 Day Fix but have questions about the program, please feel free to contact me!

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Bootylicious Lower Body Workout

Today’s featured workout will help you to shape and define a bootylicious booty. Our glutes and hamstring are two of the most powerful muscle groups in our body, and they are also responsible for us ladies looking good in a pair of yoga pants or skinny jeans. Shallow statement? Yes. But you know you’ve all thought it!

I’m also including a stretch video because we have to treat our muscles to a little TLC, right?!

I love working my lower body and I personally find that I see results very quickly in this area. Whenever you work your lower body, there is also a cardio effect, so don’t be alarmed if you feel your heart-rate increase.

Both of these bootylicious lower body workout videos come from Autumn Calabrese (creator of 21 Day Fix) and will help you tighten and tone your body with a few basic moves.

 

 

5 Moves for a Firm Booty:

  • Squats
  • Side Lunges
  • Leg Lifts
  • Bridges
  • Mule Kicks

I would recommend doing 3-5 rounds of this, depending on your fitness level and available time. If you’re short on time but don’t feel enough of a burn after 3 rounds, try doing them with weights to up the intensity but keep your workout time short.

 

 

Lower Body Stretches:

  • Roll Forward
  • Runners Lunge
  • Quad Stretch
  • Hamstring Stretch
  • Repeat with Roll Forward on other side
  • Cat & Cow
  • Butterfly Stretch
  • Runners Stretch
  • Twist Stretch
  • Pike Stretch

Make sure you do the stretching routine after the booty workout. Stretching is very important, especially when it comes to your lower body. If you still feel sore, check out this post I did on foam rolling. Your body will thank you!

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21 Day Fix Restaurant Tips

21 day fix restaurant tips 2
One of the things I have found over the last 5 years of becoming a healthier person, is that restaurants happen.

It’s honestly hard to avoid them, especially when being social and food kinda go hand in hand. Invited to a party? There is food. You want to catch up with an old friend? You meet for lunch or a coffee shop…again, we have food. Date night? Food. Girls night out? Food and drinks. It’s one of the hardest things to avoid, so instead of trying to avoid it and risk becoming a social outcast, learn to navigate it!

Before I get into my 21 Day Fix restaurant tips, I’d like to touch upon one of my favorite topics in my accountability groups… THE “CHEAT” MEAL or as I prefer to call it, A SPLURGE MEAL.  Some are all for it, some are totally against and others just don’t fully understand what it means.I figured this would be a perfect topic today, since so many people choose to dine out over the weekend. I’ve said before that this healthy eating lifestyle is not meant to be overwhelmingly restrictive or perfect and the same goes for life while doing the 21 Day Fix.

One amazing way I’ve found to ensure I stay on track with my goals is a splurge from time to time.

When you eat clean, your body needs fuel more frequently throughout the day because it becomes more efficient at burning fat and metabolizing food. Your body loves this clean style of eating but mentally, we sometimes get bored and think we really need that fried, greasy or sweet treat …and that’s okay!

The key to this is not allow that craving to control you. You must control the craving and you can do that by giving in to it, but on your own terms. We don’t want to undo all of the hard work we’ve put forth through nutrition and exercise throughout the week. So you should PLAN on when, what and where.

Many restaurants have their full menus on-line now.
When selecting a restaurant, take a few minutes to look up their menu and see what your options are. This will give you an opportunity to plan ahead and make a smart choice. If the restaurant your friends are discussing will completely derail your nutrition, don’t be afraid to suggest a different one! This simple step can ensure you avoid the possible landmine of not making any healthy choices during you meal out.

What to look for: When looking at the on-line menu, be sure to have your Eating Plan book with you, or a list of your favorite foods for each colored container. This will help you to make smart choices and build a plan for your day around your restaurant meal.

Just because I said a cheat/splurge meal, doesn’t mean we are going to order everything fried and covered in cheese! We still want to make smart choices by keeping these rules in mind:

21 Day Fix Restaurant Tips

Although I am helping you plan to have a splurge, you still need to keep your container requirements in mind as you plan. Here are some quick ideas:

Red Container (Lean. Grilled or Baked):

  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Steak
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

Green Container (You get a lot of these with the plan so use more than one):

  • Side Salad Appetizer (dressing on the side – it’s an orange)
  • Steamed Veggies (no sauce)

Yellow Container (This is where you could factor in your splurge for your favorite pre-dinner bread):

  • Potato, mashed or 1/2 a medium
  • Sweet Potato
  • Pasta, 1/2 cup (restaurant servings ARE way more)
  • Bread, 1 slice
  • Quinoa
  • Tortillas, flour (6″)
  • Tortillas, corn (two 6″)
  • Corn
  • Beans

Blue Container (This is where you meals can become exciting)

  • Cheese (Mozzarella, Provolone, Cheddar, Jack)
  • Avocado/Guacamole
  • Goat Cheese
  • Feta Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Hummus

This nutrition plan is really flexible and you can easily stay 100% on point if you don’t want to splurge. Just be sure to stick to the do’s and don’t’s and remember to count those teaspoons for the oil or butter that the chefs may be using (you don’t have any control over it when dining out, so just make the best choices you can and go with it.)

I’m all for saving my yellow containers so I can use them for dinner. As a matter of fact I did that last weekend. Mike and I went out for a date night and I knew we were going to Longhorn Steakhouse. Well, I’m a complete and total sucker for their Honey Wheat bread, so I saved a yellow container especially for it! I also knew I planned on having some of their House-made Kettle Chips, so I wasn’t disappointed in myself when we ordered them and I ate them. We don’t go there often so I’m not tempted by them often, therefore I allowed myself to give in to the craving and satisfy my want for them.

Once you make your food choice stick with it! After looking on-line at the menu and forming your plan, stick with it. Many times when we go out with other people who have not taken the steps to improve their health, they’ll try to pressure you into having your favorite high calorie meal, having unneeded appetizers or dessert and another round of drinks. This has more to do with them than you…remember your goals and that a good time doesn’t depend on how many calories or how much alcohol you consume.

Speaking of drinks: When dining out always opt for water as your main drink. You can ask your waiter to add lemon or lime to it, to give it some flavor. Sparkling water is also an approved option and you could add lemon or lime to it as well. Coffee is also on the approved list so you won’t have to sit there sipping water while your friend have dessert. Just make sure to skip the cream, sugar and any weird syrup flavoring options. Not alcohol shots in it either!

As stated in the Eating Plan book, you are entitled to swap out one yellow container for 4 ounces of wine. Beer is not on the list but I’m not gonna lie, I’ve swap a yellow for one in the past and survived to blog about it. If you don’t think you can stop at just 4 ounces of wine, my advice would be to skip it completely. I know it can be hard while out with friends, but they should support you in your goals and those goals are more important than making them happy.

Become familiar with page 70-71 in your Eating Plan book. These two pages cover the topic of eating at restaurants as well as eating at mom’s. Pay special attention to the purple boxes on page 70, and the example box on the top of page 71. They tell you how to measure and count certain items from the list using a green container OR by following the portion size listed.

Example:
Meat lasagna – Use your green container to determine the size of your piece, then check off 2 yellows and a red on your Tally sheet.
Cheese Pizza – You’re allowed 1/4 of a 12″ pizza (mind you most pizzeria pizzas are NOT 12″) and it counts as 2 yellow and a blue on your Tally sheet.

Do NOT make this meal the equivalent of calories to a full day of meals. This is why some people don’t to use a cheat/splurge meal.  It can be a slippery slope. Many people end up making their cheat meals fried, cheesy and greasy, which means TONS of unnecessary calories. We want to limit that as much as possible. We are allowing a little room for breathing without going off the deep end. Many times you just need a taste to be satisfied.

You’ll also find that the longer you eat clean, the less you’ll want to have that cheat meal, because you’ll feel a difference in your body and mood when you eat processed foods. Most times you’ll decide it’s just not even worth it.

So enjoy a splurge meal from time to time, but don’t sabotage yourself or let other people influence you in a negative way. This is your journey and you set goals for yourself!

Have good restaurant tip for eating out while doing the 21 Day Fix?! I’d love to hear about it in the comment below!

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Quick Office Workout For Your Abs

Quick Office Workout for your abs (1)

The New Year is here, your holiday vacation is over and you are feeling motivated to stay on track with your fitness, right?!

Why not utilize some downtime at work to get a little extra movement in?

We all know we can park a little further from the entrance, take the stairs instead of the elevator and skip the fattening latte from the drive-thru on our way into work… but did you know you could work your abs with the help of your office chair?

If you’re sitting at work, have some privacy (because your coworkers may look at you like you’re crazy if they see you doing this – or then again, you may inspire them) and 5 minutes until your next meeting, or you’re waiting for a phone call, why not use that opportunity to get in a quick office workout for your abs?

Today I am sharing a workout by Autumn Calabrese (creator of the 21 Day Fix), which will show you 5 CORE MOVES you can do at your desk using only your OFFICE CHAIR!

 

 

 

 

I bet you’ll never look at your office chair the same way again, right? Even if you can’t do all of these moves at your desk, why not incorporate a few of them throughout your day to help you stay on track and reach your goals a little faster? Plus if you work from home like I do? You have no excuse to not do these moves!

If you’d like more information about Autumn’s at-home workout, The 21 Day Fix, check out this post I did last spring when I first tried it or comment below!

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Healthy Comfort Food: Turkey Chili

Healthy Comfort Food Turkey Chili 21DF
Just about everyone who knows me, knows I love healthy comfort food and the recipe for Turkey Chili from the Body Beast nutrition guide. I’ve shared it before in my meal prep post and I post photos of it quite often on Instagram. I’ve even been having my 21 Day Fix participants begin using it with their meal prepping. It’s such a simple, versatile and yummy recipe that I think it would be wrong not to share it.

For those of you are not familiar with it, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey meat
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 med white onion, chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes or diced tomatoes with chilis
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce, no salt added
  • 2 TBL chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Directions:
 

1) Heat oil in large saucepan over med/high heat. Add turkey, onion, bell pepper and garlic.
2) Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink.
3) Add cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper; stir and cook another minute.
4) Stir in beans and tomatoes; bring to a boil
5) Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until thickened.
6) Serve warm sprinkled with parsley.

As you can see, it’s really simple to make and uses lots of great, clean ingredients. The beauty of it, is that it’s simple to tweak in order fit into the 21 Day Fix program.

If you have issues fitting in all of your green containers, add spinach, zucchini, extra peppers, kale, eggplant or any other veggie you have on hand to this dish and bump up your veggie intake. You could even serve it over some cauliflower rice or top it with some shredded romaine lettuce.

Are those yellow containers your issue? (Not using enough of them, that is. I know many people feel there are not ENOUGH yellow containers in general, I can’t help with that, sorry. You’ll have to take that up with Autumn.) add extra beans, some corn or peas. You could also serve this over some rice or quinoa – another option is to cash in a “treat” and have a few tortilla chips on the side for dipping.

Unsure of how to use your blue containers? Top your chili with some shredded sharp cheddar cheese or some avocado. Better yet, use both by using half a container or each.

Falling short on red containers? Top this with some plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a creamy component that will make your taste buds happy.

Purple containers also fit into this dish! Top your chili with some fresh salsa for an added kick, as well as a color pop. (We eat with our eye, too!)

As you can see this is a very useful recipe to have while doing the 21 Day Fix. You can easily make this into your meal planning and use up just about any container you may be lacking.

Do you have a versatile recipe that would work well with the 21 Day Fix? If so, I would love to learn more about it.

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