Meal Prep: Heat Wave Comfort

Illusions of Productivity, Meal Prep

There are so many recipe’s online- where do you start?!? Every weekend, I prioritize my meal prep because it’s the only way I can ensure I get my healthy foods in. In this series, I will share with you my weekly menu – recipes I’ve compiled from some of my favorite Vegan Bloggers. I’ve also included my grocery lists with the total cost, as well as some notes.

I only prep for lunches and dinner, and occasionally – like this week- a snack. Every Sunday I prep my smoothie fruit and veggies, and have oatmeal and coffee when I get to work, so breakfast will not be included below.


Farmers Market – $20

Shopping List:

Lime

1/2 lb of Raw Pecans

Kale

5 medium sized tomatoes

Basil

Garlic

Stone Fruit ( for snacks)

Cilantro

Red Onion

Yellow Onion

Trader Joes: $21.50 

Shopping list:

*I didn’t have any of the spices, which was a lot of the cost…* 

1 can of garbanzo beans

Thyme

Cinnamon

Smoke Paprika

1 can of Mandarin Oranges

1 bag of frozen shelled edamame

1 bag of frozen sweet corn

2 bags of cubed butternut squash

Maple Syrup


Menu

Lunch

Edamame Quinoa Salad

Beet Salad

Vegan pizza

or

Mouth watering Vegan Dog with pickled veggies and sauerkraut

Dinner

Chickpea Butternut Squash Fajitas

Snack

Rosemary Candied Pecans


 

Lunch

There’s been a heat wave in San Francisco and this week I wanted to focus on hearty cold salads that I could alternate. I chose these two because of their durable shelf life and different flavor profiles.

Edamame Quinoa Salad by 86 lemons.

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So this one I completely doctored up. This salad is served cold, and holds up well for the week in the fridge.

Ingredients: 

1/2 red onion 

11 oz of mandarin oranges

1 cup of edamame 

1 cup of corn

1 cup of cooked quinoa 

Bragg’s Ginger and Sesame Dressing measured to your own liking.. 

The instructions are simple – make sure  to cook and cool the edamame, corn, and quinoa; and mix it all up in a big bowl. Bam. You’re done. You can follow the instructions in the original recipe if you need more detail.

 

Beet Salad by Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!

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On this one, I stuck to the original recipe. I had some left over beets in the freezer I needed to use, so this one was perfect!

Ingredients:

6 beets

1 clove of garlic minced

15 basil leaves minced

1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 pinch of ground mustard

*here I had some fancy dijon mustard that I used instead of buying something new.*

The dressing…

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Still hungry?

I meant to grab some ingredients for some scrappy lunch meals to go with these salads, but I work near a Trader Joe’s, so it will make for a nice walk break during work.

What I meant to grab were ingredients for a vegan pizza. Trader Joe’s has a great cornmeal gluten free crust that runs at about $3-$4 that I top with simple pasta sauce (about $2-$4 depending on which one you prefer) and a bunch of veggies, sometimes some vegetarian Italian sausages and some vegan cheese- if I’ve really craving the cheesiness. This is great for packing lunches.. just bake once, then microwave (or toaster oven if you’re lucky) at the office.

Another one of my favorite scrappy faves is my veggie dog concoction which I will probably make again this week.  Find your dogs (veggie or not.. I prefer the “Perk up your pasta” Tofurky, original sausage Italian flavor , about $3-4); Find your buns ($3), and desired toppings. I LOVE these toppings with a whole wheat bun:

Toppings:

Dijon Mustard

Ketchup

Arugula

Pickled Veggies

Sauerkraut

DANG. so good.

*These two products below are a staple in my kitchen. The pickled veggies taste great on tacos as well. 

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Dinner

Chickpea Butternut Squash Fajitas by Sweet Peas & Saffron

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This recipe calls for bell peppers which I cannot eat because it gives me indigestion. I substituted the bell peppers for the Hungarian sweet pepper, it’s not as colorful, but it tastes great and still adds that crunch. The seasoning on this is AMAZING, I made an extra batch of it and poured it on top of the vegetables when it was done baking. This is a great freezer item, super easy to make, and both filling and light.

I didn’t get a chance to make the vegan sour cream, so I just topped it with avocado and cilantro- still super yummy! These measurements yield about 5 servings

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Snack

Candied Spiced Pecans by The Minimalist Baker

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I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s Candied Pecans, but they run pretty expensive for such a small amount =(.

I made a few changes:

2 cups of pecans *instead of including walnuts; 1/2 pound of pecans = 2 cups – $6 at the farmers market

Then I chopped up 2 sprigs of rosemary from my garden =)

This made my house smell like Christmas ❤

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Here are my main pointers when it comes to meal prep:

  1. Do your menu research!

  2. Always make a list before you go shopping.

  3. Divide and conquer- I take my finished list and then divide it into the stores I go to – Farmers market, Trader Joe’s, Etc. (see featured image)

Thanks for reading! If you like this post, let me know! Do you have any Meal Prep questions?

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On Diets vs. Lifestyle

Illusions of Productivity

I was having a wonderful conversation with friends over the weekend over some sweet treats and wine about healthy habits (ironic, I know). As I happily indulged in a glazed Krispy Kreme donut, I found that I wasn’t engaging in the normal internal dialogue and guilt of “oh it’s OK, I’ll start eating healthy tomorrow” which would then usually give me permission to indulge even more. Instead, I was enjoying every last morsel of that donut and after I was done, I was done. There wasn’t this crazy ravenous sugar monster inside me wanting to eat as much as I could before my “cleanse day“. It was in this moment of donut bliss that I realized I had finally broken through years of unhealthy eating habits and perceptions.

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“Even my conditioning has been conditioned…”

For starters, my sister and I weren’t allowed to eat any sweets when we were young. It’s funny now to think about how I would hustle hard on the playground- I’d persuade my classmates to swap my pretzels for their Twinkies, or my cheese-its for some gushers. Then, when I’d go to a friend’s house, I would eat as much sugar as possible.

In addition to the binge habits that I developed through deprivation of sweet foods early on, I’m half Filipino, so grazing all day over rice and meat during family gatherings was something I just grew up with. Eating everything and a lot is sort of mandatory in my culture. When family gatherings rolled around, it was a given that I would eat until I was uncomfortable and in pain, and just stuff myself until I felt like I was ready to pop!

Now, let’s throw in the fact that I played competitive soccer all my life… playing it so much made working out a chore at times. I remember during my off season, my teammates and I would just binge and binge on junk food, sit around, and just wait until training season started before we “got back into shape”. Saying that it was “seasonal” is even being a little gracious to tell you the truth… all we needed was ONE day off from practice and we would be stuffing our faces with burritos and cupcakes and all the heavy stuff we couldn’t eat before practice or a game. This cycle continued through college and it wasn’t until I was 25, and started dating a vegetarian (who is now vegan) that I realized I had it all wrong. The perception of the words cleansingdiets, and getting into shape were just making it harder and holding me back from being my healthiest self. I’ve wiped all these words out of my vocabulary and replaced it with just one: Lifestyle. 

Whether you have chosen a vegan diet or not, erasing those words from your mind body and soul, will help you achieve the health goals you want.

I always knew that I should be working out a little everyday (I would always curse myself on the field my first week back from a break); I always knew I should eat everything in moderation, and I always knew I should make my own meals to ensure the best quality goes into my body. But as we all know, it’s easier said then done. So what I hope to give you here is some insight and tips that I’ve gained and learned through my crafty planner journey and how it’s helped me improve my healthy lifestyle.

Tip #1. From Diet to Lifestyle – Don’t put a timeline on it.

In talking to friends, and also something I experienced myself, switching to a vegan-ish (more thoughts on that term coming soon 😉 ) lifestyle has helped me make healthy choices everyday instead of seeing it as a punishment for X amount of time. The problem with that, is that once you hit your finish line, you start to #treatyourself, and that one treat turns into a whole pint of ice- cream and a downward spiral back to square one.

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Tip #2. Don’t Lie to Yourself- Log it!

Since March, I’ve been working on the habit of logging my food. I’ve never really been into this and to be honest I only started doing it because I bought a new planner when I wasn’t supposed to! #plannerproblems. At first I had a hard time keeping up with it; but now I’ve realized that seeing all the meals and snacks listed in front of me, has stopped me from my mindless munching.

I make a goal to strictly log my meals Monday-Thursday, the days that I go to the gym. Then over the weekend I loosen up a bit and just enjoy whatever comes my way.

BUT in building up the habit of food logging, I noticed that even when I’m not making a point to log my meals, I’ve developed the habit of eating with awareness. I no longer eat when I’m bored, and I still choose to eat clean.

*side note- you’d be surprised how unhealthy you can still eat as a vegan…I’m totally guilty of being a lazy vegan and eating overly processed food* 

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This is a picture of my fitness journal. It has vertical logging space for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with snack space in between. When I started, I was finding that I was running out of space to fill in all the snack breaks I had. This helped me quit that habit and focus on eating substantial meals instead. On the right, I’ve added a Health Tracker to keep track of my healthy habits that will help me reach my goals: drink tea, take vitamins, stretch at home, and take a walk during my lunch break.

You’re food log doesn’t have to be fancy, you don’t even have to count calories. Getting into the habit of writing down every meal and every little snack is a great way to start. Try it! Challenge yourself for two weeks!

Tip #3. Reflect, Review, and Revise!

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This is the most important! Like I said, I started my habit tracking and food logging in March, I was kinda just doing it for the fun stickers 😉 . It wasn’t until a month in that I realized I should revise a few things. So for April I started the habit tracker, making it a goal to log my food everyday. I also started a weekly reflection every Sunday as a part of my habit regimen. This was a total game changer!

I’ve always been one to journal about my emotions, but never even THOUGHT about writing about my health habits. When you journal about your emotions and experiences, you learn from them. You learn about your thought process, how to better communicate to yourself and others. When you reflect on your weekly health habits, you are able to look back on your strengths and weaknesses and revise a plan to make it work. It also pumps you up for the upcoming week. Goals are no use if you don’t look at them from time to time, and setting time to reflect, review, and revise is the foundation to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

What to write about in your Health Journal:

Every Sunday I reflect on food and fitness. This past week I noticed that I didn’t make grocery shopping a priority, so therefore I bought too many meals, and in doing that, I wasn’t able to keep a balanced vegan diet. I noticed that I ate a lot of carbs and not enough vegetables. So I revised my plan, got my a$$ to Trader Joe’s and meal prepped for the week. Meal prepping is hard! But this is the new challenge that I hope to turn into a lifestyle.

This fitness planner has a spot for a Progress Selfie, but I feel weird flexing for the camera, so I just use that space for more health reflection. And not to mention, Polaroid film is expensive and I’d rather save it for other things ;).

Mood tracking is another great thing to include in your journal and also new goals for the next week that may develop. I definitely develop new goals as I let others slip away… and that’s OK! That’s all part of the revision process. =)

Happy and Healthy!

All in all, adopting a healthy lifestyle perception will help get rid of the guilt and self loathing associated with words such as diets and cleansing.  If you need a scoop of that Ben and Jerry’s, go have some! But know that you can have another scoop tomorrow. Log your food, but don’t just log it and forget about it, go back, review it, take note of what you’re putting in your body. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and make it fun! I started doing this because I love stickers and wanted something else to decorate and feed my #planneraddiction; so find a way to make it fun! Healthy choices should make you happy, not miserable.

Keep it up!