Meal Prep 6.13. 16 with Quinoa Brussels Sprouts Salad

Happy Monday! I’ve been getting a lot of questions from the Challengers that I health coach about my meal prep, so I thought I would walk them through what I am eating this week, as well as share my new favorite salad recipe with a twist–the part that is usually lettuce is shredded raw brussels sprouts!

 

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We start off in the back with my Vanilla and Chocolate Shakeology.  I use Shakeology as a post-workout meal. I stress MEAL because I use it as a meal replacement. It contains a huge dose of protein, gives me a natural boost of energy, helps my hair, skin and nails and just makes me feel healthier. I’ve lost over 15 pounds using this as a meal replacement with a workout and cleaner eating regimen.

The next row is my fruit for the week. I eat two servings of fruit (typically a cup or a large stone a citrus fruit is one serving) a day. This week’s mix are honey crisp apples, nectarines, oranges and kiwi.

The third row has some bagged veggies, roasted Brussels sprouts with a drizzle of balsamic and this week’s Quinoa Brussels Sprouts Salad (recipe below!). The salad holds up really well for meal prep because the brussels sprouts are so dense and durable they don’t wilt like normal lettuce. Following the salad is mango with blackberries and grapes.

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Moving onto the next row, we start with roasted brussels sprouts and an individual tub of hummus for the cut veggies. Then we have organic, whole wheat crackers and more berries and mango.

The final row is where the bulk of my meals are. We start off with a vegan chili, then move to tuna with lemon pepper seasoning and lemon juice and spaghetti squash with TVP and mushrooms. Next to that is another lemon pepper tuna and a low-fat quiche I made and froze (eggs freeze well, crust is a bit moist).

Following the amazing 21 Day Fix eating plan, where I learned exactly how much of what kinds of food my body needs, this is enough portioned out food for breakfast, lunch and snacks for my workdays. Most dinners are prepared fresh at night.

Ready for that ah-mazing salad recipe? I thought so! I love that this salad has protein from the quinoa and nuts, a bit of fruit and the dense nutrients in the brussels sprouts. I got the recipe from Gimme Some Oven, but instead of making her salad dressing I just thinned out some raspberry vinaigrette I had with apple cider vinegar.

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INGREDIENTS:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (here is a tutorial/recipe for how to cook quinoa)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • Low-cal fruit vinaigrette (or make your own)

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Step 1: Rinse and trim ends off of brussels sprouts. Then halve lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise. You may need to toss a bit to get them to come apart like lettuce.

Step 2: Toss all ingredients together until combined.

Step 3: Portion out and enjoy!

 

I’m no photographer, so check out the incredible photo from Gimme Some Oven of the completed salad.

Brussels-Sprouts-and-Cranberry-Salad-4

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Meal Prep 3.14 with Chipotle Sweet Potato Chili

Happy Meal Prep Monday friends!

This week I only prepped 4 meals because I am commuting out of town for a day and a half. But there are still some interesting items and a great recipe for my favorite vegan chili below.

So let’s start with what I prepped. In the back row you will see my typical bagged veggies – broccoli, carrots and snap peas. Next to those is this week’s recipe, Chipotle Sweet Potato Chili. The balls following are baked falafel, I usually make fresh but the frozen ones at Trader Joes are pretty amazing so I have been using that lately. Next to those are a organic fruits.

The middle row begins as all rows in the photo do, with veggies. Next is a Primal Strips, vegan seitan jerky, my favorite vegan jerky and a quick source of protein (minimum 10 grams a strip). My top favorite flavors are Teriyaki, Texas BBQ and Mesquite Lime.

meal prep blog

Following is homemade hummus that I made fresh yesterday and OMG, it’s to die for. I finally learned the secret to a smooth at home hummus – peeling the skins/membranes off the chickpeas prior to blending. It’s annoying as hell and you will want to quit half way through, but if you stick with it that will be smooth as silk. I used this recipe, Seriously Smooth Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Hummus from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I added an extra clove of garlic and doubled the pepper and cumin, because I love seasonings.

Right underneath are my portioned out nut mixes. I just mixed whatever is in my cabinet as the bags were all fairly low, so I have smoked almonds, raw almonds and pecans in 1/4 cup measurements. Next to them is another Primal Strips jerky and fruit.

The final row is my weekday supply of Shakeology, my favorite superfood meal replacement drink. Shakeology gives me a dense dose of protein, my daily vitamins and the nutrition of 7 salads and a bowl of exotic fruits. It’s organic, has no gluten and is low on the glycemic index for those who are diabetic. Since drinking Shakeology, I’ve noticed an increase in my digestion, my energy levels and my hair, skin and nails are even growing stronger and faster.

Moving onto our recipe of the week: Chipotle Sweet Potato Chili

meal prep blog 3

This is a smokey, spicy chili that is perfect for vegans and meat-eaters alike. It gets it’s heartiness from the mix of beans and sweet potatoes. And it freezes really well, so make a double batch if you want!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 yellow onion (medium, chopped)
  • 1 pepper – your choice of color  (medium, chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tbsps chili powder
  • 1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks)
  • 14 1/2 ozs crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can  red kidney beans (dark, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 14 oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • salt
  • 1.5 tbsp. adobo
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chile
  • Optional: I had a can of zucchini in tomato sauce that I needed to use up, so I added that in!

meal prep blog 11

Directions

  • Chop the onion, peppers, garlic and sweet potatoes. Keeping the sweet potatoes separate from the onions, peppers and garlic.
  • Heat oil in a big skillet over medium heat; add in the onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes until softened.

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  • Stir in the chili powder; cook 30 seconds.

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  • Add in the sweet potatoes; stir to coat with the spices.

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  • Transfer mixture to a large slow cooker; add in the tomatoes, beans, broth; season with salt; cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

meal prep blog 4

  • When ready to serve, all ingredients should be softened. Taste and adjust seasonings. (I added a little more pepper and chipotle to mine.)

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  • Portion out for weekly meal preps and freeze the left overs. Enjoy!

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Meal Prep 2.29 with 6 Months of Prep Flipgram

Happy leap day! I’m finishing up CIZE, the new hip hop cardio dance workout by Shaun T. It’s actually super fun and makes cardio feel less exhausting. The routines are set to modern music and they break them down into easy moves that they repeat multiple times before adding on. Curious? Check out info here.

Here is the last meal prep I did in February 2016. I’m running around a lot this week, so simple and quick meals are best for me. Let’s take a peek at what I will be eating.

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The back row starts with sliced cucumbers that I will add to the veggie bags daily so they don’t dry out. Following is a 3 oz. serving of tuna mixed with lemon juice and pepper and whole wheat organic crackers. The next container is spaghetti squash, TVP, mushrooms, easy Italian freezer tomatoes and no sugar added spaghetti sauce. Next to that are egg, mushrooms and cheese egg cups. The row ends with lemon pepper tuna and whole wheat crackers.

Row two begins with veggies and hummus and dressings. Following are whole wheat sandwich thins with two sliced Baby Bel cheeses on them and a serving of Field Roast Lentil Sage Deli Slices – a tasty, quick vegetarian protein source.  Next to the sandwiches are three containers of sliced mango and blueberries. Right under those are small, honey crisp apples.

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The final row is of bagged veggies and hummus servings. I love the Tribe Everything Hummus, it’s all the toppings on an Everything bagel in a hummus! Next to it is my Shakeology, a dense, superfood meal replacement shake that contains 78 superfoods, your daily vitamins and a huge dose of clean protein. Shakeology has helped me lose weight, improved my energy, let me ditch my chalky vitamins and given me a clean meal on the go. And the final items are my clementine oranges.

In other news, it has been 6 months since I started meal planning! In honor of it, I made a quick little Flipgram of some of my favorite meal preps. Check it out here: https://flipagram.com/f/lAwUIwMe9I

**Interested in daily motivation, health tips and recipes? Connect with me at http://www.facebook.com/MotivationandMuscle. Message me to be added to a free, 5-day healthy eating challenge group where you will learn how to meal plan and prep like a pro! :)**

 

 

 

Meal Prep Monday with Honey Pecan Salmon Recipe- 1.18.16

Happy MLK Jr. Day readers! Today I got to run a ton of errands, workout, etc. but it put me slightly behind on my blogging so this will be a little later than usual.

This week I tried some new things, particularly a recipe from the “Fixate” cookbook. The “Fixate” book is all 21 Day Fix approved recipes and most are pretty delicious! I’m also bringing back an old favorite- honey pecan salmon. Yuuummm!

I also started the 21 Day Fix workout program and meal plan this week–I’m excited to try the program I’ve seen people lose up to 17 pounds on in just three weeks! It’s an awesome circuit training system with 30 minute workouts, simple nutrition and color-coded portion control containers. Learn more here: http://teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/BCP21D160?referringRepId=850546

So let’s get on with it…here is what I’m eating this week.

meal prep 1.18 edamame

The first row starts off with some Shakeology and moves into the Fixate Edamame Salad with Asian Dressing (also from the “Fixate” book).  The salad has edamame, napa cabbage, carrots, red pepper, cilantro, avocado and black sesame seeds in it. Topped off with the dressing, it’s a pretty fantastic meal and 21 Day Fix approved!

meal prep 1.18 second row soup and falafel

Moving on, the second row features an organic broccoli cheese soup, a small portion of honey pecan salmon, falafel I got at Trader Joes (we will see how they taste!) and raspberries. This row also begins and ends with Shakeology as I drink it daily to get all my vitamins and nutrients in.

final two rows meal prep 1.18

The third row begins with a halved grapefruit, roasted root veggies (parsnips, carrots, sweet potato and red potato in olive oil with garlic and pepper), a Sandwich Thin and Laughing Cow cheese wedge to go with the smoked salmon, fruit and Shakeology.

And the last row is Shakeology, fruit, veggies with hummus, celery with Laughing Cow Cheese and more materials for the salmon sandwich.

Here are two side views of the Shakeology I plan to drink. I have chocolate (my fav), Greenberry (second fav!), vanilla, vegan chocolate and strawberry. I like to have the packets for the variety. It gives me a natural boost of energy, helps my hair, skin and nails and just makes me feel healthier. Plus it helps me lose weight when I replace a meal with it.

 

Now onto the recipe this week. Honey Pecan Salmon was something my husband and I made for a special meal in a few years back. It is simple, tasty and not too bad for you–really the least healthy thing is bread crumbs!

honey pecan salmon ingredients.jpg

So to start you will need:

  • 1/2 pound salmon
  • 1 TBS Dijon or honey mustard
  • 1.5 TBS butter, melted
  • 1.5 TBS honey
  • 4 TBS bread crumbs
  • 4 TBS crushed pecans
  • 2 TBS parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

honey pecan salmon dressing

In a small bowl, mix mustard, butter and honey

honey pecan salmond breading

In another bowl, mix bread crumbs, parsley and pecans

Season each salmon fillet with salt and pepper

dressed honey pecan salmon

Brush the mustard-honey mixture on one side of salmon. Then cover with bread crumbs. Place face-down on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Add the mustard-honey mixture on the other side of the salmon and top with remaining bread crumbs.

ready to bake honey pecan salmon

Bake for 10-12 minutes per inch of thickest part of fillet or until it flakes.

finished honey pecan salmon

Pair with some healthy sides, maybe some wine and enjoy!

**Interested in daily motivation, health tips and recipes? Connect with me at http://www.facebook.com/MotivationandMuscle. Message me to be added to a free, 5-day healthy eating challenge group where you will learn how to meal plan and prep like a pro! :)**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meal Prep Monday – 1.11.16

Welcome to the first official meal prep for 2016!

I have been prepping since the start of the year, however I got ill and was only eating soup and shakes as my throat couldn’t handle much else for days…not very exciting meal prep to share. So let’s see what I am eating now that I’m back!

21 day fix style meal prep with spaghetti squash, broccoli cheddar soup and shakeology

The back row some of my standbys: apples, spaghetti squash, soup and Shakeology. I prep the spaghetti squash by splitting it in two, scooping out the seeds, lightly brushing it with olive oil, sprinkling salt and pepper on it and roasting it at 425 degrees in the oven. Then I add no-sugar added tomato sauce, veggies and TVP (textured vegetable protein).

I’ve been drinking Shakeology for almost 6 months now and have noticed big changes! My hair and nails grow faster, I get more energy from it–less runs to the breakroom for caffeine– and I am losing weight by replacing a meal with it. It’s my favorite post-workout treat and it has 73 superfoods, vitamins and nutrients so it’s my healthiest meal of the day!

21 day fix style meal prep with sandwich thins, tofurkey, egg cups

The next row of prepped foods begins with a ripe grapefruit, followed by a Peppered Tofurkey sandwich with toppings, veggie and cheese egg cups and clementines. The Tofurkey sandwiches are made of whole wheat Sandwich Thins and each thin is one yellow container on the 21 Day Fix plan so I don’t use all my starches in one sitting. I add a slice of cheese, lettuce and mustard to top them.

The egg cups are a Pinterest project. There are a ton of varieties out there, here is a healthy one I like from Super Healthy Kids. I’ve seen some recipes that add a little bit of frozen hashbrowns or a few tater tots at the bottom of each cup, which sounds divine. Mine were made with kale, mushroom and cheese.

21 day fix style meal prep with salmon, tofurkey, spaghetti squash and more

The last row begins with the bananas. It contains two 50/50 salads of field greens and spinach, each with 3 oz. of grilled salmon with Trader Joes “Everyday Seasoning” on top. To the side is some Olive Garden salad dressing, because that stuff is addictive as heck! Next in the row are bags of bagged veggies with chipotle hummus to go with them. You will notice I have more veggies than hummus, that’s because the celery is cut and prepared with one wedge of low-fat Garlic Herb Laughing Cow cheese spread in it’s center.

Not a bad spread for this week! I prepped 8 meals total, plus my fruit and veggies. The rest of the meals will be Shakeology for breakfast/post-workout and freshly prepared items.

Interested in daily motivation, health tips and recipes? Connect with me at http://www.facebook.com/MotivationandMuscle. I can even add you to a free, 5-day healthy eating challenge group where you will learn how to meal plan and prep like a pro! 🙂

21 day fix style meal prep with salmon, tofurkey, spaghetti squash and more

21 day fix style meal prep with salmon, Tofurkey, spaghetti squash and more

Meal Prep Monday with Black Bean Soup Recipe – 12.21.15

It’s Meal Prep Monday! The holidays are a challenging time, so I am trying to stick even closer to my meal preparation so I don’t fall off the fitness wagon. I made my mom’s spicy, low fat black bean soup this week–see the recipe below my meal prep info. FYI – no blog next week, the holidays and travel will mean meal prep won’t happen until mid-week probably.

Let’s eat!

Week of prepped meals

Here we have my meals for breakfast (three flavors of Shakeology), lunch and daily snacks. Not a bad looking spread, huh?

Meal Prep with sandwiches, hummus veggies and spaghetti squash

For the back two rows, moving left to right we have my mom’s black bean soup recipe that I’ve shared below. Next to that are two tofurkey, cheese, lettuce and mustard sandwiches on whole wheat sandwich thins (just one yellow container if you do 21 Day Fix!). Following them are 3 small containers of hummus, homemade and store bought chipotle flavor. In the top row, the red container is spaghetti squash with no sugar added sauce, mushrooms and TVP. Below the spaghetti squash are roasted mushrooms and asparagus with balsamic and coconut oil. Cut veggies in sandwich bags follow, with a big bowl of cut fruit that I scoop a cup from daily. Clementines and a small green apple finish the top two rows.

 

Meal Preparation Salad Shakeology and veggies

The bottom rows are pretty easy to identify, but I’ll still go through them. Blackbean soup, a salad with dressing. Next to those are hummus, cucumbers, broccoli, more clementines and a cup of fruit. The final row is ALL Shakeology, my healthiest meal of the day with 88 superfoods, protein and vitamins.

Container for Meal Prep

I was asked by a reader how I store all this once I’m done prepping. Great question! I used to bag them separately, but that got confusing. So what I do now is put them all in a small organizing tub so my husband knows that’s my prepped food and not to touch. I take out my meal and snack the night before and put it in an insulated lunch bag for the following day. That way, I can choose based on cravings, what needs to be eaten first, etc.

And here is the spicy, low fat black bean soup recipe I promised you! It is only four easy steps. It makes quite a bit of soup, so I always freeze some in individual containers for easy meals.

Spicy Black Bean Soup in a Bowl with Sour Cream

Spicy, Low Fat Black Bean Soup

Makes approximately 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 6 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 14 oz or 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tsp. cumin, add more to taste

Optional

  • Sour cream for garnish
  • Tortilla chips for garnish
  • Cilantro, red pepper and chili powder to add a kick, if desired, add to taste

Vegan spicy low fat black bean soup recipe

  1. Cook onion and garlic in the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until tender and aromatic. Remove from heat.

 

Sauteed onions and garlic for black bean soup

2.  In a food processor, pulse onions, garlic and three cans of black beans (drained and rinsed) until they form a paste consistency. If it gets too thick and your food processor won’t blend it, add a little bit of the vegetable stock to make it blend easier. Add to a stock pot.

Food Processor of Black Beans

3.  Add the three remaining cans of black beans, vegetable broth and spices to the stock pot. Cook until heated through.

low fat vegan black bean soup in stock pot

4.  If desired, add sour cream and/or tortilla strips to the top.

Enjoy!

Spicy Black Bean Soup in a Bowl with Sour Cream and tortillas in soup

Interested in daily motivation, health tips and recipes? Connect with me at http://www.facebook.com/MotivationandMuscle. I can even add you to a free, 5-day healthy eating challenge group! 🙂

 

Meal Prep Monday – 12.7.15 with Hummus Recipe

Hello kids and cats, you may have noticed a lapse in a week of meal prepping. Why? I did the Beachbody 3 Day Refresh cleanse that was very specific in how you could eat and I prepared most of those items the night before. I am going to be sharing my results, but in the meantime, here is my prep for this week!

21 Day Fix Approved Meal Prep Organic and Clean

Starting off in the back we have sliced almonds, Chocolate Shakeology and Chili Lime Cashews (an amazing Aldi find!).

The next row starts with a mushroom, barley and lentil soup I got from HummuSapien’s blog. Next to that is a homemade Mediterranean vegetable pizza with no sugar added tomato sauce, light mozzarella cheese and a gluten-free crust. Flanking the pizza is even more soup because that recipe makes a ton! Almost on the foil are concord grapes and homemade hummus.

The next somewhat disjointed row starts with the red apple, a cucumber I’m slicing the night before for lunches, raspberries, carrots, homemade hummus between and then asparagus and mushrooms in balsamic vinegar and coconut oil. Next to that is a portion of greek yogurt and a green apple.

The next row is the green apple and Fage yogurt, raspberries, broccoli, homemade hummus, asparagus and mushrooms, raspberries and sunflower seeds.

Now for the hummus…I realized I didn’t have any last week before my 3 Day Refresh and got panicky at midnight. So I found this little gem of a recipe for simple, healthy hummus. I highly recommend it! I did add a little extra tahini (sesame oil) and garlic to make it more garlicky. I also subbed in pink Himalayan salt.

Interested in daily motivation, health tips and recipes? Connect with me at http://www.facebook.com/MotivationandMuscle.

 

 

 

Meal Prep Monday & Healthy Mac and Cheese! 11.23.15

Welcome to the second edition of Meal Prep Monday!

This week my meal prep is much smaller than usual due to it being a holiday week and my travels. I will still eat healthy while I’m out and about, but I didn’t think my mom would appreciate me adding multiple Tupperware containers of food to her fridge space on a holiday.

So to make it up to you, I’ve included my new favorite 21 Day Fix Approved Mac and Cheese. It is shockingly good and there is quite a bit of cheese in it, the big difference is that the base is pureed cauliflower and cheese, instead of cheese and milk or cream and flour.

First, let’s look at what I am eating this week to stay on track with my nutrition.

Meal Prep for the week of 11/23

Meal Prep for the week of 11/23

From the back row moving forward, I have my Chocolate Shakeology, which I have for every breakfast. Then I have four servings of my 21 Day Fix Mac and Cheese which adds up to a yellow, blue and green container.

The next loose row is an apple, tuna with lemon and pepper recipe per my last post, whole wheat crackers, Laughing Cow Cheese, 100 calorie almond and walnut packs and garlic hummus in 3 containers.

Row three is plain Greek yogurt with blackberries, apples, Sandwich Thins (only one yellow container!) and carrots.

The last loose row is another packet of almonds and walnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, Tofurkey and carrots.

So that is three days of meals and snacks for this holiday week!

Now onto this glorious mac and cheese I promised you… this is my adaption of a recipe from “The Foodie and the Fix.”

21 Day Fix Mac and Cheese with Broccoli

21 Day Fix Mac and Cheese with Broccoli

Yield: approximately 8 servings

Serving Size: 1 cups per serving

Container Equivalents: 1 YELLOW, 1 BLUE, 1 GREEN

Calories per serving: 334

Fat per serving: 13 grams

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cooked whole wheat elbow macaroni (about 3 cups dry)
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, cooked and chopped smaller if they’re in large pieces
  • 1 1/3 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1 1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Minced onion to taste (or onion powder in a pinch)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups roughly chopped fresh cauliflower
  • 1 cup unsalted vegetable broth

Directions

  1. Heat a pot of water on the stove to boiling. Lightly salt, then cook your pasta.
  2. While your pasta is cooking, steam your cauliflower and broccoli separately.
  3. Once that’s done, put it in a blender or processor with the vegetable broth and blend until it’s very smooth.
  4. Once you’ve drained your pasta, put it back in the pot it just cooked in on a low heat setting, add the cauliflower puree, the cheeses, the broccoli and stir until everything is heated through and the cheeses have melted. As you stir, add the salt, pepper and onion to taste.

Portion out and enjoy!

mac and cheese 21 day fix 6

Are you interested in learning more about meal preparation, getting daily fitness tips and even learning what I do as a Beachbody Coach? Like my Facebook page and check it out!

 

Meal Prep Monday – 11.16.15

I’ve neglected my blog since my PiYo results were posted – many apologies! I decided shorter blogs may be in order so I can stay on schedule and keep up fresh content.

One of the most popular parts of my past blogs have been recipes and meal prep suggestions. So I am gong to do my best to post weekly meal preparation photos to give guidance and inspiration to my fit friends.

I am still following a clean eating plan as closely as possible. I try to do 80% clean 20% everything else. Having a garden certainly helps. I also follow the portions suggested by Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix meal plan. With that in mind, let’s see what I am eating for breakfasts, lunches and snacks at the office this week!

November 16, 2015 Meal Prep.

November 16, 2015 Meal Prep.

In the back row, left is a veggie stir fry with pan seared seitan. I used this awesome 21 Day Fix approved teriyaki sauce I found by stalking top coach Melanie Mitro’s blog. To avoid using up my yellows, this is just veggies and seitan protein.

Next is a vegetarian mushroom barley with lentils (added protein!). I made this a few weeks ago, but the recipe didn’t turn out quite right so I am not sharing it until I’ve perfected it. This is all veggies so lots of green containers here!

Continuing to the right is baked spaghetti squash with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, spaghetti sauce and TVP. TVP is textured vegetable protein that you can buy dried and when you heat it with water it plumps up and has the texture of ground beef. It is like the Morning Start Crumbles you get at the store, but cheaper and require no freezing. I use jarred spaghetti sauce, but stick to organic ones without added sugar. Standard spaghetti sauce has a ton of sugar, so watch out!

The next row is grapes, kiwi, granny smith apples, various hummus flavors and pears from my mom’s tree.

Row three starts on the left with broccoli from my garden, carrots with greek yogurt dill dip (love that stuff!) and some Babybel and Laughing Cow cheeses. Next to the cheeses are albacore tuna chunks mixed with pepper, lemon juice and Ms. Dash Salt-Free “Lemon Pepper” seasoning blend. And, of course, my healthiest meal of the day, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla Shakeology for every breakfast.

The final row has two quick Fix-approved snacks- Kind bars (the non-chocolate varieties just count as nuts/seeds!) and Nature Valley granola bars (1 bar per serving). Besides those are some portioned out cashews and unsalted sunflower seeds. Those circles in the middle are kale, mushroom and cheese egg cups. You can find a similar version using spinach instead of kale here. I love these because they are vegetarian, gluten free, about 50 calories each and freeze beautifully so you can make a ton in advance and let them thaw overnight before work.  Next to the egg muffins, you will see whole wheat crackers to go with the tuna, which is in the red container. And it ends, as always, with Shakeology.

Please note, this is for what I eat for breakfasts, lunches and some snacks. Dinners are not included because I try to prepare them fresh at home daily.

Are you interested in learning more about meal preparation, getting daily fitness tips and even learning what I do as a Beachbody Coach? Like my Facebook page and check it out!

 

 

 

An Unbiased PiYo and Shakeology Review – Weeks 4 & 5

I am not a Beachbody coach. I am not being compensated for this review. My goal is to provide real information about my experience with this program as an independent fitness instructor trying something new.  I will be checking in weekly and posting my results at the bottom of each entry. For previous reviews, check out Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3.

This week I am combining Weeks 4 and 5 because I went out of town last week. Since they are over, I am able to fully review the new workouts, Shakeology and meal planning, etc. Here are my thoughts.

PiYo DVD Run Times

PiYo DVD Run Times

The Workouts:

Drench: I had heard from my Beachbody coach that this one was killer and she wasn’t kidding. It was 48 minutes of dynamic movement, sculpting and muscle burn. The time required was a shock, I barely got it in before work because the previous DVDs were 20-35 minutes, but I sweat through it and live talk-to- text myself my thoughts for an in-the-moment review. This is what I was thinking while performing the moves in “Drench”…

0:01 complete: “48 minutes? WTF?”

7:00 complete: “Ok, same movements we’ve learned before, nothing crazy…”

12:00 complete: “Too fast! I can barely keep up, form is suffering on me and cues aren’t great.”

18:00 complete: “First break due to butt cheek cramp. That’s a new one.”

19:00 complete: “Planks, planks and a new move!”

25:00 complete: “Squats and burpees, nearly the same combo as before so thankfully in familiar, albeit thigh-burning, territory.”

30:00 complete: “Stopping for water. I’m surprised Beachbody doesn’t include a quick water break or two in their workouts considering how the 21 Day Fix is so focused on hydration.”

40:00 complete: “I’m really irritated because this ‘flow’ section is really weak in terms of cueing, which newbies need. I know these moves from my past with Pilates, but someone new would be really confused and overwhelmed. Not good Chalene!”

48:00 complete – the end: “Nice cool down. I feel very accomplished but this was my least favorite so far.”

Sculpt: This workout uses varying tempos to keep your muscles under tension for different periods of time. Some felt like nice, long stretches, others felt like hell in the best way possible. Many of the moves are repetition from the past DVDs, so if you get bored easily it may be a low point for you. For me, I do these before work when I am groggy so it was a nice way to not have to think.

The claim for “Sculpt”  is that it “generates muscular endurance and metabolic changes that will totally transform your figure.” I don’t know about that, but I did really enjoy the 30 minute workout. It focuses on lots of tricep push ups, planks, etc. and had a similar flow sequence to “Drench.” Was it the most challenging DVD so far? No, but it was a nice in-between workout to give your muscles a break from some of the more challenging DVDs like “Drench” and “Sweat.” Want to explore more? The “Fill Me With Meaning” blog has a great breakdown of all the exercises you do in “Sculpt.”

Week 5 I went on a camping trip and did not do PiYo for four days. I couldn’t do the workouts due to no electricity or wifi, but my coach thought that if I just worked out/did activities it would even out. I hiked a minimum of 8 miles a day on steep inclines, kayaked 5 miles in wind with 2-4 foot tall waves one day, etc. I’m hoping this trip didn’t set me back.

PiYo Meal Plan Week 4

PiYo Meal Plan Week 4

Overall: Weeks 4 and 5 introduced two new workouts – one I enjoyed but wasn’t as challenged by and another I felt was almost too-demanding for a newbie and didn’t have proper form/cues. While “Drench” is not my favorite, it did challenge me more than the others, so I have to give PiYo props for keeping my muscles tired and working. The past two weeks have completely cut Upper Body Define” and “Lower Body Define” out of the equation, so I’m excited to see the program getting harder and less elementary.


The Meal Plan:

As stated in my last review, meal planning has become much easier now that I can recall off the top of my head how many portions I need of what food group. Week 4 went well with me feeling amazing and excelling at meal planning. You’ll see my photo of a full work week of lunches and snacks prepped for the office. I noticed flatter abs and looser clothes and all was right with the world.

Week 5 was tougher; it was over a holiday weekend and I had a wedding to attend. I packed a cooler of goodies which helped me stay on track, but the build your own pasta bar, carrot cake and open bar proved to be a bit too tempting. I tried to limit my portions and not drink to excess, but I did indulge because I can’t be a total social pariah. I got back on track for three days, but then it was off to a long weekend of camping in a national park without internet access or a fridge. I looked up advice for camping on the 21 Day Fix and found this great article on the “Finding Motivation Everyday” blog. I packed my favorite healthy snacks, pictured below, that are camping and 21 Day Fix approved, but it was still a struggle. I had to eat more processed foods than usual due to eating vegetarian hot dogs or canned chili. I tried to limit my starches, but when you hike 8 miles on cliffs and kayak 5 miles in the same day, your body will tell you that it needs carbs and you need to listen so I wasn’t 100% compliant with the plan. Plus, smores are a tradition, so I had to have those one night. I did my best, but I didn’t want to be starved or miserable so I did go outside the plan.

21 Day Fix Approved Camping Snacks

21 Day Fix Approved Camping Snacks

Overall: Still missing chocolate, wine, etc. in unlimited quantities but learning to live without excess. Being creative with the meals, planning in advance and cooking large portions has been the key to staying on track. Snacks for traveling are essential, but meals on vacation or at special events can be tough. I think it’s ok to take a break every now and then to celebrate with someone, everything in moderation right? I am starting Week 6 on track again, packed meals, less processed food and the motivation to get back to 100% compliance. 

Shakeology:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Shakeology Mug Cake

Peanut Butter Chocolate Shakeology Mug Cake

Week 4 I was finishing my bag of Vegan Chocolate Shakeology and still enjoying it. I was really craving chocolate cake one day and was having my shake at night instead of the morning, so I got creative and made my first Shakeology Mug Cake. It’s your classic mug cake or protein pancake recipe using ingredients you likely have on hand.

Ingredients
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
-1 tbs sweetener of your choice (I used agave)
– dash of salt
– 1 egg
– optional mix in: 1 tbs PB2 peanut butter, 1 tbs cocoa powder (I used both!)
– 2 or 3 tbs milk or almond milk

Peanut Butter Chocolate Shakeology Mug Cake Ingredients

Peanut Butter Chocolate Shakeology Mug Cake Ingredients

Directions:

  1.  In a mug mix Shakeology, baking powder, salt, peanut butter and cocoa, cocoa, and sweetener if it’s a dry sweetener like stevia or sugar.
  2. Next, mix in an egg, 2-3 tablespoons of milk and sweetener if it’s wet like agave.
  3. Mix until dry ingredients are wet. Really scrape bottom to mix and sides.
  4. Microwave for 90 seconds. Don’t be alarmed if the cake puffs out above the mug, it will deflate once the heat is off.
  5. Let rest in microwave for 2 minutes as it is hot. Cake should easily pull away from the mug with little residue. Enjoy!
Finished Shakeology Mug Cake

Finished Shakeology Mug Cake

I love my chocolate, but decided to switch out the flavors to see what the others had to offer. I was excited to open my Beachbody delivery on Week 5 to find my combo pack – strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. A Neapolitan flavor box, if you will. I have tried the three and strawberry is my new favorite! If you like strawberry shakes or strawberry milk, this is for you. The combo boxes have 6 less servings than a bag, so I was hesitant to give up those days initially, but now that I have tried the others I think the variety will keep me excited for my daily shake and is well worth it.

Shakeology Combo Pack

Shakeology Combo Pack

Overall: Shakeology must have some addictive ingredient in it because I am shockingly not tired of it yet. I invested in the combo box (same prices, more variety, less servings) and feel that if you need to sample different flavors before selecting a 30-day bag of one OR if you are doing a long-term plan the variety it presents is worth the missing packets. Try coming up with new shakes, cakes, etc. and it will keep your stomach interested!

Coach and Challenge Group:

Weeks 4 and 5 were not as strong in terms of the support I received. One challenge group was over so I was switched into a 5 day one with new people who weren’t doing any BB exercises, which wasn’t as beneficial. Week 5 I was completely without a challenge group as my coach wasn’t running one, but she did encourage me to check in on her permanent accountability Facebook page. The page is less active as people are posting sporadically so it was less motivating and engaging. I’m hoping that for Weeks 6-8 she puts me in a new one of women who are actively working to improve themselves.

Overall: The Challenge groups and support was missed during weeks 4-5. While my coach did check in, I missed the daily accountability. The groups are a nice, free tool that comes with your program, so use it!

…drumroll for results…

My PiYo and 21 Day Fix Abs Week 4

My PiYo and 21 Day Fix Abs Week 4

WEEKS 4-5 RESULTS:

1 lb. down for 9.6 lbs. lost in 35 days. I’ve experienced significant muscle gain too.

NSVs: Better endurance, noticing muscle tone in new areas, had the confidence to rock shorts for the first time in over a year.

Tune in for a review of week four next week. Thanks for stopping by for my unbiased Piyo and Shakeology review!

Previous Entries:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3.