Tag Archives: meal planning

July Produce, News and Recipe

All the sweetness! All the Juiciness! All the AMAZINGNESS! Summer fruits are the best fruits. Sorry Winter – you got all the starchy veggies that I also love. Right now, it’s when summer SHINES! Of course, I also live in Arizona where it is hitting those HOLY CRAP HOT temperatures – so I’m eating all this amazing stuff from air conditioning …. #nocares

Cut those stone fruits in half, remove the pits. Brush with a little coconut oil and place them cut side down on a warm grill for about 3 min. Top with fresh vanilla bean ice cream. You are welcome.

Protein and You, Part 2

Is anyone else experiencing horrible allergies lately? I know in Arizona, we have 2 allergy seasons: one in March/April, and again in September/October – I read somewhere recently that as long as the temperatures are under 100 and above 80, we have more pollen and allergens floating in the air. Makes it hard to stay on the fitness track when your sinuses are all inflamed. To make it worse, the temperatures are so nice in the morning, it’s finally time for outdoor fitness activities! I’m off to see an allergist to see what I can do to make this tolerable. I’m dying to get out running again!

In the meantime, lets talk about protein sources and serving sizes.

Sources of Protein

In general, animal protein sources, such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs contain about 7 grams of protein per ounce. For example, a 4 ounce serving of beef would provide 28 grams of protein. Beans and nuts contain 5 to 7 grams of protein per ounce, but need to be paired with grains in order to have the full effect. Grains in themselves contain between 2 and 4 grams per ounce. Combining a serving of beans (4 ounces, or 1/2 cup) and a serving of rice (4 ounces, or 1/2 cup) would provide you with 9 grams of protein. Dairy and the soy alternatives average between 6 and 8 grams per ounce.

Serving sizes of Protein

  • One serving of meat, poultry, fish equals 3 to 6 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards for between 21 and 42 grams per serving. Two eggs is one serving and 14 grams of protein.
  • A serving of whole nuts is 1/3 cup (1 and 1/2 ounce), 1/2 cup of beans and legumes, 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) of seeds, or nut butter; providing between 16 and 2 grams of protein.
  • One half cup of rice is one serving, and 9 grams of protein.
  • 8 ounces of dairy (1 cup) is a serving and 6 grams of protein.


Putting in together

If your goal is to include a minimum of 61 grams of protein in your diet every day, you now know you can reach this goal by having 2 eggs over beans and rice for breakfast (39 grams), add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to an apple for a snack (7 grams), and 4 ounces of fish for dinner (28 grams), and you’ve exceeded your minimum goal. Remember to mix and match animal proteins with plant based protein, and when choosing plant protein sources, add grains to get the most out that protein source. Now you can take your meal planning to the next level.

Coming up:

Next week, I have some product reviews to tell you about: protein bars, a gluten free cracker and a frozen desert made from almond milk! Until then, be sure and message me any question, comments or suggestions!

Eat well!

How keeping a food diary helps you lose weight

Hope everyone had a happy July Fourth weekend! A friend asked me over the weekend what my number 1 nutrition tip was for someone trying to lose weight and I said, hands down, without a doubt, keeping a food diary, closely followed by meal planning. Any registered dietitian or nutrition professional will emphasis the importance of tracking your food intake on a daily basis. Most nutrition experts will ask you to track your intake for several days prior to consultations, and then ask you to maintain the diary while under their care. There are several ways that keeping a food diary helps you manage your weight. Heres a list why you should do it:

  1. Simply writing down the things you consume, including drinks and snacks, helps hold you accountable. There are several apps for smart phones that make this process so easy and convenient; Myfitnesspal or fooducate ; both are free to sign up. If you don’t have access to a smart phone, using a small notebook to jot down everything and look up the nutritional information on the internet later.
  2. Sometimes just seeing the amount of food you have consumed is enough of a surprise to inspire change. Then looking up the nutritional content, or lack thereof, can have a sobering effect.
  3. If you suspect a food allergy, or suffer food borne illness, keeping a food diary can act as guide to decipher which foods may be the culprits.
  4. For those of us who are emotional eaters (I tend to eat when I am bored), keeping track of when we eat, what we ate and how we felt when we ate it helps us self-monitor our feelings and instigate behavioral changes.
  5. Keeping track of your daily nutritional intake can help you make sure you are consuming enough vitamin, minerals and fiber to keep your body healthy and free from deficiencies. And if you do have deficiencies, it’s almost always better to get added vitamins/minerals from your diet as opposed to supplements (food products are easier for your body to utilize)
  6. When you log your daily nutrition often enough, you start to learn which food choices are better, or worse, for your diet.

Some tips to help you keep a better diary:

  1. for the first 5 days, do not alter your eating habits. During the initial phase you are tracking your diet so that you can go back and look for trends and patterns. This helps you develop behavior modifications that are appropriate for your habits.
  2. track EVERYTHING! Every drink, a piece of gum, a half a chicken nugget, 4 french fries, everything gets counted.

I keep a diary all the time because I track my macros (especially when I am training for a race or doing a lot of strength training) and I want to make sure I am getting enough fiber (25 grams a day for women, 30 grams for men). Having IBS, getting enough fiber, as well as avoiding certain food triggers, helps keep it under control without using medication.

Here’s some fourth of July goodies I served up this weekend:

Quick Pickled Vegetables

Grillable Veggie Burgers – Minimalist Baker

Meal Planning 101

What is meal planning and why should I do it?

  • Meal planning is exactly what it sounds like; you plan out your meals for a length of time. I usually do a week ahead, and it’s based on my schedule. This allows me to create a menu with enough variety and, as I have my week of activities planned out as well, helps me maintain healthy eating habits.
    • By default, it also helps save you time and money; you can do all your grocery shopping in one trip, with a proper list of ingredients you don’t end up with foods that you don’t need.
    • With all the right ingredients, and time manged, it becomes much easier, and therefore more likely, you’ll stick to your healthy lifestyle choices. If you know you’re having a meal heavy in protein and fat for dinner, you can make the choice to eat meals with more veggies and less fat for breakfast and lunch.

How do I start?

  • I use a simple weekly planner I pick up at Target in the office/school supply section. It has 1 week spread over 2 pages. Each day has enough room for me to add various activities and appointments. I make a point to “schedule” my workouts in there, I find that when I plan the time in my day, I am much more likely to follow through.
  • I’ll usually gather my recipe binder and planner and set up a space on my kitchen counter. I base my choice of recipes on the following criteria:
    • What else do I have going on that day: if I am taking an evening spin class that doesn’t get out until 6:30, I am going to plan on something I can prepare in the morning in the slow cooker, or have most of the prep done before hand so all I need to do is throw it all together when I am ready to eat. Or I will actively plan on eating out that night. The same applies for days where I am out running errands all day.
    • I try to stick with ingredients that are in season. However, since I am only cooking for 2, the recipes I chose have repeating ingredients. This saves me from having produce go bad before I get a chance to use it.
    • I include a variety of proteins, but try to avoid planning the same type of animal protein more than once a week, with a vegetarian dish in between. So if we have chicken on Monday, I’ll plan a vegetarian meal on Tuesday and maybe pork on Wednesday, but vegetarian again on Thursday, fish on Friday and so forth.
    • I also consider what we would need for lunch; I know a slow cooker recipe is probably going to have left overs, which is great if I know my spouse or I are going to be around the house for lunch.
    • I rotate the same breakfasts during the week.
  • After I gather all my recipes and my meals are planned for the week, I can create a grocery list. Personally, I really appreciate a list making application created for my iphone and ipad Buy Me a Pie As I run out of stuff between grocery trips I can add it to my list from either device and it automatically syncs. You can maintain several lists at once, all color coded, and even send a list to someone who isn’t using the app (like your spouse, when they ask you if you need anything at Target).
    • As I go through my recipes I check my stock of all items, even pantry items so I ensure I will have all the necessary ingredients for all the meals.
    • When making your list, keep in mind snacks. Adding healthy snacks to your list before you shop may keep you from wandering the snack food aisles and tossing unhealthy options into your cart.
  • Other Hints and Tips
    • when shopping, try to stay on the perimeter of the grocery store, this is where the produce, meat, dairy and deli usually are. If you need something from an aisles, only go down the aisles you need to go down. Aimlessly wandering around a grocery store adds up to empty calories and unnecessary food purchases.
    • Don’t get sucked into the ‘buy 3 get 1 free” promotions, unless you truly need 4 of them. You’re not saving money if you have to throw out 2 because they went bad before you had a chance to consume them.
    • be flexible! Even with the best intentions, you get to Friday and decide that what you had planned is not what you want. So move it around. I do all my planning in pencil because life in unpredictable.

That’s it. Planning your meals may seem daunting and overwhelming, maybe even a little over kill. But it truly helps keep you accountable to yourself. It’s like maintaining a diet diary; at first it seems like a silly exercise, until you see the difference it makes in your daily food choices.

Did you find this article helpful? let me know!