Meal planning made easy

Good morning!¬† Hope your week is fabulous so far ūüôā

I’ve had a couple of questions about meal planning and how I eat.¬† I like to create a meal plan every week, and have posted mine on this page if you’re interested in seeing them (and if you can read my chicken scratch handwriting).¬† The print-outs are courtesy of Artsy Fartsy Mama (aren’t they cute and isn’t that the cutest name for a blog?).

So – here’s how I plan my meals:

1.  Survey your fridge and pantry:

Each week, I take a look at what I have in my fridge.  This week, we just returned from vacation and our fridge was totally empty with the exception of some mustard and hot sauce, haha!  However, we have a ton of stuff in our freezer that I want to eat before buying a lot of new groceries.  In our freezer, we have turkey burgers, frozen shrimp, and some steaks and salmon.  (We tend to buy a lot of our meats from Costco, then portion them and freeze them.)

2.  Start with planning your dinners and lunches first:

I always plan our dinners first, then I usually like to make enough dinner each night¬†to have leftovers for the next day for lunch.¬† I won’t eat leftovers for more than one day, so I don’t like to make huge meals and eat them all week – some people do, though!

Our dinners are usually pretty simple – a protein and a veggie.¬† Because it’s finally summer, we are using our grill more and more!¬† So this week, dinners look like this:

Sunday – Bunless turkey burgers on the grill with quinoa salad (recipe to come soon!)
Monday – Cedar plank salmon with veggies on the grill
Tuesday – Bunless turkey burgers with grilled asparagus
Wednesday – Baked shrimp and tomatoes with feta cheese
Thursday РSteak on the grill and salad with homemade balsamic dressing
Friday – TREAT MEAL!!
Saturday – Will probably eat dinner out

Trever and I avoid eating starches with our dinner, so I’ll make a big batch of something like quinoa or brown rice and eat that with my lunches during the week.

3.  Next, plan your breakfasts:

Right now, I’m eating the same breakfast over and over:¬† egg whites with broccoli and steelcut oatmeal with berries.¬† I’m sure I’ll get sick of it eventually, but it makes my breakfast meal planning pretty easy ūüôā¬† When I’m not stuck in the pattern of eating the same thing every day, I like to plan a few breakfast meals and rotate them.¬† For example, I might have the following for breakfast on any given day:

– Egg whites scrambled with spinach and feta cheese and a slice of Ezekiel toast
– Steelcut oatmeal with a 1/2 scoop of protein powder mixed in and some mixed berries
– A whole wheat wrap with a banana, almond butter, and sprinkled with cinnamon
– A protein smoothie made with a 1/2 of a frozen banana, frozen berries, unsweetened almond milk, protein powder, and ground flax seeds

4.  Plan your snacks:

I eat 5 Р6 small meals per day.  I am currently using Isagenix products as a supplement for my 2nd and 4th meal, so I simply have an Isagenix shake for each of those meals.  Here are some other ideas for snacks:

– An apple and a handful of raw almonds
– Cucumber and tomato salad drizzled with balsamic and olive oil
– Steamed edamame sprinkled with salt
– Greek yogurt with mixed berries and a small handful of granola
– A couple of slices of low-sodium turkey and a piece of string cheese rolled up together
– Your favorite raw veggies dipped in hummus

At night, if I’m still hungry after dinner, I’ll have a little bit of cottage cheese sprinkled with cinnamon and Truvia or with a spoonful of sugar-free jam.¬† Cottage cheese contains casein, a slow-digesting protein, which helps with growing muscles while you sleep ūüėȬ† This is an optional meal that I only have if I am still hungry.

5.  Plan your treats!

This is so important!¬† My goal is to eat “clean” about 90% of the time.¬† When you do the math, that means that out of all the meals I have in a week, 3 of them can be “treats.”¬† This gives so much flexibility!

If I know I have something planned during the week – like dinner with a girlfriend, or a happy hour at work – I’ll plan my meals to include those as my “treat meals.”¬† I don’t go super crazy with treat¬†meals, but I’ll eat what I want and have a glass or two of wine and not make a big deal about it!

6.  Stick to your plan!

Make up your grocery list according to what’s on your meal plan for the week, and only buy what’s on the list.¬† This will keep you from buying food that may go to waste or buying a bunch of junk that you don’t want in your kitchen anyway ūüėČ

And try to stick to your meal plan during the week – but have flexibility as well!¬† If your plans change and you have an¬†unplanned meal or if you slip up and eat¬†an unplanned treat meal,¬†it’s ok…no biggie!¬† Just get back on your plan and move on!

 

I hope this post has been helpful!¬† Thank you so much for your questions, comments, and input on the types of things you’d like to see on this blog – keep the feedback coming!!¬† xoxo

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Reader request: Cathy Savage Fitness review

Nici recently left such a sweet comment!  She says:

Thanks, Nici!¬† First off – go check out Nici’s Tumblr page – by the time this posts, I believe¬†she¬†will have completed her first competition!¬† Head over to give the girl¬†some props!!!¬†Goooo Nici!!!¬† ūüôā

And I’m more than happy to answer your questions:

Yes, I am an online “Savage girl.”¬† And there are a lot of us online, including internationally.¬† Cathy Savage Fitness is based out of Boston, MA – but the cool thing is that you can stay in touch with everyone so easily¬†through Facebook, emails, etc.

Cathy sends out a group email just about every single day to the team, and I love them!¬† They are always very motivational in nature – sometimes it’s a link to a great song or video on YouTube, sometimes its inspirational stories about other Savage girls, and sometimes it’s just a little “kick in the ass” kind of¬†message¬†that always seems to come at the right time ūüôā

In addition, when you sign up for the services, you are assigned a coach.¬† My coach is Brook Nicole – check out her website!¬† She’s freakin’ adorable:

I check in with Brooke every 2 weeks.¬† Leading up to a competition (from 12 weeks out),¬†I would check in¬†with my coach weekly.¬† Every week, I’d send Brooke photos of myself and would give her an idea of my meals, my workouts, and any challenges I might be having.¬† She would then respond back in a day or two with any recommendations for changes to my program.

Also, once a week, Cathy holds “live chat” calls.¬† They are usually about an hour long, and they are held at 9am Eastern time (so 12 hours later your time in Australia?).¬†¬† A few days later, the calls are posted on the Cathy Savage Fitness site and you can access them and listen to them at any time – I usually have to do that as I run a work meeting every day at 9:00am that I can’t miss.

It’s hard for me to tell you for sure how personalized the program is, as I haven’t really compared my program with other Savage girls’.¬† If I were¬†to guess¬†though, I¬†think the basic nutrition and workouts are the same, but certain parts of the program are tweaked according to your specific needs.¬† For instance, your coach will tell you how many servings of proteins, starches, veggies, fats, etc. to have in a day – and that is based on your check-ins and how you’re progressing week to week.¬† Or, your coach may have you do an extra workout focused on a trouble area, like your legs or abs or shoulders (for me, it was my quads because my legs were a bit skinny haha).

The nutrtition plan is very flexible!  Like I said, you are told specific portion sizes that are customized for you as far as your proteins, fats, carbs, veggies, and fruits.  You are given a big list of clean foods to choose from, so you can pick what you like from the list.  I had cheat (or treat) meals once a week up until about 4 weeks out from my show.  I never felt deprived and had a TON of energy up until the week of my competition!

My husband definitely benefited from this plan – he lost about 10 pounds in the process just by eating the same way I was!¬† (lucky guy)¬† We both cut back on alcohol, too.¬† He was very supportive throughout the whole process, but I’ll be honest, I felt very lonely in my journey as I was prepping.¬† It was tough to be so singularly focused on meals and workouts for such a long time.¬† We rarely had dinner together during my competition prep, only because I was getting home so late from work and the gym and didn’t want to keep him waiting on me ūüė¶

I didn’t take a lot of supplements at all during my training.¬† I did incorporate BCAA’s on weight training days, and used whey protein powder here and there.¬† Cathy Savage is also a big supporter of the Isagenix products that I’ve mentioned before on this blog.

And finally, as far as the training is concerned, I think it depends on what you are training for.¬† For me, I was prepping for a bikini competition, and my training consisted of daily cardio (but not too much cardio), and then body part training.¬† So one day might be chest & back, one day might be legs & core, and one day is shoulders & arms.¬† Then I would have one day of “functional” training, which consisted of things like sprints and plyometrics.¬† Again, your coach would assign you a plan that would work best for you.¬† My plan consisted of cardio 5 days per week, weight training 4 days per week, and¬†1 day of functional training.

Overall, I would highly recommend Cathy Savage Fitness to anyone (guy or girl) who is looking to change their physique and do it the healthy way.¬† They have such a smart, balanced approach to training and nutrition.¬† Cathy and her team are experts at what they do – you won’t find anyone better, I promise!¬† And¬†– the motto with CSF is “it’s all about sisterhood.”¬† It’s so amazing to connect with like-minded women who are such true talents…this has been worth so much to me!

I hope this helps answer some of your questions, Nici!¬† Best of luck with your competition –¬† I know you are going to KILL it, girl!!!!!¬† ūüôā