Category Archives for "Healthy Habits"

Why Your Coach Takes Fish Oil and You Should Too

Do supplements count?

Dietary Supplement. Definition, Merriam Webster: "a product taken orally that contains one or more ingredients (as vitamins or amino acids) that are intended to supplement one's diet"

Supplements are intended to be just that, an addition to already sound nutrition practices.

Since many supplements come in a bag or bottle, and have lengthy ingredients lists, they do not fit the definition of either "fresh" or "whole" foods. But they are not totally useless either.

At Cr8 Fitness we work hard at not being a supplement pusher. We do carry supplements and will make recommendations that in our studied opinion can make a difference in your overall health and can help "fill the gaps" in your diet under certain circumstances.

A high quality Fish Oil is my first recommendation. I'll give you 5 reasons why I take it and you make the call for yourself.

  1. My grandmother died of a stroke and my mom has always had blood pressure issues. One of the main reasons a doctor will recommend fish oil is for its healthy heart proponents. I'd like my ticker and my whole circulatory system to run without any hiccups. 
  2. My immediate family has a history of 4 different types of cancers. Fish oil has been proven to help slow or even stop the growth of cancer cells. As far as preventing it in the first place that is still being studied but many believe it is true. I'll take any benefit I can when it comes to cancer.
  3. Boost my brain health. Omega-3s are vital for normal brain function and development. Low levels of omega-3s may accelerate brain aging and contribute to deficits in brain function. People with depression or a mild memory loss should consider taking omega-3s from fish oil. Although fish oil is typically praised for its benefits for heart health, it also has incredible effects on brain and mental health that are worthy of some attention.
  4. Fish oil has strong anti-inflammatory effects and can help reduce symptoms of inflammatory diseases. Inflammation is your immune system's way of fighting infection and treating injuries. Because fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties, it may help treat conditions involving chronic inflammation. It can significantly reduce joint pain and stiffness. 
  5. Beyond those great reasons, your skin will benefit, your hair, your metabolism, and even your bones benefit from taking a fish oil. 

With all these reasons, I've chosen to take a fish oil supplement daily. While I enjoy eating fish, I don't eat it enough to gain the same benefits. This is easier for me. 

SFH is a high quality brand that delivers. Right from the SFH website I read how they are different than others fish oil supplement companies. 

  • Concentrated fish oil in just 4 capsules!
  • 2 capsules twice daily delivers approximately 3000mg of EPA and DHA
  • Enteric coating is applied to target the oil for GI absorption which helps maximize effects.
  • Enteric coating also means less fish burps!
  •  Third party tested: our SO3 oil meets or exceeds CRN, GOED, WHO, and IFOS.
  • SFH is derived from a mixture of Alaskan Pollock, sardines, herring, and anchovies which means it is naturally derived and never created in a laboratory setting.

I choose to listen to what science tells me is true and I enjoy the benefits I feel from fish oil. 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


Small Changes, Big Results

Are you making overeating normal? Eating is a behavior we have learned over time. Since all behaviors are learned we can learn better or different behaviors.  Here are 4 behaviors we can learn so that we can eat healthier and maintain it. Creating eating behaviors and then making those behaviors normal for you will make your healthy eating easier to do.

Small plates – There is No magic tricks here, set up an environment to automatically eat less by using a smaller plate. Less food at each meal equals less calories.  I don’t have to fill up my plate but I usually do. Using a smaller plate and filing it up with food will still be less food than filling up a larger plate. Well no duh, It makes. Check out this picture on how plate size has directly effected the obesity rate in America.

Veggies First – Veggies are the most nutritious part of every meal. Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals,  and fiber. Nutritionally vegetables should fill in more volume on our plate and also will fill in more volume internally once you eat them. With all this volume the cool thing is at they hold lower caloric values than other food items. Filing your smaller plate 2/3 to 3/4 with veggies, and then using the rest of your plate for your lean protein and healthy fats, will fill your insides with good food. To help you in more detail of planning your meals check out what Coach Dean wrote on the subject.  

Remove temptations - If sweets are not in the house, it’s harder for you to eat sweets. Think of Superman, his downfall is kryptonite. In order for Superman to stay strong, he locks up his kryptonite. Use that same principle with the food item/s that are your downfall. If ice cream is your downfall each evening, leave it in the store. What ever your temptation is, remove it from your sight, take it out of the house, lock it up, and make it challenging for you to easily get it to eat. Everyone has so much will power and ability to say no, help yourself out and remove any tempting food out of your reach.

Be consistent – With any behavior it becomes a normal behavior by doing it day after day. I recently had a client put it this way, she was going to walk the walk.  She has put some practices into place and was on the way to making these new practices her new normal. She wanted her healthy eating knowledge and started to walk the walk with it. Consistency is not the same as perfection.

Eating healthy so you can be healthy and live a vibrant life is easier than you think. Setting these boundaries into place will help you change your current behavior. Boundaries can be thought of as a your new standard. My standard is to use a smaller plate instead of the biggest plate I own. I have a standard of filling that plate with mostly vegetables. I make temptations harder for me to acquire. I’m human, but even Superman had to lock up his kryptonite. What I am known for is how my consistency is measured.

Take these standards and make them your own.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 8

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 8: Planning For Eating Out 

Now I have to be frank; my family and I do not eat out very much. MAYBE once a month, but usually less. When I do I still make good choices and try not to pig out, but if there is a great looking dessert on the menu, I may just go ahead and get it. But it's a lot different when I travel or go on vacation. The "generous" restaurant portions really add up, and very quickly. If you are an occasional "eater outer" it's not a big deal, but if you go out frequently, you need to think about portion control.

You CAN plan for these times. When our family goes on vacation we, you guessed it, plan out our meals. We'll take a look at what the hotel offers for breakfast; many have a decent hot breakfast with eggs and fruit for, instance. Then we talk about the rest of the day. Will we eat any meals in our room or pack some lunches? Do the kids need to carry some snacks? For dinner we don't always know exactly what restaurant we are going to eat at, but we do know at which meals we are planning to do so. And when we figure it out the "where", it's really easy to hop online and take a look at the menu and see what our choices will be. Using your menu planner ahead of time saves time and money, and it's kinda fun!

Before Heading To The Restaurant

  • Check the menu online before you go, so you know ahead of time exactly what you’ll be ordering.
  • Look or ask if a ‘gluten free’ menu is available (gluten free is not magic, but will save carbs and calories)
  • Drink 8 ounces of water before you leave home.
  • Eat something light before you go (apple + almonds). This will help you ward off the chip/bread bowl, and also keep your portion sizes under control.

At The Restaurant

  • Choose a protein with 2 vegetables and a healthy fat (avocado).
  • Order your burger with no bun or on a salad.
  • Change up the dish – if there is some kind of meat over pasta, just ask for the same but over salad instead.
  • Make sure not to order anything fried.
  • Add extra vegetables.
  • Ask for a double order of vegetables instead pasta or rice.
  • For breakfast, instead of hash browns ask for sliced tomatoes or a side of fruit.
  • Ask for steamed vegetables as a side (add real butter or olive oil)
  • Order a grilled protein (chicken, salmon, etc.) with just salt and pepper.
  • Ask for a lettuce wrap instead of bread or a bun.

As you can see, you can still enjoy a wonderful, tasty meal while saving on some extra calories. Once in awhile it's ok to splurge, but when you eat out often it really adds up. Planning ahead will make for an enjoyable time without feeling bad ucky a little later.

Congratulations! You've Read The Whole Guide - So What's Next?

First of all thank-you so much for reading this guide. We don't take your time for granted, which is one reason we actually wrote this guide. And we get it. We've covered a lot of ground here. You are a busy person, and taking the time to do your meal planning might seem like too much to take on. And the reality is that it is, it might be.

Some people I know really like sitting down every week and planning out their menu. They have practiced their "meal plan mastery" skills, they keep it simple, and they practice the basics:

  • Plan Dinners First
  • Plan Breakfast Second
  • Leftovers for Lunch
  • Shop with a List
  • Build your Portfolio

But what about the rest of us?

I think we can agree the benefits of meal planning, both to your health and your wallet, are just too numerous to ignore. And if you aren't ready to tackle it yourself, we've got you covered. We started our "Cr8 Your Plate" meal planning service for people just like you. Hard working people who just need some assistance fitting it all in.

How the "Cr8 Your Plate" Meal Planning Service Helps You

For as low as $15 a month, we do everything for you but the shopping. Each month you receive 4-weeks of Master Nutrition Coach designed "Done For You" Meal Plans, a new Recipe Collection, and your Shopping List. You also get a subscription to the Modernmeal Menu Planning software platform, where you can add your own recipes, change up the meal plan, scale the serving sizes, and much more. A subscription will save you 5x the amount of time and money you are investing instead of doing it yourself.

Look at it this way. You want to get healthier. Maybe you need to lose some weight. You have to eat something, and you have to go grocery shopping. Why not let us do the heavy lifting and click here to subscribe today to the "Cr8 Your Plate" meal planning service? We will even give 30 days for free to test it out. The only downside is if you don't take us up on it. 🙂

So there you have it. The "Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning". We've given you all our best stuff, and everything you need to put nutritious and tasty food on your plate, every day. You have the knowledge, now it's up to you take action. We are here to help every step of the way. 

To your best health,

Coach Nancy & Coach Dean


Please Be Kind and Share This Guide. Thanks!

Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 7

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 7: The "Crazy Day" Meal Plan 

Reality Check: We ALL have crazy days, when the best laid plans just go haywire. The "Crazy Day Food Plan" is for THOSE kinds of days. In fact our colleague Josh Hillis recommends you just make this your "Monday Food Plan" and start your week off with no fuss at all. 

I'll bet you can identify at least one day of the week, every week, where this plan would really be a big help. All these foods are easy to keep in the house and grab when we need them. Set yourself up for success!

meal planning

You DO Have A Choice

There are so many more choices to get a healthy meal on the go than there used to be, like the Burrito Bowl in the infographic above. That's a good thing, because we eat out a LOT more than we used to even 10 years ago. There is more travel for work, one or more vacations a year, and many of our gatherings with family and friends involve sitting down at our favorite restaurant.

Integrating these occasions into our overall meal planning is important. Noting when, where and what you eat at these times on your weekly meal planning template reveals patterns; How often am I eating out? Where am I eating? What am I eating? 

Next week we are going to wrap up our meal planning series with some "real world" strategies for making healthy choices when you eat out.

Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 6

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 6: Simply Smooth Breakfasts 

If I had my choice, I would have eggs just about every morning. Scrambled, fried, or as an omelette, I'll have eggs for breakfast, please.

And... I don't have time for that. At least not every day. I don't want to just eat cereal or even oatmeal, because if I don't start with some protein and a little healthy fat, I'll be hungry by 10:00am. 

The Solution? A nutritious and delicious breakfast smoothie. But not just any old smoothie. We are going to create a protein packed powerhouse that will fuel us for the whole morning.  

Check out the infographic below, then keep reading for one of my favorite recipes.

meal planning

Vanilla and Berries Breakfast Smoothie 

It doesn't get much simpler or tastier than this "berry good" recipe. Try it tomorrow morning!

Ingredients:

8 ounces water
1 scoop vanilla protein
½ cup wild frozen blueberries
½ cup frozen raspberries
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
2 Tablespoons walnuts

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth and creamy. Pour immediately into a large cup. Eat with a spoon or sip. 

Remember, keep your meal planning simple and easy. A breakfast smoothie is both, takes less than 5 minutes to make and tastes great. 

Simple is Easiest. Simple is Best.

Next week we will cover what to do when things get really out of control!

You Are Not A Unicorn. Recovery Matters

Recovery Week is April 21 to April 27. Enjoy!

Ever since we opened the doors of our training gyms, recovery weeks have been built into the training schedule. This is not an accident. Neither is it just "vacation time" for Dean and Nancy, although those are the only weeks we can schedule time off.

To me recovery is instinctual. Training hard is taxing on the body and the mind. There is a point where your CNS (Central Nervous System" says NO MORE, and training starts to make you worse, not better. Our goal is that you never reach anywhere close to that point. We were doing "recovery" before recovery was cool, and we ain't a gonna stop now! 🙂

You might be cute, but you are NOT a Unicorn!

In fact proper recovery between workouts is factored in as we design your training program as well. It's one of the reasons we do not have regular training on Wednesdays. Two days on, one day off, two days on, two days off is by design. More is not better, better is better.

As I have gotten older, I have become even more sensitive to recovery. I recently read a book by science writer Christie Aschwanden called "Good to Go". The subtitle is "What the athlete in all of us can learn from the strange science of recovery".

"Strange Science"?

The science of recovery is pretty new, and there are some pretty weird, wild and yet-to-be-proven things that people do to recover. From recovery pajamas to float tanks, the book examines it all.

When it comes down to it, what we are trying to do is recover from the systemic stress that is placed on our body and mind on a daily basis. This is hardly just training stress. Work, kids, traffic, politics, illness - you name it, there are a lot of stressors in life. We want to manage the overall stress load in order that we can achieve physical and athletic improvement. 

The biggest take home I got from the book is no secret - the #1 thing you can do to de-stress, and enhance recovery is sleep. Not always easy, I know. You are talking to a guy whose alarm goes off before 4:00am. I get it. But I do what I can to get as much as I can whenever I can.

I have used a lot of different tools to measure my recovery over the years. Right now I am testing a piece of software called RestWise, which monitors overall training load based on objective measures such as Resting Heart Rate (RHR), HRV, SpO2, and Weight fluctuations, as well as subjective measures such as energy and mood. It's pretty interesting, and they boast clients from pro sports teams and olympic athletes. 

If you don't want to get that fancy, one of the simplest ways to monitor your recovery is to measure and log your Resting Heart Rate every morning when you get up. I use one of these $15 devices to take my pulse and SpO2 every morning - takes about 30 seconds. If your RHR is trending up, it's a good sign your recovery is compromised.

The bottom line. Enjoy your recovery week. It is a purposeful part of your training plan, and just like your don't want to miss workout days, you don't want to miss recovery days. You WILL NOT de-train in 7-10 days, so chill out - you are NOT a unicorn.

If you want more on the science of recovery, keep reading. 

Train Hard. Recover Harder.

Coach Dean

---

Our recovery weeks are what I would call Macro-Recovery. In other words we take a planned week off every training phase in order to let the body rest up from hard training and get ready for the next phase.

The Recovery Curve

I saw the recovery curve for the first time during my time with Australian physical preparation coach Ian King. His principles laid the foundation for the way we program, train and especially recover here at Get Fit NH. The principles that work with professional athletes apply to us too!

The following illustrates a “good” recovery curve:

The green line represents what we are all looking for – continual, never ending progress over time. We are getting stronger, faster, thinner, better looking (ok at least that’s what I wish for).

Reality Check – ain’t gonna happen. The process of changing your body is not linear, in fact what we are looking at in an optimal training environment is more of a “One step back brings me Two steps forward”.

A closer look at the chart will help explain what I mean.

The red line represents Equilibrium. This is where your body wants to stay, no matter if your goal is losing fat, gaining lean, or both. As you have no doubt found out, forcing your body to change is hard work – really hard work. When you walk into Get Fit NH, our training is designed to elicit that change. But it’s not as simple as “working out” day after day after day. In fact as I am about to illustrate, training without proper recovery is actually hurting you, not making you better.

The blue line represents the “recovery curve”. Starting at the left hand of the chart all the lines intersect. For this illustration that point is where your first training occurred – you “worked out”.

But what’s going on?

Instead of performance going up, that line is actually heading down – this is what is called Depletion. If you think about it makes sense – you have worked hard, you are fatigued, your body is depleted of nutrients – you are spent!

Don’t worry, your body will get over it, if you treat it right! This is what we call Adaptation. Your body wants to be able to handle the increased demand that was placed on it, and starts the process of getting better.

You are in charge of if and how fast that happens. A few of the factors that influence this adaptation include recovery nutrition, stress levels, sleep habits, supportive nutrition, age, and training history.

The recovery curve continues with Supercompensation. Here is how Coach King describes this process:

“It is only when recovery is allowed that we see the super-compensation effect, the unique phenomenon where the bodies physical capacity is elevated in response to training, in anticipation of another exposure to the same stimulus.” – King, I, 1999/2000, Foundations of Physical Preparation

In other words your body has gotten better in response to your training, a new Equilibrium is established and this state is when we will ideally train again. Our programming at Get Fit NH is carefully designed to give this the best chance of occurring, but as I hope you are discovering, you have a lot to do with this with how you treat your recovery!

As you can see, when things are clicking, this process when repeated over and over means you are getting better and better, the blue line is headed up – pretty cool!

The flip side to all this is what happens when the recovery process isn’t working so well.

This chart represents recovery gone “bad”:

When we continue to train in a state of “Depletion”, regardless of the reason, the adaptation to super-compensation effect doesn’t occur, and instead of getting better, we find ourselves in a downward cycle. This can happen when we train the same muscle groups too soon, when we haven’t taken the steps described above to recover optimally (sleep and nutrition for instance) regardless of time between training, when we train too hard coming off an illness, etc. The last thing we want to happen is new equilibrium to be established in a downward pattern – not good.

The long and short of it is your body absolutely needs to recover from hard training. Consistently training in a fatigued state results in injury and illness. Your body is an amazing machine designed to put up with a lot, but it was also designed to need rest. Recovery weeks provide that rest.

If you want to know more about the recovery tools I use and why you should consider them, hit me up and let's talk.

- DC

Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 5

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 5: Quick and Easy Dinners 

Some (most?) weeks we just need easy. You look at your calendar for next week and you just know making it all work is going to be nearly impossible. While you'd love to make a 5 course meal, 5 minutes is probably more like it. 

That's where our quick and easy dinner meal planner comes in. In the case of "crazy week", you need simple, and sometimes popping open up a can or jar is just the right thing to do. Here are some tips for making it easy when "life happens":

1. Always cook more protein than you need. Bake a couple extra chicken breasts or brown an extra pound of ground beef when you are making your meals. That way you can just add some chicken to a salad or add the beef to a jar of a sauce the next day.

2. Sides like Three Bean Salad and Cole Slaw keep really well over 2-4 days, and compliment a wide variety of cuisine.

3. Frozen is your friend. There are so many different frozen veggie combos that can be stir fried or roasted, so don't get stuck on fresh. Freezer to fry pan is a winner. 

4. If chopping, slicing and dicing isn't your thing, most grocery stores sell packages of "done for you" produce in just about any way you can imagine. Stock up on a few.

Check out these simple and delicious meal combos, and don't be afraid to mix and match!

meal planning

Recipes and Ideas

Many of these ideas are self-explanatory; heat a can of beans or shred some lettuce. But we didn't want to leave you hanging, so click here to download some great recipes that go with the meal plan in the infographic above.

Add These Dinners To Your Portfolio

If you don't have an extra meal planning template handy, print one out here, and make a few quick notes on which of these meals you are going to use as your "go-to's". Add this template to your portfolio; you may even want to keep it in the front!

Now that we have started to get a good handle on planning our dinners, next time we'll learn to quickly and easily integrate a healthy breakfast into our plan.

Introducing Jicama

Did you know that I am not normal? And maybe you aren’t either!

And I mean that in a good way.

I’m not normal in the sense that I want to be the best version of the healthiest me I can be. I am constantly looking for ways to challenge myself to become better.

Sadly, that's not normal.

Most people just coast through life not wanting to put in the time or effort to be the best.

Most people coast through life accepting their health as unchangeable. They do what is typical in our society - eat too much, sit too long, go for the easy way out.

I enjoy physical activity! I prep food every week. I care what goes into my body. And I'm guessing but I probably eat more than the average person when it comes to vegetables.

I don't have any hard data on this, but just by talking with hundreds of people, I would guess the average person consumes less than two servings of vegetables per day.

And most of those are the same ones, over and over again.

A lot of people just don't know what or how to cook certain foods.

My biggest challenge doing this over the computer is that while I can tell you all about a certain vegetable, I can show you what it looks like, I can even tell you what is great about a certain veggie... until I can get you to experience it, it’s just to ‘weird’ to even think about.

I’m going to introduce you to jicama today. Just to say it seems a bit odd, but think of the first letter as being an “H”. It looks a bit like an odd shaped potato. In fact you would peel it like a potato and the inside reminds me of a white potato. BUT the similarities stop there. It tastes different, in fact ,you can eat it raw or cooked.

Jashbrowns are a favorite way to cook jicama for rockstar Jennifer.

I peel the jicama, which is a root vegetable, and then slice it into thin French fry shapes. I add these to a taco salad so that I have crunch without a taco shell. My kids love it this way too.

Check out this recipe highlighting jicama paired with cucumbers as a side dish.

Jicama Cucumber Salad with Chili Dressing

  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1-1½ teaspoons chili powder, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups diced peeled jicama
  • 1 medium English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Puree vinegar, oil, onion, chili powder and salt in a blender until smooth. Toss jicama and cucumber with the dressing in a large bowl; stir in mint. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the salad with more chili powder before serving, if desired.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 4

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 4: Shopping For Success

Once you have created your meal plans for the week, you'll need to create your shopping list, and then go grocery shopping. There really is no one way to create your list. Some of us like old fashioned paper, and there are plenty of apps online if you prefer the electronic thing.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a sanity check for what's actually ON your list. We should see plenty of lean proteins, veggies, fruit, and healthy fats. If you have more boxes of breakfast bars in your cart than you do packages of broccoli, beans and beef, you need to reconsider.

As one of my nutrition coaching mentors used to say; "Don’t spend your time scavenging the bread aisle for a lower net carb English muffin while your cart is overflowing with Pop Tarts. That’s like mowing your lawn while your house is on fire.”

The infographic below shows what should go in your cart, and into your body, 90% or more of the time. Take a few minutes to check it out. I bet you come up some great ideas to add to your meal plans just from this list.

meal planning

My Number One Grocery Shopping Tip

This is NOT a secret and most assuredly you have heard it before. But it's worth remembering, rehearsing, and getting tattooed on the inside of your eyelids. (Ok, maybe that's going too far. Maybe.)

Don't go grocery shopping hungry. Ever.

I swear when I am hungry cookies jump off the shelf into my cart and a pint of gelato rolls across the floor in front of me. Every time.

And always always always shop with, and stick to, your list. Honor the time and hard work you put into creating it, you'll be happy you did.

Next time I'll reveal my secrets for making dinnertime meals quick and easy!

Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 3

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 3: Building Your Portfolio 

Have you ever looked through a photographers or artists portfolio? Dozens, if not hundreds of beautiful prints, displaying amazing creativity and artistry. 

We all know instinctively this portfolio took time and effort to cultivate. Pictures get added and removed as experience and skill increases. The artist learns what appeals to her audience, and it gets easier to get in the creative flow.

You are the artist of your kitchen, and your "audience" is the people you are feeding. The first pages in your meal planning portfolio is the work you have already completed; building individual meals and then your first full weeks meal plan. You are building your meal planning skills, but you are also building momentum.

You see, once you get that first weeks plan under your belt, you can really get rolling. The second week builds off the first week, the third week build off the second, and so on. 

Creating A Month of Meals

As noted, the second week of meal planning is easier than the first, because you are not starting from scratch.

Plan Week 2

The simplest strategy is to repeat last week's plan this week. But you will probably find there were a few meals that just didn’t work for your family. That's ok. Print out a new meal planning template and fill in the ones that did work. Then find another family favorite, add that one in its place and move on.

But, you may be thinking, what about variety? Won't I get bored? Maybe, but probably not. Studies show that most of us eat the same 20-30 foods nearly all of the time. But if you are worried about variety, switch the days you serve a certain meal or switch up the side dish. Don’t forget to make your grocery list now. Week two is done. Simple is Easiest, Simple is Best.
 

Week 3

We are on a roll and just getting the hang of meal plans. The amount of time it takes this week will be shorter than the first two weeks. The process gets quicker and easier every week.

With weeks one and two meal plans in front of you, print out a new meal planning template and use them as the basis for week three. Keep the ones you like, replace the ones you don't. Just like our photographer, you are cultivating your portfolio. In general you should be repeating most of your meals on a week-to-week basis. Adjust one or two meals. Don’t go crazy and change up everything that is working. Keep the changes small and consistent. Mix up the side dishes you served with a different meal and move forward. Don’t forget to make your grocery list. Week three is done. Simple is Easiest, Simple is Best.

And if you are struggling to make it happen? Don’t give up. Anything new takes a bit longer until we have made the system our own. All this planning will save you time and loads of stress each day, and you are oh so close to making that happen.

Week 4

When you sit down to plan this week, you have three weeks of your portfolio already created. This portfolio will be key to stress free kitchen time now and in the future. After this week you will have whole month of meal plans to mix and match.

Just like last week, we are going to review, and where necessary, replace. Circle the meals your family loved, and cross out the ones that got the "thumbs down". Even if you really want your kids to start eating spinach, don’t force one recipe at them. You’ll find a meal with spinach (or your wish list food item) that your family will eat.

Keep cultivating. How did the new recipe night work? Is there a certain mealtime that you want to mix up? Stick with one or two changes each week. Fill out your meal planner, and then make your grocery list. Remember Simple is Easiest, Simple is Best.

Once you have four weeks of meal plans that you like, use them like a revolving door (circular planning).

I have certain days of the week that I always fix the same thing, and my family likes that they have something to look forward to. Other days are crunch days where I need to remember to use a crockpot or have a quick fix meal. The days that I plan to have time to spend in the kitchen I use to prep other meals, make a new recipe, or make two meals at once.

Any time you feel stuck with your meal plans, come back to our basic principles.

  • Plan Dinners First
  • Plan Breakfast Second
  • Leftovers for Lunch
  • Shop with a List
  • Build your Portfolio

One more note. While this might sound silly, it's crucial to your success. Have the food you need for your plan in the house. You can spend all the time in the world planning, but if the food on your plan isn't around when it's time to prep and eat, it's hard to succeed. 

And remember, progress not perfection. Some planning is better than no planning. One meal at a time is all it takes to get started.

Let's go shopping!

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