It’s Monday (for real, when I wrote this it was Monday). For most, it’s the “ugh, the weekend is over already” dread feeling. For me, I love the next chance at getting my week right. But to get the week right, I have to put in just a little time in prep — this goes for all things: my work-work, Arrow and Plexus work, my kids schedules, my training schedule and most of all my food.
To be able to have a successful week in eating, I try to have a number of things on my list every week — I’ll spare you the uninteresting/inedible stuff , but here are my must haves:
Produce: Bananas, apples, berries (mostly strawberries and blueberries), romaine/other green mix, tomato, sweet potatoes, carrots, and whatever other veggies are on sale — in the summer, we eat a lot of zucchini and summer squash and whatever else our gardening friends and family want to get rid of!
Grains (aka my other Carbs): Ezekial 4:9 bread, popped rice crisps (mini rice cakes), oats, cream of wheat and rice (sometimes brown, sometimes white).
Protein: Lean ground turkey, boneless skinless chicken breast, lean beef (ground or steak), Starkist Tuna Creations – Sweet and Spicy is my go-to (a great protein on the go), eggs and liquid egg whites, PB2 (powdered peanut butter), Quest Bars — although they’re not available locally, so sometimes a ThinkThin protein bar as a substitute.
Dairy: I love greek yogurt (my favorite right now is Oikos Triple Zero), Coconut Cream (also a great source of protein), neufchatel or fat free cream cheese, and although it’s technically a non-dairy product — my creamer fits in here because I use the Fat Free/Sugar Free Hazelnut creamer in my coffee.
Now as I mentioned, this is not an all inclusive list, but these are the most common items you’ll find me strolling around Tops with each week. So, now that I’ve got all this my next step is to plan a few days out.
It’s easiest for me to portion out the chicken breast in 4 ounce portions (I use a food scale – a cheap one from Kmart) and either bake it or grill it. I don’t marinate or use oils, because that will change the fat content, but I do use seasonings like Mrs. Dash or Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning. Depending on how many pounds I bought, it will last me 4-5 days. The chicken is used in a few different ways; for lunches, I’ll have it on a salad or with rice, broccoli and some Frank’s Sweet Chili sauce. For dinners, my whole family will eat it — so, I’m more likely to have grilled chicken wraps, or use it in a pasta dish! I like to have a dozen eggs hard boiled — they’re great for a snack on the go and have vegetables pre-cut in the refrigerator, it makes salads and snacking so much easier.
If I’m on the go for the day, I don’t get to eat as much fresh or clean food as I’d like. But, I try to take advantage of what I do have to avoid stops for snacks. Here’s what I might have with me if I’m going to be away all day: apple, banana, popped rice crisps (my favorite are the Sweet Chili, notice a theme here?), protein bar or shake, a few hard boiled eggs, and a salad with grilled chicken or greek yogurt, so I know that I’ll still get my protein in for the day.
One of my favorites this summer has been making different flavor turkey burgers. Some people aren’t on board with turkey burgers, my husband being one of them, until I made them these two ways — Feta Hot Banana Pepper Turkey Burgers and Southwest Turkey Burgers.
Feta Hot Banana Pepper Burgers: They’re not really hot, but the peppers really help to flavor the burger and the feta is a great addition! I use about a 1/4 cup of hot banana pepper rings and chop them roughly, and about 2 tbsp of feta (maybe a little more since I usually eyeball it) and mix it all together with your hands, separate into 4 patties. Now with turkey, you have to be sure that they’re done – you don’t want to be eating them rare. So, about 8 minutes a side to reach the desired 180 degrees. The feta cheese will melt into the burger pretty quickly as it cooks, so feel free to top your burger with a little extra!
Southwest Turkey Burgers: You can buy the turkey burger that’s already seasoned with taco flavor, but I find it to be a little salty, so I use the reduced sodium taco seasoning and mix it well with the turkey burger. Grill (8 minutes per side, 180 degrees) and the fun comes in the topping! A pepperjack cheese, with salsa, avocado, and a light smear of mayo or aioli is fantastic!
Lastly, it wouldn’t be right to have a burger without fries. So, grab a few sweet potatoes and pop them in the microwave for about 4-5 minutes, not enough to cook them all the way through – just enough to soften them. Out of the microwave and cooled for a minute, remove skin and slice into fries. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil. I use an olive oil spray so they don’t stick to the aluminum foil, and spread them evenly and spritz them with a very light mist of olive oil and Mrs. Dash seasoning. Depending on how thick you cut the fries, they can take 20-30 minutes to bake. I like them crispy! Sometimes I splurge and use a little local honey as a dipping sauce.
I know time is tight. But the truth of it is, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. You just have to make the choice to make the time if it’s important to you. I can guarantee the more you do it, the easier it will become and the less you’ll even have to think about it!
I’d love to hear some of your favorite summer recipes! Even if you have something that you love that you know isn’t the most healthy option, I bet there’s a way we can help to make it healthier. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! And if you’re interested in hearing more about Arrow Fitness, check us out on Facebook – you’ll see our class schedule and more!
Tags: arrow fitness, guest blogger