8 Tips to Meal Planning Success

Meal Preparation: Tips and Ideas

1. Create a morning, evening or weekend ritual.

  • Do your grocery shopping on the same day(s) each week
  • Prep food meals on Sunday, the night before and/or in the morning. 
  • Get into a routine to make food prep efficient and effective.

2. Pre-cook chicken.

  • Purchase boneless skinless chicken in bulk and season to taste.
  • Cook in large Pyrex dish, covered in tin foil at 350-400° for 20-40 minutes.
  • Store in a glass container and you have a ready-made protein source.

3. Pre-chop chicken and beef for stir-fries.

  • Purchase boneless chicken and beef in bulk. 
  • Chop meat into 1-inch cubes, portion into 4-8oz servings, and freeze them.
  • Quick tip if you're in a hurry: thaw the meat in bowl of tepid water for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Make a tasty and balanced stir-fry, seasoned to your liking.

4. Pre-chop fresh vegetables.

  • Chop each vegetable into desired sizes and store in individual containers.
  • Use them or omelets, salads, stir-fries and more.

5. Prepare ahead of time.

  • Make large batches of food like chili, stews, stir-fries, and smoothies.
  • Pack your own snacks and lunch (by utilizing Tip 1).
  • Eat breakfast; or pack a Super Smoothie for on the go nutrition. (there are a ton of free recipes here.)

6. Shop at farmer’s markets, if possible.

  • Farmer’s markets provide local, fresh and sustainably grown meat, produce and eggs at reasonable prices.
  • You know exactly where, when and how your food was grown.
  • You develop a relationship with the people who grow your food.

7. Order by the principles above when at restaurants or school.

  • The healthy principles of nutrition do not cease to exist when eating out.
  • You still need high-quality: protein, carbs, fruits, vegetables and fats.

8. Spice up your food

  • Spices and herbs add tremendous health benefits and flavor to your food.
  • Different spices can make tired meals and recipes seem new and exciting.

When I first started changing my family's diet, I worked slowly through this list. Start with one thing this week you can start doing. And do that one thing. It might take a week or two for that to hit a grove, when it does add in the next item on the list. Soon you'll be tackling meal prep like a professional.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy


Game Day Munchies

It's almost Game day. What is your  plan for food? Traditional munchies on your menu? Why not break out of your normal and try something new? I'm going with a meal that can be tailored to each person - Fajitas. My family loves the spicy foods of the South. I can fix beef fajitas and then provide the fixin's so that everyone can create their own Super Bowl Feast. 

5-INGREDIENT SLOW COOKER STEAK FAJITAS

  • 2 pounds beef, sliced (top round steak works well here)
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced, choose your favorite color
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 15 ounces salsa 
  • 2 Tablespoon fajita seasoning (3

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir to mix well. Cook on High 2-3 hours or on Low 4-6 hours. This recipe will serve 6 people. I love serving this on top of Cauliflower Rice.

I'll also serve black beans, more salsa, chopped raw onions, guacamole, cheddar cheese, sour cream, refried beans, green chilis, hot sauce, and some tortilla chips. Yes, even your coach will have chips on game day. 

Need some other helpful ideas for your game day food? Try Sweet Potato Sliders or Chorizo Stuffed Potato Skins, or Mexican Casserole.

Go Team,

Coach Nancy

Shorten Your Long Term Planning

What if your "long-term planning" consisted of sitting down for just 5 minutes every night and writing out how you are going to make tomorrow count?

It's always going to be the little steps - save another dollar, do another rep, read another page - that are going to add up to wealth, health and wisdom.

5 Minutes to get a little better every day.

Make It Happen.

- DC

Fast Food Shopping at the Grocery Store

I’m late for a meeting, I’ve been teaching classes all day, the kids were acting up, and I walked out of the house unprepared for the evening ahead. Have you ever been in a situation like this before? Of course you have, but how can you change it around and end the day on a good note? What can you do?

Go hungry?
Stop at the dreaded hamburger joint on the corner?
Grab something at the gas station convenience store?
Or go grocery shopping?

Did I say go grocery shopping? Yes, hit the nearest food store for you dinner meal. Here’s a few ideas to grab quickly and go.

  • Hit the salad bar. Most store now feature a salad bar stocked with all the trimmings. As always you want to avoid items in heavy sauces and oils. Fill your container with salad greens, add your favorite veggies, throw in a few pieces of fruit, top with a sprinkling of cheese, sunflower seeds, and add a hard boiled egg or a few slices of ham and you're good to go. Don’t forget a fork or you’ll be hard pressed to look good at your meeting with salad drippings all over you.
  • Go to the Deli. What a great way to build your own sandwich. Delicatessens are more than happy to slice 3-4 pieces of your favorite meats and cheeses. No need for bread. Just roll the cheese inside a piece of meat and eat it naked. No, you’re not naked  – the sandwich is!
  • Some delis also carry rotisserie chicken, They are already cooked and kept warm. Again don’t forget to pick up a utensil pack at the salad bar.
  • In a real rush, grab a single serving of almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds along with your favorite piece of fruit that has a peel. Fast Food Grocery Style!

When Dean and I were in away a while ago, we couldn’t find a decent restaurant to eat in that was close to the hotel so we went shopping. We stocked the small fridge in the hotel room with roast beef, swiss cheese, precut veggies, and nuts. It was fantastic to have the option just to run up to our room in between seminars for a light snack. It was way better than hitting the candy machine.

Don’t settle for less than the best choices for your best body!

Coach Nancy

Sweet Potato, Zucchini and Beef Skillet

I love having a recipe passed to me thats been proven to taste great. Its even better when it is meal made in one dish that I can make quickly. Win/ win. Thank you Stacy for passing this recipe along just when I needed it most. Keep them coming as I have a goal to try a new recipe once a week this year. 

Sweet Potato, Zucchini,  and Beef Skillet

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped and color will do
  • 3 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup beef broth or water
  • 1 zucchini, diced 
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper

In a cast iron skillet add the ground beef, onion, and garlic. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Add the rest of the ingredients. Put a lid on the pan and simmer until potatoes are soft. This will be around 15 minutes depending on how large you cut them. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Serve over cauliflower rice. This will serve about 5 people. 

Hints to make this go even faster. I used frozen shredded zucchini as I didn't have any fresh. Saved me time chopping. You could use frozen onions and peppers in place of fresh. I used spaghetti sauce and still added the other seasonings. It was perfectly balanced. I also saved time by not peeling the potatoes. 

As a side note. 6:15am had a discussion on whether or not white potatoes were evil and sweet potatoes were not. I used a mixture of both in this recipe. There isn't any 'bad' foods. There are foods you should limit. Potatoes, whether white or sweet, should be one of those foods you chose to have on a limited basis if you are trying to lose weight. In this recipe they could be left out entirely if you are trying to drop weight. 

Enjoy Good Food,

Coach Nancy



Are You Getting, or Growing?

Another New Year has started, and with it comes one indisputable fact; You, and I, are getting older. 

But ask yourself this question.

Do I want to merely get older, or do I want to grow older?

There is an enormous difference.

As long as you are above ground you are going to get older. But growing older is an entirely different animal. 

There are a few things I want to grow in as I get older. 

Kindness. Wisdom. Grace. Understanding. Compassion.

In the physical realm I want to keep growing as well. It's a well known fact that even older adults can increase their muscle mass and mobility. I want to stay as strong as I can for as long as I can. My training goals in the last 10 years have definitely changed. Sure I still want to look good in the mirror, but it's become more than that. I look around and see people my age (53 - not all that old, unless you are teenager) losing physical abilities and capabilities. And I am not talking about feats of endurance or strength. Losing their ability to stand up straight, or get up and down off the floor, or walk a few flights of stairs. In their fifties!

That's why my goal is to keep my legs strong and my hips mobile for as long as I can. Don't lose your legs! It's why keeping my shoulders intact and my knees healthy is so important. 

Here's the rub; As you age you need to work harder at these things than you used to. CONSISTENT strength training and mobility work. Good nutrition and sensible supplementation. You can't stop any of those things, even when it's uncomfortable, you don't feel like it, and it hurts.

The alternative is to just passively atrophy, lose strength and mass, get weaker, and lose basic abilities. Doesn't sound like fun to me.

It's your choice. Get. Or Grow.

Choose Wisely,

Coach Dean

To Make Goals or Not To Make Them?

There is nothing wrong with making these common New Year's Resolutions. 

  • Get Fit
  • Lose Weight
  • Reduce Drinking
  • Stop Smoking
  • Make more money
  • Get out of debt
  • Spend more time with family

Of course, all of us make resolutions that we fail to keep. 

The good news is that each year is an opportunity for a fresh start. But then so is each week. Every Monday is traditionally a beginning point. Actually every day is a an opportunity for a new beginning. 

We set goals for ourselves each and every day. Some goals realistic and some not so much. Some of our goals we actually reach while others we fall short of.  Many people just like you desire to gain health, wealth, and happiness. Maybe you've concluded that it's just too long or hard to work toward. Remember why you started this thought process in the first place. ​

Take time today to review your goals. I break my big goals down into smaller chunks. I have found the hardest part of goals is sharing them. If I share them or say them out loud I actually have to do something about them. 

Here is my challenge to you. 

  1. Get out a pad of paper, I'm old school - you could use your computer.
  2. Start writing a list of things you want to accomplish. Small or big, totally possible or really pies in the sky.
  3. Winnow your list down to three you can and feel totally confident in being able to accomplish in 2020
  4. Break down each of your three goals into three smaller goals. 
  5. Then begin. Just start. Do something today that will get you one step toward your little goals. 
  6. Make a plan to do something else tomorrow.

So now here is my Bigger Challenge to you. 

Let me know what they are, if not me, someone. 

Make your goals real,

Coach Nancy

P.S. Most of us set some sort of heath goal each year. Check out our Get Back On Track in 2020 Challenge.


Coach Nancy’s Favorite Breakfast

Ask the Coach was a highlight during Fun Friday this week. One question that was asked was; "what is my favorite breakfast?" My answer is a hash with fried eggs. This is one of my favorite hash recipes. Breakfast doesn't have to be complicated or take an excessive amount of time. I grabbed a few things from my freezer and whipped up a delicious meal for the kids in about 15 minutes.  You could take a bit more time to do all the chopping yourself but its nice to have frozen veggies as an alternative to doing it all yourself. 

Breakfast Hash 

  • 1 butternut squash pealed and diced, and roasted for an 30 minutes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 peppers, your choice of colors sliced
  • 4 cups of kale, chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add your veggies to a pan and saute until soft about 15 minutes.  Season with the spices. Enjoy with an egg on the side. 

OR

Breakfast Hash  in a Hurry​​​​​​​

  • 1 roasted frozen butternut squash pealed and diced. (You can also buy it this way at the store.) 
  • 1 frozen onion, diced
  • 2 frozen peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup of frozen kale, chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

All ingredients go in your preheated pan, Saute for about 15 minutes until hot. Add your spices, stir and serve. Enjoy with an egg on the side or a few sausage links. 

Either way you chose to make Breakfast Hash it will taste yummy! 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Afternoon and Evening Training is cancelled December 30th

Its one of those days where you hunker down in your bunker. It is safer to stay home if possible today. For those of you who had to work, driving here is just not something I want you to do. The roads are icy and soon it will be dark. I've been on the Weather Channel more today then in a very long time. They are saying precipitation for most of the time between now and 10am tomorrow. 

I'm not in control of the weather and it is near impossible to keep our parking lot safe. 

Here's what's happening the rest of the week:

  •  December 31st, New Years Eve, we are closed. 

  •  January 1st is our famous New Year's at Noon training for the whole Cr8 Family. It'll be a training session to start 2020 off with a bang!
  • January 2-3 We're back to our regular schedule and training times. 

Here's what you can do today. Check out Get Back on Track in 2020. 

Stay safe, be warm,

Coach Nancy

Fit, Happy and Healthy in 2020

We are excited to announce some "upgrades" to the Cr8 Fitness Family page. Nancy and I were talking about how we can help you get even better this year - More Fit, More Happiness, and More Health. Who couldn't use a little more of those things?

Up to this point we have had a number of Facebook groups addressing the topics of fitness and nutrition, along with the family page. Starting today, we are consolidating all of those into one group, with the goal of growing it to 500 members this year. To do that, we need YOUR HELP! We are asking you to join, and to invite everyone you know (yes, even "him") to join the group. There is going to be some serious magic in there! For starters, every Monday through Friday we will be posting something new for you. 

  • Monday: Challenge for the Week
  • Tuesday: Quotables
  • Wednesday: Recipes of the Week
  • Thursday: Pro Health & Fitness Tips
  • and end the week with Photo Fridays!

And we promise a lot of "extras" along the way to make it worth your while to come and play!

So here's how you can help us - Join the "Fit, Happy and Healthy" Group, and then invite all your friends, family and co-workers to do the same.

It's super easy - just click this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cr8fitness/ to ask for an invite, and once you are in, click the "invite members" on the right hand side of the page. 

Be there or be square (an oldie but goodie).

- DC

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