Category Archives: Meal Prep

Jocelyn’s Nutrition Series

Union fam, welcome back for PART 1 of Nutrition with Jocelyn. If you missed my first post on the UF blog about this new series, no worries because you’re reading at the right time. For those who aren’t aware, this is a new series I will be writing not only to keep my own spirits high and excited during quarantine but to aid in a hands on approach to what I am currently learning through my Nutrition Certification. I’m thrilled to be able to write such content for those interested that also encompasses my terrible humor you all might experience if you just so happen to see me during work at Union Fitness.

 

The first in our series is going to focus on eating well during quarantine. I’m not going to bore you to death with scientific information and I’m not going to tell you what you need to do, I’m simply here to help you find ways to fuel your bodies and encourage you to make small changes that ultimately will set you up for success post-quarantine. 

 

I know right now we’re all feeling a little blah and I’m not going to lie, I’ve indulged in a few pints of Ben & Jerrys here and there, drank a little too much and some days just really wasn’t feeling hungry at all. This is all a product of my own emotions, we as humans are very complex beings and with that comes actions that sometimes necessary don’t align with our overall goals (especially if you’re a female and it’s that time of the month). I’m here to tell you its OKAY to have days or weeks like this. The goal is to not let it be something that drags you back into a place that you worked so hard to get out of. This also doesn’t mean you have to make drastic changes all at once, I simply want you to start right where you are and start small.

 

Let’s start with an exercise

 

Right now I want you to picture what yesterday looked like for you, let’s start with a few questions. Grab a piece of paper, a pen or pencil and answer these honestly.

What time did you get up? 

What did you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner? 

Are you snacking in between those meals? 

What did your workout look like? 

Did you workout? 

What was your mood upon waking and before bed? 

What time did you actually go to sleep?

 

Now look at your answers to these questions, how do they make you feel? Do they all align with your goals or do only some of them align with your goals? Write down your answers to the questions below the above ones you just answered.

 

The purpose of this is to simply reflect, to understand why you made the decisions you did and how your emotions are a direct collate of those actions. There is no right or wrong answer.

 

When I talk about eating well what I really mean is mindful eating, knowing what you’re putting into your body and being mindful of how it’s going to make you feel. We are all emotional eaters, food is something that calms us and makes us feel good even if we’re not eating the most nutrient dense foods. Let’s take myself for example, what if I’m looking for an alternative to that pint of Ben & Jerrys ice cream, I might want to still eat 1 pint a week but I want something that can curb that extra craving I’m having on any given day. Protein shakes are a very good alternative to ice cream or something that can calm my sweet tooth. You can use a blender, add milk or a milk alternative and top it with whipped cream and/or chocolate chips. The consistency is almost identical when ice is added and I’m also knocking on my sweet tooth door whilst getting my protein intake as well.

 

All I’ve done is added something into my day that checks all the boxes, I didn’t eliminate the Ben & Jerrys because I’m allowed to indulge and if I want it I’m going to have it. The issue with some diets is they make us think there is only one way to eat and reframes our mind into having a bad relationship with food. Well I’m here to tell you there are many ways to eat healthy and that “one-size fits all” approach is totally bull. We need to eat for the lives that we live and every person is different from the next. What works for you might not work for me and we should never force ourselves into eating that will make us feel overwhelmed or limited into what we can consume.

 

Lastly, let’s knock on the door of those who love to snack (even though I consider Ben & Jerry’s a snack, you’ll find me eating the whole thing during Too Hot To Handle on Netflix). We’re mostly looking at those quick bites that are easy to pull out of the pantry and are something that can keep us full till lunch. Well I have an option for you and if you aren’t aware this series will also include small-business that I love and are a healthy alternative.

 

Nash Nutrition

 

Based out of Youngstown, Ohio Nash Bars are a  mouth-watering option for a quick snack. These nutrient dense bars come in four different favors for our peanut butter, chocolate and blueberry loving individuals. They are so dense that I find myself full for a lengthy period of time that I am able to get through a few more hours of work or a hard training session but also know I’m putting something into my body that makes me happy (we’re all about mood here guys). For example, the peanut butter chocolate chip option macronutrients are as followed:

 

300 calories

16g of fat

23g of carbohydrates

20g of protein

 

Most “protein” bars aren’t the most exciting things to eat, they lack taste or when we’re eating them we feel like we’re doing it to eat something healthy. Instead, Nash Nutrition does a really good job at providing options that again for me personally check all the boxes. Now before you ask, this isn’t a paid post on the UF blog and I don’t get free bars from Nash to promote, this is simply a plug for a nutritious option where if you purchase you’re also supporting a small-business during quarantine (which is something we here at Union are promoting on a weekly basis, being a small-business ourselves). 


Now back to our regularly schedule program

 

If we backtrack to our little food exercise we did, are there opportunities within that day where you could either add or replace a food with something that would make you feel better. If we start small like replacing one snack with something healthier, that one small change will lead us into making better choices day by day. The goal here just to reiterate is to become more mindful with our eating, aware of what we are putting our bodies and how our bodies are reacting to it.

 

Everyone wants to feel good but that doesn’t mean you need to stress yourself out or completely cut yourself off from certain foods. If you choose to make mindful decisions with your eating then you will find yourself having a better relationship with food and feeling better about all decisions that are food-based. 

Hello Iron Chefs of the World

Today I bring to you some more tasty quarantine foods we have devoured. Both the Swedish Chef, Chef Boyardee and the late great Chef Bourdain approve of these delectable dishes. I present to you a snack, appetizer, meal & dessert.

Road House Kick Deviled Eggs:

 Ingredients; Eggs, Mayo (lite), Spicy Brown Muzzy (mustard), Salt, Pepper, Garlic & Onion Powder and Paprika.
Directions; Gracefully place eggs in a pot of water and boil for 5ish minutes-peel eggs,  slice them in half & toss the yoke in a bowl with all other ingredients- mix away- stuff filling into the halved eggs and dust with some more paprika and Blammy!

Jalapeno & Goat Cheese Sweet Pepper Poppers:
 
Ingredients; Sweet Peppers, Goat Cheese, Jalapeno.
Directions; halve sweet peppers, mix goat cheese and diced jalapeno into bowl, stuff filling into the sweet peps then toss in the oven at 400 for 10 or so minutes and you got some nice Poppers.
 
Hold on to Your Butt Sichuan Shrimp & Eggplant with Rice:
 
Ingredients: Shrimp, Eggplant, Sticky Rice, Chili Garlic Paste, Sichuan Peppercorns, Honey, Ginger, Low Sodium Soy Sauce, Veggie Broth, Dried Chilis, Green Onions & Corn Starch.
Directions; Cook rice- Toss all sauce ingredients into a pot and simmer til you get a thiccck sauce- saute shrimp & eggplant with any of the seasoning above- toss all together and hold onto your tongues.

Black Bean, Avocado & Dark Chocolate Brownies:
 
Ingredients; 1 can Black Beans, Avacado, 3 Eggs, 1/2 cup Unsweet Cocoa Powder, 1/4 cup Butta, 1 tsp Vanilla, 1 tsp Baking Powder, 3/4 cup Sugar (we used half stevia brown and half regular), 1 tsp Salt, Dark Chocolate Chips.
Directions; Mix it all up- layer mix over foil in a baking pan at 360 for about 20 minutes-Let cool for and few and wipe the drool off your mouth-Enjoy.

Please let me know what you think of these food ideas/recipes. If you have some fan favorites you’d like Union’s Top Chef to try, send it on over! Have fun with these and make them your own special way.
Bon Appetit,
-CeJ

Meaty Potato Tacos

Being of Irish descent I believe that potatoes could NAY should be used in all meals. With this said I tossed this meal together as I had the ingredients and felt like the right thing to do.

 

Ingredients

1 lbs of grass fed ground beef (local).

Taco seasoning.

8 small potatoes.

2 Tomatoes.

2 Avocados.

Hot Sauce.

 

Directions

Brown the ground beef, then add the taco seasoning and water.

Slice the potatoes and sauté in butter.

Make the cooked potatoes the base of your taco, add the meat on top.

Add sliced tomatoes, cheese, avocado and any other greens or topping that you desire. Hot sauce should be on everything so don’t forget your hot sauce.

 

Simple and delicious. On a side note as I typed this we debated, is this really a taco as it has no shell and I agreed with myself (and no one else) that it still is a taco. Hope you enjoy.

 

Guest cook this week.

For this weeks Meal O the Week (or weak) we brought in our own Santa Clause who is going to deliver you the best recipe that I have encountered in a while. Our friend Skylyn is not only a heck of a lifter, she is also a great cook. So give her creations a try. 

 

 

What makes this cold weather a little more bearable? Soup, of course! Here is a recipe for a delicious, creamy tomato seafood bisque.

 

 

A diced onion, celery and carrots cooked in about a half a stick of butter in a soup pan until soft. Throw a couple tablespoons of flour in and mix and then add in about four cups of vegetable or chicken broth, garlic, one bay leaf, two cans of diced tomatoes and let simmer for about ten mins. Then add in two blocks of cream cheese (continue simmering until creamy and melted). Once that’s done, blend it! Make sure you take the bay leaf out first though. And then comes the seafood! I used a pound of seafood mix (muscles, scallops, shrimp & calamari), a pound of shrimp and about a pound and a half of haddock! I cooked all of it first in the oven with butter before throwing it in. Mix it up, top it with parsley and inhale it! It goes great with a side of baked sourdough bread.

CJ’s Spicy Salsa

It’s Wednesday so that means it’s time for meal of the week. We at Union Fitness love a good spice and nothing says spicy food like a cold day, so with winter creeping upon us we give you this recipe from Charles Jasper (CeJ, CJ, CG).

If you’re looking for some quality spice in your life, I suggest you try out this tasty salsa recipe. After my buddy Anthony B tried it out, he gave me his high five of approval. I’m not a guy that follows recipes to a tee but here is the baseline of ingredients .

CeJ’s Salsa Party
1-14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1-10oz can diced tomatoes w green chili
3- cloves of garlic
1/2-onion of your choice
2- jalapeños
Couple squeezes of honey( I used hot honey)
1/2- Cup of cilantro
A Bump of Salt
Lime Juice
Toss all these into the blender, pulse it up and enjoy!
Stay Spicy my friends,
CeJ

Cayt’s Meal Of the Week

For those that may not know, powerlifting is a weight class sport and in hope to maintain the theme of the upcoming meet, I am going to talk about my mindset going into weigh-ins this meet.  This may be my first full power meet that I don’t try and cut weight to make a weight class.  The thought alone messes with my head a little for a few reasons, but I am trying to find peace with it being an option.  I am slightly above weight so once we reach 7 days out I will decide if it is something I can and want to manage.  

For someone with a past of eating disorders, I am very aware of my own triggers.  I am still learning how to entirely combat those feelings, but I am also learning to accept that it will be a process of good and bad days and even better and worse moments.  Leading into this meet, I am acknowledging that a few of my personal triggers are developing and when this happens I have to prioritize those that I can control and cannot control.  

With that said, for the time being, my goal is to eat enough to regain energy, to train and recover as necessary, and to COMPETE well.  

I made a big pot of chili over the weekend for one of my meals.  I rarely use measurements and tend to use my eyes as a judgment call for recipes like this.  However, these are all of the ingredients: 

93/7 ground turkey 

90/10 ground beef 

Black beans

Light red kidney beans

Dark red kidney beans

Carrots

Celery 

Onion

Green, yellow, and red pepper

Tomato sauce 

Diced tomatoes

Chicken broth

 

Meal of the Week – Lindsey’s Last Minute Lunch

Keeping this one short and sweet. I didn’t leave a lot of time for meal prepping this weekend, but I always have a back-up plan. This is where I rely on foods that are quick to cook or just need to be microwaved for a quick meal. Surprisingly, I always get told this particular meal smells good, so maybe you’ll like it too.

I was so behind this week that I grabbed my ingredients from Giant Eagle on my way to work!

 

What I Use:

  • Cooked Jasmine Rice (either in the rice cooker, or buy a bag of microwaveable rice)
  • Birds Eye Broccoli Stir Fry, half the bag
  • Cooked chicken (I try to cook up a pound of chicken thighs before running to work most days, but if I can’t I grab the $5 grilled chicken breasts from the prepared food section of Giant Eagle)
  • Soy Sauce to taste
  • Cashew pieces to taste, for a crunchy topping

What I Do:

  • If using microwaveable rice, start with that and follow the directions. If you’re lucky to have a rice cooker like me, get that going early so it’s hot and ready when you’re hungry.
  • Throw half the bag of veggies in a bowl and top with some salt, microwave until cooked most of the way through.
  • Cut up chicken and add to the bowl of veggies. Add soy sauce to taste. Microwave until it’s all hot.
  • Throw on top of your prepared rice.
  • Top with cashews.
  • Eat and enjoy (even though you’re in a rush).

 

When I think ahead, I like to keep other sauces around to mix this meal up (Thai curry is REALLY good, but even having some sriracha and PB2 around to make a quick peanut sauce is a tasty change). It’s healthy, easy, and keeps me full through work, training, and teaching. And as a side note, it took every ounce of my self-control to take a picture of this bowl and not just scarf the whole thing down in 3 minutes. You’re welcome.

 

Lindsey’s Quick Ramen Bowl

During our “fake fall,” my cravings for warm, comforting things came back full swing – weighted blankets, sleeping in, pumpkin spice everything, and naturally, soup.

 

It’s 90 degrees out right now, so that’s a bummer, but I’m still on the soup train. I’m working fairly late, so by the time I get home and take care of BB, I have to get food in pretty quickly in order to get to bed on time. For a long time, that meant eating a prepared salad and calling it a night, but I’ve been making a little more effort as of late. Here’s a soup option that won’t take more than 15-30 minutes (with a little prep). It does include a few special ingredients, but I’ll include some substitutions that you’re more likely to have on hand.

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 pack Brown Rice and Millet Ramen (from Costco, but use any ramen pack, no seasoning)
  • Avocado oil (or your choice cooking oil)
  • Veggies of your choosing, sliced thinly (and lots of them)
    • I used Napa cabbage, carrot, red bell pepper, snow peas, and a ton of shiitake mushrooms
  • 4-8oz of prepped proteins of your choosing
    • I normally use chicken thighs that I’ve pre-prepped. Today I did 2oz of those, 3 oz. shrimp, and 3oz pre-cubed tofu (it was a hard training day, needed the calories and protein)
  • Lime Juice
  • Fish Sauce (or soy if you don’t have it on. you, just go light)
  • Sesame oil
  • 8oz chicken bone broth (I love this one with turmeric)
  • Water to taste
  • Herbs and toppings of your choice (I did a huge handful of Thai basil I was gifted and half an avocado)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Make:

  1. Slice and dice your veggies, set aside in a bowl (I like to group my slower cooking veggies in one bowl and my faster cooking veggies in another).
  2. Prepare your protein(s). I shelled my shrimp and set aside, then sliced up my cooked chicken and set it aside with the cubed tofu.
  3. Bowl the ramen according to the packaging in a small pot. When it’s finished, drain and set aside.
  4. While the ramen is cooking, start cooking your protein and veggies. In a medium-large pot set to medium heat, warm the avocado oil. When it’s hot, add your protein if cooking from raw. If you’re using cooked protein, go right in with the slow cooking veggies. Season with salt, throw a lid on it, let them cook.
  5. Once they’ve started to brown, add your slower cooking veggies and your proteins. Season with salt again. I cover and make sure to shake them around a bit.
  6. By this point, your ramen is ready to go. When the veggies are cooked to your desired done-ness (I like them pretty crunchy, so it’s quick in my kitchen), throw in your noodles.
  7. Immediately top with your chicken bone broth and enough water to reach your desired soup consistency.
  8. Season with fish oil (a few splashes is plenty), lime juice, and a bit of sesame oil.
  9. Let everything simmer together for 3-5 minutes.
  10. Top with your herbs/toppings of choice, throw it in a bowl and go to town.

This particular bowl came out to 750cals, 62g protein, 69g carbs, and 23g fat. Right on target for me, and totally customizable for you!

Meal of the Week – ft. Alexa needs to eat more micros

Hello, again. Maybe you have noticed from previous food blogs or maybe it’s not at all apparent, but I don’t eat a huge variety of vegetables. My daily staples are spinach, arugula, lettuce, and pickles (a 3 month crave, can’t stop). My other foods consist of potatoes, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, chicken, fish, and strawberries. Sure, these are great foods, seem “healthy”, and absolutely do the trick in providing the energy for my training (a main contributing factor of why I eat those foods). However, I am not getting enough micronutrients… oh yes, all of the important minerals and vitamins we need to function. SO! I have this micronutrient heavy salad and I will share the details below!

 

What you need:

  • Lentils
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Kumquats
  • Cumin roasted cauliflower
  • Broccoli sprouts (high in Sulfloraphane – powerful antioxidant and for cellular function)
  • Pickled cabbage
  • Shredded kale
  • Mixed greens
  • 2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 5 grams of minced ginger
  • Steel City Salt Co. Black Truffle Sea Salt
  • Pepper

 

  1. Drain and rinse lentils, kalamata olives, and kumquats. Rinse cauliflower, chop to desired size, and throw in medium size bowl. Pour avocado oil on cauliflower. Sprinkle with cumin, curry powder, and sea salt. Lay out on pan and broil for 15-20 minutes.
  2. In your obnoxiously large salad bowl, throw in mixed greens, shredded kale, broccoli sprouts, pickled cabbage, lentils, and kalamata olives. Slice kumquats in half and throw in.
  3. Check on cauliflower, let it cool down and add!
  4. Dressing is a mix of balsamic vinegar, minced ginger, olive oil, Steel City Salt Co. black truffle sea salt and pepper.
  5. Add desired protein source!
  6. Feel micronutrient-ated!

Meal of the Week – Alison’s Edamame Noodles

Say hello to my newest obsession: Edamame Noodles. 

 

I stumbled upon these bad boys at Aldi this weekend while my kids were searching for the perfect noodle. (Unbeknownst to me, I might have found mine too!) They settled upon linguine and I popped these organic, gluten free & vegan noodles in the cart too.  A good gluten free noodle is hard to come by, so naturally I was a little wary.  I’m happy to report that they got a gold star from me!

 

  • Tastes good
  • Fast cook time
  • Cheap
  • Healthy
  • Versatile

 

I’m always excited to find a noodle that has a hefty amount of protein and just one serving (about 2 oz dry) packs a massive 24g of protein, only 20g of carbs and 3.5g of fat.  Wins all around!

 

For lunches this week, I tossed the noodles in about ½ teaspoon of pesto sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, paired with BBQ grilled chicken and fresh from the farm green beans.