Category Archives: Meal Prep

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.

Meal of the Week – Lindsey’s Berry Protein Smoothie

Lindsey’s Berry Protein Smoothie

 

I’ve been training hard and frequently this summer, and with my fall goals, that’s not going to change anytime soon. With increased activity comes a need for increased calories, and over the last few weeks, I’ve been falling short.

 

Normally lots of running increases a person’s appetite, but for me it seems to have the opposite effect. There are probably some other factors, but when it comes down to it, I really just need to eat more. 

 

On really intense training days (aka when my appetite is lowest but caloric need highest), I add in a smoothie with some protein in it. If you’re having a hard time getting food in, drinking it is a great hack. It doesn’t register as “filling” in the same way as a meal you need to chew. 

 

My normal smoothie is full of greens, pineapple, mango, and banana (it tastes like a pina colada) but this morning I was fresh out of tropical frozen fruit. Instead, I went with a childhood favorite – a triple berry smoothie.

 

Here’s what we’re working with: 

 

 

I really just estimate amounts, but I have been tracking my food intake for the past few weeks as I adjust to eating more, so today, I measured roughly:

 

Ingredients:

1 Scoop Vega Vanilla Protein + Greens (I’d use whey protein if I could, it doesn’t sit well)

3-5 big frozen strawberries

1 small handful frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon Almond Butter (for healthy fats and deliciousness)

Dash of cinnamon

Sprinkle in some chia seeds (more on this later)

Teaspoon of Acai powder (for my third berry type, for extra antioxidants, but mostly for color)

4 oz unsweetened nut milk (cashew here)

8 oz cold water

 

 

 

How to:

 

Seriously, just throw it all in a blender and gooooo.

 

The macros:

 

350 calories

26g of protein

37g of carbohydrate

12g of fat

 

Some tips:

 

  • I use a relatively small amount of nut milk because the protein powder already lends a pretty milky, creamy flavor. Overdoing the milk makes it taste too “heavy.”
  • If you can, let it sit for a little while. That way, the chia seeds soak up some of the liquid and reach their cool, chewy texture. Otherwise, they’re just a little crunchy.
  • The Acai powder is super extra (I went through an antioxidant powder hoarding phase). Regular blueberries are plenty. I really just like the color it lends.

 

I’ll slurp this up right after finishing up some interval training tonight (and I can’t wait). My body will need the protein and carbs the most at that point!

Casey’s Late Left-Over Dinner

It’s been a long week- I asked a coworker what day it was expecting Thursday or Friday for an answer. Now, don’t take that the wrong way.  I wish my week’s were longer and I love coming to the gym every day. The last couple weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind though.

 

May 31 I had shoulder surgery.

 

June 1 and 2 we hosted the USPA Iron City Open.

 

July 1-3 I ended up in the hospital with some type of virus – fever at 102 for 4-5 days.

 

Trying to transition Curtis (you’ll meet him later) into Ryan’s position while updating a lot of our systems at Union Fitness.

 

Testing to determine what caused my hospitalization- blood work, CT scans, PETCT scans, etc.

 

July 23- yesterday- woke up with a fever again.

 

Typically I’m pretty stoic regarding these things. It is what it is, but there are some potential serious hurdles I have in front of me. So I’ll take them as they come. In the meantime, I threw together a pretty good dinner after getting home from the gym around 9pm.

 

Mixed greens and spinach – 50/50 mix

Pickling Cucumbers (just little guys)

Yellow Pepper

Garlic and Basil salad dressing

The left overs- I heated up the following in a pan with a little bit of avocado oil on high for 3 minute for so.

Filet – from Butcher Box, love their quality and cuts

Potatoes

And dumped those on top of the salad. Annnddd added some strawberries. You can see by the picture my girls approved…

 

 

Alexa’s Quiche Craving

A Quiche Dream

 

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Have you ever craved something sort of random? Maybe it’s something you eat once a year or once every seven years. Well that food for me is quiche. I have not had quiche in probably seven years. It is something I never crave nor did I ever have it as a child. However, I do love eggs, cheese, bacon, vegetables, yummy burnt crust…I love it all. So, last weekend I made it! I made it gluten free as well!

 

Ingredients for crust:

2 Cups of all-purpose gluten free flour

½ Cup of coconut oil

1 Egg

2/3 Cup of water

½ Tsp of salt

Quiche part:

4 Eggs

2/3 Cup of preferred milk (I used almond milk)

Lots of spinach

Portobello mushrooms

Feta cheese

Salt

 

The fun:

First, we make the crust. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and coconut oil. Press coconut oil firmly with a fork to break up into flour and mix as best as humanly possible. Next, add egg and salt. Mix. Last, slowly add water and stir until you get a doughy consistency. Knead dough with hands. Press dough into pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

 

Even more fun:

Add 4 eggs into a bowl and beat well. Then add preferred milk and salt. Load pie crust pan with spinach and mushrooms. Pour Eggs/milk batter into pan. Fill to top. Sprinkle feta all over that puppy. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove, let set. Eat.

Meal of the Week – Alexa’s Carb Potpourri

Alexa’s Meal of the Week

 

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Picture this…you just finished a grueling squat session followed by loads of accessory work and all you want to do is eat carbohydrates that not only replace the portion of glycogen that you may have lost BUT also provide nutrients that are necessary for survival, adequate blood flow, and digestion. Well, I will take the pressure out of you having to think (plus I am sure you have some brain fatigue from training so ferociously) and I will rescue your situation with this outstanding combination your aforementioned depletion PLUS the combination is kind of delightful.

 

What do you need?

 

BEETS, a great source of fiber, folate, potassium, vitamins C and it also has nitric oxide boosting effects for a good old pump. Next, we have HONEY GOLD POTATOES, a fast(er) acting carbohydrate and easy on the digestive system. FENNEL, the sometimes-forgotten species of flower, but nonetheless a wonderful digestive aid, anti-inflammatory, and it tastes incredible. Lastly JAPANESE SWEET POTATOES, traditionally grown in Japan and Okinawa, but found at your local Whole Foods. If you have not tried these then I think you should consider adding it to your weekly grocery haul. They are a combination of buttery and sweet and the consistency is like no other sweet potato I have tried before. Contains many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and happiness.

 

What to do with all of this?

 

Chop it up into desired size. Pour olive oil over and bake at 425 degrees for 45-50 minutes. After, I broil for 8-10 minutes and they are done! 

 

Alexa

Meal of the Week- Alison’s Breakfast

Alison’s Breakfast

 

Stuck in a breakfast rut, I decided to swap out the usual breakfast oats for a little egg cup action. Healthy and super easy to make = two birds, one cup!

What I love about these protein packed babies is that they are completely customizable for your changing needs or tastes. In the mood for savory? Do the classic ham & egg route. In the mood for sweet? Throw some sweet potatoes on the bottom. Need some extra greens? Spinach to the rescue. Cheese lover? Sprinkle on the dairy. Want a little Mexican twist? Throw some cilantro and chili lime seasoning on top. There are so many choices and with twelve spaces in your pan there’s plenty of room to mix it up.

 

What you’ll need:
Muffin tin
Meat of your choice
Eggs
Veggies of your choice
Spices of your choice
Cooking spray

 

What to do:
Spray the bottom of your pan (**Important step, do not skip!)
Line the cup with the meat of your choice. Sometimes I like to really load up on the protein so I do a double layer.
Add veggies.
Add egg. Cracked, of course.
Fish out egg shell pieces (You may be able to skip this step, depending on your egg cracking skills.)
Sprinkle on spices.

Bake at 350-ish degrees until done, around 20 or so minutes (I prefer my yolk a little runny, so I bake until the egg whites no longer jiggle)

And voila! Breakfast cups fueling fitness classes (and instructors).

Perks of Protein Powder

We all know how important protein is, but making sure our body has enough of it can often times be challenging. Of course, the best way to ensure protein in our bodies is through solid food, but finding the time to prep all of our meals is never easy. That’s why protein powder has become so popular over the past couple of years. It’s the perfect and quick substitution for solid food that ensures protein for our muscles. But is it safe?

There are risks, but if you consume protein powder correctly, you shouldn’t run in to any big problems. It is simply an easy way to take care of your muscles without stressing in the kitchen and the benefits are great!

Weight Control

Protein shakes are often times used as meal replacements when paired with the right ingredients like oats, peanut butter, fruits and vegetables. This helps you control your calorie intake and makes you feel full enough to not indulge in an big meal. When it comes to dieting and weight control, it’s all about portion control. Replacing a meal with a protein shake will give your body the nutrients it needs, in a good portion size.

Muscle Building

Every time you work out, your muscles tear. Protein shakes help rebuild them faster to make them stronger. And because your shake is in liquid form, it goes straight to your blood stream and works faster. Solid food is always great, but it takes longer to break down. Protein shakes get the job done at a faster rate.

Stress Relief

Protein powder has been proven to relieve stress. It’s no secret that taking care of your body makes you feel better all around. When your body feels good, your mind feels good too. We are all prone to stress, but eating the right foods and adding the right nutrients to our diets, can strongly and positively affect our stress levels.

Convenience

Protein shakes are easy and fast. Finding time to prep our meals in between school, work, and our workouts is very hard. Some of us really struggle with the balance between the gym and the kitchen because we simply do not have the time. That’s the beauty of a protein shake, you can make it in seconds and the long term effects are great!

So, what are the best kinds of protein powder?

Some of the best kinds are whey, casein, egg, pea, and hemp protein. All five of these different types of protein rebuild and maintain muscle fast. But It is important to understand what you are taking before you take it. Be sure to read all of the ingredients and ask around for second opinions. Protein powder isn’t for everyone. Since a lot of the powder does come from dairy, people are lactose intolerant may struggle more when consuming a protein shake. Understand your body and understand what you need to do to take care of it.