Monthly Archives: September 2014

Food Prep With The Isobag Mini

This is food prep made easy.  My reasons for food preparation are to save time during the week, to keep my meals clean and healthy, spend less at Zoe’s Kitchen (love) and to keep me from eating out a box when I am home from teaching classes (so hungry and tired). Can anyone relate?

Hey, I get it. We are all busy. The world is busy. I understand. We all do different jobs, have different schedules, have loads of responsibilities, families to take care of etc. and I think many of us have some of the same goals too. We want to get fit and healthy, we want to maintain fitness and health, we want to choose better foods, and we want our families to be healthy and happy. I know it is overwhelming. I am here to tell you there is a way to prepare simple healthy meals and snacks ahead of time so you are not consumed by chaos and then resort to “the box” full of fake food or fast food.

Say hello to my little friend, the Isobag Mini 🙂

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I found this little gem at http://www.IsolatorFitness.com so I ordered. When I received it something clicked. Food prep made easy. I have food prepped before and I was not organized, I over complicated things, I did not have the correct types of tools, I was a mess. I know you may think it is just a cooler but wait, it is a cooler, but it is special. It comes with its own containers (dishwasher and microwave safe and BPA free), a shaker bottle, its own ice pack, and it is small and light. It also comes in different colors. I think the pink suits me. I am here to tell you Big Things do come in small packages.

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Anyway, I am writing this post because I have many clients and students asking me about food and nutrition, how to eat healthier, easy recipes and all of that. I give them my opinion, write-up plans, follow-up and then I get the spill, “I don’t have time”, or “I can’t”. Well, we all have the same amount of time in a day and we all are busy. If you really want to change something, you have to make it a priority. This is what works for me and this is how I did it.

I had to think ahead. I ordered the bag with some extra containers. I decided to make simple meals that did not have too many ingredients (save time right?) I chose Sunday afternoon to do food prep. I chose baked garlic chicken tenders, spinach and feta turkey balls, asparagus, brown rice, green beans, sweet potatoes, white potatoes with salsa on top, sliced apples, rice cakes with peanut or almond butter, raw nuts, and protein shakes. These foods are so easy to prepare. Bake the potatoes, steam the veges, cook the rice (not minute stuff, it is just rice and water and simmer), bake or grill chicken, turkey balls are simple and are under “fitmuffins” here on my blog. Done.

I then portioned out the meals in the handy Isobag containers, mix and match, and food prep was done.

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I placed neatly into the refrigerator and I packed my bag when I was ready to go. The ice pack stayed very cold all day.

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To top if all off, dinner was ready when I got home. It just took a couple of hours to prepare and it was so worth it. Now if you are overwhelmed with thoughts of how to eat healthier and incorporate it into your lifestyle, give this a try. It is great for those of you at the office all day and for those of you who travel for work. Hey busy moms taking your kids to after school activities and sports, don’t go to the fast food drive through for their snacks everyday, try food prep and the Isobag mini. Oh and hey all my runner friends who put miles and miles of training in for that marathon or ultra marathon, I know you need your fuel handy. Give it a try.

Hope this helps inspire someone to see that preparing healthy food can be simple. Remember, don’t over complicate. FYI, the bags come in different sizes and colors 🙂

I will post more food prep ideas on my Instagram and Twitter if you would like to see more. I am @nthefitzone.

 

*Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.

 

 

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Healthy Make Ahead Meals Part 2

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Ahhhh, how we love spaghetti pie. I love spaghetti but I have never made spaghetti pie. There is a restaurant in town that always served spaghetti pie on the menu and every time we went there, the husband was sure to get it. It was tasty, and a favorite for him. We have not been there in a while so I am not sure if it is still on the menu. So, I was pondering recipes the other day hoping something would pop in my head that would be different that we both will enjoy this week. Enter spaghetti pie 🙂 Of course I healthed it up a bit and I must say it was awesome. It will definitely be in the rotation around here. This is my recipe and this is how it went down.

Ingredients:

1 pkg quinoa pasta

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg

1 lb of grass-fed beef

1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce

2 heaping tbsp tomato paste

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves minced garlic

grated mozzarella cheese (optional)

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pasta according to the package ( I shortened the cook time a few minutes because it will also be baked later so I did not want the noodles to become to mushy). Brown the beef and drain the excess fat. Add the green peppers, onions, and garlic. Add the jar of sauce and the tomato paste and mix well. Let simmer on low for about 10 minutes while you prepare the noodle crust. In a small bowl mix the yogurt, egg, and parmesan cheese well. It should make a nice creamy mixture. Drain noodles and add the yogurt mixture to the noodles and mix well to coat all noodles. Place noodles in a pie pan coated with nonstick cooking spray and mold to the sides and bottom. The noodles crust should be thick and sticky. Add sauce mixture (the pie filling) to the noodle crust. Add a little mozzarella cheese on top if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy with a green salad.

The leftovers are awesome. Double the recipe for an extra pie to freeze for later. Dinner is served.

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Noodle crust

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Noodle crust with filling before baking

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Pie after baking 🙂

Who loves spaghetti pie?

 

Healthy Make Ahead Meals Part 1

Food prep is no joke, but the reward is awesome. It is so nice to know that I have a few meals prepared for this week. Last week was a blur. Every night I came home and I had nothing ready or even in my mind about it. Does that sound familiar? I always end up eating whatever when I do not plan a couple of meals ahead of time. So yesterday I decided to make a few “make ahead meals”. I spent a couple of hours prepping and cooking so I still had most of the day to enjoy. Here is what happened.

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MEXICAN CHICKEN AND QUINOA CASSEROLE

Ingredients:

2 cups shredded chicken

1 tsp EVOO

1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup sweet potatoes, cubed in small pieces

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 (10 oz) pkg of frozen spinach, thawed making sure to squeeze all water out

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 (8 oz) jar of favorite salsa

shredded cheddar is optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Cook quinoa according to pkg

3. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tsp EVOO and saute onion until lightly browned. Add garlic, saute for 1 minute. Add the rest of the vegetables and combine well. Add tomato paste. Add chicken. Transfer mixture to another bowl and stir in quinoa and beans.

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4. Add broth and salsa to the saute pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine to the mixture.

5. Pour the mixture into a casserole pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Note: I cooked my own chicken but the original recipe used shredded rotisserie chicken. Original recipe can be found at http://www.mjandhungryman.com along with other awesome recipes.

Also, make sure to squeeze all the water out of the spinach. I made into a ball and squeezed squeezed squeezed 🙂

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I made one pan to freeze without the cheese. Can’t wait to dig into this at the end of the week.

Do you food prep for the week? What are your favorite make ahead meals?

Stay tuned for part 2 Spaghetti Pie!

 

 

 

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