Month: January 2015

Ready for Round 2

I can’t believe how much I love the 21 Day Fix!!! Well, I guess I can believe it because I really have loved every Beachbody program I’ve done. But I did resist this one for a while- I’m glad I finally gave it a try!

found on imgfave.com
found on imgfave.com

 

I am getting ready to start another 21 days with my challenge group. What an enthusiastic, positive and fun group of women! I think everyone is enjoying doing this together, and each of us is motivated by the other. We’ve also learned a lot from each other.

I have some goals for Round 2:

  • try out some new recipes
  • stick to the meal plans I make for myself a little more stringently!
  • do the double workouts suggested for week 3
  • cut out a cup of coffee and add a cup of green tea each day

I gave myself a little leeway eating-wise today, as I had already weighed in and taken my measurements, and I am uncomfortably full for the first time in three weeks. I don’t like it! I didn’t even go too crazy…and I really feel kinda crappy. I’ll remember this next time I’m at Day 21! When I do have “treats” I’ll be sure to keep them to a container-size:)

That said, I’m ready for a new week to start tomorrow…Here’s the 21 Day Fix meal plan I created today:

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I got a little crazy this week and color-coded my foods. I still feel like it’s a little boring, but I really don’t mind eating the same thing each day. As long as I change up dinners it’s ok. I do hope to share some more recipes this week, and explore new ideas for next week’s meal plan!

21 Day Fix Meal Plan Week 3

Creating meal plans can be tricky…this week I kept most of my meals/snacks the same and just focused on dinners. I don’t mind eating the same thing for breakfast every day, and sometimes snacks are just easier when I don’t have to think about them. For the first two weeks, I planned knowing that I would change things up quite a bit.

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I have found, though, that being too flexible can be a problem. When you have a dinner that includes cheese you need to be careful not to snack on cheese during the day. You want to be sure to get your containers in each day, and not to go over. So if you do swap out, say a snack you had planned for leftovers from the night before, make sure you do a quick check of what containers you need to hold on to for the rest of the day.

I definitely want to play around with my plan a little more, but I’m going easy on myself this first round. Will definitely work on variety and adding new recipes as I progress!

If you’d like to see my humble meal plan, click on the link below…

21 day fix meal plan week3

I am so in love with this program! Looking forward to my final week, though I know it won’t be my last:)

Homemade Nut-free Granola

I LOVE granola and it is one of the things I missed eating when my oldest child was diagnosed with peanut and tree nut allergies. (Most granolas either contain nuts or are made in a facility that uses nuts.) However, while I missed it, I must say it wasn’t something I ate all that often before because it can also be not-so-healthy. Lots of added sugar, lots of calories.

So, I was on a mission to find a healthy, nut-free granola recipe that wasn’t so fattening!

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When I first got into baking I came across some recipes for granola bars. At first I was intimidated by them, but I gave a few recipes a try. Some of them were absolutely delicious!!! One was so good I had to stop making it…I couldn’t resist eating them and once ate half a pan before anyone else got near them! They also tasted so deliciously nutty it kinda scared me, but was completely nut-free of course.

When I got into “clean eating” and found the 100 Days of Real Food blog, I became more determined to find a granola recipe that we could eat, that tasted good, and that wasn’t a complete sugar-bomb. Turns out, it was right there in the blog. With a few tweaks, I have found my go-to granola recipe. It can be cut into bars (they are a bit crumbly, but do stay together for the most part) or broken into nice big granola chunks, or broken up further to make the kind of granola you’d eat as a cereal or sprinkle into yogurt.

I also love that, so far as I can tell, this granola is 21 Day Fix-friendly, in moderation. When I made my batch today, I used half the honey to make it even more fix-friendly- half the sugar content. It came out great, though it is more crumbly and didn’t hold together as well for granola bars. I don’t mind that since what I use it for is my yogurt in the morning- plain greek yogurt, blueberries, cinnamon and granola. It adds just the right amount of sweetness (I don’t add any other sweetener), and I love the crunch it adds, too!

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Homemade Nut-free Granola

(adapted from 100 Days of Real Food)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups oats
  • 2 cups sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 6 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preparation:

Combine oats, seeds, coconut (make sure you use unsweetened), and spices in large bowl.     Melt coconut oil over low heat and as it’s starting to melt add honey.  When oil has completely melted, add vanilla and salt; stir.  Pour saucepan mixture over the oat mixture and toss until it’s all coated.  Pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and press down until it’s about even.  Bake in 250 degree oven for about 75 minutes.  Let cool.  If you want to cut into bars I’ve found it’s best to cut it before it is completely cooled.

*If you don’t mind crumbly granola, and are looking to cut back on sweeteners, try using 1/4 cup honey instead.

Some notes on ingredients:

  • I was warned about sunflower seeds when we first got a peanut allergy diagnosis.  I avoided them until I found ones at Trader Joe’s that we can have.  I emailed the company and they are processed in a  facility separate from nuts.  I was so happy to hear this!  But, of course, if you have allergy concerns be careful about seeds!
  • Make sure the coconut flakes or shredded coconut you use aren’t the sweetened kind.  I found a brand at my local supermarket that’s great- nothing but shredded, dehydrated coconut.
  • I love using coconut oil in this recipe. The original recipe called for butter, but I love being able to get some healthy coconut oil into another recipe.  It comes out just as good!
  • There are so many benefits to consuming honey!  It makes me feel much better about the sugar it brings…nature’s sweetener.  Try to use local honey when you can for the most health benefits!

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This granola is very tasty, not too sweet. They are of the crunchy, not chewy variety. The ironic part of the whole nut-free search is that my kids don’t even eat them! But I’m happy I found them for my sake.  And my 2-year-old will have a nibble on occasion. It can make a great breakfast, snack, or treat!

21 Day Fix Meal Plan Week 2

If you told me two years ago that the exercise part of the equation would become more attractive to me than the nutrition part of the equation, I would not have believed it.  I wish, wish, wish that I could just work out a little more and eat a little more freely.  But I have been working out pretty hard and eating healthy foods for the most part and not seeing the progress I wanted to see…I have been in denial about something.

The 21 Day Fix has been a real wake-up call for me, in a good way.

I think the planning is the most challenging part as you begin your 21 Day Fix journey, but so important!

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For Week 2 I kept a lot of last week’s menu in place, but changed around the dinners and a few of the breakfasts. I’m sure I’ll tweak things during the week; I’d like to try out some new recipes. But having this plan will make sure I have all the ingredients I need in the house and if I switch it up I can save those for later.

You can see my clean eating meal plan for my Week 2 of the 21 Day Fix here:

21 day fix week 2 menu copy copy

I’m sure with more experience this step will get easier. Once the containers are more second nature to me it will be easier to branch out, too. Right now I like to know that what I’m eating is exactly the right portion, so I’ve been making things separately. For example, my turkey quinoa adobo would be totally fix-friendly, but until I’m further along I’d rather measure each ingredient out separately and then combine them.

The full menu for each day also helps you make sure you get in all your containers for the day, and don’t go over on any either.  If you know you’ll be having cheese (a blue container) for dinner, make sure you don’t plan cheese and crackers for a snack that day.

Planning ensures balance in your menu, and therefore in your nutrition.

Meal Planning for the 21 Day Fix

Absolutely, positively print out a blank menu template and plan out your first week.  Even if you don’t stick to it, have a plan!  I find I am much more successful if I don’t have those moments of, “uh…lunch?”  That is when I often put off eating until I’m ravenous and eat whatever I can get my hands on!

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There are tons of templates online or you can create your own.  I have tried meal planning before, but always only with dinner.  For this, I planned every meal and snack for the week. I followed it for dinner for the most part, but I did switch up the other meals.  But there were times when I wasn’t sure what to eat and I went to look at the menu.  It helps!  Sounds silly, but it really does.

Having that concrete menu plan sets you up for success.  It also makes grocery shopping a lot easier.

Your meal plan might look the same each week.  Or maybe you’ll have the same thing for breakfast each day.  I usually have pretty much the same thing for every meal except dinner.  Once you’ve been doing it for a while chances are you’ll have a whole arsenal of menus that are fix-friendly and work for you.

As you get ready for the week, make your meal plan first.  I usually make while I’m sitting in front of the computer.  I also hold on to old meal plans, so I can plug in ideas from those.  Then I try to add 1 or 2 new recipes for the week and put them in on a day that’s not too crazy.  I try to make busy days a crockpot day and I plan big meals for the beginning of the week to set us up with some leftovers.  My husband brings leftovers every day for lunch.  It’s much healthier and saves a lot of money!  I’ve loved leftovers for quick and easy snacks on the fix, too.

I keep a recipe binder in the kitchen and plan on adding a tab for 21 Day Fix.  I do pin a lot of recipes, but I like having a hard copy to look at.  Sometimes I’ll use my phone to look at the recipe the first time I make it and if it’s a keeper I print it out and put it in the binder.  I like being able to write notes on them, too.

Don’t feel constrained by having your week planned out for you.  You can always make changes!  But if you plan healthy meals and snacks, at least you know you’ll have what you need on hand to make good food choices.

I’ve included my blank weekly planning calendar.  It’s simple and not color-coded, but it could get you started.  I hope to create some nice ones this week and will share when complete!

21 day fix menu template

Week 1 of the 21 Day Fix

The 21 Day Fix is amazing!!!  I love it!!!  I want to tell everyone about it…

I feel really, really good.  I have a lot of energy and I just feel good- healthy.  Eating healthy is always more work in my mind.  Chopping veggies, making things from scratch, prepping food for the week…but it is so worth it.  And it’s been kinda fun, too.  There are a lot of resources out there to help, and doing it with my accountability group has eased the burden.

 

I foresee this becoming a real lifestyle, and I’ve learned a lot by being in the program.  I knew it looked great before I tried it, but now being one week in I really get it!

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I can really see how this will impact me when I’m no longer using the containers.  (I think I’ll always use the containers here and there, to keep me on track with portion size, and because they’re nice little containers, but I mean when I’m not officially doing a round of the 21 Day Fix.  Or when I’m slacking off a bit…)

  • I made myself quesadillas the other day; I used half of one whole wheat tortilla and one blue container of shredded cheese.  It came out delicious and it showed me what an appropriate serving of cheese quesadillas is for me.  I can tell you I did not used to eat only that amount, probably double that even when I was showing some restraint!  But now I know when I make quesadillas for the family I can have two of them and feel ok about it.

The workouts are awesome!  I am so happy with how challenging they are- I am sore!!!  The time passes quickly in them.  I like the format used.  For most of them there are say four rounds with two exercises in each round.  You do each exercise for a minute.  So the first time you’re doing a given exercise it’s not terrible because you’re going into it not knowing what to expect.  Then you know you only have to do it once more.  It suited me psychologically:)

The Pilates workout is my favorite Pilates workout ever.  I haven’t done a ton of Pilates, but I have done a few workouts.  I liked the exercises Autumn chose, and the way she explained the breathing.

Some tidbits I’ve learned along the way…

  • Have a go-to protein snack that’s easy.  For me it’s been turkey slices.  You can have six for a red container; it’s filling, it’s satisfying, it pairs well with veggies.  At times when I didn’t have a snack planned, or had to change plans last minute, it was easy to fall back on turkey.
  • Plan, but be flexible.  It’s soooo important to plan ahead; I planned each meal and snack ahead of time.  But know, especially if you’re new to the 21 Day Fix eating plan, that there’s a learning curve here.  Play around with what you eat when.  For example, I usually have Shakeology for lunch but today I had it as my mid-morning snack.  I think I feel more satisfied.  Some days you may switch things around based on how hungry you are.
  • This is a process.  On the second day, I was the most hungry I’ve been so far.  But I didn’t let it get to me…I told myself, “It’s ok to be hungry.  This is a process.  Being hungry will be part of it.”  I’ve been eating too much all my life!  And allowing for “treats” far too often!  Of course I’ll be hungry getting used to a more healthful way of eating.  As long as you’re not really miserable or feeling sick, know that hunger, and other feelings that might crop up along the way, are just part of the process.
  • Be creative.  I made guacamole today…mostly because I bought four avocados the other day when I did my fix food shopping and they were ripe.  I didn’t want to throw them out, but I wasn’t very excited about eating them either.  I do like guacamole, but with chips.  Crunchy, salty chips, and large quantities of them.  So…I was allowed one more carb for dinner.  I cut up my whole wheat tortilla into chip sized pieces and put them in the oven for a little while.  They came out crispy and perfect for dipping!  No guilt either.
  • Make big dinners.  Choose dinners that you like a lot and that make good leftovers.  Those leftovers can make the next day that much easier to plan for, or can provide a good alternative to one of your planned snacks.  If you get a little sick of turkey slices and veggies, switch that mini-meal out for last night’s meatballs.

I am so happy I’m doing this!  And I’m only one week in:)

Day Before the Fix

Tomorrow is the day…Day 1 of the 21 Day Fix!  Getting ready has been a little bit of work, but also kinda fun.

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I’m starting the program with some friends and family who are part of my first Challenge Group.  And I must say it really makes it fun!  A few of us have been texting and posting back and forth about what we’re nervous about, how we’re getting ready, recipe ideas and tips.  It adds to the excitement.

Today I went food shopping and washed, chopped and bagged a lot of vegetables.  I loved having the menu to look at while I made the list.  Meal planning is something I always tried to do with dinner and the weeks I actually did it definitely ran more smoothly. Here is my 21 Day Fix Grocery List:

Produce

  • mixed greens
  • baby spinach
  • red peppers
  • baby carrots
  • cucumbers
  • grape tomatoes
  • apples
  • bananas
  • strawberries
  • sweet potatoes

Dairy

  • plain greek yogurt
  • mozzarella cheese
  • cheddar cheese
  • monterey jack cheese

Frozen

  • blueberries
  • mixed peppers
  • green beans
  • broccoli florets
  • chopped broccoli
  • spinach

Breads & Grains

  • oats
  • quinoa
  • sprouted grain bread
  • whole wheat English muffins
  • whole wheat tortillas

Seeds & Stuff

  • sunflower seeds
  • sunbutter

Protein

  • lean ground turkey
  • lean ground beef
  • chicken
  • beef for roast
  • Boar’s Head turkey
  • salmon
  • eggs

Miscellaneous

  • lemon juice
  • lime juice
  • spices
  • unsweetened coconut
  • honey
  • maple syrup
  • coconut oil
  • olive oil

There were a few more things I had to buy for the family, but this was my basic list for my plan for the week. I do most of my food shopping at the local supermarket, but there are a few items I get regularly at Trader Joe’s, Fairway, or Costco. I try to stock up on those things, and some of these items I already had at home. So some of this stuff that can add up (like maple syrup and coconut oil) is stuff you’ll have for a while, and won’t be buying weekly.

As far as organic goes, I do my best. I always buy organic milk and eggs. I also buy organic baby carrots because carrots are the vegetable my children eat the most. Fairway often has nice-looking organic apples at a good price, and we eat a lot of those, so I will buy them when I’m there. I also buy organic ground beef and organic turkey. But honestly, I don’t buy all organic or local. It’s something I hope to do more and more.

As for the workouts- I can’t wait! I haven’t worked out in a while because I came down with strep throat, so I’m very much looking forward to tomorrow’s workout- Total Body Cardio Fix!

Getting Ready for the 21 Day Fix

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I really feel like I’ve gotten to the point where exercise is part of my life, and like that is not going to change.  I’ve been consistent for two years, I love it, I get excited about what to do next.  I have people who share my passion and motivate me to continue.

Now I feel like it’s time to get my nutrition in line.  I feel like there’s a little bit of sticking my head in the sand that’s been going on the last two years, and probably forever…that I lead myself to believe I eat better than I do.

I eat mostly healthy food- that’s true.  But I also think I eat too much of that healthy food.  And I think there are a lot more treats and special occasions than I really count.  I don’t want to be a person who wants cake but doesn’t eat it; I want to have a healthy relationship with food and eat what fuels me and makes me feel good.  I also want to have cake on my kids’ birthdays…because they enjoy having cake together and because it’s cake.  But my mom bringing over a bag of Double Chocolate Milano cookies for the kids does not constitute a special occasion.

I think the 21 Day Fix is the answer.  I’m very excited to do it and I’m doing it with a group of people- so I’ll be very motivated to stick with it and to be strict about it, especially since it’s the first time I’m doing it.  I think it will be a real eye-opener for me, and a great way to set up new eating patterns that will become part of my life.

Getting ready for the Fix is fun, and a little tricky.  I made this menu plan mostly to share with my accountability group, but I’m so glad I did it for my own purposes.  It really forced me to think about what I’ll eat when and how I’ll get all the containers in without going over on any one color.  I’m sure after doing it for a week, the second week will be easier to plan for.  There is also a ton of information on the internet, especially pinterest!

I start my first round of the 21 Day Fix on Monday, January 5th!  I can’t wait- it’s been a long holiday season:)