Meal Plan Monday 9.11.17

I don’t know about you, but stalking Refinery 29’s Money Diaries has made me realize how much money I spend on eating out, buying coffee, and picking up random snacks during the day.  While most of my choices are nutritious, it’s not healthy for my wallet.

I’ve found that the easiest way to cut back on money spent on food and drink is meal planning.  Since we moved in June, Mike and I have done a great job of pulling together a loose weekly meal plan to keep our grocery list focused.  Having a plan and the food needed encourages us to pack our breakfasts (I catch the bus around 7AM so I don’t eat before I leave), lunches, and pre-workout snacks.

For breakfasts, I keep a variety of frozen things that I can quickly pop in Tupperware and throw in my lunch bag, like frozen multi-grain waffles or English Muffins.  Paired with the peanut butter I always have in my desk and a piece of fruit, it’s a super easy way to avoid the many breakfast carts scattered around campus.

Lunches lately have been sandwiches on low-carb wraps, but I made a big pot of chili yesterday for football so we portioned the rest out into single-servings for the remainder of the week.  Crock pots for the win!  I will throw in some veggies and hummus as well as some tortilla chips to keep myself satisfied.

Snacks for this week are Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix, which I keep in my desk 24/7.  It’s not my favorite trail mix (there’s no chocolate in it), but it keeps me from mindlessly snacking when I should just have a glass of water instead.

Dinners are a little different this week since we have zero meat in the freezer…the world was my oyster when it came to a menu!

Here’s what we decided on…

Monday: Going out to dinner…it’s my running group’s 1-year anniversary party at the local brewery!
Tuesday: Chicken Primavera & a side of pasta
Thursday: Leftover Chicken Primavera & pasta
Friday: Turkey burgers, vegetables, and potatoes on the grill (Great pre-race meal as I’m running a 10K on Saturday morning!)
Saturday: Going out to dinner
Sunday: “Make Your Own Pizza” and salads (Trader Joe’s has the BEST pre-made crust)
I try to stay on track during the week, but life happens and you might not feel like making your Chicken Primavera if you don’t get home from work until later in the evening.  In situations like that, Mike and I have some frozen pizzas in the fridge that we can quickly pop in the oven.  No, it’s not the most nutritious option, but it is important to cut yourself some slack.  Not every meal is going to be well-balanced and homemade!

Let’s get ready to rummmmble!!!

Guys.  It’s football season. That means we don’t have any more football-less weekends until FEBRUARY!

Image result for last sunday without football

With the glory of the game comes everyone’s second (some people’s first) favorite thing about the season: food.  All the glorious fall food…crock pots for everyone!

Eating your way through Sunday doesn’t necessarily have to wreck the hard work you put in Monday through Saturday.  Moderation is key, but so is finding healthier versions of your favorite recipes.  Some are so good that even your fried food loving friends will devour them!

Appetizers

Texas Caviar – Basically salsa, but with beans (I also add corn) that will add some protein and staying power!  I make this for every get-together and at least one person asks me for the recipe as they walk out the door and they’re shocked when they realize how easy it is!  Best served with pita chips or tortilla chips.

Lightened Up Buffalo Chicken Dip – A football staple that is a little more health conscious but still tastes delicious! Great with celery or tortilla chips.

Main Course

I try to keep my main dishes in the crock pot for a few reasons, namely you don’t have to spend your time cooking instead of watching the action.

I love this turkey chili recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.  Full of protein, low in fat and super delicious.  I like to put out bowls of sour cream, shredded cheddar, and green onions for toppings so people can customize it to their liking.  If you think you can control yourself and not eat the entire pan of cornbread (spoiler alert: I can’t), it’s a great addition to it as well!

Another great crock pot option is pulled beef from Skinnytaste.  Another one of my party staples!  Get some good rolls and thinly sliced provolone and let everyone have at it.

Dessert

Not every football party requires dessert, but if you know people are going to have a post-game sweet tooth, these “ice cream” sandwiches from Skinnytaste are a great option.  I love to keep the desserts limited to cookies or cupcakes so people can grab and go as opposed to waiting for the cake to be cut.

While these recipes will keep you from breaking the calorie bank all in one day, intuitive eating (Fannetastic Food goes more into it here) is still your best option…eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and enjoy the game!