This post could also be called Tips and Tricks for Healthy Eating. So even if you are not doing the fix or have the remotest interest in doing the fix, ready on for some easy ways for healthy eating.
I have done several rounds of the 21 day fix, and I wanted to share with you some of the things that really worked for me in terms of setting myself up for success. To fill you in, 21 day fix is a nutrition and workout program through Beachbody that establishes healthy habits and healthy portion sizes. I have been a Beachbody coach for several years, but it’s 21 day fix that has me back in the action. I’ve just been so excited and relieved to find something that really works for me. Unlike Weight Watchers (which I have done several times in my life), you really have to stick to clean eating and whole foods. That means you are better set up for success in the long run.
Without further adieu, let’s jump into this.
For the last year, I have been meal planning every week. With 21 day fix, I approached meal planning much different. Instead of focusing on meals, I focused on proteins and veggies. I made a list of proteins I wanted to make and veggies I liked eating. And to make it even more of a formula, I picked one beef, one pork, one chicken, and one wildcard (fish or ground turkey). Here is where Pinterest really comes in handy! There are so many 21 day fix recipes available, you just need to spend a little time looking around, or even better, follow my 21 day fix board.
After I made those lists, I essentially just tried to pair them up and plan what day would be best for each. This had less to do with what I felt like eating and more to what did I have time for each day. P.S. The slow-cooker can really become your friend with this program or any lifestyle of healthy eating!
Instead of just planning meals, I think the easiest way to handle the remaining lunches and snacks is to also plan for leftovers. Plan to have extra leftovers so that you can grab a quick protein to go as a snack or throw on top of a salad as a lunch. Personally, I love having extra ground beef or turkey or burgers. I think they are easy to make and great to throw on top of a salad. I would make those early to mid week and then have them for the end of the week when I was more tired and less wanting to cook. My go-to meal became taco-seasoned ground turkey meat thrown on a salad with fat free Greek yogurt and fix-approved salsa (aka no beans, no sugar).
And if I was really living it up, I would saute some sliced peppers (I keep them in the freezer). This brings me to the next topic, meal prep….
When I search for 21 day fix on Pinterest, I was really put off by the idea that you have to prepare every meal and snack you are going to eat the following week. Way too much work! However, when I tried to ‘wing’ it, I had a really hard time.
For me, it was about finding the balance of what I needed prepped. Now, I am a SAHM to a 4 month old and a toddler. When my husband is home, I can assemble dinners, but I really want everything ready to go. Nights where I am on my own, I had two great friends (and no, they are not pick up and delivery), my slow-cooker and a sheet pan for roasting veggies and meat.
Meal prep for me is prepping all the veggies/ seasonings for the week. For example, I have my groceries delivered- yes, delivered, thank you Hyvee!- on Saturday or Sunday. Right when I get them delivered, I spend about an hour cutting up what needs to be cut up. I dice onions, slice onions, cube squash, etc. I also buy a lot of precuts because my time is more valuable than the extra money it costs. I also use my freezer by throwing cut-up pepper and onions on a parchment lined sheet pan, freezing them, and then throwing them in bags to grab during the week. That way your whole fridge doesn’t smell like an onion.
I also spend some time making paleo-friendly muffins/bars for quick snacks for me and the whole family. This is not a 21 day fix thing, but a G thing. We don’t eat processed foods, so I can’t throw her some cereal when I need to work out. Larabars are awesome, but they are expensive. If you like having a sweet treat, consider making your own gluten-free or whole grain muffins. My new favorite book for this is easy paleo meals. They are gluten free AND very low in sugar.
My other secret prep trick: veggie egg bakes. If you know me, you know that I generally hate egg bakes. They are usually stuffed with grains and dairy and fat. I found a variation of this on Pinterest and just customized it for me.
I think the trick is lightly sauteeing your veggies or using leftover steamed/cooked veggies. This keeps it from getting watery. Put all your veggies in a greased pan, cover with beaten eggs (or mixture of egg whites and eggs) approx. 15 eggs for a 8 x 11 pan, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. My husband and I both used leftovers as snacks and breakfasts for the week. It was awesome having a protein and veggie all ready to go.
Here is just a collection of random tips for succeeding at 21 Day fix.
– Flavor, flavor, flavor. Read that free list–vinegars, mustards, spices, lemon/lime juice— and use them! There is a ton of flavor in vinegar. My favorites are apple cider vinegar and balsamic. Also, squeezing a lemon or lime over a salad or a dish really adds a lot.
You don’t get a lot of cheese, so go for really flavorful ones like goat, blue, parmesan, and feta. You get so much more bang for your buck than if you use blah cheddar or even mozzarella. Or combine them so you get the creaminess of mozzarella with the tang of feta or the saltiness of parmesan.
Find a spice blend you love. Find a spice blend that you really love and use it on everything. Or, if variety is your thing, find a couple spice blends you love. My favorite? Wildtree Rancher Steak Rub.
–Grains are treats. If you view grains as a treat, it’s much easier.
–Don’t sweat the numbers. Here is a scary fact: you may actually GAIN weight the first week. When your muscles are sore, they are inflamed and may retain extra water. Give off the scale, and stick to the nutrition plan. The weight will come off. I have found it comes off in chunks.
–Find a way to love your veggies. We eat all of our meals on top of a bed of greens (chopped kale, spinach, romaine, and shredded coleslaw mix are some of our faves). I’m not a huge fan of raw veggies, but I LOVE roasted veggies. I have just started keeping roasted butternut squash, beets, and onions in my fridge for a quick and healthy snack and/or to throw on top of a salad for a quick veggie meal. Add some feta or goat cheese and you have very well balanced flavors.
So, that’s it for now folks. Expect to see more recipes that are 21 day fix approved and just plain healthy (and tasty) over the next couple of weeks.
Have you heard of 21 day fix? Do you have any tips for healthy meal planning and prep?
And if you are interested in trying out the 21 day fix, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.