Meal Prep 101

Starting Over

It’s been about 3 months since I have done meal prep for breakfast and lunches. I kind of let it flow freely, and got creative with foods I already had in the house. My nectarines were aging, and not gracefully. Saturday morning I thought “stone fruit butter”, but then I got lazy about peeling all of the fruit, so I quartered them, took the stones out, of course, and placed them in my slow cooker with a little Splenda Brown Sugar, vanilla, and Chinese Five Spice (a great secret ingredient for sweet dishes, especially chocolate). I then added the rest of my canister of old fashioned oats to the mix, which was barely a half cup, now thinking “nectarine crisp”. I didn’t measure anything. Also, this wasn’t planned and I didn’t know how it would come out, so I didn’t even take any pics of the prep. It did turn out well! Today I topped my yogurt with it after I mixed ground flax seeds, chia seeds, and cinnamon into it. I also heated the bowl in the microwave for about 20 seconds to loosen up the mixture. It was delicious!

Breakfast Prep: Nectarine “crisp” over plain non-fat Greek yogurt that was mixed with cinnamon, ground flax seeds, and chia seeds. all slightly warmed in the microwave

Now for lunch prep: The previous week, I had bought Trader Joe’s Sesame Crunch Chopped Salad Kit and teriyaki baked tofu to go with it for the house. The salad kit was great, and was gone quickly. I had a little over half of the tofu left over. I also had 2 small chicken breasts in the freezer. I went back to Trader Joe’s and bought that delicious salad kit again, and broccoli slaw. Yesterday I marinated the defrosted chicken breasts in my husband’s famous teriyaki marinade, but I substituted the soy sauce with coconut aminos for less sodium. Here is the original recipe, which was actually invented by my husband’s best friend’s mother. It was his favorite as a kid, and we’re talking back in the 1960’s!

1/2 cup soy sauce (I used coconut aminos)

2 tablespoons oil (I used 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil)

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

1 teaspoon ginger

2 cloves garlic

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Added later by my husband, and used by me for my recipe: about a teaspoon of Sriracha Sauce.

I marinated my chicken overnight, but I would say it really needs 2-4 hours to work.

*Remember – recipes are made to be experimented with. Add and subtract ingredients as it suits you. The measurements can also be adjusted to your taste.

Chicken Fixings
This week’s lunch combo

And I have snacks prepped as well –

That’s it for today! Make it a great, albeit short work week!

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Finding Your Comfort Zone

The WW Comfort Zone Chart

This subject may sound familiar. I wrote about this several weeks back, in the blog titled “What Level are You At?” I’m bringing this back up, because I, myself, have been struggling with this during this time of working at home, and it seems to come up a lot on the various WW groups on Facebook. I find it a worthy subject to bring up again. Also because my WW coach, the great Amy B. brought this invaluable chart out again. For me, this is the key to remembering to eat mindfully.

Many of us were brought up to clean our plates, not to waste food. But when we over eat, we feel sick, and then we also beat ourselves up for it. The challenge is to realize what that sweet spot is for us which is satisfied, satiated. Some things we can do to help with this are to eat more slowly, to eat without distraction, and to really notice how we are feeling as we eat through a plate of food, healthy or otherwise. The new WW Freestyle program is based on 0 point foods, which is wonderful, but we have to remember that all food has calories. Portion control is key, even while eating those 0 point foods.

On the other side of the spectrum is not to allow ourselves to starve either. If we allow ourselves to get that hungry, we tend to lose complete control over our food choices and portion control. We all need to work on finding that balance.

I hope you save this chart that I posted in your phones, or print it and put it up on your refrigerator. Somewhere that will remind you to stay within that comfort zone. Being self aware, and learning about our bodies will help with our weight loss and maintenance journeys, I guarantee you.

Today’s meal prep focuses on the nightshade varieties of fruits and vegetables. I kind of started this last week with the tomato blog, but took it a step further today. Nightshades have gotten a little bit of a bad wrap. There is a myth out there that nightshades can cause inflammation, but there is no scientific evidence to support that claim. For the most part they are nutritious, healthy foods. Some people are sensitive to them, as they contain a chemical called solanine, which can aggravate arthritis pain and inflammation. If you feel any mouth tingling or itching when eating these foods, consult your doctor. For more information on nightshades and their health benefits and risks, please consult the following articles:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321745.php

https://www.healthline.com/health/nightshade-vegetables-and-inflammation#so-whats-the-verdict-on-nightshades

Here is a list of common nightshade vegetables and fruits, most of which are components in the roasted ratatouille dish I made today:

  1. potatoes
  2. tomatoes
  3. eggplant
  4. bell peppers

So I had a package of Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi in my freezer calling my name today. I also had left over tomato sauce from the can of Italian tomatoes I used in my gazpacho last week. And I love me some ratatouille. And I love a roasted eggplant. Today I combined all of this deliciousness into my lunch meal prep for this week.

This gnocchi is 4 points for a 1 cup serving, or 140 calories
The only points in this dish are in the gnocchi

I really kind of made this up as I went. I roasted a whole eggplant yesterday. It baked in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. After it cooled, I scraped out the meat and stored it in my refrigerator. Today I took a red onion, a red bell pepper, a zucchini, and a summer squash and roasted them together. After spraying them with canola oil, and seasoning them with salt & pepper, I roasted them in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, stirring them a couple of times. I took some of that reserved tomato sauce that I had, put it on a low heat, then seasoned it with dried basil, thyme, and rosemary. I also added 3 cubes of Dorot frozen garlic to the sauce. I cooked the gnocchi according to the instructions on the package, then tossed them with the sauce. I then layered the veggies and sauced gnocchi s in my dish to store in the refrigerator. I cannot wait to eat this tomorrow. It smelled so good!

Yesterday, I was gifted a bag full of home grown lemons by my friend Marcy who came out to have lunch with me. Today I used them to make strawberry lemonade popsicles. I substituted the sugar in the recipe with Stevia. So fun. I had some of the mixture left over, so it’s in the freezer in a Pyrex pan becoming a granita of sorts.

Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles; Recipe below:
https://www.ideahacks.com/strawberry-lemonade-popsicles/

I also had a slew of pitted cherries left from last week, so I Googled Healthy Cherry Recipes. I found this great link, and was inspired by the chocolate cherry oatmeal recipe they had listed: https://healthynibblesandbits.com/15-healthy-cherry-recipes-for-summer/

Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats Baby Boomer Mermaid Style

I used what I had in the house, and kept it very healthy, and low in points and calories. I combined 1/4 cup of Old Fashioned Oats per serving with 1/2 cup of chia seeds, and 2 tablespoons each of Splenda Brown Sugar blend and Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. I layered in a couple of cups of chopped, pitted fresh cherries, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. When I serve myself, I’ll top this with about a teaspoon of toasted sliver almonds. I do still have cherries left over, but those will go great with my fat free plain Greek yogurt, or fat free cottage cheese snacks.

Note the tip for filling snacks here: combine a small portion of a healthy protein with a fruit or vegetable. String cheese and an apple is another good example of this. Circling back to The Comfort Zone, don’t allow yourself to get so hungry that you lose control. Healthful snacks during the day or after dinner are essential.

Thank you for visiting my friends. As always, I welcome your comments, questions, and critiques.

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Make it a great week, my friends!