Nutrition Archives - Kilroy's Kitchen Category
Wellness Wednesday: Get Yo’ Vitamin D!

Wellness Wednesday: Get Yo’ Vitamin D!

Good Morning & HAPPY WELLNESS WEDNESDAY! We are having a beautiful week over here in Chicago and I am loving every second of it. I woke up this morning, got in the car for my drive to work,  blared some Irish folk music (am I turning into my dad? Hi dad!) & got plenty of Vitamin D.

We talked last week about all about getting outside and walking. Aside from managing your weight and improving your mood, walking (specifically outside) helps you get your daily dose of Vitamin D! What is Vitamin D? I’m glad you asked! Today’s Wellness Wednesday is all about my favorite vitamin!

So, before I tell you about all of the benefits of Vitamin D, I gotta let you in on a little secret: it’s not actually a vitamin. Vitamins cannot be produced by the body and thus must be acquired through diet or supplements (like, your daily multi-vitamin or eating spinach, for example). Vitamin D, on the other hand, is actually produced by your body with a little help from our dear friend, Mr. Sun.


vitamin d

Benefits of Vit D

Alright, now that we’ve got the vitamin debate settled, let’s talk benefits. I think it’ll be clear as to why this is my favorite “vitamin” 😉

  • Healthy bones! Calcium gets all the credit when it comes to preventing osteoporosis and keeping your bones healthy but truth be told, vitamin D plays just as big of a role. You can eat all the calcium-rich foods in the world but if you’re not getting enough vitamin D, it doesn’t really matter. You see, Vitamin D helps to absorb the calcium you digest so that it can be used (and not discarded as waste). Cool, right? Right.
  • Ward off depression! No, sunshine and vitamin D won’t rid you of clinically diagnosed depression. However, it can definitely help you start to feel better (along with your regular treatment plan). And maybe you’re not depressed but you’re having a rough day at work, with the kids, with your spouse, whatever: go outside. Get some sunlight and feel better about things. I mean, is there anything better than feeling the warm sunshine on your skin? I can’t think of anything.
  • Prevents cancer?! Say what?! It’s true. Well, sorta. Studies have shown that calcitriol (the hormonal version of vitamin D) can slow the development and growth of blood vessels in cancerous tissues. It can also increase the rate of cancer cell death. Dope, right?
So… how do we get it?

The good news is, is that Vitamin D is seemingly easy to get enough of. All you have to do is step outside, sunscreen free (this is key!!), for a few minutes every day. The bad news is, is that vitamin D has a half-life of about 2 weeks. This means that if your vitamin D stores are full, they’ll be depleted within 2 weeks if you don’t get some sun.

Now, I don’t know about where you live, but sunshine is alarmingly difficult to come across in the middle of a Chicago winter. It seems we go months without seeing sunlight. It’s really sad (and downright depressing, quite literally). This is why so many people are advocates of sun lamps & mid-winter beach vacations (Florida, anyone?).

Well, it’s a good thing you can get vitamin D from food, too! In the photo above, you’ll see that you can get vitamin D from eggs, salmon, mushrooms, cheese, and fortified foods like milk. Drink up!

So with summer winding down, make sure you soak up all of the sunshine. And I mean all of it! Get in all the goodness that comes from Vitamin D. And this winter? Make sure you get outside, even if it’s just a few minutes, while the sun is out. It’s good for your body and your mood 🙂

And that’s all for this Wellness Wednesday – enjoy the rest of your week!

Running Recap: Weeks 4-5 & All About Hydration

Running Recap: Weeks 4-5 & All About Hydration

As promised… here’s my Running Recap for Weeks 4 and 5! I know, you were all missing this so much! But cheer up, buttercups, it has arrived.

 

Boy, oh, boy is it HOT lately. I wanna complain but I treated myself to ice cream TWICE this week. whatWHAT.. Sidebar: Tastee Freeze is now “The Freeze.” Um, can we not? Okay and we’re back: the humidity is really killer! You walk outside and instantly begin to sweat. Speaking of sweat and humidity, let’s talk about HYDRATION!


tastee freeze

 

The Midwest is known for it’s brutally cold winters and it’s sticky-hot summers. There is no in between. So when you’re working outside, whether you’re working, gardening, or working out, hydration is KEY.

The Importance of Hydration:

Hydration is so important for a variety of reasons, many of which you learn in health class. Water is essential to so many functions in your body and when you deprive yourself of water, even inadvertently, sh*t starts to go down! Or should I say… shut down! HAHA! Have you ever seen runners legs give out at the end of a race (marathons, mostly)? Yeah, they’re dehydrated (among other things). You’ve got a headache? You might be dehydrated! Feeling sluggish? Drink some water. Feeling like ya gotta poop but can’t? Water helps to keep things moving. So, in short, water is very important.

Easy Ways to Hydrate:

We all know that drinking more water is the easiest way to hydrate and stay hydrated. If you know me, you know that I carry a giant jug of water wherever I go. And if I don’t have my water? I’m scrambling to get my hands on a bottle or even just a cup to fill at a fountain. Because of my constant need for water, I go to the bathroom a LOT. My colleagues often give me a hard time because I am always getting up to go.

So it should be pretty obvious that my first tip to staying hydrated is to carry around a refillable water bottle. You don’t have to have a fancy water bottle, anything works as long as it’s portable. Hell, I prefer bottles with a straw because I can drink while laying down (#lazy).

 

Do you get tired of plain water? That’s fine. My second tip to staying hydrated is my BFF La Croix. Yes, carbonated, flavored water. That’s not really your style? FINE. A Crystal Light packet (or mio) will do just fine. Unsweetened hot tea or iced tear are cool, too. Plain water is going to be your best bet but I understand sometimes you need a change and these substitutions work well since they’re (mostly) calorie-free.

 

My third tip? Avoid pop (soda or soda pop for all you weirdos) and caffeine in general. So, yes, even though you brew your coffee with water, the caffeine content will actually dehydrate you as that sh*t is a diuretic. A cup of (black) coffee or two is fine but be sure to follow with a cup of water. (I say black coffee because if you’re working on improving your nutrition, those sugar-laden drinks are not going to do you any favors. Trust.)
Okay so let’s recap: carry a water bottle everywhere, drink more water (or water products), avoid caffeine. Get it? Got it? Good. Enough about the importance of hydration (drink ya water, kiddos!), let’s get on to my last 2 weeks of running!!
sunny daze

Running Recap Weeks 4.5-5

So let’s start waaay back to June 29 (technically week 4.5)
  • Thursday: Easy 4
  • Friday: Easy 5
  • Saturday: Easy 4
  • Sunday: Easy 6

Weekly Mileage: 25 miles (including Monday-Wednesday)

 

  • Monday: None
  • Tuesday: Easy 5
  • Wednesday: None
  • Thursday: Easy 4
  • Friday: Easy 5 – what a weird run :O I was around 1.5 miles in and I am pretty sure I saw one of these snakes on the trail!!! I turned around REAL fast & double backed to an opening in the shrubbery to get to the sidewalk. I’ll admit… I didn’t get close enough to definitely confirm that it was one of those snakes but I wasn’t taking any chances. And another weird thing? I was less than a mile from home when this nasty little bug decided to fly into my eye. It. Burned! So bad. I had to stop and cry it out a little bit 😉
  • Saturday: None
  • Sunday: None

storms brewing

Weekly Mileage: 14 miles – I was supposed to have double the mileage this week but life sometimes gets in the way, ya know?! It happens.

So now that the first 5 weeks (the build-up weeks) are over with, it’s time to get to the nitty gritty: SPEED AND STRENGTH WORK. Woohoo! I can’t wait. Stay tuned 😉

Carb-Load the Right Way

Carb-Load the Right Way

OMGOMGOMGOMG. The weekend is finally here. I thought this day would never come! Why is it that 4-day weeks always go by sooooo s-l-o-o-o-o-w? I thought with my taper & carb-load I’ve been doing, the week would go quickly. Or at least not move at a glacial pace. Nope, wrong. I mean, 4-day weeks with Friday off are nice but 4-day weeks with Monday off? Forget about it. I want no part of that. Luckily, next week is a 4-day week for me again. WITH FRIDAY OFF. Hurray! *throws confetti* I’m not sure what I’ll do with my time but I’ll be sure to keep ya updated 😉

A N Y WAY – today I’m going to talk to you all about the importance of carbohydrates for endurance sports & how to properly carb-load. Carbohydrates play such an important role in performance for your sport. Raise your hand if you spend days, weeks, months, training for a sport only to “bonk” or hit-the-wall. *raises both hands* While proper carb-loading won’t make you actually run any faster, it can prevent you from feeling fatigued in the last few miles so you can finish strong. Remember: carbs won’t do the work for you but they will help you reap the benefits of your training.

Okay, let’s get down to the nitty gritty here.

The Science:

So, your body obtains energy from multiple sources: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Glycogen, from carbohydrates, is the most easily accessible source of energy so it’s no brainer that your body uses all of that up first. And when your glycogen stores are filled, your body is happy. So, so happy. That means that it can use up the glycogen stores before turning to fat for energy. Efficiency is key, folks.

So does that mean you should stuff yourself the night before a race? Definitely not. I mean, you can only consume so much at one time right? Right.

How to Eat:

So how do we properly fill our glycogen stores to the brim? Well, since we cannot top-off our glycogen stores with one carb-heavy meal, we need slowly fill our tanks in the week leading up to the event. By consuming more carbohydrates with every meal, you can slowly fill up your glycogen stores without overeating. Think of it like watering a garden: you water your garden for 10 minutes every day so your plants can grow. You know that if you water your garden too much, your plants can drown. Too little and your plants with be thirsty. Your body is kinda like that garden. With proper carb-loading, you contribute a small, but manageable, amount of carbohydrates over the period of a week. You aren’t drowning your muscles in glycogen.

pb&j

The Food:

I can have a pretty sensitive stomach and while I do like to try new things, the days leading up to a long-distance race is not the time to experiment. I prefer to keep my carb-load foods very plain and basic: oatmeal with raisins and a Greek yogurt, banana with peanut butter, pasta with some chicken or Italian sausage, bagels, an extra half-sandwich, whatever. These foods are tried and true favorites of mine to ensure a happy stomach and a good performance. (disclaimer: food will not make you faster, you do still need to put the work in during your training!)

banana bread muffinSample Meal Plan:

Like I said above, I prefer to keep things simple and boring. This sample plan is by no means an extensive list but it’s something I like to follow. It’s higher in carbohydrates than I typically eat but it’s also easy for me to follow.

  • Breakfast: 1-2 packets of oatmeal (or a bowl of cereal) and a piece of fruit OR a spinach & fruit smoothie
  • Snack(s): Almonds & cheese, Gatorade, 1/2 sandwich (usually pb&j), or some banana bread
  • Lunch: Turkey & cheese sandwich, strawberries & blueberries, Greek yogurt, pretzel thins or popcorn
  • Dinner: some kind of pasta with meat & marinara sauce, steamed vegetables or a pasta bake with the veggies cooked inside or even baked chicken with rice and steamed vegetables

And that’s what I’ve got for you today, folks. I’ve definitely been using these tips for my half tomorrow & will continue to do so in the future!

What are your favorite ways to carb-load?

Do you have any endurance events coming up?

What I Eat Wednesday

What I Eat Wednesday

Hey gang. Welcome to WHAT I EAT WEDNESDAY. Don’t know what that is?! STAY TUNED.

So, the other day I was watching some YouTube channel and somebody actually made (several) “full day of eating” videos. And most of these videos were all the same. *Insert meal-prep service here* *Insert protein bar there* Did I say there are several of these videos? I meant dozens. DOZENS! How many different variations of those videos can there be before viewers tune out? Apparently… a lot.

Because of this, I was inspired. Inspired by the lack of creativity and variety in these videos. I mean, what’s inspiring about a bunch of people sponsored by meal prep companies eating pre-prepared meals (that they didn’t pay for)? Not a whole lot. I’ve been inspired to create my own little WIEW (What I Eat Wednesday) and share some of the foods I eat throughout the day. Some days are definitely healthier than others but I like to think I have a pretty balanced diet: fruits, veggies, protein sources, carbohydrates, and a mixture of fat sources.

Breakfast:

Breakfast is usually something quick and easy to eat in the car. If I’m not running in the morning, I’m getting as much sleep as possible so breakfast is the last thing on my mind. Well, that’s a lie. I LOVE BREAKFAST. It’s my favorite meal. During the week, however, it’s eaten in the car.

This week, my breakfast has been a cup of coffee + a Quest Bar. I know, I know. A protein bar. But it keeps me from gnawing my arm off until my snack time. Yes, I designate a snack time for myself. I’m 4.

Snacks:

I became a recent fan of nuts (almonds) + cheese + dried cranberries. OH. MY. GOD. What a combo. Thanks Matt (I know you’re reading this). The fats from the almonds + cheese = SATIETY. And the cranberries provide a necessary sweetness.

Lunch:

I tend to keep things stupid easy for lunch: sandwich with some deli meat. a piece of cheese (whatever I have on hand), a lil bit (not a lot baby girl just a lil biiiit) of Miracle Whip (don’t forget the tangy zip), and a handful of spinach. Because you know, you need them greens. Along with my sammy, I throw in some fruit, whatever is cheap at the grocery store, a yogurt cup, and some of those pretzel thins that I LOVE SO MUCH

Pre-Run:

If I’m running after work, I gotta have a snack. And since I’m usually in the car on my way home from work, again, it has to be something easy to handle and eat. So, I try to grab a banana when I’m on my way out of the house in the morning. Do I always remember? Definitely not. If I forget, I’ll save one of my lunch foods for snack-time.

Dinner:

By the time I get home from work and my run, the last thing I want to do is cook. Occasionally, I’ll do a meal-prep batch of some meats and veggies over the weekend to hold me through the week but recently? I’ve been really busy (and subsequently, tired) on weekends so I haven’t been on my A-game. Or even my B-game.

I try to keep things easy for dinner so what I’ve been doing this week is a lot of teriyaki chicken, rice, and steamed veggies. Under 30 minutes. Healthy. Minimal mess. I actually shared this meal the other day – you can view it here!

 

Training Log: May 1-7 + Diet Break + a Quick, Healthy Meal

Training Log: May 1-7 + Diet Break + a Quick, Healthy Meal

Hello & GOOD MORNING. Welcome to the third installment of my North Shore Half-Marathon Training Log – I’ve got about 3 weekends left and then it’s race day! Exciting.

Training Log:
  • Monday – 4 miles at an easy pace. I decided to run today because I was asked to babysit after work on Wednesday and knew I may not have the chance to run that day (spoiler alert: I was right)
  • Tuesday – 4 mile tempo run
  • Wednesday – No run. I planned on getting up in the morning but I decided that sleep was more important and I’m glad I did… Wednesday was a VERY long day.
  • Thursday – 4 miles at an easy pace
  • Friday – 3.5 unscheduled miles
  • Saturday – No run
  • Sunday – 6 miles even though I had 11 planned L O L. I pushed 11 to next weekend and did my “short” run this weekend so I could catch up on some much-needed sleep

Total mileage: 21.5 miles. I am playing around with my frequency and getting in more weekly miles because I think I’ve decided on a marathon plan. I’m reading Hanson’s Marathon Method and I know that plan has you running 5-6 days a week so that’s what I’m working on right now. Even if I have a lower mileage week, or even just do 3 miles, I’m still running “on tired legs” which is a focus of HMM.

Diet Break:

Before I go on and tell you all about my super fun diet break, I do want to announce that I am down another pound. WOO! Down 8 since ~late February/early March.

Saturday:

So this weekend, Matt & I did some REALLY FUN THINGS:

First, we went and looked at apartments. Which isn’t actually as fun as it seems, especially when you can’t find something that fits all of your wants and your budget. Fingers crossed we find something this week (we’re going to see more on Tuesday evening). We are both SO. TIRED. of looking at apartments. And getting the run around from leasing agents. When I say I want a washer/dryer in-unit,  please don’t send me to view one without that – THANKS.

Anyway, after our unsuccessful morning, we went to Spacca Napoli Pizzeria for… PIZZA. And arancini. The pizza was proscuitto, parmesan, and arugula (my new favorite pizza, I’M SURE OF IT). I highly recommend this place to anyone in the Ravenswood area!

So, the team Matt works on was hosting an event for all of their sales winners and since some of the sales people weren’t able to go, they asked some non-sales employees to take their place. WELL: he, along with a +1 (me, duh), got a one night stay at the Four Seasons Downtown, a $150 room credit, a 3 course + appetizers meal prepared by Fabio Viviani and his team, a $250 gift card to Nordstrom, a Sunday brunch, and Fabio Viviani’s 30-Minute Italian Cookbook (and a bottle of wine!). At the reception dinner, we ate even more proscuitto (#notmad), meatballs, steak, gnocchi, and some delicious desserts. After dinner, we went back to the room and put our room credit to good use: we bought Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And pigged out on room service. Please don’t judge us.

Sunday:

We woke up really  early on Sunday morning so we decided to go for a walk along Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue. Around 9, we went to a beautiful brunch – omelets, pastries, breakfast meats, French toast, fruit salad. THE WORKS. So I think it’s suffice to say that we enjoyed our little (okay, major) diet break this weekend.

And now we are both back to some healthy eating. We were both feeling really lazy last night after our runs so instead of really preparing anything for dinner, we whipped up our favorite, no-fuss, minimal effort meal: Teriyaki Chicken with rice & stir-fry veggies. We buy the Tyson brand frozen teriyaki chicken filets from Sam’s Club and all we have to do is heat them up in the microwave or the oven. Then just steam some rice, and throw a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave for 5 minutes. You’ve got dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes AND the meal requires almost no effort from you AND it’s healthy! A little high in sugar (because of the teriyaki) but high in protein, micronutrients, and a good source of carbohydrates.

And that’s all I’ve got for you guys today – tune in next Monday for my fourth North Shore Half Marathon Training Log!

 

Training Log: April 24-30

Welcome back to the second installment of my North Shore Half Marathon Training Log. I told you… I’m GOING TO push these out every Monday since my training schedule typically ends on Saturday BUT there are weekends when I push my long run to Sunday #BUSY.

Training Log:
  • Monday: No run
  • Tuesday: 4 miles at an easy pace -the work I’ve been putting into this training plan is starting to pay off as 4 miles is actually feeling like a fun distance whereas maybe 3 months ago, I don’t know if I could have completed it without walking or “tying my shoes”
  • Wednesday: I had 4 miles scheduled but I had to run in the morning and snoozed a little too long so I only had time for a 5K. It’s fine though becuase it was one of my fastest 5Ks in recent months (years?) and I’m pretty happy with that!
  • Thursday: Skipped – pushed today’s run to Friday afternoon
  • Friday: 4 miles at an easy pace – I actually got up early Friday morning because Matt got up to run… and I didn’t. Although we did do some yoga once he got back and boy OH BOY, Yoga with Adriene got us feelin’ good
  • Saturday: The plan was 6 miles but with a constant downpour all day… I jumped on the dreadmill and completed 4 miles
  • Sunday: No run

Total mileage: 15.1mi. I knew it would be a lower week since I wasn’t doing a super long run on the weekend but after seeing last weeks mileage, it is slightly disappointing. It’s fine – I’ve got 20+ on the agenda for this upcoming week. MY HALF IS IN 5 WEEKS! WOAH!

Nutrition:

I don’t want to say I fell off the healthy-eating wagon this week because… for the most part, I didn’t. I definitely did not eat as many vegetables as I should have but life happens and sometimes vegetables fall by the wayside, right? Right.


And this weekend was weird with Matt and I viewing apartments, having to stay out of our townhome for showings, and we ate out TWICE this weekend. TWICE! Can you believe that? So, it’s back on the grind this week and shoving as many vegetables into my face as possible.

In all seriousness, I’ve got some seasoned chicken breasts prepared and chopped some veggies so that when I go to make my lunch the night before or morning of, I can just throw it all together in a few minutes. My salad of the week is a Greek chicken salad – although, letsbereal, I could always go for a Greek salad: crisp greens, zesty chicken, oil & herb dressing, and FETA. ALL OF THE FETA. Okay, not all of it because I’m dieting but youknowwhatI’msayin.

That’s all I’ve got for you folks, today! If you haven’t already, check out my latest recipe: Strawberry Lemon Quick Bread – it’s going to be my go-to pre-run snack this week! And tune in next Monday to read next weeks training log!

Let’s Talk About: Weight

Let’s Talk About: Weight

I’m getting a little personal on the blog today so if that’s not your thing you can check out any of my other posts & check back throughout the week for some new, easy recipes. Today I’m gonna talk about my own personal journey through weight loss, gain, and maintenance. Cool? Cool. It’s not something I typically talk about as it’s kind of awkward and almost embarrassing for me but here we go…

The Beginning:

Throughout high school, I was always relatively active: I was a soccer player all of my life so that took up 3 seasons of the year and I played volleyball for a little while, as well. I was never really out of shape but I was never in great shape (except that one summer I went to volleyball conditioning 3x a week, thanks Coach Fillipo). I was always bigger than most of my teammates but I had more muscle than most of them so it was like, whatever.

Then in the summer leading up to my senior year, I started going out a lot. And with going out comes late nights, picking up McDonald’s or Taco Bell, not sleeping well, and just generally not taking care of myself. From that summer until I came home for Winter Break my freshman year of college (so about a year and a half), I gained a lot of weight. I’m not exactly sure how much because I never weighed myself but… it was bad. I got my wake-up call in the form of my dad just flat out telling me, “Erin, you’ve gotta take better care of yourself.” So I did.

Initial Weight Loss:

Throughout the spring semester of freshman year (2010), I managed to lose 20 pounds through a combination of exercising more and eating better. Since I was a freshman, I still lived in the dorm but I think I was lucky in that my cafeteria had a salad bar with chicken and vinaigrette dressings to choose from so that made up the bulk of my diet. I still ate Pokey Sticks after a night out (they were HEAVEN!), and mac & cheese on Friday’s, but lunch was almost always a salad and dinner was typically chicken, vegetables + a piece of bread, rice, or pasta.

So not only was I eating much better, I was also running and being more active in general. I slowly but surely worked my way from hardly-faster-than-walking mile runs on the treadmill to regular 5Ks on campus. In the following summer, I maintained for the most part – I still remained active but I didn’t pay as much attention to my nutrition as I did while in school.
After that summer, I went back to school and I lost another 20 pounds. So my weight loss was a total of 40 pounds. I spent probably 90 minutes most days in the gym or running around campus. And I wasn’t fueling my body properly: I ‘tracked’ my calories and restricted myself to 1200 calories. I ran 2 half-marathons in 2011 and then, as I was training for the 2012 Chicago Marathon, I injured myself. My injury came about thanks in part to overuse and in part under-eating. I spent most of Summer 2012 and the following fall and winter educating myself on proper nutrition and fueling myself for intense running.

A Much-Needed Gain:

Upon educating myself on proper nutrition, and while I was still out of running, I spent a lot of time in the gym doing a powerlifting style of training. I was eating more and doing less cardio so, obviously, I gained some weight. I truly believe that I needed to gain that weight back in order to eat like a normal human being and not maintain weight on 1200 calories.

That year, I gained around 10 pounds, transferred schools, moved home (I commuted to school now!), and began working on my degree in Nutrition. I maintained what was now a 30 pound weight loss for another two years or so and completed my Bachelor of Science in Nutrition in May 2015. So like… I know how to eat right and I know the science behind it. But changing behaviors is a lot more difficult.

Gaining The Rest…:

It’s hard to point out when I started gaining more weight and I don’t have a reason why that happened. I got busy, stressed out, focused on other things. Who knows? I slacked off. I’m human. We all are. It happens. But I gained quite a bit of weight back. It wasn’t until earlier this year (2017) when I saw a photo of myself and was like: GIRL. GET IT TOGETHER. So I did. I am. IT’S HARD!

And Now:

Now? I’m training for a half in June, Chicago Marathon in October, and eatin’ good. I’ve lost 7 pounds of the 25-30 I’d like to lose. I don’t track my macros religiously but I will make sure that I’m eating enough food to support my goals. Most days, I eat around 2000 calories; some days it’s more and others it’s less. I eat to fuel my body and my runs, while keeping weight loss goals in mind. (Side note: it is SO EASY to gain weight while training for distance runs.)

So with all of that said — I plan on sharing more of the weight-related struggles I experience along with the healthy recipes I’ve already started sharing.

PHEW – talk about a vulnerable post!

See you guys next time with a DELICIOUS corned beef breakfast hash!

Weekly Meal Prep: March 5-11

Weekly Meal Prep: March 5-11

oh hello gif mrs doubtfire

Welcome back for another installment of my weekly meal prep. I didn’t post last week (obviously) because I was lazy and didn’t end up preparing a lot of food. Okay. I actually prepared no food. I mostly stayed on track but ran out of chicken for my salads at the end of the week. BOO

I gotta say… having food ready is really so helpful. Even if it takes some extra time to actually complete the meal prep, it pays off during the week when I am too tired or lazy to prepare a meal. Also? I have saved so much money ALREADY. Shocking, right? I looked around this week and saw that many of my coworkers got a $4+ coffee from the office Starbucks or a $10+ meal from the cafeteria and that money adds up SO FAST. Aside from just not spending the money, planning and doing a “meal prep” saves on food waste and thus saves a few extra dolla dolla bills, y’all.


Anyway, on to the upcoming week:

There’s a small locally-owned restaurant near me that makes AMAZING food and I especially love their Greek chicken salads. Well, after ordering them so often, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create my own Greek salad at home. Because Greek salads are so difficult to make, right? WRONG. They’re fairly intuitive and anybody with eyes should know how to make one – what you see is what you get. So for the last, oh I don’t know, a year or so(?), I’ve been making them myself and save my restaurant trips. Why am I telling you this?! I’m making Greek chicken salads for lunch this week and thought I’d share how I prepare them! I’ll also be showing how I prepare my dinners for this week as the week goes on.

Lunches/Snacks:
  • Greek chicken salad or chicken sausage + roasted veggies (I’m one of those people that cannot eat the same  thing for lunch every single day)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Mixed nuts
  • Strawberries, blueberries or other fruit
  • Skinny Pop popcorn
  • 1/2PB&J or banana muffin
Dinner:
  • Monday: Balsamic chicken, mozzarella & basil with a side salad
  • Tuesday: Honey garlic chicken & shrimp with rice and stir-fry veggies
  • Wednesday: Sloppy Joes with sweet potato fries and veggies
  • Thursday: Leftovers
  • Friday: Hopefully going out
Method:

My ~method to the madness~ this week was very low-key. All I did prior to the start of the week was make sure I had every ingredient necessary for Monday-Wednesday dinners and things to add to my lunch. So because I was only missing a few things, I headed to the grocery store for the following: Greek yogurt (we go through this so fast!), fruit, Skinny pop, mozzarella, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, basil, shrimp, a loaf of bread, and sweet potato fries. As I’ve said in the past, I really like to have 1/2 PB&J or maybe a small muffin before a workout. I made these muffins late last week and will make them again sometime this week for a quick grab-n-go pre-workout snack.

Because the meals this week are super simple, I was able to put most of my groceries away and get to work on the Greek salads.

Greek Chicken Salad:

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast
  • Mixed greens
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • Kalamata olives, whole or sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Green bell pepper, sliced
  • Feta crumbles
  • Salt & pepper
  • Garlic & herb seasoning (I use Mrs. Dash)
  • Greek dressing (make your own using oil + dried herbs – I buy Matsos Greek Dressing)
Directions:
  • For the chicken:
    • Pre-heat your oven to 350 and in a baking dish, season your chicken with salt, pepper, and a garlic & herb seasoning. Once oven is warmed, pop chicken into the oven for ~25 minutes until chicken is no longer pink on the inside or the internal temperature reaches 165F (cooking times vary based on oven thickness of chicken)
  • For the salad:
    • While chicken is being cooked, throw together most of your salad in a large mixing bowl: the greens, onion, cucumbers, olives, tomatoes, and bell pepper
    • Portion out the salad into Tupperware for the week and set aside
  • Once chicken is complete, slice while warm and let cool before portioning out into your Tupperware
  • Sprinkle feta crumbles on top now or wait until morning of
  • Use smaller, salad dressing-size Tupperware for the dressing (do not add dressing directly to salad until ready to eat – you don’t want soggy salad!!)
  • Refrigerate and don’t forget your lunch!!

And that’s all of I’ve got for this weeks meal prep! I’ve got a few ideas brewing in my brain for this week so be sure to stop by later!

You can't sit with us!!

 

Meal Prep Sunday: Feb 19-25

ckWELCOME. Today I’ll be recapping my very first venture into Meal Prep! I’ve decided to try prepping and planning most of my meals in advance because I value my sleep in the mornings, working out & catching up on my shows in the evening, and I just really suck at making nutritious choices when I’m hungry (holla if I’m not alone here). Luckily for me, my new workplace has a cafeteria with healthier options but $$$. So here we are.

My plan is for the work-week ONLY as Matt and I usually figure out weekend meals together; sometimes we’ll make something elaborate and other times we’ll order takeout. I’m not including breakfasts here because that’s an easy one for me: oatmeal, protein shake (with milk!), some kind of fruit.

Menu:

  • Snacks:
    • Mixed nuts 
    • Fruit (whatever’s cheapest at the store: blueberries, strawberries, bananas, clementines, grapes)
    • 1/2PB&J for between work & the gym
    • Protein bars
    • Hard boiled eggs
  • Lunches:
    • Grilled chicken salads with a mixture of toppings OR leftovers from the night before
    • Fruit
    • Greek yogurt
  • Dinners:
    • Monday: Chicken burrito bowls
    • Tuesday: Rosemary chicken with red potatoes & roasted veggies
    • Wednesday: Leftovers from earlier in the week
    • Thursday: Chicken teriyaki stir-fry & rice
    • Friday: Chicken picatta with pasta & side salad

Method:

So the very first thing Matt and I did yesterday morning was head to the grocery store and pick-up some necessities: vegetables, fruits, yogurt, bread, etc. Basically, everything we’d need (that we don’t already have) for a successful week. Since we did a big Sam’s Club trip recently and I did a grocery trip on Thursday, we didn’t need much.


Once we got home, Matt was off to study for an exam this week and I washed, chopped, and baked our vegetables. While the vegetables were baking, I washed and cut a few cartons of strawberries to make for an easy grab-and-go snack or lunch item during the week. This was also the time I put together the bulk of my salads for Monday-Wednesday (greens, shredded carrots, sliced red onion, walnuts).

Once the vegetables were done, I got started on the next phase of the meal prep: hard-boiled eggs! While those were going, I completed some new-hire paperwork (borRRRring but necessary). So now that the fruits, vegetables, my salads, and eggs were done for the week, all I had left were the meats!  Including the trip to the grocery store, the bulk of this weeks prep took less than 3 hours.

After a break and a bike ride, we eventually got back to it and cooked up some chicken for the week – mostly as a salad topper but it would also be good with just the roasted vegetables if need be! What I really like to do is slice the chicken while it’s still warm (but not hot!) because it’s easier to work with. Even better: use a pizza cutter!

Thoughts:

Sunday’s meal prep took a lot longer than I expected but I think the more I do it, the more efficient I’ll be at it! I also think that I’ll break up grocery shopping and actually preparing everything into two separate days. Side note: does anybody else struggle to spell “separate” ?! I DO. EVERY TIME. Okay. Anyway. I am SO GLAD I don’t have to worry about “what’s for dinner” this week or buying lunch in the cafeteria. All I’ll have to do when I get home in the evenings is do some assembly work + heating but dinner should be under 30 minutes! And… while I LOOoOoVE cooking… I get so dang tired at the end of the day so ya know… the less I have to do, THE BETTA. And there we have: MEAL PREP. (how many times can I say meal prep?! MEAL PREP MEAL PREP MEAL PREP)

 

PEACE & I’M OUT

erin signature

 

Pre- and Post-Workout: What’s the Deal?!

Hey everyone!

Today we’re gonna be talking about the importance of the foods you choose before and after you workout. Experts always say that good health and weight maintenance is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise: you truly cannot outwork your diet. So with that said, let’s make sure you’re choosing the right foods and drinks to fuel you through a workout and help you recover afterwards.

Pre-Workout:

The pre-workout meal should be something on the smaller side, think 250-400 calories depending on your current intake levels, since you don’t want to go into a workout feeling stuffed. This meal should be primarily composed of carbohydrates with some protein. The reason you want to choose something higher in carbohydrates is so your body has something use as fuel during the workout. Your body breaks down all calories into glucose to create energy (ATP!) and carbohydrates are the easiest and quickest for the body to breakdown (then protein, then fat). The pre-workout meal should be consumed 30-90 minutes prior to working out (depending on activity and meal). Personally, I prefer 1/2 PB&J about 30 minutes before a run or lift. Some other good options include: banana (or other fruit) & peanut butter, 2-3 rice cakes & nut butter, breakfast taco (eggs, tortilla, turkey sausage), or 2 banana muffins.


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Post-Workout:

Many of you reading have probably consumed a protein shake or two in your time, especially, if you’re an avid gym-goer. Protein shakes are a great choice for the post-workout meal because they contain both carbohydrates and proteins. Your body needs carbohydrates to replenish the stores you burned up during your workout, and your body needs protein so your muscles can grow and repair. The post-workout meal is best consumed within 60 minutes of finishing your workout – obviously, do what’s best for your schedule but you do not need to consume your protein shake while you’re still at the gym (unless you want to!) Some good post-workout meals include: protein shakes, a sandwich of some kind, burrito bowl, rice & meat or beans, or eggs and pancakes.

Welcome one, welcome all to my little corner of the internet (cheesy, I know). Here you’ll find all sorts of food, fitness, and the fun things I’m up to! I include recipes for everything I make, I’ll recap my weekly workouts, and I share things that make me laugh so hard I cry. I’ve been told I’ve got a sarcastic sense of humor so, sorry ’bout it. Wanna learn s’more about me? Go ahead – check out my about me page!

 

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