Tag Archives: food

Week 1 Menu and Grocery List

Week1MENU

This week’s menu includes tacos, soup, breakfast burritos, chocolate bananas, oatmeal, chicken salad, and home made pesto! We will be preparing a few dishes ahead of time, and I will show you how to use your ingredients in several different ways to keep your nutrition interesting and flavorful.

For this week’s menu, you will need to stock up on a few things at the grocery store first. Some of these things will repeat next week, and you may have leftovers that you can use in next week’s menu as well!

PROTEINS:

  • Chicken breasts (6)
  • Extra lean ground turkey (1lb)
  • Eggs (12)
  • Fish filet of your choice (1)
  • Egg whites (2 large cartons)
  • 0% Greek Yogurt and/or 2% Cottage Cheese (optional)
  • Protein powder of your choice (optional)

FATS:

  • Almonds (raw)
  • Avocado (3)
  • Kind bars (optional)
  • Almond butter (no added oils or sugars)
  • Almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Pine nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds (for sprinkling)

CARBS:

  • Quinoa
  • Black beans (1 can, low sodium)
  • Sweet potatoes (2 large)
  • Rolled oats (old fashioned)
  • Whole wheat tortillas (high fiber, low carb)
  • 1 bar dark chocolate (80% or higher)

FRUIT:

  • Berries
  • Bananas (3)
  • Red Grapes or (1) Apple
  • Lemons (6)
  • Misc. fruit of your choice

VEGGIES:

  • Butter lettuce (or large leaf lettuce for wraps)
  • 1 bunch kale (any)
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 bag spring mix
  • Baby carrots & celery
  • Mushrooms (white)
  • Bell peppers (3)
  • Broccoli (3 large heads)
  • Onions (2 large white)
  • Artichokes (2)
  • Cucumber (1)
  • Basil and Cilantro (1 bunch each)
  • Garlic (large head)
  • Cabbage (optional)

SPICES:

  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Ms. Dash fiesta lime flavor
  • Cumin
  • Coconut, olive, grapeseed or avocado oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Red wine, balsamic, or apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • Agave sweetener (optional)

WEEKLY MENU BREAKDOWN:

WEDNESDAY, MAY 6: (FOOD PREP DAY)

  • Breakfast: Lemon water, Egg scramble with 2 eggs, 1 cup egg whites, mushrooms and avocado. Fruit salad (berries etc.)
  • Snack: Cottage cheese (1 cup), berries, kind bar or small handful of raw almonds
  • Lunch: Salad with grilled chicken (4oz)
  • Snack: Spinach smoothie (almond milk, ice, spinach, protein powder or fruit) & 1/2 sweet potato
  • Dinner: Chicken fajitas made with pre-cooked chicken (4oz), bell peppers and onions (freebies), whole wheat tortillas, & greek yogurt.

THURSDAY, MAY 7:

  • Breakfast: Lemon water. Breakfast burrito (or tacos) made with egg scramble: 1 egg, 1 cup egg whites, mushrooms, peppers and onions, greek yogurt, and whole wheat wrap.
  • Snack: Baby carrots. Kind bar (or handful of raw almonds)
  • Lunch: Green salad with chicken breast (4oz)
  • Snack: Cottage cheese (1 cup) & berries
  • Dinner: Pan seared fish filet of your choice, steamed broccoli & 1/2 sweet potato.

FRIDAY, MAY 8: (FOOD PREP DAY)

  • Breakfast: Lemon water. Fruit salad. 2 poached eggs
  • Snack: Scrambled egg whites, almond butter, whole wheat wrap.
  • Lunch: Chicken salad lettuce wraps
  • Snack: Pesto quinoa salad. Frozen chocolate bananas.
  • Dinner: Broccoli soup. Grilled artichokes.

SATURDAY, MAY 9:

  • Breakfast: Lemon water. Oats w/ berries, seeds & almond milk. (protein powder & agave sweetener – optional)
  • Snack: Kind bar. Pesto quinoa salad.
  • Lunch: Spinach smoothie. (Fruit, spinach, almond milk, ice – protein powder optional)
  • Snack: Chicken salad lettuce wraps. Sweet potato.
  • Dinner: Broccoli soup. Green salad w/black beans & cilantro.

SUNDAY, MAY 10:

  • Breakfast: Lemon water. Oats w/berries, seeds & almond milk. (protein powder & agave sweetener -optional)
  • Snack: Scrambled eggs (1 egg, 1 cup egg whites.) Kind bar.
  • Lunch: Broccoli soup. Pesto quinoa salad.
  • Snack: Baby carrots. Cottage cheese & fruit.
  • Dinner: Ground turkey (extra lean, 1/2 lb) with kale sautee & grilled artichokes. Frozen chocolate bananas.

MONDAY, MAY 11:

  • Breakfast: Lemon water. Egg scramble (2 eggs, 1 cup egg whites, mushrooms, cilantro, avocado) on whole wheat wrap w/greek yogurt.
  • Snack: Cottage cheese & fruit. Kind bar.
  • Lunch: Green salad w/ cilantro & black beans. Spinach Smoothie.
  • Snack: Baby carrots. Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps.
  • Dinner: Ground turkey (extra lean, 1/2 lb) with kale sautee & sweet potato.

TUESDAY, MAY 12:

  • Breakfast: Lemon water. Oats w/ berries, seeds & almond milk. (protein powder & agave sweetener – optional)
  • Snack: Egg scramble (1 egg, 1 cup egg whites.) Almond butter & whole wheat wrap.
  • Lunch: Broccoli soup. Fruit salad.
  • Snack: Baby carrots. Spinach smoothie.
  • Dinner: Chicken taco salad w/ chicken breast (4oz,) black beans, avocado, greek yogurt, cilantro. Frozen chocolate bananas.

Crockpot Chicken & Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Verde Chicken

Prepare to amaze yourself with this mouth watering crockpot “Chili Verde!” Sweet, spicy and tangy sauce with melt in your mouth pulled chicken – it is sure to have you coming back for seconds.

Try it on a whole wheat wrap with brown rice, avocado, radishes, and Greek yogurt, on top of a salad, or as part of a scramble for breakfast! The possibilities are endless.

It really is easy to make bright, flavorful dishes at home with just a few fresh ingredients!

Cheers, I hope you enjoy this recipe. 🙂

-Crystal

CROCK POT CHICKEN & ROASTED TOMATILLO SALSA

  • 12 large fresh tomatillos
  • 1 large while onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1 small can of diced green chilis
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 large chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay tomatillos over a large cookie sheet and leave them in their skin. Chop the onion into large pieces and add them to the cookie sheet. Roast tomatillos and onions in the over for 30 minutes, or until they begin to char on top. Remove from oven and peel skins away from soft tomatillos. (Careful, they will be HOT!)

tomatillos

Using a food processor, combine tomatillos, onions, peeled garlic, cilantro, green chilis, seeded serrano pepper, lime juice, salt and pepper. Blend mixture until smooth.

tomatillo processor

tomatillos 2

green sauce

To make delicious crock pot chicken, simply add 4 large thawed chicken breasts to your crock pot, along with all of your Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, and a little sea salt. Cover and let cook on high for 3 hours. The chicken will pull apart very easily with a spoon, spatula, or fork. I just used a wooden spoon and smashed the chicken while it was still in the crock pot until it all pulled apart nicely.

Bon Apetit!

Slow Cooked Verde Chicken with Pineapple Salsa
Slow Cooked Verde Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Muscles are Made in the Kitchen – A Guide to Healthy Food Substitutions

Hi All!

There are many common misconceptions about diet, weight loss, and what constitutes a well balanced meal plan. The general idea behind eating “right” is to maximize and balance nutrition, healthy fats, complex carbohydrate, protein, and fiber content, while maintaining a ratio of healthy caloric intake vs calories burned. Food is fuel, and most of the time, people who are exercising regularly and not seeing the results they want, are not eating right. I would say diet accounts for at least 80% of your results. I want to show you a few popular food substitutions that will make HUGE improvements in your health. These substitutions are easy to start incorporating into your diet right now – and I promise you will begin to appreciate the many health benefits of properly fueling your body.

My favorite post-workout snack: Plain Greek yogurt, peanut butter marshmallow whey protein, shredded coconut and chopped walnuts.
My favorite post-workout snack: Plain Greek yogurt, peanut butter marshmallow whey protein, shredded coconut and chopped walnuts.
  1. CHEESE: It is full of animal fat, sodium, and we generally eat WAY more than what is considered a ‘healthy’ amount. Try using a sprinkle of feta or parmesan instead of your usual choice. Cut the calories, fat, and sodium drastically.
  2. BUTTER: Another animal fat that really has zero redeeming qualities. While animal fats are totally fine to consume in moderation, there are several more nutritious and healthier options that can actually burn fat! Ditch the butter and try swapping for a small amount of olive oil, coconut oil, or grape seed oil. Nut butters, apple sauce, and yogurt are also an awesome substitution.
  3. POTATOES: Regular potatoes, while not the worst thing you can eat, are high in calories and starchy carbs, and aren’t the best nutritionally. Indulging in too much of this starchy guy can thwart your diet plan. Swap for a nutritious sweet potato, celery root, radish, or a turnip instead. Cauliflower is a great substitution for mashed potatoes, too!
  4. PASTA: Another high calorie, high simple carbohydrate food – Try substituting cabbage, zucchini pappardelle, garbanzo beans, or spaghetti squash instead.
  5. SUGAR: Refined sugars have no place in the healthy diet. Eating food high in refined sugar actually triggers a number of adverse chemical reactions in the brain – actually hard wiring you to want nothing else but more sugar! Numerous studies suggest that high levels of sugar in the diet contribute to depression, diabetes, weight gain, headaches, skin disorders, cellulite, and even cancer. Of course, everything in moderation is okay, and indulgences are part of a healthy lifestyle – but removing this danger food from your daily menu will do wonders. Try using a small amount of honey, or agave nectar in it’s place. Fruit is always a wonderful choice to satisfy your sweet tooth, and it’s natural sugars will go a long way to sweeten any dish you would typically add sugar to. Other ways to naturally sweeten dishes include: flavored protein powders, flavored extracts, fresh fruit juice, and cinnamon.
  6. WHITE RICE: High calorie, empty carbohydrate: Liven up your dish with wild rice, quinoa, cous-cous, barley, lentils, or amaranth for carbs your body can use properly, more fiber, protein, and more flavor!
  7. FLAVORED YOGURT: Yogurt is consistently marketed as a health food – and it very well can be. However, watch out for the sugar content here! Flavored yogurt, and yogurt that boasts “low fat,” or “non fat,” are almost always packed with nearly 20-40 grams of sugar per serving. Be careful – replace your flavored yogurts with a regular, Greek plain yogurt, and add fresh fruit for that sweet flavor. Adding a touch of flavored protein powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, or flavored extracts really livens it up as well.
  8. SOUR CREAM/MAYONNAISE: High fat, high calorie = no good. Try substituting plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, which are high in protein and can contain live cultures which aid in digestion!
  9. BREAD PRODUCTS: While I am not suggesting that you remove bread from your diet completely, I merely want to suggest you really start reading the labels here, and trying to limit your overall consumption of all things processed! If your bread is not loaded with whole grains and seeds, it is probably not going to help you achieve your goals. I would suggest trading your usual bread for brands like Ezekiel, Alvarado Street Bakery, Bavarian, or make your own with quality ingredients. Eating wheat products is a very controversial topic, but I am of the strong opinion that there are opiate like effects related to eating standardized wheat products – very similar to eating sugar! These foods actually trigger a dopamine release in the brain, resulting in a euphoric feeling, which produces an almost immediate desire to chase the euphoria with – MORE sugar/starch/wheat! Again, I am not suggesting you dump the bread all together, but try saving the bread for your breakfast, or with your after workout meal. Many nutrition experts say that eating these forms of carbohydrate are best digested and not stored as fat cells when eaten in the earlier hours of the day, and directly after your workout when your body can use it and not save it in glycogen stores. I suggest lowering your daily intake, and try swapping the breads for lettuce or leafy greens as a wrap, or a corn, quinoa, or brown rice tortilla. I am of the opinion that you should be getting the majority of your carbohydrate intake from vegetables, fruits, and WHOLE grains/nuts/seeds.
  10. CEREAL/GRANOLA: Most cereals are packed with sugar, and have very little to no nutritional value whatsoever. I would suggest replacing your sugary cereals with old fashioned rolled oats, sweetened with a half scoop of protein powder, flavored extracts, fruits and nuts.
  11. SALAD DRESSING/SAUCES: BBQ sauce, terriyaki, salad dressings, and most marinades are chock full of sugar, fat, and salt: empty calorie, pure diet destruction foods. I would suggest using different olive oil/vinegar combinations. Dijon mustard, lemon juice, basil or cilantro and olive oil is one of my favorite combinations. Herbs, healthy fats, spices, citrus, greek yogurt, garlic, low sodium stock, ginger, and vinegar are excellent ways to season dishes without the unnecessary calories. Also, adding fruit to your salad, and a sprinkle of feta cheese can offer enough flavor that you don’t need any or much dressing at all. Give it a try, and eliminate tons of unnecessary calories.
  12. CRACKERS/CHIPS: Go for a few celery sticks, carrots, bell peppers, or broccoli instead of the usual high calorie, low reward snack foods you usually reach for. Choose something that isn’t fried, like a rice cake, dried seaweed, jerky, or popped corn for a healthier take on salty snacks.
  13. BREAD CRUMBS/FLOUR: A lot of recipes that require a starch to hold the dish together, or flour to thicken a sauce end up being so high in empty calories that they are just not worth eating! However, try throwing some rolled oats, quinoa, or flax seeds etc. in the food processor for a more nutritious and just as effective starch. Nutritional yeast acts as an amazing thickening agent to replace corn starch and flour. Get creative! Most of the time, the dish ends up being much more flavorful because of the substitution! Coconut flour is an awesome addition to baked goods – it is high in fiber, low in calories, and full of healthy fats.

Cooking meals that taste great is easy for anyone to learn. Most people default to adding sugar, butter and salt to make anything and everything taste good – but the real challenge is learning to be creative with your ingredients to create stunning dishes with half the fat and calories. While it requires a little more creativity, I firmly believe anyone can do it. Try stocking your refrigerator with more fresh herbs, your cabinets with a variety of spices, and your fruit bowl with lots of fresh fruits, veggies, garlic, onion and ginger. Splurge on some delicious vinegar or oil infusions and watch your meals come alive with clean flavor. The more processed, sugary, salty, fatty crap you remove from your diet, the more you will not only feel amazing, but also look amazing.

cleaneats.jpg

Happy cooking, all! I hope you will feel inspired to get creative in the kitchen, and share your delicious recipes with me. 🙂

-Crystal

Simplicity In Food: A Guide To Maximizing Your Diet’s Potential

Hi All!

truth

Learning the truth about what our bodies need to work as a well oiled machine can be painful, and yes, might piss us off at first! This is only because we have been taught all the wrong things over time. Sifting through the plethora of diet and nutrition advice that exists can be a daunting and discouraging task. For many people, including myself, simplicity is best! There are a few basic rules to follow in any diet and exercise plan, that will yield the biggest reward.

  1. Eat clean, and do not overeat.
  2. Get enough sleep.
  3. Drink lots of water.
  4. Exercise daily.

Yes, that is really it, folks! Unfortunately, our food and drug industry has other ideas for our health and so called, “well being.” Just about every known advertisement in existence is related to food and medication! Most of the time, the foods being marketed to us as “healthy,” “natural,” “low-fat” etc., are actually harming us more than they are helping. Most pre-packaged foods are riddled with a laundry list of ingredients that your average Joe would have a hard time even trying to pronounce. If you can’t even read it, should you really be eating it? In my experience, the fewer ingredients on the list, the better.

Fortunately for us, there is simplicity. “Keep it simple, stupid!” In my own personal fitness journey, I have narrowed down my daily nutritional needs to a simple formula. I have come up with these numbers through trial and error, and with the help of online food journals such as my favorite: Loseit.comThese calorie counters/food journals are an excellent tool for getting a grasp on your approximate needs, whether you are looking to lose, gain or maintain your current weight.

Calories: **These numbers will differ on an individual basis. No two people are alike!

  • In order to maintain my current weight, I can eat approximately 1,900-2,100 calories every day, providing I get some exercise. (On heavy exercise days, I may need to eat more.)
  • On days that I do not exercise, I adjust my intake to approximately 1,500-1,700 calories.

Within these numbers, I further break down my nutrition into categories:

  1. Fat: 25-30% **(Healthy fats, guys! No tater chips! Some examples include avocado, salmon, olive oil, coconut oil, flax seed, nuts and nut butters, etc.)
  2. Carbohydrate: 30-40% **(Good carbohydrates come in many forms: Vegetables, whole grains, rice, beans, seeds, etc.)
  3. Protein: 30-40% **(Good sources include fish, poultry, eggs, tofu, tempeh, yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powders, vegetables, nuts, quinoa, and wild rice)
healthy snacks
Healthy and Delicious Whole Foods

Here is an example of a typical day for me, broken down into nutrients:

Fat 64.1g 31%
Saturated Fat 20.8g
Sodium 1,915.9mg
Carbohydrates 161.5g 34.7%
Fiber 23.4g
Sugars 52.8g
Protein 159.6g 34.3%
healthy fats
A few examples of healthy fats.

Another great piece of advice which I can offer you, is to really try and eliminate refined sugars, excess salt and processed foods from your diet altogether. Sugars and processed foods contribute to weight gain, depression, anxiety, cellulite, unhealthy cravings, overeating, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc., etc., etc.! This can be a learning process, but with time, creativity, and effort, you will create a brand new palate which is customized to like the foods which benefit and support your healthy lifestyle, instead of destroy it. It is entirely possible, and highly effective to re-set your taste buds by eating more whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and wholesome  low fat proteins.

veggies
Eat More Veggies!

Remember, in a society that is constantly trying to sell you the next “easy fix” in a shake, pill, surgery, etc., there is actually a much cheaper, SIMPLER and, get this, effective fix in the form of 4 easy steps. Eat clean and do not over eat, get plenty of sleep, exercise daily, and drink lots of water. That is truly the magic formula!

Here is to health and happiness! 🙂

-Crystal

3 Variations of 3 Bean Salad!

20130826_152743

Hi!

Today I want to share with you a couple variations of bean salad. Beans are very good for you – low in fat, and high in protein, not to mention – delicious, and they fill you up!

I am a big fan of prepping some meals at the beginning of my week – this way I have healthy options at my fingertips. I find that I eat far less junk when I have good, wholesome meals available to me whenever I am hungry. One of my go to recipes is a 3 bean salad. You can treat this salad just like a quinoa salad, in the sense that anything goes really! It is fantastic for throwing on top of a bed of lettuce, spinach, or kale for a quick lunch, or is delicious as a side dish or all by itself.

This week I made bean salad out of whatever veggies I had in the fridge:

  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can garbanzos, rinsed
  • 1 cup sprouted mung beans
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup sliced baby carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced bell peppers
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup light Italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Also try these variations:

Mexican 3 Bean Salad

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans or white beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup (dry measurement) sprouted mung beans
  • 1 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 2 cups diced bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup diced jalapeno (optional)

Cucumber Mint 3 Bean Salad

  • 1 can black beans, or northern beans, rinsed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup sprouted mung beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 cups sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

All of these salads are complimented well with a sprinkle of fat free feta cheese and are extremely easy to prep. Have fun and let me know if you come up with another delicious combination!

-C