One Week of Meals… In One Day

We are all crunched for time, everyone knows that. It seems, unfortunately, like this has become a fact of life. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. I decided to do this “one day, food for a week” plan because honestly, I was tired of thinking about having to one more thing every night. It just became a burden, and it was taking time away from more important things, like spending time with my boyfriend, talking to my friends and family, and even just taking some time for myself. So, I knew I had to come up with a game plan. One Sunday, I decided to make allll of my lunches and snacks for the week. It seemed like a monumental task, but when it came down to it, it wasn’t hard at all! It was all about time management and organization. I think this is something a lot of people struggle with, just like me. You want to eat healthy and pack your own meals, but time often wins. I know it sounds boring, but the key is to eat pretty much the same kind of thing each day, just in different variations. Here’s what I did:

1. Take out a pack of boneless, skinless chicken breast and one package of extra lean ground turkey out of the freezer to defrost.
*divide the counter up visually so that you can bunch for together for each day of the week. Start with breakfast and you’ll see what I mean.*

2. Breakfast: I eat oatmeal and Greek yogurt for breakfast each morning. Yogurt is easy, just throw it in the bag. So, take out five Greek yogurts, and put five on the counter, all separated as much as you can, depending on the counter space (you can use a kitchen table too!).

I get instant oatmeal packs, but you can also take a container of instant oatmeal and measure out 1/3 cup servings, which is about how much is in a packet. Take out: oatmeal, five bowls, flaxseed, stevia, a measuring cup, teaspoon, and tablespoon. I’ll give you my blueprint and some ideas, but you can really make the oatmeal however you want. You can even combine it with the yogurt (see my overnight refrigerator oatmeal recipe!). In each bowl, put a pack of oatmeal, three packets stevia, a teaspoon or tablespoon of flaxseed, and water or almond milk. I use a half cup of water. Now, you can get creative. Make a different flavor for each day! I make apple pie oatmeal, adding apple pie spice to the mixture, chocolate covered strawberry oatmeal with cocoa powder and strawberries, raspberry almond with raspberry sugar-free jelly, raspberries, and a little bit of almond extract, blueberry oatmeal, brown sugar cinnamon with some organic maple syrup…… I think you catch my drift. Make the oatmeal as to your taste. You can see the bowls of oatmeal and the finished product on my Instagram collage picture.

3. While each bowl is cooking, put together Tupperware containers of plain Greek yogurt and fruit (in collage too). I have a whole recipe for this with pictures under the “recipes for a fit and healthy life” tab.

4. Next, cook up some sweet potatoes in the microwave. Make sure you put holes in it with a fork or they will explode. Learned that the hard way! 😉

5. While those are cooking, clean some grapes or other berries and put them into individual snack bags. I used grapes, put them in five snack bags, and done. Also, you can cut up five apples, put baby carrots into five snack size bags, or any other fruits and vegetables. photo 2 (4)

6. Let the sweet potatoes cool. Meanwhile, marinate the chicken and throw it in the oven. I’ll give you a great recipe for the turkey later.

7. Time to microwave vegetables! I use the “Steamables” brand, but any will do! Just make sure you have enough for five servings.

8. While those are cooking (are you noticing the multi-tasking here??!? 😉 ), scoop out the sweet potatoes from the skin and put it into single-serve Tupperware containers (also see my picture for what I mean!)

9. Here’s an easy step: put one clementine or orange into each bunch, Monday- Friday. Then, you can either measure out a serving of almonds, or use the 100 calorie packs of almonds and do the sa20140217-110626.jpgme thing, add them to the pile! Same goes for sugar-free pudding or jello, or another simple sweet treat.

10. Ok, chicken is done! Cut each piece in half, or five total pieces about the size of a deck of cards. Cut up the chicken into bite-size pieces. Take the cooked veggies and fill five container oh, about halfway full. Add the chicken to each container. See my picture of this also! Now, you have sweet potatoes, chicken, vegetables, a sweet treat for lunch. Perfect!

11. Alright, all done! You have breakfast, lunch, and snacks for in between! See how easy that was?? 🙂 Now you can relax and think about what you’re going to do with all that extra time during the week!

Now you’re probably wondering, what about dinner? Well, I am going to add a delicious make-ahead recipe for that ground turkey. Put it together the day before, pop it in the oven, and voilà! Dinner 🙂

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The 3rd “No Time” Excuse Factor: No-Way-Out Cataracts

If you really want something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse….. When struggling through a difficult or tragic period in your life; I understand it’s hard to see there IS a way. Painful emotions are like cataracts, causing your vision of the world to darken and forcing you to squint to see even a glimmer of light. Challenge the misperception that there is no way out because Presentation 1you are too beaten down to get out of bed. When you feel sad or broken, exercise is often the farthest thing from your mind. I’ve been there. I understand the helpless feeling you get after realizing you’ve lost control over your own life. Be brave. I’ve learned that if you really want to be happy, feel better about yourself, overcome tragedy, get rid of excuses, and step into the light, you need to fight for it. Believe that there is a force inside you that desperately wants you to see again. It will un-relentlessly hunt for a cure; if you let it….That force in my life was fitness and exercise. If you’ve read my story, you know how passionately I believe that fitness helps you develop the strength needed to regain control of your life. Exercise made me feel alive again, and it can do the same for you.

On my lowest days, I made so many excuses for not exercising ~ I’m too sad to get off the couch. My life is so unfair; there’s no point in fighting anymore. Nothing is ever going to be good again, so why try. ~ We make excuses because we fear not having the strength to change, to keep pushing through, or to live a better life. My inner voice would say “Not trying means I can’t fail, and remaining blind and stagnant is so much safer than trying to fight, right?” Mmmm, sorry inner-self, you were wrong. So, I stopped making excuses and started moving. Cataracts don’t go away overnight, and I had my fair share of dark days. But, gradually, my days became brighter. I saw exercise and the power of will transform my life. I felt the change. Exercise was the vessel that took me away from the darkness. The ability to exercise is now something I cherish as a blessing, a gift, and my saving grace.

turn a setback into a comebackMy Dad, a man who exercised everyday, loved working in the yard, and would drop everything just to go hiking with his family, lost the ability to walk as brain cancer slowly took over his body. It was devastating to watch everything he loved about life suddenly taken away. I still think about this: For my Dad, there was no way, no choice. As I sat feeling sorry for myself, I realized I had a choice. I could remain paralyzed, continue making excuse after excuse, and let the pain I felt destroy my life, or do what my father would have done~ stand up, put my shoes on, and get moving. I’m pretty sure you know which choice I made.

Think about Christopher Reeves, a man who, despite being paralyzed from the neck down, was determined to live the best life he could regardless of the odds against him. He could have easily retreated into the depths of despair, but he chose to fight. He didn’t make excuses…. So when you think about it, what excuse do you really have? “Not having time” isn’t going to cut it. Find joy in the blessing of good health. Don’t take it for granted. You have to believe there is a way to heal your blurred and darkened vision. Failure is not an option.

No more saying “I’m going to change how I eat” or “I’m going to exercise and get healthy,” and then coming up with a million different excuses for not taking action. There is ALWAYS a way. It’s time to see the world again. No, it’s not easy. Find the resiliency inside yourself to decide that there will be no more excuses, only action. Throw away your fear. You have the ability to choose what kind of life you want to live. If time is such a scare commodity in your life, don’t waste it.

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