meal plan

Here’s a Quick Way to Eat a Healthy Dinner

What meal do you struggle with the most when it comes to eating healthy and losing weight?

For me it’s always been late afternoon/nighttime eating. I don’t know why. I do pretty well throughout the day. I eat a healthy breakfast, snack, lunch, and then 3 or 4pm rolls around and I want to munch on candy at work. Then after dinner I get the munchies and want dessert. It’s easy to get sucked into a routine of nighttime eating if I’m not careful. Checkout some of my old posts about snacking:

Smart Snacking Tips

Nighttime Eater

Snacking is Not Bad

If you’re like me, the mindless munching and snacking is also your downfall when it comes to staying on track. So what do we do about it?

Have Healthy Options Available

It’s pretty simple: if you don’t have junk food in your house, you probably won’t eat it. If it takes too much effort to go to the store to buy some junk food, I just don’t want to bother. So it goes to reason that if you have healthy foods in your house, that’s what you will eat. Make it easy for yourself!

Frozen salmon and shrimp – we buy them at Costco and freeze them. It takes 20 minutes to defrost them and it’s usually our go-to fast dinner.

Frozen chicken – also bought at Costco. We fluctuate between chicken thighs and boneless, skinless breasts. Michael is pretty good about taking proteins out of the freezer each week and they defrost in the fridge for a quick dinner.

Canned soups – soup and salad are my go-to meals when I’m home alone or just feeling lazy. I have cans and boxes of soup on hand always and it makes it an easy dinner for not a ton of calories. I like getting the boxes of soup from Trader Joe’s; they are healthy, delicious, low in calories and usually organic.

One thing I wish I could do is something I’ve been seeing on the internet lately. People are making crockpot meals, putting them in a ziplock with instructions listed on the bag, freezing them and when it’s time to cook it they defrost it and dump it in the crockpot. It sounds like such an easy, efficient thing to do to make sure I have healthy options available for QUICK meals. Some bloggers are even doing it for an entire month! The problem? We have a tiny freezer and no room to do that. Someday I will do it, though!

Take 1 Hour to Prep

I usually go grocery shopping on Sundays and I spend about 30-60 minutes after I unpack everything to prep. It’s so much easier to just get it out of the way and have everything READY for the week. I slice celery and carrots and put them in tupperware, I wash all the fruit and sometime make pre-packaged serving sizes of snacky things (Wheat Thins, dried fruit, nuts, etc).

snacks1

Make it an Easy Formula

Long ago, Michael and I seemed to naturally fall into a simple formula for dinner:

PROTEIN + VEGETABLE + SALAD

Now make your own formula. It doesn’t have to be exactly like what we do. Maybe it’s something like this:

PROTEIN + VEGETABLE + RICE/POTATOES
PROTEIN + VEGETABLE + FRUIT
PROTEIN + SALAD + CARB 

So what are some examples? It could really be an endless list. There are so many healthy options you can choose if you just put a little time in to meal planning. 

Grilled halibut with mango salsa, a green salad and a baked potato

Blackened chicken breast with quinoa and steamed carrots

A serving of spaghetti noodles with marinara, homemade turkey meatballs and a spinach salad

Whatever works for YOU. Maybe you hate rice, try couscous. Maybe you are vegetarian, try alternatives.

salad1

The point is to figure out your formula and STICK TO IT. You can come up with a million variations and having something basic like this really does make it easy. It makes it easy to cook, it makes it easy to calculate calories, and it makes it easy to grocery shop if you’re buying pretty much the same things each week.

Recipes don’t have to be complicated. Dinners really CAN take less than 20 minutes to prepare. Meal planning doesn’t have to be boring–in fact, it makes it so much easier to go grocery shopping and stay within a budget when you have a plan.

What are your quick and healthy dinners?

How to Lose Weight – Week Two Check In

How to Lose Weight – Week Two Check In

How was this week? This week’s challenges may have been more difficult.


Getting rid of the all the junk food in the house was probably the hardest part of this week’s checklist. I for one hate wasting food. I don’t know why it drives me nuts to throw food away, or waste money, but it really does. Hopefully you were able to get over that hurdle and get the temptations out of your house.

You can read Week One to catch up. Here’s a quick recap:

Step One – Measure Your Body and Weigh In

Step Two – Count Your Calories

Step Three – Get a Journal

Step Four – Set a Goal


This week we did a few crucial things:

Step One – Remove All Junk Food From the House

Step Two – Exercise

Step Three – Don’t Drink Your Calories

Step Four – Make a List

I don’t expect many people to comment on this ongoing series. It’s more of just a way for me to answer a lot of the common “How do I start?” questions. The basic concept of losing weight: burn more calories than you eat. While that can be something super simple to understand logically, emotionally it’s difficult. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the entire task of losing a lot of weight.

One reason it’s harder to DO than it is to KNOW is because our bodies need food. No matter what. We have to eat. It’s not like we can just stop eating and lose weight like an alcoholic would just stop drinking. Plus as Americans we live in a nation of excess and moderation is not something that is very common. I used to think that a restaurant portion was a portion. What a difference awareness makes! Holy cow! Was I wrong!

So I will continue this series because I know that someone, somewhere, will appreciate it. Maybe they’ll read the steps and something with click for them like it “clicked” for me.

QUESTION: What was the most difficult challenge this week? How did you do with the other steps?

Check back in on Monday for Week Three.

 

The Gorilla Diet

Recently I read an article about how Gorillas living in captivity are prone to heart disease. The gorillas, specifically Western lowland gorillas, were dying prematurely from heart related diseases.

 

The article went on to talk about how two male gorillas have lost 65 pounds by eating a diet of endive, romaine lettuce, green beans, alfalfa hay, dandelion greens, flax seeds and multivitamins. They eat about 10 pounds of this green leafy salad every day. Compare that to their previous diet: on their old sugary, starchy diet they were overweight and less mobile.


Animals are so smart. They just intuitively know.

What I find the most interesting is that they are basically describing a raw food or vegan diet in a way. I don’t have any experience with a vegan diet. I was a vegetarian for about 12 years (and did everything wrong). While I’m a full-fledged meat eater now I’m fascinated by this topic. Maybe because in a way I am attracted to whole food diets. The more that Michael and I Meal Plan and eat healthier meals, the  less processed foods I want to eat.

I’ve noticed that I feel better since the Meal Planning. We’ve both also lost some weight. I am listening to my body even more and I see what types of food fills me up the most: protein and fiber. It’s great seeing the correlation and progress.

 

QUESTION: Are you vegan? Or do you eat a raw diet? Thoughts?