Tag Archives: Clean Eating

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Drumsticks

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In my original guide on meal prepping, I wrote about my love for the oven. I find it to be the quickest, easiest, and cleanest way of preparing my meals. The best part is that there’s no continuous stirring, flipping, or mixing. I just set my timer and get cracking on preparing other parts of my meal for the week. With a 40 minute bake time, this recipe leaves you with delicious chicken and 40 minutes of golden prepping time!

Use those 40 precious minutes to prepare a veggie and a carb to pair this chicken with. There’s no correct or incorrect way to prep. Chose foods that you enjoy and that fit your nutritional goals. I like to pair this chicken with sriracha potatoes and asian-style green beans. It also pairs well with rice, quinoa, broccoli, and snap peas. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Try out this recipe and let me know what you think. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

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Sweet and Spicy Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients

10 Chicken Drumsticks
4 Tablespoons of Honey
2 Tablespoons of Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon of Sriracha Sauce (Less or More Based on Your Preference)
1/2 Teaspoon of Sesame Oil
1 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon of Onion Powder
1/4 Teaspoon of Ginger (Freshly Grated or Powdered) [Optional]
2 Teaspoons of Sesame Seeds [Optional]

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Instructions

  1. Line baking dish with parchment paper or greased aluminium foil and preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. If you want to get rid of excess fat, remove the skin from the chicken. If not, skip this step entirely.
  3. Combine all ingredients except for chicken in a medium to large sized bowl. Stir.
  4. Add chicken and mix until all pieces are coated evenly.
  5. Transfer chicken onto baking dish leaving space between each piece. Place in preheated oven.
  6. After about 20 minutes, brush any remaining marinade onto the chicken. Continue baking for an additional 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (74° C).

Nutritional Information (Per Drumstick):

120 Calories
4 g Fat
8 g Carb
12 g Protein

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Salsa Chicken with Black Bean & Veggie Quinoa

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Salsa Chicken is a popular dish among meal preppers. It’s cheap, easy to prepare, and absolutely delicious. Best of all, it keeps well for an entire week. Pair it with Black Bean & Veggie Quinoa + your favorite veggie and you’ve got yourself a weeks worth of balanced meals! Whether you’re a prepping pro or a complete amateur, these fool proof recipes will leave you with delicious meals all week long! This step by step guide will help you get your meal prepping done as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

GROCERY LIST 

  • 2-4 Chicken Breast. [More if you want to increase your protein intake]
  • 1 can of Black Beans
  • 1 Jar of Salsa
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 2 Limes
  • Olive Oil
  • Quinoa
  • Spices: Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Ground Cumin, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder

STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO PREPPING IN LESS THAN 1.5 HOURS 

[Complete Recipes Below]

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 2: Wash and dice 1 Red Bell Pepper & 1 Red Onion.

Step 3: In a dutch oven or baking dish, add all Salsa Chicken ingredients and cover. Place in oven for 1 hour if frozen or about 45 minutes if fresh. Keep track of time by setting a timer or writing down the time that your chicken went into the oven.

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Step 4: If your Quinoa is not pre-rinsed, rinse it now and set it aside. Add 1 tsp of oil to a small-medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the rest of the red onion that you diced earlier and saute until it’s translucent. Add rinsed quinoa and let the quinoa toast in the pan for 2-3 minutes or until you hear popping sounds. If you rinsed your quinoa, it should be dry at this point. Add 2 cups of hot water and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook for exactly 15 minutes. Set another timer or write down the time you covered the quinoa to keep track.

Step 5:  Cut 1/2 a jalapeno if you want a spicy kick added to your quinoa. If not, proceed to adding all your quinoa ingredients to a bowl. You can add everything but the quinoa… that should be cooking!

Step 6: Once the quinoa is done, add it directly to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. You don’t need to let it cool. Voila! Your quinoa is done!

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Step 7: Once your chicken is done, you have a few options. You can either leave it whole, cut the breast pieces in half, or shred the chicken. I prefer to shred it so that the sauce coats all of it.

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Step 8: Portion your quinoa and chicken into 5 containers and refrigerate.

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Step 9: Give yourself a huge pat on the back… your prepping is done!

Note: It’s best to balance your meals by adding 1 carb + 1 protein + 1 veggie to every meal container. I paired this meal with a small spinach salad to get some greens in! Add your favorite veggie for a complete and balanced meal.

RECIPES 

Salsa Chicken 

  • 2-3 Chicken Breasts [Fresh or Frozen]
  • 1 + 1/2 Cup Mild or Medium Salsa [Preferably a low-sugar variety]
  • 1/2 of a Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1/2 Red Onion, Diced
  • 1/2 tsp each: Paprika, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli Powder (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all ingredients in a dutch oven or baking dish. Cover and bake for approximately 1 hour if chicken if frozen, 45 minutes if fresh. Shred chicken if desired.

Black Bean & Veggie Quinoa 

  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 2 Cups of Hot Water or Broth
  • 1 Cup Black Beans
  • 1/2 of a Red Onion, Diced
  • 1/2 of a Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1/2 of a Jalapeno Pepper Without Seeds, Finely Sliced (Optional)
  • 1+2 tsp Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1.5 limes
  • 1/2 tsp each: garlic powder, ground cumin, onion powder
  • Dash of Black Pepper

Rinse Quinoa unless it has been pre-rinsed and set aside. Saute red onion in 1 tsp of olive oil over medium-low heat until translucent. Add quinoa and cook for 2-3 minutes until you hear popping sounds. Quinoa should be slightly toasted. Add 2 cups of hot water/broth and bring ti a boil. Once boiling, cover, reduce heat to low and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl. When quinoa is cooked, add quinoa and mix.

381 Cal Per Serving: 47 g Carbs, 7 g Fat, 37 g Protein

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Did Someone Say Carbs? 5 Quick & Easy Carbs for Your Meal Prep Sunday.

I’m in a constant battle with carbs. My heart says yes but my love handles keep telling me no… We’ve parted several times in the past but distance just makes the heart grow fonder. After years of battling with each other, I think we’re finally starting to develop a healthy relationship. Over time I’ve learnt that carbs can be your best friend or your worst enemy. There’s good carbs, bad carbs, and horrifying carbs out there, and choosing the right ones will keep your relationship going strong! I realize I’m starting to sound like the Dr. Phil of carbs so let’s move on!

I’ve had a lot of people ask how I keep up with meal prepping. At least 50 people have asked me how I eat the same thing every week without getting bored. The answer to that is that I don’t! Some people have no problem eating the same meal week after week and if it works for you, that’s completely fine… but if you’re like me and need some variation in your food, switching up your carbs is one of the easiest ways to keep things fresh, new, and delicious. As I mentioned in my meal prepping guide, carbs should be part of your weekly meal prep. Each meal should consist of 1 protein + 1 veggie/green + 1 carb. My hope is that after reading this post, you’ll have plenty of ideas for that 1 carb!

When it comes to carbs, try to steer away from simple starches and towards more complex carbs. Everyone’s nutritional goals are different but regardless of whether you’re looking to bulk, maintain a weight, or shred some pounds, complex carbs are a great option for everyone.

L-R: Wild Rice, Whole Grain Pasta, Rice Noodles, Quinoa-Amaranth-Millet Blend, Quinoa Pasta, and Barley

Rice is a meal prep staple for many people. From Jasmine to Arborio, there’s dozens of varieties out there. Rice can be quite starchy but brown and wild rice are two great options. Rice stays good in the fridge for about a week. If you find that your rice gets hard, simply sprinkle some water on it when reheating and it’ll soften right up.

Pasta can be a great carb option. The important thing with pasta is to look at serving sizes and portion your meals accordingly. If you have a food scale, weigh it out so that you know how much you’re consuming. Traditional pasta can get a little starchy but luckily, there’s dozens of healthier options readily available. My favorites are whole grain pasta, quinoa pasta, and brown rice pasta. For individuals avoiding gluten, rice noodles prove to be a great substitute. Most varieties of pasta take under 10 minutes to boil and stay fresh for a week.

Quinoa is my personal fav! Have I said that already? Despite being a great carb option, quinoa is a complete protein and takes exactly 15 minutes to cook. It’s also a great option for those looking to avoid gluten. Cook up a batch on Sunday and it’ll last you the entire week. Quinoa comes in red, black, and white varieties. You can also find many different quinoa blends. My favorites are quinoa-rice blends and quinoa-amaranth-millet blends!

Barley can be eaten just like rice, quinoa, or pasta. It’s a versatile grain with a mild nutty flavor that takes on the taste of whatever you pair it with. Did I mention it’s loaded with fiber!? 100 grams of barley will provide you with a whopping 17 grams of dietary fiber!

Lentils… While it’s true that lentils are an excellent source of protein, they’re an equally excellent source of carbs. There are dozens of varieties out there and they can be prepared in hundreds of ways. 100 grams of red lentils will provide you with 20 grams of carbs (8 grams of fiber), 9 grams of protein, and only 0.4 grams of fat. Lentils are commonly used in soups and stews but can also be boiled dry. Salads topped with boiled green lentils are delicious (I’ll post a recipe soon!).

Some other great options include sweet potatoes, whole grain breads, tortillas, and beans. I’d love to hear your favorite carb options. Comment below and tell us your favorites!

P.S. This week, I’ll be providing all the tools to make your Meal Prep Sunday a breeze! Look out for grocery lists, meal plans, and recipes for this weeks Meal Prep Sunday!

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I’m All About the Zoodles

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There’s several substitutes for pasta out there and I’ve tried them all. Shirataki noodles, Konjac noodles, and every other ‘miracle noodle’ in between. Tons of people rave about miracle noodles but I haven’t been able to get past the texture and smell that comes with them. I’ve tried boiling the smell out, coating with copious amounts of sauce, and rinsing for ridiculous amounts of time. I just can’t do it. Spaghetti squash has always proved to be a great alternative to pasta but I don’t have the patience to watch something bake for 40 minutes. The day I discovered Zoodles was a great day. Really, really great day.

Zoodles are an amazing alternative to pasta. They don’t have a funny texture or smell and can be prepared in under 5 minutes. Yes, that’s correct – under 5 minutes! I often include Zoodles in my Sunday meal prep to get in a good serving of veggies and to ‘volumize’ my meals. The human mind is a powerful thing. Add volume to your meals using low cal foods and your mind will trick you into feeling super satisfied at the expense of just a few calories.

While Zoodles are a great pasta alternative for those looking to cut carbs, they’re equally as great for those looking to balance their macros and keep their carbs in check. A pasta dinner with garlic bread would provide me with more carbs than I need or want on an ordinary day. Zoodles and garlic bread, however, balance out perfectly.

Now, let’s get started on preparing Zoodles!

How to Prep Zoodles
Simply wash your zucchini and cut the ends off. You can get your zucchinis into Zoodles by using one of the following:

  • A Spiralizer
  • A Julienne Peeler
  • A Sharp Knife

Spiralizing zucchinis is the quickest and easiest way to prepare Zoodles. A spiralizer is a good investment if you find yourself eating Zoodles on the regular but not at all necessary.

Julienne Peelers are great. You can find them at most department stores for about $4.00. Simply run your julienne peeler along the zucchini lengthwise and you’ll have yourself some Zoodles in no time. Stop peeling once you get to the core of the zucchini.

A Sharp Knife will do just as great of a job as spiralizing or using a julienne peeler. Cut the zucchini in thin slices (lengthwise) and then cut the slices into individual Zoodles. You can cut them as thick or as thin as you like them. Just make sure to avoid the core as it’s quite soggy.

Despite the slight difference in appearance and shape, they all taste great.

L-R: Spiralized, Julienne, Sliced

Once you prep your Zoodles, you can either cook them (see below) or add them directly to your meal containers. The microwave will cook the Zoodles when you reheat your meal. Experiment with this and see what you prefer.

How to Cook Zoodles
Heat a skillet with a small amount of your oil of choice over medium-high. Add your zoodles and cook for 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook your Zoodles! The last thing you want is mushy zucchini. Add your favorite seasonings. My foolproof trio is a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder. Tastes great every time.

If you are adding a sauce to your zoodles, make sure you have reduced your sauce. Any sauce can be reduced by placing it in a sauce pan and heating until water evaporates and it thickens. This is crucial. The high moisture content of zucchini causes them to release water. A reduced sauce + released liquid will create the perfect consistency.

How to Store Zoodles
Zoodles can be stored in any meal prep container. It’s best to use glass or a BPA-free plastic.

How long can I store Zoodles for?
I would suggest storing Zoodes for a maximum of 3-4 days. They’re quick and easy to prep so a second mid-week Zoodle prep will keep things fresh all week long.

What should I top my Zoodles with?
The sky is the limit! Any meat, seafood, or veggies will go great with Zoodles. One of my favourite Zoodle recipes is my Mushroom & Shrimp Zoodles.

Mushroom & Shrimp Zoodles

Shrimp & Mushroom Zoodles [Low Cal]

  • 1 tsp. oil of your choice (I prefer Avacado Oil)
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 10 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 zucchinis worth of zoodles
  • 3/4 tsp Cajun seasoning (add less or more to suit your preference)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp crushed chilies (optional)
  • salt to taste

Begin by heating oil in medium sized skill on medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms develop a caramel color and have reduced in size. Add shrimp and dry spices and cook until the shrimp is fully cooked. This should take about 3-4 minutes. Remove shrimp and mushrooms from skillet. In the same skillet, add your Zoodles and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from skillet and plate. If desired, top with fresh Parmesan cheese. Serves 2.

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Oh My Reddit…

I’m a longtime reddit lurker, not so much of an “OP” (original poster). I was doing my nightime lurking last night when I decided to post a picture of my Sunday meal prep in /r/fitmeals. I wasn’t expecting many people to see it but thought it would be neat to see what people thought. I woke up in the morning and had 3000 upvotes and 350k views on imgur! I was shocked to say the least. A lot of people started asking questions about how I prep my meals, recipes I use, etc. I created a follow-up post detailing everything and I thought I would re-post it here as well.

Here’s the meal prep picture that I posted:

HOW DO I MEAL PREP!?
For obvious reasons, planning is key when it comes to meal prepping. Keeping things organized will make for the quickest and easiest prep. First things first, decide on what your nutritional goals are. Your meal prep is going to be significantly different if you’re an 18 year old girl trying to get healthy vs. a 32 year old guy trying to get in those gains.

Decide on your meals for the week before you hit the grocery store so that you know exactly what you need. Things can start to taste ‘bleh’ if you’re eating the same meal every single day of the week. A good way to start is to create a combination of 1 Carb + 1 Protein + 1 Green. You can obviously alter this if you’re on a low carb kick and whatnot. Here are some general ideas:

  • Carbs: Quinoa, Brown Rice, Sweet Potato, Lentils, Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Protein: Chicken, Turkey, Meatballs, Lean Beef, Salmon, Tuna, Eggs, Beans
  • Veggies: Broccoli, Green Beans, Brussel Sprouts, Snap Peas, Kale, Spinach

Where do I start?
Once you’ve decided on your meals for the week and have bought all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to cook. I cook in the following order: meats, carbs, veggies.

Meats
I like to get all the meat out of the way first. Your oven is your best friend. It’s the cleanest and quickest way to get your meat cooked. It’s going to get super time consuming and messy if you cook everything on the stove. For the meal prep in the photo that I posted, I roasted two whole chickens (ate some for dinner that night) and made mini meatballs out of lean ground beef (also baked). The meat takes a while to cook which leaves you with time to get other things done.

Carbs
If you’re going with quinoa, brown rice, pasta, or any other carb that needs to be boiled then that should be step 2. Set timers or write down times so you know how long everything has been cooking. Try to keep this chaos as organized as possible! If you’re cooking up some sweet potato, now is the time to clean, peel, and chop. Get it chopped, seasoned and on a baking tray so that you can pop it in the oven once the meat is done.

Veggies
Clean, cut, and season your veggies. If you’re going to cook them on the stove, do it now! If you’re going to roast them, prep them so that they’re ready to go in the oven once the meat is out. FYI – I prep ALL my veggies for the week on Sunday night. That’s why there’s containers of carrots and whatnot. If you keep everything washed and cut, it literally takes a few minutes to put a meal together. A salad or stirfry will be quick, easy, and best of all…. you’ll have ZERO mess. It’s also great for when you’re looking for something to munch on. If your veggies are clean and cut, you’re more likely to eat them.

How many people is this for?
This is 3 days worth of lunches for 4 people + 1 week worth of granola bars for 4 + 1 week worth of washed and cut veggies for salads, stirfrys, and munching. The cut veggies are primarily used for dinners and salads. It’s quick and easy to prepare meals when all your ingredients are prepped and it’s just a matter of tossing them in.

How do you store everything? / Where did you get your containers?
I use food containers that I bought from a local restaurant supply shop. They are reusable, microwave and dishwasher safe, and BPA free.

How do you store it in the fridge?
See picture below. I know the first three columns are lunches for M,T, & W. The last two have veggies in them and are labeled.

How do you store your veggies?
I store them in plastic containers. The key is to ensure that they are completely dry before you store them. If you store them wet, they will surely spoil much faster. Veggies with a higher water content like bell peppers will not store as long as something like beets. But they should last you 5 days without a problem.

How long does it take?
To prepare everything pictured, it takes about 2 hours on Sunday. My mid-week meal prep on Wednesday takes about 45 minutes since the bulk of the prep is done on Sunday.

What do I do on Wednesday?
Good question. This meals in the picture will last M-W. On Wednesday, I’ll prep meals for T-F but because the majority of the prep was done on Sunday, it’s much faster with minimal clean up. I’ll usually cook up some more meat and roast some of the veggies that I washed and cut on Sunday. Quinoa and brown rice will stay good in the fridge until Friday so if you cook up a big batch on Sunday, it’s just a matter of portioning it in containers on Wednesday. Alternately, you could also cook up a new batch on Wednesday. Quinoa is my carb of choice and only takes 15 minutes to cook. I prefer to cook a new batch but there’s no harm in cooking a larger batch on Sunday.

Macros?
I didn’t calculate exact macros but these meals are probably around 300 calories per container.

RECIPES
So a bit of a disclaimer: I don’t really use recipes. I look at recipes to get ideas and then just work with what I have. I’ve done my best to get them in recipe form!

CHICKEN

  • 1 Whole Chicken – I pull all of the skin off to get rid of the excess fat but you can keep it if you wish!
  • Chimichurri Sauce – I made my own but you can find it at any local supermarket. Just make sure to keep an eye on the ingredients and the sodium content. I made it by grinding up some cilantro, thai chillis (I ❤ spice), parsley, oregano, and garlic with olive oil and red wine vinegar. I also added some cumin. I’ll try to keep track of proportions next time so that I can give you guys a recipe!
  • Preheat oven to 450 F. Clean the chicken and create slits so that the sauce gets infused in the meat. Coat the chicken generously with the chimichurri sauce. Top with a little bit of olive oil if you removed the skin and still want a crispy outside. Cook for 50-60 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165. Carve chicken and top with remaining chimichurri sauce. FYI – For roasting chickens, this is’t the only recipe you can use. Just top it with some garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and you’ll have yourself a delicious, fool-proof roast chicken!

GARLIC GREEN BEANS

  • 1 lb green beans (or as much as you have/want!)
  • 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add green beans and cook for 3-4 minutes until cooked but still crisp. Add salt to taste.

SPICY SWEET POTATO

  • 3 Sweet Potatoes, cubed
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chilli peppers
  • 1/4 tsp dry thyme
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Clean, peel, and cut sweet potatoes. Add spices + olive oil and mix until well coated. Bake at 425 F for 20 minutes or until fully cooked.

BROCCOLI

  • 2 Broccoli Crowns
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Crushed chilli peppers to taste
  • 2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • Cook garlic in olive oil over high heat. Add broccoli, onion powder, soy sauce, and crushed chilli peppers (if desired). Cook for 3-5 minutes until cooked but still crisp.

QUINOA SALAD

  • 1.5 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 English Cucumber
  • Crumbled Feta (as much as you like)
  • 4 Red Radishes
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Handful of Snap Peas
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Cook 1.5 cups of quinoa in 3 cups of boiling water. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to low heat for 15 minutes. Allow quinoa to cool. Mix in all other ingredients. Feta is quite salty so no need to add additional salt.

CHOCOLATE CHIP GRANOLA BARS

  • 1/2 cup organic honey (get the real stuff, not the sugar syrup)
  • 1/4 cup organic agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of quick cooking oats
  • 1 + 1/2 cups of puffed quinoa or whole wheat rice krispies
  • 1/2 cup of sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup of flax meal
  • chocolate chips to top (as many or as few as you like)
  • Place the honey and agave in a small sauce pan and heat on low for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly. The mixture should be warm and thinner than when it was at room temperature. Add vanilla extract to honey and agave mixture. Mix oats, puffed quinoa or cereal, almonds, and flax in a bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix. If required, add more honey or agave directly to the dry ingredients. The mixture should be sticky but not wet. Place mixture in a 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper and ensure that the mix is flat. I usually press down hard with a small baking tray. Top with chocolate chips. You could also top with raisins, craisins, or anything else you can think of! Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Cut in bars and serve!
  • EDIT: A lot of people have been asking about mixing nut butters into these granola bars. Natural peanut or almond butter work great!

Leave any other questions you have in the comments section. I’m happy to provide clarification on anything.

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