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Meal Prepping Made Easy

I don’t know about you, but sometimes 24 hours a day is just not enough. With school and work, some days I struggle to find the time to eat nourishing meals because I don’t have the time to make a meal and any prepared options are usually not the best choices. I started meal prepping can help free up some time during the week by cooking meals ahead of time!

Set a Day for Meal Prepping

First, set a designated day to cook your meals. I like to cook on Sundays and Wednesdays making meals for three to four days so I don’t get tired of the same meals every day. Also, most of the time food only says good for about three to five days or so. This is also a great way to get the family into the kitchen. Getting kids to help out can spark their interest in healthy food and cooking. Plus, they are more likely to eat the food that they helped cook.

Plan Your Meals

Once you have set a day to make your meals, plan what you are going to make and write a list of food you need to get at the grocery store. Planning your meals in advance can help make grocery shopping much easier as you already know what to get. This way you only need to go to the grocery store once a week. When planning your meals, think about ingredients that could be cooked in multiple ways. For example, you can make spinach into a salad, put it in some soup, or sautee it with other veggies!

Don’t limit your meal prepping to just lunch and dinner. You can save time in the morning by portioning out your smoothie ingredients in mason jars or pre-making pancakes and cut fruit for an easy breakfast for the kids.

Having pre-made snacks make it easy for you to grab and go. Cut up and portion fruits and veggies! Portion out cheese, lunchmeat, and crackers for homemade Lunchables! Pre-package trail mix or cereals! The combinations are endless.

Be Efficient

Utilize your kitchen to the max!

  • Make sheet pan meals by roasting multiple items on the same sheet pan. That’s one less dish to wash at the end of the night!
  • Multi-task. Whether that be boiling some pasta while sauteeing some greens or baking chicken and roasting potatoes, make use of your time cooking.

Portion Out Your Meals

After making all your meals, portion out your meals. This makes it quick and easy to grab your lunch when you are on your way out the door! If you don’t have enough room in your refrigerator, pack your lunch and dinner the night before so you have it ready to go in the morning.

Mason jars are a great way to put salads in. Place your dressing in first and then put hardier vegetables like chickpeas or tomatoes or protein. That way your salad is not soggy when you eat it. It’s also great to use if you want instant noodle soups. Just cook your favorite noodles and shock them in ice water before adding it to the mason jar with other ingredients you want. Add miso, tum yum paste, a bouillon cube, or any other soup flavoring. When you are ready to eat, just add hot water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. And voila you have soup!

Freeze It

If you want to meal prep way far in advance, you can freeze the extra meals you made. You can marinate meat, cook vegetables,  or make soup and freeze it! Making and freezing family meals can be a huge time saver when you are running short on time to make dinner. You can make lasagna, oven bakes, or casseroles in a disposable pan and freeze them until you need them.

Fast food can be healthy. Meal prepping may require taking some time out of your week, but you can have ready to eat meals that you know are nutritious! You can make it as easy as you want it by simply putting everything in the oven or have fun making different meals. Not only does it save time during the weekdays, but it can save you money and unnecessary stress. Try meal prepping this week and comment below how you did it!

AN

Making Healthier Choices @ Fast Food Chains & Restaurants

We all have those moments when we don’t feel like cooking, we want to go out to eat with family/friends, or we are on-the-go so we end up at a fast food chain or restaurant. It happens to everyone! I am here to give you a few easy pointers on how to eat-out in a healthier way. I have also attached a list of some examples of healthier options at a few of the more common restaurants. When making this list I looked for keywords like “grilled” and “fresh”, while also looking for the smallest portion size the restaurant has to offer. If you haven’t noticed… Restaurants tend to give us WAY more food than we actually need. It is always okay to order a half portion, or if that is not an option you can order the full portion with a to-go box, so you can go ahead and put away half for later. Remember… eating until you are not hungry anymore INSTEAD OF eating until you are full is the ideal mindset to have!

 

Keep in mind…

  • You don’t have to have the fries that come with your entrée, ask to see their other options such as steamed veggies, or a side salad.
  • Don’t rush through your meals. This helps give your body time to signal to you that you are no longer hungry.
  • Rethink your drinks! Water is always the best option, and it won’t add any extra calories to your meal.

 

Here are a few of the lower calorie options on the Menu’s at McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Outback Steakhouse, and On the Border Mexican Grill:

McDonalds

  • Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait: Calories 150, Total Fat 2g, Total Carbs 30g (10% DV), Protein 4g
  • Egg White Delight: Calories 280, Total Fat 10g, Total Carbs 29g, Protein 18g
  • Side of Apples: Calories 15, Total Fat 0g, Total Carbs 4g, Protein 0g
  • Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad: Calories 350, Total Fat 11g, Total Carbs, 27g, Protein 37g
  • Regular Hamburger: Calories 250, Total Fat 8g, Total Carbs 31g, Protein 13g
  • Side Salad: Calories 15, Total Fat 0g, Total Carbs 3g, Protein 1g

Taco Bell

  • Breakfast Soft Taco: Calories 230, Total Fat 14g, Total Carbs 15g, Protein 12g
  • Sausage Flatbread Quesadilla: Calories 330, Total Fat 18g, Total Carbs 27g, Protein 14g
  • Hash brown: Calories 160, Total Fat 12g, Total Carbs 13g, Protein 1g
  • Soft Taco: Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Total Carbs 18g, Protein 9g
  • Chipotle Chicken Loaded Griller: Calories 340, Total Fat 16g, Total Carbs 36g, Protein 14g
  • Beefy Mini Quesadilla: Calories 210, Total Fat 11g, Total Carbs 17g, Protein 9g

 

Outback Steakhouse

  • Side salad with Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing: Calories 80, Total Fat 5g, Total Carbs 8g, Protein 0g
  • Cup of Chicken Tortilla Soup: Calories 170, Total Fat 9g, Total Carbs 13g, Protein 1g
  • Center-Cut Sirloin (6oz): Calories 60, Total Fat 7g, Total Carbs 0g, Protein 38g
  • Grilled Asparagus: Calories 60, Total Fat 4g, Total Carbs 4g, Protein 2g
  • Fresh Mixed Veggies: Calories 160, Total Fat 10g, Total Carbs 17g, Protein 4g
  • Grilled Chicken on the Barbie (Half Order-4oz): Calories 180, Total Fat5g, Total Carbs 8g, Protein 27.5g

 

On the Border

  • Chicken Enchilada w/ Sour Cream Sauce: Calories 210, Total Fat 12g, Total Carbs 15g, Protein 14g
  • Ground Beef Tostada: Calories 180, Total Fat5g, Total Carbs 14g, Protein 12g
  • Grilled Chicken Fajita Taco: Calories 150, Total Fat 4g, Total Carbs 17g, Protein 12g
  • Side of Grilled Vegetables: Calories 50, Total Fat 0g, Total Carbs 10g, Protein 2g
  • Side of Cilantro Lime Rice: Calories 190, Total Fat5g, Total Carbs 38g, Protein 4g
  • Chicken Tortilla Soup (cup): Calories 300, Total Fat 14g, Total Carbs 26g, Protein 18g

*This list is intended to be a visual aide of how to choose healthier options when you find yourself eating out.

KM

A Change in Fast Food Trends – Fast Casual

When I say “fast food” your mind probably goes instantly to an image of greasy burgers, fries, and drive-thru service. With over 60 years of business, it’s hard to imagine not being able to get a hot meal in a matter of seconds, pay for it with pocket change, and go on with your day. Gallup research has found 8 in 10 Americans state that they eat fast food at least monthly and 57% of young adults report eating it at least weekly. When picturing our typical image of fast food this becomes frightening for the health of our nation. But what if we can make a change to the fast food trend?

With more people being conscious of what they’re
eating and wanting healthier options

comes a new type of restaurant that we call “fast casual”. Fast casual restaurants dance between traditional, counter-service fast-food restaurants and casual dining with table service (ex. Cool Greens, Chipotle, Panera, Provision Kitchen, etc). They have interior designs that show a sense of sustainability and community, and they strive for transparency in ingredients by utilizing more local, organic foods.

As consumers continue to change their taste preferences, the fast food market will change alike. A study found that about one-third of consumers stated they would pay more for healthier and more transparent ingredients and that 76% of adults would return to a restaurant if it started offering healthier options. Would you? -SY