Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Healthy 3-Ingredient Dinners for Busy Weeknights

Hey, hey!

Two of the biggest challenges that our clients at Designed to Fit Nutrition face is not having enough time to prepare healthy food and not knowing what to eat, which is why our custom meal plans are so successful. We tell them exactly what to eat and we’re constantly adding new recipes and changing things up, so our clients never get bored. In fact, the majority of them say they are excited to see what’s next on their meal plan because the recipes are so tasty. (Check out what our clients have to say about DTFN. Almost all of them mention the recipes!)

Most importantly, our recipes are so incredibly easy to make. We don’t want our clients spending hours and hours in the kitchen, and we firmly believe that healthy eating doesn’t need to be super time-consuming or difficult. Some of our recipes have as few as three (main) ingredients, so you can throw them together in no time at all!

The recipes below are a mix of DTFN and CNC recipes, and all of them are favorites in the Haupert household. We make these recipes again and again. I hope you guys find them as convenient, healthy, and delicious as we do! And, of course, I’d love to hear about your favorite quick/easy dinner recipe. Feel free to share in the comment section below! 🙂


Crock-Pot Masala Chicken 

Trader Joe Masala Simmer Sauce

If you’re a Trader Joe’s fan, you will especially love this recipe, but if there’s not a store near you, you can easily swap the Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce for another brand or similar simmer sauce. Ok, here’s a super simple crock-pot recipe that you NEED to try. Just place two-three large chicken breasts (1.5-2 pounds) in your crock-pot along with a full bag of Trader Joe’s frozen Fire-Roasted Peppers & Onions and a jar of TJ’s Masala Simmer Sauce. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours until chicken is cooked through. Serve chicken, peppers, onions, and Masala sauce over cauliflower rice or brown/white rice. Easy as that! You’ll have dinner (and leftovers for lunch) in no time!

Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore

Crock-pot Chicken Cacciatore

Similar to the recipe above, this Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore requires your crock-pot + chicken breast and frozen peppers and onion, but, this time, you use 24 ounces of pasta sauce. Just pop everything in your crock-pot and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours until chicken is cooked through. Serve over pasta, zoodles, quinoa, rice, or eat alone.

Sweet Potato Hash

3-Ingredient Healthy Sweet Potato Hash

Another family favorite! The recipe works great with ground beef, turkey, or chicken, so you can totally customize it to your liking. Same goes for the veggies: Try kale, broccolini, or frozen versions (i.e. chopped spinach).

The Easiest Chicken Fajitas You’ll Ever Make 


These are seriously the easiest chicken fajitas you’ll ever make, especially if you have some Fajita Magic Seasoning on hand!

Cowboy Caviar Cauliflower Rice Bowl


Another favorite in our house! If you can’t find jarred Cowboy Caviar, a jar of salsa with black beans and corn (or any kind of salsa, really) works well in this recipe too. You can also substitute white or brown rice, quinoa, or pasta for the cauliflower rice.

Hummus Chicken Salad

hummus chicken salad

One of our clients’ favorite recipes! It’s such a quick and easy meal to throw together, and you can eat it in so many different ways: on a sandwich, in a wrap, over salad greens, or alone by itself. You can also play around with the hummus flavors and veggies. Right now, I’m digging basil pesto hummus with chopped cucumbers. Mmm!

Cheesy Brussels Sprouts with Sausage

Another go-to in our house! Be sure to buy the Brussels sprouts already shredded… it makes life so much easier!

Deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie


An oldie, but goodie, especially if you’re a Trader Joe’s shopper. This recipe works with just about any frozen mixed veggies and/or mashed or sweet potatoes.

Taco Salad

easy taco salad

Ok, technically, this meal is three ingredients (ground beef, taco seasoning, lettuce), but you’ll probably want to add a few additional things to your salad (salsa, shredded cheese, guacamole, etc.), but the base “recipe” is super simple! 🙂

Potato And Chorizo Dobladas


This recipe also works with mashed sweet potatoes. Be sure to buy your chorizo already ground up. I bought chorizo sausages once, and it just wasn’t the same and kind of a pain in the butt to break it up.

Question of the Day

Your turn! What’s your favorite quick and easy dinner to make during the week?

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What Will 2017 Mean for Your Life?

2017 goals list with gold decorationIt’s 2017. There are old sci-fi stories set in 2017. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the basis for Blade Runner, takes place in 2019. That’s just two years away. It’ll come faster than you think. The time to make anything happen is now.

But how?

That’s the catch. No one can bestow motivation upon you. External events can trigger or inspire a motivation cascade, but it ultimately comes from within.

As I enter this new year, I’m mulling over a couple different quotes. I don’t normally go for quotes, as I find it too tempting to read them, ponder them for ten seconds, and just move on with life, thinking I’ve done something meaningful. But these are really striking a chord, and I think they’ll help some of you start an internal dialogue on motivation and meaning that could bear fruit in the new year. Let me know what you think.

The first comes not from the Iliad, but from the fairly mediocre yet fun film adaptation starring Brad Pitt as Achilles—Troy.

“Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”

Pitt’s Achilles says that’s why the gods envy us, and it’s what makes humans so special and unique among all other organisms. Our finiteness compresses and accentuates our experiences.

The second comes from Alan Watts. It’s long and somewhat ramble-y, but in true Watts fashion, every line matters.

“Let’s suppose that you were able, every night, to dream any dream you wanted to dream. And that you could, for example, have the power within one night to dream 75 years of time, or any length of time you wanted to have. And you would, naturally, as you began on this adventure of dreams, you would fulfill all your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure you could perceive. And after several nights of 75 years of total pleasure each you would say, ‘Well, that was pretty great. But now let’s have a surprise. Let’s have a dream which isn’t under control. Where something is going to happen to me that I don’t know what it’s going to be.’ And you would dream that and come out and say, ‘Wow, that was a close shave, wasn’t it?’ And then you would get more and more adventurous, and you would make further and further gambles as to what you would dream, and finally, you would dream where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.”

Both quotes speak to the uniquely human condition: We have limitations, we’re aware of those limitations, and we have the freedom (or illusion thereof) to choose how to react to them. Do we flail impotently against, subvert, work around, or redirect them? It is in the context of our limitations that we define ourselves and derive meaning.

I maintain (and Watts would agree) that we must embrace our limitations. Or at least stop spending so much energy bemoaning them.

Our limited time here on earth and the tensions we face throughout it are difficult, yes, but they’re also blessings. They make life worth living. They mark our progress. We can’t help but peer past them and wonder what lies beyond—and then go explore. If there are no obstacles to goad us into action, we’re stuck.

So it’s not just that you don’t have total freedom. You don’t want total freedom. Total freedom paralyzes you. It makes life dull. We don’t appreciate anything if it comes too easily, or if it’s available in endless quantities.

And look: you can try to ignore the obstacles and hardships life places in front of you, or complain about them, but they’re still there. It does no one any good to deny reality. Better to grab it, mold it and be the risk-taking artist of it.

As I moved through my 40s, everything was in fast forward. Christmases and birthdays felt like they came every six months. I’d get up, log my miles on the track or bike, and just try to keep my body together. I tried a few businesses, nothing really sticking. Days bled into weeks. My life was slipping away. 

This is pretty normal. Usually, life speeds up the older you get. Your perception of time—which matters more than what the clock says—quickens. 

I decided I didn’t want that to happen. So I embarked on the greatest journey of my professional life up to that point: Mark’s Daily Apple and The Primal Blueprint. This introduced the kind of novelty and complexity that forces the brain to perceive time with greater sensitivity, and it gave my life new meaning. Later, I injected even more time-slowing novelty and meaning, including Primal Kitchen, Primal Kitchen Restaurants, and Primal Health Coach.

These days, I’m busier than ever. I’m also more engaged than ever. My entire being is committed. And time? Well, it’s neither slow nor fast. My days are full and rich. I don’t really think or worry about it because I know I’m doing all I can to make the most of it.

Are you? What could 2017 do for that endeavor?

On that note, let me share a bit about what we’ve got in the works here. This year is already shaping up to be a big one for us, and we hope the changes we have in store can help you get a leg up on your personal vision for the year. That’s why I do what I do after all….

First off, I’ll be covering a whole array of new topics in 2017—including many of those recently submitted by you. For some of these I’ll be partnering with Dr. Cate Shanahan next month to take up many of the women’s health issues MDA readers have shared interest in over the years. I have new free ebooks in the making as well as other premium resources and additions to come for newsletter subscribers. You’ll also be seeing more of me on the Mark’s Daily Apple social media accounts. More to come on that…

With the ketogenic eating strategy taking off in popular culture, I’ve been compelled to basically drop everything and complete a book in short order. It will detail a seven-step approach to help everyone from hard-core Primal/paleo enthusiasts to people with just casual exposure to Primal/paleo understand the amazing breaking science and widespread health and athletic performance benefits of becoming fat- and keto-adapted. This book will release in fall of 2017.

Primal Blueprint Publishing is also making a big effort to extend into the digital realm with the release of two comprehensive online multimedia educational courses in early 2017. Primal Endurance Online essentially brings the popular book to life with over 100 hours of video instruction and interviews with endurance experts in a complete home-study course. Paleo Cooking Bootcamp for Busy People is an actual 30-day bootcamp where participants complete a guided 2-hour weekend cooking class to eat meals and snacks for the entire week. Paleo chef Katie French has delivered this award-winning class live in San Francisco, and now the entire bootcamp will be available for you to participate in at home.

On the Primal Health Coach side, we’re planning a new tech platform that will result in a total upgrade of the learning experience. Along with this overhaul, we’ll have new handouts, templates, questionnaires, ebooks and programs to help grads begin their health coaching businesses. We’ll also be implementing new strategies for connecting our health coaches with clients.

And, finally, we’re continuing to expand the Primal Kitchen lineup this year. I just released a brand new Macadamia Sea Salt bar last week, and there’s more products on the horizon‚ including an allergen-friendly mayo, dairy- and soy-free Caesar and Green Goddess dressings, and a new protein powder featuring one of my favorite ingredients. And did I mention three Primal Kitchen Restaurants in the making?

These are just a few of the offerings we have planned for 2017. Here’s to making the new year the best yet!

Take care, everybody, and share what 2017 will mean for you. What are your visions, and how will you be using the Primal Blueprint to make it happen? Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year.


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The 2017 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge Begins Next Week! (and Here’s How to Prepare)

Lightened-Up Family Spaghetti and Meatball Night

A classic crowd-pleasing meal, spaghetti and meatballs is all about family. Get the kids in the kitchen to help stir the sauce and roll the meatballs. Use these tips to make a meal the entire family will look forward to eating.

Meal Prep
Most of the components of spaghetti and meatballs can be made ahead. Be sure to make a big ol’ batch and freeze some for a busy night down the road, and tuck some in the fridge for school lunches the next day. Then all you’ll need is 10 minutes prior to dinner to boil the pasta and reheat the meatballs and sauce.

Pasta has a bad reputation for being unhealthy. It’s true that processed wheat products are missing some key nutrients, but the real issue is inflated portions. One cup of cooked pasta contains 200 calories, an appropriate amount for most family members to enjoy as part of a meal. Fill the remainder of the plate with lean protein and vegetables for a well-balanced dinner.

Whole-grain pasta is also looked down upon for being bitter and unappetizing, but whole-wheat pasta options have come a long way. Or try a brand made with rice, beans, quinoa or egg whites for better texture and flavor, plus a higher protein content.

At its foundation, a blend of tomatoes, garlic and a little olive oil is undoubtedly healthy.

The sugary and salty additives in many jarred varieties can lessen the healthy attributes. So look for a no-sugar-added jarred sauce like Classico Riserva, or make your own sauce at home (your kitchen will smell amazing). Aside from basic marinara sauce, try exploring pesto made from basil, spinach or arugula. Or keep it extra simple with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Traditional meatball recipes often call for fatty meats fried in gobs of oil, creating plenty of opportunities to lighten up this comfort food. Using lean ground beef and poultry will significantly cut the fat, but doing so will also affect the flavor and moisture. Adding ingredients like fresh herbs, chopped mushrooms and sauteed onions to the meat mixture will save the day. Baking or giving the meatballs a light saute in a small amount of oil will slash the fat, saving you hundreds of calories.

Recipes to try
Lighter Spaghetti and Meatballs

Simple Tomato Sauce

Quick Marinara

Kale and Pistachio Pesto Spaghetti

Chicken with Arugula Pesto

Mini Turkey Meatballs

Zesty Chicken Meatballs

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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2017 Word Of The Year

Last year my friend Lauren asked me to choose a word of the year for 2016.

I had one foot in the past and one foot in the future and had no idea where my life was headed, so I chose the word PRESENT. My goal for 2016 was to stop worrying / thinking / analyzing about what would happen in 3 months, a year, or 5 years. To let go of all of the planning I had done my whole life and to just be. Reflecting on that word choice, it worked out well. I truly did embrace living in the present.

Here we are stepping into crisp, pure January, and it’s time to choose my word of the year.

I considered: Efficient. Focused. Driven. Kindness. Outrageous. Spirited. Motivated.

After quite a bit of thought my word is:

I wanted something I could apply to many areas of my life, and intentional seemed to fit the bill. When I think about the past two years, they just sort of floated by with more reaction than action.

I want to be intentional with my….

Blog. I want to write about things that excite me and that I hope will inspire or excite you and let go of the business focus a bit.

Relationships. I need to cherish those relationships that are most important to me and deliberately spend time with those people.

Health. I hope to plan meals, workouts, sleep, and de-stressors that are purposeful rather than reactionary. I want to put more time into preparing plant-based, nutrient-rich meals.

Spending. I will buy things or experiences with purpose, thinking in advance the how and why they will enhance my life.

Home. Gradually the stuff builds up, and I wish for everything in my home to be considered and have space to breathe.

Have you guys ever chosen a word of the year? What’s yours?!

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