Friday, January 4, 2019

CNC Weekly Macro Meal Plans In Action

If you didn’t know already, I love meal planning, like a lot. So much, in fact, I think of it as a fun food puzzle where I can mix and match recipes, use up leftovers, and make the most of my time in the kitchen. I really love finding ways to make meal prep more efficient while simultaneously being delicious and nutritious. But, hey, if you’re not a fan of meal planning and it feels like a huge chore to you, it might make sense to outsource the task – and that’s where CNC Weekly Macro Meal Plans comes in.

I launched CNC Weekly Macro Meal Plans not too long ago and have since received a ton of interest. Obviously, I’m psyched about that, but I wanted to further explain how the weekly meal plans work, so you know what you’re signing up for, what you’re receiving, and so you can make the most of meal planning and macro-tracking. Here’s what I’ll cover:

  • How the flexible meal plan works
  • How to use the shopping list
  • How to read the recipes, serving sizes, and macros
  • Using up leftovers
  • Modifications and substitutions

How the flexible meal plan works

The CNC Weekly Macro Meal Plans are NOT a one size fits all, and they are NOT custom to the individual’s macro goals. I’ve been there, done that, and I personally believe that LEARNING how to build your own meals/snacks and then fit them into your day is the best long-term strategy for healthy eating. Sure, following a meal plan works great for some people, but it’s a short-term solution, not an forever solution… unless you plan to be on a meal plan for the rest of your life. Personally, that does not sound fun or realistic to me.

Anyway…

When planning meals for the week, I’m all about keeping it simple. There’s no need to recreate the wheel when it comes to new recipes, buying one million ingredients, or wasting a ton of money and food because you never ate it. No thank you!

Here’s what I provide in each weekly meal plan (and how I personally plan my own meals):

  • 2-3 dinners dinners with at least 1 that is totally prepped ahead
  • 1-2 breakfasts that can be made ahead of time or take like 2 minutes to make in the morning
  • 1-2 lunch ideas, but mostly using up leftovers
  • 1 healthy snack or dessert for the week

Each plan is designed to guide your meals and snacks for the week, so your menu has some structure, but you also have wiggle room for your own food choices. For instance, if your best friend’s birthday party is coming up or you have an all-day conference where you’ll have no control over the meal choices or, hell, there’s a night that you’re totally exhausted and just want to eat oatmeal for dinner. Basically, there’s plenty of flexibility for real life eating. The plan gets you started with some set meals, but you’ll fill in the blanks as they come up. These “flex meals” are an important part of balance and maintaining your social life and sanity! (The blank spots are where you fill in with your own meals and snacks.)

Here’s a sample meal plan:

As you might notice, Monday through Friday include recipes, but Saturday and Sunday are not included. I’ve found that most people go out to dinner or attend social events on the weekend that include food, so tracking “off plan” makes a lot more sense for their lifestyle. Plus, I don’t want people buying food and letting it go to waste if they end up not eating at home. And, of course, not planning the weekend gives you some freedom in your food choices, which is good for the mind, body, and soul! 🙂

How to use the shopping list

Each meal plan includes a grocery list that outlines the ingredients you will need for the week. If you cook for your spouse or family, you will need to adjust the quantities, but it’ll get you started. And, of course, before you head out to do your shopping, you’ll want to take some time to go through the list and check off any items you already have. This will save you time and money when shopping!

The grocery list is also organized into categories, based on how a typical grocery store is laid out. This will allow you to do your grocery shopping in an organized order starting with fruits and vegetables. It will also help you to avoid any back-tracking through the store, which will help you get in and out of the store fast! In general, all ingredients on the list are items you should be able to pick up at your local grocery store, so no special trips to the health food or specialty store required!

How to read the recipes, serving sizes, and macros

Every recipe included in the weekly plan states the total number of servings and the total prep time so that you know how many servings the recipe creates, and how long it will take you to make it.

Unless otherwise indicated, you will be eating one serving of each meal. So if a recipe serves four, prepare it, divide it into four even portions and enjoy one portion. The macros are included with each recipe, so you can easily add them into a tracking app, like MyFitnessPal. There’s no need to calculate the macros for each recipe/serving because it’s already done for you! Woohoo!

Using up leftovers

On the meal plan samples, you’ll notice that some meals are shaded out. This means that the meal has been marked as a leftover. If you’ve already prepared it, you do not need to prepare it again. Just reheat and eat! Leftovers are a great way to save you time in the kitchen!

Modifications and substitutions

Each weekly meal plan comes with a meal prep “game plan” where I provide tips on how to prep quickly and efficiently, store leftovers, and provide substitution options if you are missing an ingredient. And, of course, if you ever have a question about an ingredient swap, you can always ask in our private Nutrition & Accountability Group on Facebook.

If you’re curious what the whole package looks like, just click below to download a sample week. This is what subscribers receive each week in their inbox.

DOWNLOAD FREE SAMPLE MEAL PLAN

FYI: The PDF above is the Meal Prep Ninja Meal Plan. Its focus is easy, prep-ahead recipes. I also offer 2 other options for customers with special diet needs: The Perfect Paleo Plan (grain/gluten- and dairy-free) and Whole Food Plant-Based (mostly vegetarian with an occasional pescatarian recipe thrown in).

If you like what you see and want to try out the Weekly Macro Plans, head over and select the diet plan that’s right for you. The first week is FREE and you can cancel anytime within the first 7 days, so you have nothing to lose! If you have any questions about any of the plan options or anything at all, just leave a comment or send me a message! 🙂



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Weekly Link Love—Edition 10

Last Call: Sign Up For the Keto Reset Kickoff Now!

8-Week Macro Diary

As you might remember, I’m participating in the Master Your Macros Challenge over the next few weeks. We have an AWESOME group participating (seriously, SO MANY people signed up!), and I’m super excited for Monday!

I wanted to keep myself on track while sharing my own personal macro tracking and favorite meals, so I created this 8-Week Macro Diary that I will update regularly. I plan to share screenshots of my personal MyFitnessPal account as well as quickie meal and snack ideas. I added this post to the main page of the blog, so feel free to check in from time-to-time to see what I’m eating and how I’m tracking it. You can also follow on Instagram Stories (@carrotsncake)!



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Nom Nom Nap

This little dude is just so sweet!! When he’s awake, he’s all smiles.

Morning necessities:

Daily Harvest smoothie + coffee x2 in the Yeti mug. I was careful about drinking too much coffee while while pregnant. I had half a cup during the first trimester and inched up to a full cup later on. It’s fun now that I can have unlimited amounts of coffee!! I still don’t go past two mugs in the morning (I can’t do caffeine in the afternoon) but 2 > 1 :mrgreen:

The folks from Panera sent me a gift card as a Christmas gift, and I ordered a Fuji Apple Salad (my favorite salad they make) and broccoli and cheese soup on a rainy day. Did you know Panera delivers now!? We also have one with a drive-thru, which is what I did. I ordered on the app and did the drive-thru with kids in the car. Game changer!

Thomas makes really delicious tuna salad and made a double batch for lunch. (I have been pressing him to add some veggies to his recipe for a little extra color, crunch, and nutrition and he has started to add chopped bell pepper!) When I was in high school I used to eat tuna salad with saltines all the time. Since we’ve had a box in the house, I dove in. It’s such a great combo.

Little B has started napping in his bassinet! Shortly after I wrote about how he takes almost all of his naps in the Solly, we started to test the waters with stationary naps. I wait until the 1:45 awake time mark and then take him up to the master, turn the white noise on really loud, and swaddle him. He often fusses or cries out (very mildly) for a few minutes and I pat his chest or lean in and give him a kiss, sometimes picking him back up for some swaying. But overall, he goes to sleep in 5-10 minutes and we’ve gone from 25 minute “non wearing” naps to 1:45 minute naps (on a good day). It’s been a huge relief to have some baby-free time to get things done around the house.

Also note the swaddle switch. Silly Birch figured out how to get his hands out of the Ollie and was waking up often hungrily sucking them (he LOVES his hands, hungry or not!) I have two Miracle Blankets from Mazen’s infancy, and they were the only swaddles that worked for him. Birch is doing great in the Miracle Blanket. I did see a video on how to use a receiving blanket to get the same arm layer effect with the Ollie swaddle. If I didn’t already own two Miracle Blankets I’d try that combo, but since we have these we’re using them.

When Grandma Nona comes over, I think it’s a “treat” to be able to vacuum out the car :mrgreen: Also another reason why I love my badass Dyson Absolute! No way I’d be hauling a full-size corded vacuum outside.

I also went for my longest outdoor run yet – just shy of four miles – while Nona visited with Birch. Mazen biked with me through the neighborhood while I ran. The difference between before lunch runs and after lunch runs a NIGHT and DAY. And it’s not like I’m eating huge amounts of heavy vegetables or rich comfort foods at lunch. But I think just having that second meal in my stomach makes me feel that much heavier. My favorite time to run is after breakfast has digested – 10-11 am-ish. All that to say – it was not my best run.

We’ve made quite a few things in the Instant Pot this week! The first was Skinnytaste’s Chicken Tikka Masala. The second dinner we made was a very loose interpretation of Nom Nom Paleo’s Beef Chili. Ours had legumes and less beef and a slightly different ingredient list, but I followed the same method that she did. Turned out great! This mac and cheese is next on my list. (This is the Instant Pot I got for Christmas.) I have another IP post coming up soon!

 

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