{Day 18} Successful Weight Loss Starts With A Meal Plan

When following a strict weight loss regimen, it is important to plan out your food for the day so you don’t spend all day thinking about food.  Basically, if you have everything planned out, you don’t CS PieChart 01k {Day 18} Successful Weight Loss Starts With A Meal Planhave to keep thinking about what you are going to eat or how hungry you are.  When you plan your meals correctly, the weight loss becomes much more likely to happen.  Here are a few tips for meal planning for weight loss success

  • Plan for Breakfast — Breakfast is the meal that gets your metabolism running and, if done properly, can help you burn fat all day long. It is important to plan for breakfast because a rushed morning makes for poor food decisions. Planning for the morning is better done the night before. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to pour your cereal and let it sit overnight, but you should have an idea of what you want to eat when you wake up. A tip for planning for breakfast is to take everything out the night before, like your utensils, cereal, and anything else that can be left out, and consolidate your cold ingredients in one space in the refrigerator. This will help you to be more efficient in the morning when your eyes are not quite open yet. Hard-boil your eggs the night before, peel and store in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator.  They are the perfect morning protein that even the sleepiest dieter can manage.
  • Set Up the Snacks — When we get hungry during the work day, those lunch room or cafeteria vending machines start calling our name, whispering sweet nothings. If you start a love affair with these vending machine vixens, you’ll be sorry. While trying to live a healthy lifestyle, those giant boxes packed with unhealthy choices are your worst enemy. This is why it is so important to plan your snacks for the day. By bringing fruits and vegetables or other healthy options from home, you will be able to control your hunger and avoid the trips to the vending machines. Great snacks for the workplace include an apple, plain popcorn, cut up veggies, whole nuts, and Greek yogurt. Not only will you feel better about the choices you make throughout the day, you will be able to stick to your weight loss goals for the long term. Small healthy snacks should be planned out for the day so you and your diet stay on track, and away from the vending machines.
  • Plan for Lunch and Dinner — When you don’t have a plan in place for your main meals, chances are you could end up foraging in the refrigerator and coming up with a bowl of leftover mashed potatoes as a main course. Or worse yet, calling for pizza or driving through the fast food place. This will turn into a dieting disaster, so it is important to think about your meals ahead of time. When your diet consists of lots of vegetables, fruits, protein, and whole grains, and all you have in the refrigerator is cold spaghetti noodles, you are putting your diet in jeopardy. Fill your refrigerator and pantry full of healthy choices and write out your meal plan for the week.  If you fall off your diet routinely just because you didn’t plan your meals, you may be sabotaging your diet.  Make the commitment, then make the plan. When you take the time to plan your meals and snacks, you have a better shot at keeping up with your weight loss goals. By planning your breakfast, being sure to pack appropriate snacks, and planning your lunch and dinner, you will be able to fend off the evil vending machines, fast food lines, and unsuccessful attempts at foraging for healthy foods. Remember, the food you eat should be a choice, and not just what is available on a whim. Plan for your meals and plan for a healthier you.

To give you a headstart I’ve give you 35 clean eating meal ideas,35 Healthy Meal Ideas.

Today’s assignment. 

  1. Using the healthy meal ideas, make a menu of the week.
  2. Make a list of snacks you can bring with you no matter where you so you aren’t tempted.

Don’t forget Leave a comment below. Write a facebook post on the Fabulous Fit Squad. If you have a personal blog, write a blog post. Make sure you link back to the site so we can cheer you on and hold you accountable.

Just joining now?? Don’t worry you can catch up.
Day 1 — Intro the challenge
Day 2 — Getting your mind straight 
Day 3 — Goal setting 
Day 4 — What’s on your plate
Day 5 — Lift
Day 6 — Cardio
Day 7 — Living on your own terms
Day 8 — Rest day
Day  9 — Forming a habit
Day 10 — Just Breathe
Day 11 — Fat loss secrets revealed
Day 12 — Can you pinch an inch
Day 13 — Dedicated and Focused 
Day 14 — Doubt
Day 15 — Rewards and Consequences
Day 16 — Damn Hormones
Day 17 — Pre and Post Workout Meals

Quick Spinach Basil Stir-Fry With Pine Nuts

 

8484163552 8d6ae7192a Quick Spinach Basil Stir Fry With Pine Nuts

taken by: Daniella Segura

3 tsp high olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bags (12 oz total) fresh spinach
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
dash red pepper flakes
2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn
optional: fresh grated Parmesan cheese

In a very large skillet, add cooking oil over medium-low heat.
Add pine nuts and cook, shaking skillet gently, until just starting to brown a little, about 2 minutes.
Add minced garlic and continue cooking, stirring constantly for 1 more minute.
Turn heat up to medium and add spinach, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Toss spinach around in skillet for about 3 minutes or until it just starts to wilt.
Add fresh basil leaves, tossing to combine, and continue cooking for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Grate fresh Parmesan cheese on top of each serving if desired.

Fresh Herb Infused Cucumber Topped Asparagus Salad

3 lbs freshly picked asparagus, trimmedMP900387907 Fresh Herb Infused Cucumber Topped Asparagus Salad
1 bunch green onions
3 cups fresh small cucumbers, scrubbed clean
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh chervil
1 Tbsp fresh chives
1 Tbsp fresh mint
2 tsp fresh tarragon
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup light olive oil

Fill a large pot with water and salt and bring to a rapid boil.
Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl with ice and water and set in sink.
When water boils, quickly cook asparagus until just crisp-tender, only about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and quickly put in ice bath to cool and stop cooking.
Drain well and set aside.
Chop green onions and put in large bowl.
Scrub cucumbers, trim ends, cut lengthwise, then slice thin and add to bowl with onions.
Add all the fresh herbs to the bowl and mix together well; keep cool.
Make dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, mustard, salt, and black pepper, then slowly start streaming in oil, whisking steadily, until dressing is creamy.
Pour dressing into onion cucumber bowl and toss to combine.
Arrange the asparagus on salad plates and spoon the dressed onion cucumber mixture over the top.
Taste and salt if desired.

4th of July Turkey Chili

Ingredients:
1 can (14.5oz) chopped tomatoes
1 can (6oz) tomato pasteMP900384801 4th of July Turkey Chili
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1.5 pounds ground turkey (you can also use ground beef if you prefer)
1 package (1.25oz) chili seasoning mix (low sodium)
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can (15oz) kidney beans, drained
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine tomatoes, tomato paste, carrot, onion, celery, pepper flakes and peppers in a large heavy pot and simmer over low heat.

Cook the ground turkey until browned. Then drain. Stir the chili seasoning into the ground turkey.

Add the turkey to the tomato mixture and add the cumin. Keep simmering until the vegetables are tender. Then stir in beans, cilantro and parsley. Heat through and season well.

Serve immediately. Serves 6-7. Freezes well.

Old Fashioned Apple Date Salad

6 medium size crisp tart applesstacked apples 1 Old Fashioned Apple Date Salad

6 dates

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

juice of one lemon

1 Tbsp light olive oil

pinch salt

romaine lettuce leaves

Wash and core the apples, then slice each apple into 12 wedges and put into large glass bowl.

Pit the dates and chop into small pieces, then add to bowl with apples.

Toast the walnuts in a dry (no oil) skillet over medium heat until just fragrant, then add to bowl.

In separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt, then immediately drizzle over salad in bowl.

Cover bowl lightly with waxed paper or parchment paper and put in refrigerator to chill for 10 to 20 minutes.

Serve by arranging romaine leaves on chilled salad plates, then spooning apple date mixture over the top.

Classic Quinoa Pilaf

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 ribs celery,  diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced or grated
1/4 tsp oregano
6 cups cooked quinoa
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped almonds, dry roasted

Put olive oil in large skillet over medium heat; add onion, celery, carrot, green pepper, and red pepper, and cook, stirring until vegetables start to soften, but are still somewhat crisp.

Stir in garlic and oregano and heat for 1 minute.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in the quinoa, mixing well.

salt and pepper to taste.

Toss in roasted almonds and serve hot either as a side dish or light main dish.

Note: To roast almonds, put in dry skillet over medium heat and toss until lightly browned.

Super Spiced Chick Peas

2 cans (15 oz size) garbanzo beans (chick peas) Super Spiced Chick Peas
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get out a large baking sheet.
Drain garbanzo beans, rinse, and drain well. If you don’t do this, they will be chewy aka not very good.
Put garbanzo beans in bowl and pour olive oil in, tossing to coat the beans well.
Spread garbanzo beans out on baking sheet.
In small bowl, mix together the seasonings.
Sprinkle 1/2 seasoning mixture evenly over garbanzo beans on baking sheet, shake beans to coat, then sprinkle remaining half of seasonings over beans, and shake again to coat.
Put in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, shaking to mix up beans once during baking time.

Garbanzo beans are done baking when they crisp up; adjust your cooking time accordingly. Keep your eye on them so they don’t burn.
Serve warm as a snack or use as a topping for green salads, soups, or casseroles.

 

 

Quinoa Stuffed Lettuce Wraps

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to directions
1 1/2 cups frozen, shelled edamame
3/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
3 tsp lime juice
dash cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp olive oil
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
8 large Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Cook quinoa according to directions.
While quinoa is still hot, stir in edamame and roasted red peppers.
Put cover back on pot and allow to sit.
Meanwhile, whisk together the lime juice, cumin, and garlic.
Keep whisking and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking until slightly thickened and smooth.
Dump quinoa mixture into bowl and drizzle dressing over, tossing to combine.
Toss in the cilantro.
Lay out the Romaine lettuce leaves on a work surface.
Spoon quinoa mixture into center of each leaf until mixture is used up evenly distributed between leaves.
Gently roll up the lettuce leaves over the mixture, lengthwise, as tightly as you can without breaking the leaves.
If you need to transport, you can lay in shallow pan and cover to transport or you can make them there.

Black Bean Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced (including the leaves)
1 regular carrot (not baby), peeled and diced small
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
2 cans (14 oz size) chicken or vegetable broth
1 smoked turkey leg or wing
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cans (15 oz size) black beans, drained and rinsed (about 4 to 5 cups cooked beans)

I like my soup a little spicy — so I add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
You can also serve with some hot sauce so that each person can flavor based on their personal spiciness level. My favorite hot sauce is Franks.

Put a Dutch oven over medium heat on stovetop.
Pour in oil, add onion, celery, and carrot; cook stirring for 4 minutes or until softened.
Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.
Add broth and bring soup just up to a slow boil.
Turn heat down to low heat, add ham and seasonings, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add black beans, stir to combine, and simmer on very low heat for 10 minutes.
To thicken soup, scoop out about 3 to 4 cups of soup (mostly black beans) and put in food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth making a puree. Add puree back to soup pot, stir to combine and serve.

 

Carrot and Parsnip Whip

IMG 0342 225x300 Carrot and Parsnip WhipMy husband isn’t a big fan of carrots, but when I put these to items together and blend the crap of them he will eat it.

1 pound carrots
1 pound parsnips
1 small onion
1 cup vegetable broth
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Put olive oil and onions in the pan and saute until brown about 3-5minutes. Peel and cut the carrots, and parsnips into 1/2  inch pieces; peel and cut the onion into 1 inch pieces.
Put the carrots, parsnips, onion, and vegetable broth in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat immediately and cover; simmer slowly for 20 to 25 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

Drain the vegetables through a colander over a bowl, reserving broth.

Put vegetables, coconut oil, nutmeg, and 1/4 cup of the reserved broth in your food processor or blender ( I use the Vitamix) and ‘puree’ until smooth and whipped.  Add more reserved broth if you want to make the puree thinner.

IMG 0339 225x300 Carrot and Parsnip WhipServe immediately in small bowls as a side dish loaded with nutrition. The flavors will develop more if you refrigerate overnight, then just reheat slowly in a saucepan before serving.

This also may be turned into soup by just adding more reserved broth to the food processor. You can add some protein to it but add in some smooth tofu.