Healthy Living: Meal Prep

Hello Everyone!

Today I am super excited to share our Meal Prep routine! First, I want to start by saying that meal prepping is a COMMITMENT and it is supposed to be ENJOYABLE not stressful! If it is neither of those two things then you will fail.

DISCLAIMER: By no means am I an expert. By no means have I perfected this, however this is my journey. My personal journey in which you are witnessing and possibly joining in on along side of me!

Meal Prep//COMMITMENT//
It is first and foremost a COMMITMENT. It takes time and is not something that can be done on the fly. It involves a lot of planning and intentionality. You are planning and cooking what you are eating for an entire week. If you are anything like me, my cravings is my worst enemy (see below how I tackle that), and so I will crave something in the middle of the week. Well here is the thing, meal prepping is such a commitment so not only are you “cheating” but you are wasting money when you do. Because every meal that is prepped and not eaten is money down the drain. Also, note that the commitment is not something you make for yourself but for your household. For true success, the whole house needs to be fully committed. With that said be intentional about preparing a little bit of what everyone likes.

Also, it is a commitment is most successfully made as a family. We struggled in the beginning because this lifestyle was my husband’s idea but yet all of the planning and prepping was falling on me. I work full time as a teacher (teachers understand the struggle because it is REAL), and it became cumbersome and overwhelming. Then my husband saw how I was stressing out and we concluded that he too needed to be a part of it. Now meal prepping is like a mini date! We pop in a movie on our laptops or even just dance around to music. It is such a sweet time and we are having fun! So I encourage you to make it a family affair, involve the entire family if possible. When you do, everyone takes ownership of it and appreciates the work/thought that goes into it.

//ENJOYABLE//
It has to be ENJOYABLE! After all, the purpose of this is to get you healthy and to make you feel better! This does not mean that you have to eat salad all day everyday (although some people are okay with that). See a struggle for me and my husband is that we thought we had to give up our “ethnic” food. In all reality this was not true, we just had to make modifications to the recipes and make compromises (basically compromising the taste for the quality). Again, make at least one thing that each person in your household likes. For example if you like spinach, your husband likes green beans, your kid loves sweet potato then incorporate it in one of your meals. For example, sweet potato as a side for breakfast, spinach for lunch, and green beans as a side for dinner.

Okay let’s get the ball rolling!
VisionStep 1: Vision
First, create a vision for your family. What is this whole meal prepping thing going to mean for your family? What commitments are you going to stick to? Is it to lose weight? Is it to rid your body of as much toxins as possible? Is this a temporary change or a lifestyle change? What things are you going to put your foot down on? What things are you willing to compromise? With the amount of commitment involved, I am pretty sure it is going to be a lifestyle change.

PlanningStep 2: Planning
PLAN PLAN PLAN!!! This means consider your schedule, your family’s likes and dislikes, etc. For us we do our actual meal prep on Sunday. The planning happens all throughout the week prior to Sunday. Whatever you do, do not plan on the fly (basically do not plan while you are grocery shopping). Also, I do not recommend shopping then prepping. I find myself being so crabby by the end of it because I am so exhausted. Then if I am crabby and exhausted, then I associate meal prepping with grabiness! No bueno!

BreakfastStep 3: Breakfast
Now you all know how they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, well it is! Think about it, this is what gives you a head start. This is your first fuel for the day. Hubby and I prepare breakfast for the week. We prepare 10 containers (one for each day). Our breakfast usually is high in protein. We usually make egg muffins with veggies (just a glorified omelet I guess). Then we pair it up with some uncured turkey bacon. At first we were not eating grains for a while but we decided to just be selective with grains so on that note I want to start making some quinoa oatmeal breakfast in a jar.

Lunch

Step 4: Lunch
Now if you follow my blog you  know what we have for lunch. Now, I am not a salad eater so this was a hard adjustment for me. So in order to get over this hurdle I needed to make sure I added things that I liked to eat in my salad. For example, I am a meat eater… so I NEED MEAT! Next, I needed something that would fill me up, so I added Quinoa. Check out my post here for more details. Now salads might not work for everyone every single week, so switch it up! Have what you would have for dinner for lunch and vice versa.

SnacksStep 5: Snack
This is huge for me! I am a sweet and salty kind of girl, that is what drives my cravings. This process was a transition like everything else. But snacks for me are carrots, cucumber slices, organic trail mix, small slices of cheese, hard boiled eggs, organic pretzels, and fruit.

DinnerStep 6: Dinner
We make one or two veggie sides for the week. So this may be braised string beans, bok choy, sauteed mushrooms, zuchini, etc. Then we have some carbs of some sort usually organic quinoa or organic brown rice. Lastly we have our protein. Our protein is usually salmon, chicken, or beef.

BeveragesStep 7: Beverages
WATER WATER WATER! We drink tons of water. I always grew up with water so I am not opposed to water (I thank my parents for that). The hubs will always will joke when people come over, he asks them “would you like water, water, or water”.  So we make infused waters or iced tea with honey as sweetener. Sometimes we have juice, but we prefer fresh squeezed (or pressed) juice.

RoutineStep 8: Routine
1. Night before you meal prep be sure to defrost all of your meats (marinate if needed), hard boil your eggs, cook quinoa.
2. Prep Day: Put on some comfy shoes, and comfy clothes because this will take about 3-4 hours. Set the mood! Put on some music, and have fun! Right now my favorite online radio is songza.com.
3. Boil your water to make your iced tea. We generally make 1 or 2 pitchers to last the week.
4. Start chopping all your veggies for your sides. Also wash your greens for your salads and lay them out to dry.
5. We start to kick things off with making the breakfast items. For example the “egg muffins”, I put it together and stick it in the oven. And while that is in the oven I start cooking the bacon.
6. Next I move onto the protein. If it is chicken or beef, I usually have had it marinated. Then we grill it on our stovetop cast iron grill or bake it in the oven.
7. Then I continue with dinner, which is usually first making the sides (ie. quinoa salad, sautéing veggies, etc).
8. Afterwards, I get working on my salad in a jar. I fill up my jars (as seen here) then you are good to go!
9. Lastly, I make our dessert and snacks. Dessert just means cutting up fruit and separating some in small mason jars to pack and some to leave at home. I also, will pre-package snacks at this time as well.
10. Finally, refrigerate everything. Take a step back and look at what you have just accomplished! It is a ton of work but totally worth it!!
Here is a peek into our refrigerator…
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Questions//FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS//
How do you fight the cravings?
I have had to learn self control in this area, one way I’ve done that is by asking myself “Okay are you really craving French Fries or do you just want something salty? Are you really craving Ice Cream or just craving something sweet or cold?” The best way I have addressed this is by finding alternatives. So for Ice Cream I have learned to make banana ice cream. For salty cravings I would eat a hardboiled egg. For crunchy cravings I’ve snacked on a few organic pretzels.

Do you eat fast food?
Occasionally, yes! Weekends are usually our times to eat out, not always fast food of course. Also, the longer we do this the more I see ourselves making better decisions when we eat out. However we have the occasional times that we eat junk, and let’s just say that we pay for it!

Do you buy everything organic?
The answer is no (see my post here on what items we do buy that is organic)?

What about your sugar intake?
We try to receive our sugars from fruits and veggies. Then as a sweetener we use honey majority of the time. We hardly use granulated sugar, we avoid it as much as possible if we can control. Off course except for the other times which we occasionally have a soda or a cake.

Do you control your portions?
Yes and no. We are mindful about our portions, however we don’t necessarily weigh everything out. Basically we eyeball it.

If you have questions please ask away in the comments! The comments is at the top of the post on the left side of the title of this post. I’d love to hear from you! What are your meal prepping routines?

Thank you for taking a peak into our healthy living lifestyle journey! Be sure to click here to see more into this Healthy Living journey that we are on!!!
QD - Floral Signature

Salad in a Jar

Salad in a Jar - Graphic

Now how exciting is this?!?!? SALAD IN A JAR! I know you have seen them around, and yes, I have join in on the craze! Whoever thought of this is genius! It is so easy to put together and let me tell you how convenient it is to just grab and go! I have to wake up really early in the morning and I don’t have time to prepare my lunch in the mornings. I have now added this to my meal prep regime!

At first I was hesitant because there is nothing worst than soggy greens! But after trying it, the greens hold up pretty nicely. I think 1. because the dressing is on the bottom, and 2. because it is in a Mason Jar. The extra perks about this is if you are anything like me, I love pickled veggies. Because the vinaigrette is at the bottom with cucumbers and carrots, they pickle over time and it is absolutely delicious!

Salad in a JarSo this is what I did…
1. Pour in your dressing (I made a Vinaigrette).
2. Add your hard veggies like carrots and cucumbers.
3. Add in other toppings of your choice (mine: artichoke hearts, bell peppers, garbanzo beans, and sunflower seeds).
4. Next, Add in your protein (mine: quinoa salad and grilled chicken).
5. Lastly, add your greens of choice.

Yes, it was that easy! It was super delicious and it was super cute in the Mason Jar! And even better, when you are ready to enjoy it just SHAKE away!

I hope you loved this as much as I did! Do you do salad in a jar? If so, what do you put in your salad? I’d love to see your salad in a jar, if you instagram use the hashtag #quitedaintyblog.

Until next time…
QD - Floral Signature

 

Healthy Living: The Switch

HL - The Switch

In December of 2014 Hubby decided it was time. Time to make the SWITCH. We had been teeter tottering which diet to start and so forth. We researched it all. We tried Paleo a few years back and failed miserably. Then after much research we decided that a LIFESTYLE CHANGE needed to happen not a diet.

At first when we explained it to our family we called it “Modified Paleo”. In all reality all we did was take the good in all these fad diets. Basically consuming more fruits and veggies. Eating leaner meats. Cutting out certain grains. And eating organic. As you are reading this I know some of you are rolling your eyes already. Yeah, to be honest if I was reading this I probably would do the same. But let me explain…

//ORGANIC//
Do we eat everything organic? No.
Isn’t organic expensive? Yes.
Is everything organic healthy? Not necessarily.

Organic food is EXPENSIVE. First let me start with produce. Because organic is expensive we’ve done some research and we purchase certain organic produce. Basically the “Dirty Dozen” and “Lean Fifteen”. More info at dailypea.com. But if there is something on Lean Fifteen that is organic we try to purchase it.
DirtyDozen1
Now an alternative to eating things organically is to purchase from a local produce farm. From time to time we do this. We live in a part of California where this is accessible to us. Just make sure to speak to the farmers, and ask if they use pesticides and if they do which ones. Thankfully the produce farm that I get my produce from is an organic produce farm that produces and distributes organic produce to local super markets. So what is the cost? Thankfully if I go through a friend it varies between $20-30 which is not bad in my opinion. The produce box is huge and lasts me 2 (or more weeks).
Produce Box

//MEAT//
Now when it comes to our meat we try to eat more fish. When we purchase fish we try to purchase wild as opposed to farmed. When it comes to chicken and beef, we try to purchase it organic. Do we purchase it organic all the time? No. Would we like to? Absolutely, but it is so darn expensive. When we are able we do, when we aren’t able to then we we settle but we make sure we eat it with more veggies.

//WHAT DID YOU DO?//
Our first step was going through the entire pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. We pretty much tossed all of our processed food. Tossed out/gave away quite a bit of pasta and such.

//WHAT HAS BEEN THE HARDEST THING ABOUT THE SWITCH?//
Oh my goodness… the hardest thing to give up has been white rice!!! I am Filipino, we eat rice with everything! Also sugar. I mean we still consume sugar (let’s be real), but I guess consciously trying to eat way less than we used to. We try to use honey instead of granulated sugar.

//CHANGES//
When you first make changes your body goes through withdrawals! I was grumpy at first because I just wanted RICE!!!! Then at about day 2 or 3 I needed to be fairly close to a restroom (if you know what I mean). Then the next change was feeling less lethargic. I just have a little bit more of a pep in my step I guess you can say.

Other changes has been switching all of our containers to glass. One day my hubby read an article and next thing I know we are switching everything to glass.
Glass Everything

//WHAT DO YOU EAT?//
Aside from fruits and veggies we eat nuts. And yes, we do consume dairy. For milk we use almond milk, and for cheese… we eat cheese but no more Kraft singles for us. We also eat a good amount of eggs, greek yogurt, and quinoa.

//HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED//
I am still fairly new at this… I won’t lie, it is still hard. But see it is a mindset. Thankfully my hubby is more disciplined than I am so that helps. Also, having co-workers who have adapted a similar lifestyle has helped tremendously! We share ideas and that makes it fun.

//ADVICE//
If you are changing a lifestyle it is best to do it in increments. I have found for myself that when I make ALL the changes at one time I fail miserably. The reason is because once you slip up a little bit, it all goes out the window and you feel like a complete failure. Then you adapt an “all or nothing” mentality and you will most likely choose the “nothing” because you already feel like a failure. When you make little goals and slip up in that little goal you don’t feel completely defeated. You in turn will feel a little more motivated to get back on it. Another advice would be to reward yourself with little incentives. Another huge piece of advise I can give is to grant yourself grace. Let’s be real, you will eat out and you will have a burger with fries. That does happen from time to time, and it is OK. Just as long as you don’t eat that everyday. At the end of the day, the whole purpose of this lifestyle change is to be healthier and feel better overall. This process is hard, but it doesn’t mean that it is not supposed to be enjoyable. You should be excited about your feeling better! Now my last piece of advise is to be mindful of others. Sometimes this whole lifestyle makes you really excited, which is a good thing. Just be careful. There were times where I found myself coming across judgmental when people weren’t eating organic or when people ate burgers and fries everyday. Just remember that this is YOUR journey and YOU are choosing this for YOURSELF (not for others). Now, do you want to share it with the people you love? Of course, just be sensitive to them because you do not want this to be the thing that puts a wedge in your relationships. And oh yeah… DRINK LOTS OF WATER!

//OUR STEPS to CHANGE//
1. Toss out all “bad food”.
2. Meal prepping (STAY TUNED FOR MY MEAL PREPPING POST).
3. Incorporate more fruits and veggies (preferably organic).
(I specifically addressed this issue in choosing fruits and veggies for snacks).
3. Cutting out rice and only purchasing organic grains (ie. quinoa).
4. Organic meats (when we are financially capable).

//NEXT STEP//
EXERCISE!!! This is our next major hurdle.

So this is a little sneak peak of what our new lifestyle. We fall off the wagon here and there, but we have been finding ourselves back on the trail. Please share your healthy living lifestyle journey, I would love to hear about it!

Also, head on over to Patty at Make It Cozee and check out her Fitness Friday series! It is really funny because we didn’t know but we were both making lifestyle changes. I started with the diet and she started with the exercise! It all works out because we can give each other pointers!

Stay tuned for my  next Healthy Living post which will be on MEAL PREPPING! 

QD - Floral Signature