SIMPLE – Amber’s Meal Plan

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Simple Innovative Meal Plannin - Love EatingPreparing healthy meals is one of those things that we all think sounds great in theory. In reality, it can be a struggle. I probably have 20 articles about meal plans and tons of healthy recipes “pinned” on Pinterest that I have never even really read through or tried. Planning is easy. Making it happen is a challenge.

Like many of us Amber (Ambers Journey Month 5 Update) struggled with taking the time to sit down and eat heathy meals throughout the day. She tries to make the best choices that she can on limited time. Many times that means not enough calories throughout the day. After working all day, fitting in a workout and taking care of all of her other responsibilities the last thing she wants to do is prepare a meal. This is when bad food choices happen. It is when not eating catches up with you and you want to eat whatever is fast and easy. Getting started meal prepping seems overwhelming when you are just trying to get through each day.
meal-plan

This week, Amber and I took a trip to our small local grocery store. We had a meal plan that had been prepared for Amber by her personal trainer. The meal plan is approximately 1500 calories daily. The goal is to eat regularly scheduled, balanced meals. Everyone’s calorie needs are different.

The meal plan gave us our grocery list.  A half a cup of berries was added to meal 2 because Amber really loves fruit and making it part of her daily plan keeps her from feeling like she is missing out.  There is nothing we crave more than the food we can “not” have.  Buying the items listed turned out a little trickier than we thought.  There was no “sauce” on the list.  No ranch dressing, ketchup, gravy, butter…. to go with the foods listed.  When you are used to eating your food a certain way it can be hard to picture how this new way is going to work.  We headed down the spices/ seasoning section of the store and worked with flavors that Amber likes.  A good spice cabinet can make meal prep a whole lot tastier.

These are a few that make a regular rotation in my house. Amber also chose taco seasoning because she has really been wanting tacos lately.

spices

We didn’t need to buy everything on the list so here is what we ended up with. One picture is food that Amber took home to prepare for herself and the other picture shows food that I took home and prepared for her to help her see what a day of food looks like.

groceries01

Groceries I Used

groceries02

Groceries Amber Used

Amber used her slow cooker to prepare the rice and potatoes at the same time.

potatos-cookcrockpot

She had already cooked chicken over the weekend so all she had to do was add seasonings and vegetables. Here are a couple of the meals she prepared:

meal

I prepared her one day’s worth of food.  Knowing that Amber doesn’t like green vegetables, I reduced the servings of them.  Hopefully gradually adding them in will help her adapt to eating them on a regular basis.  I cooked everything pretty much at one time, except the steak.  I also prepped my own meals for the day at the same time.

eggs-cooking
eggs-cooked

On the left – eggs cooking.  On the right eggs all ready to go.  This is only ¼ cup spinach.

oatmeal-cooked

Old fashioned oats cooked slow and low with almond butter stirred in while it was warm.  Amber stirred in a scoop of protein powder for flavor before eating.

chicken-spice

I prepped the chicken with some onion, Mrs. Dash and garlic pepper wrapped in foil and baked in the oven at the same time as the potato.

chicken-cooked

This food scale has been an invaluable tool in my kitchen and weighs in grams, ounces and kilograms. You don’t need to spend a lot to get a nice scale that will help you as you prepare meals.

sweetpotato-weigh

The sweet potato gets weighed in grams and I suggested a couple of ways for Amber to season it.  Curry powder is one of my favorites currently.  I also suggested she try some stevia and cinnamon.

This is what her dinner looks like.  I left the steak on the rare side so that it doesn’t overcook when she reheats it.

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This is what Amber was presented with this morning:

full-meals

Learning to eat throughout the day will take getting used to.  It is a learning process just like learning to meal prep.  Hopefully this gave you an idea of what one day’s worth of food looks like and how you can plan ahead and be prepared to eat smart.