meals

Sustainable Seafood with Safeway

Last month Safeway invited me to join them in Monterey for a morning of seafood education with Seafood Watch at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean. Not only do they raise public awareness, they help develop policies to improve traceability in the global seafood supply chain, end illegal unregulated fishing, and partner with both international and national organizations to address environmental and humans rights issues.

IMG_5611.jpg

Before heading to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we checked out the Monterey Andronico’s Community Market location, which is a neighborhood market who’s goal is to feed a healthy life. At an Andronico’s Community Market you’ll find natural groceries, specialty items, and inspired “made-from-scratch” meals and treats. While there, we learned about how Fish Wise, an organization that partners with the seafood industry to achieve some of the most ambitious responsible seafood commitments, helps retailers like Safeway and Andronico’s educate their consumers about seafood sustainability. Seafood should always be labeled with how its being sourced: farmed, wild caught, fresh, or frozen. In some cases you’ll also know where the seafood is sourced.

DSC01467.jpg
DSC01465.jpg

While at Andronico’s we got to learn how to properly open and clean a crab which was so much fun. I shared my experience on IG Stories, but here’s a photo of Taylor and I in our crab cleaning outfits of the day!

IMG_5617.jpg

Our trip to Monterey was short, but sweet and filled with such fun memories. We got to briefly check out The Jellies Experience and the Open Sea, two of my favorite exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium that I can sit and watch in wander.

DSC01428.jpg
DSC01440.jpg

We also walked through the Seafood Watch exhibit where there was a display of all this trash that was picked up from a local beach in one day. It was such a heartbreak to see all this pollution that fills our beautiful California beaches.

DSC01442.jpg

After we had a delicious lunch over at The Fish Hopper. It started off with delicious mimosas that were made with freshly squeezed Vintage Sweets Navel Oranges, which give the perfect balance of acid and sugar. Then we had the most delicious Dungeness Crab Meat Melt on top of Rustik Oven Sourdough with baby arugula and Vintage Sweets Heirloom Navel Oranges. After that crab melt I was hooked and craving crab melts for almost a week!

 Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
 Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Our main course was a grilled fresh local Petrale Sole that was topped with an orange sauce, caramelized sweet potatoes and a fresh strawberry mint relish. It was followed by a Heirloom Navel Orange cheesecake with a crispy The Rustik Oven Sourdough bread wafer.

 Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
 Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I was so inspired by this Safeway Blogger Trip that I immediately went home to make a delicious salmon dish that pulled some of the elements from this meal.

This post was sponsored by Safeway, but all opinions are 100% my own. #SWYBloggerTours

EAT: Raspberry and Mango Chia Seed Pudding

Overnight oats and chia seed puddings are some of my most favorite breakfasts or afternoon snacks to have prepped and ready to go. They are quick, easy, and full of dietary fiber and goodness!

Rather than having chia seed pudding for breakfast, I like eating them in the afternoon as it helps with the sugar cravings that typically begin to come in the later part of the evening when I often find myself stalking the pantry for something sweet to indulge in. 

One thing I love with chia seed puddings is just like oats you can make it as simple or as complex as you like. Personally, I like to keep it pretty simple and choose fruits that are readily available to me. Here's my go to chia seed pudding that literally takes less than 10 minutes to prep and 5 minutes to eat. 

Raspberry and Mango Chia Seed Pudding 

Macros: 370 calories 45C/15F/14P

Macros: 370 calories 45C/15F/14P

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk or light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • orange zest
  • 1/4 cup of cubed mango
  • 6 raspberries to garnish (optional) 

Directions: 

  1. Cube half a mango which is approximately 1/4 cup
  2. Pour all the ingredients into a mason jar or sealed container 
  3. Shake the ingredients to give it a nice mix. 
  4. Let sit for a few hours or overnight
  5. Wake up and put some raspberries into jar and ENJOY!

I love chia puddings, but they are high in carb so depending on how you're fueling yourself towards your fitness goals it's a dish I wouldn't consume for myself more than once or twice a week. A meal like this is perfect on your high carb days since its still pretty light on the taste buds and something that can fill you up due to all the fiber in the chia seeds.

What are your favorite overnight recipes? 

 

How to meal prep like a BOSS!

The most questions I get about own fitness journey is around meal prepping and meal planning. They typically are "How do you start?" "Where you start?" "How do you know what to prep for?"

Now first and foremost I think the most important thing to remember about nutrition plans is that proper ones are personalized and catered to the individual's goals. Not everyone's meal plans will be the same because not everyone's body is the same nor are their goals. As far as what you'll see me lean towards more often when creating my meal plans are simple meals that don't require a ton of prep and are not a lot of fuss when it comes to eating. My meals are typically animal protein enriched and a balance of carbs and fats. If you're looking for some recipe ideas feel free to check out my Food + Recipes section or #gofiteats on Instagram. 

So here are some things to note before you get started, I like to eat the same variation of proteins for 2 weeks and will switch up the proteins depending if I'm getting bored. I do this so that I can see if there's any physical reactions to the things I'm eating such as bloating, lack of energy, too much food, not enough food, etc. I spent about a year and a half prepping for body building competitions and because of that experience I've become more in-tuned with what works with my body. For example, I function better when I have healthy fats in my diet, so I don't cut out olive oil, avocado, nuts, or fatty fish. I have a rule of about 30% of my diet requires that when I'm trying to maintain my current health state or gain more muscle. If I'm trying to lean out or cut down, I'll reduce my fats to about 20%, but only for a small period each time to make sure that I'm not completely denying my body of important macro nutrients. 

I'm 33 years old, 5'2" currently weighing 110lbs and trying to gain about 5lbs of lean muscle mass with no specific target date. My daily macros should be around 1700-1900 calories for this target and I'm following a 40/40/20 rule, meaning that my carbs make up 40%, protein makes up 40%, and fats make up 20% of my daily intake. I like to eat about 1 or 2 really good refeed meals per week. I like to refer my eat whatever the heck I want to meals, as refeed meals vs cheat meals because cheat meals sound as if you're doing something bad when eating a meal outside of your regular plan. Refeed meals are a method that helps to increase the leptin in the body which can help increase metabolism for fat loss. It also helps keep people committed by giving them a small break in their nutrition plans especially while on a weight loss plan. 

Remember folks, food isn't earned; its fuel. Our bodies are earned. 

I'm breaking down my meals for this upcoming week of October 17th - October 22nd.

Below is my macro breakdown for the week. Here are some things that I'll be looking out for as I work through this plan before I make any adjustments:

  • How do I feel before and after a workout?
  • Is this enough food or is it too much food?
  • Am I craving anything outside of this, such as sugars, fats, salts, etc.? (these cravings is your body telling you something, pay attention to it)

Steps for a successful meal prep

Step 1: Plan your meals for the week around your life schedule.

People often start their meal planning feeling like its a chore already because they are looking at it as yet another thing to change or add to in their life. I'd like to suggest to pick a day that you can commit to prepping 3-4 days out of the week worth of food. This way you can keep things fresh and in the event that you want to switch up the flavor of your meal you have a mid week day that you can prep a whole new set of menu items out of the meal plan you've created. Also make a list of the things in your life that are non negotiable and where you might need to eat outside of your meal plan. I touched briefly on this in an Instagram post with regards to the things you love and want to do more of vs the things you're already doing. So now you're going to do this with your meal planning. 

Take out your calendar and start to add the things that you have to do and might require for you to eat out on those days such as meetings, dinners with friends, etc. If you're really working towards a goal, then I would suggest to only have one or two of these social functions in your calendar that will "get in the way" of your fitness goals. Spread those social outings out throughout the month if you can. 

Then start to plan your breakfasts, lunch, snacks, and dinners. 

Prepping meals are great for travel too.

Prepping meals are great for travel too.

Step 2: Make a Grocery List

Now that you know what you want to cook, it's time to list down those items and go shopping. Take inventory of what you already have in both your fridge and pantry so that you're not buying more of what you don't need or already have available to you.

If you wanna try what I made for the week feel free to copy this list of groceries:

Fruits

  • Strawberries
  • Bananas

Veggies

  • Green Beans 
  • Salad Mix (its a staple for us)
  • Asparagus
  • Lemons

Protein

  • Chicken Breasts
  • Atlantic Salmon
  • White Fish: tilapia, cod, catfish, or swai

Dairy

  • Eggs or Egg Whites
  • Greek Yogurt

Grains & Good Carbs

  • Oatmeal
  • Granola
  • Sweet Potato (another staple, in case mid week I get tired of rice I'll swap to sweet potato)
  • Rice

Etc

  • Protein bars
  • Protein powder

Step 3: Prepare your kitchen for prepping your meals

When I meal prep I like my kitchen counters clear, my kitchen sink emptied and cleaned out, pots and pans ready to go, and my meal prep containers and scale ready for my 2 hours in the kitchen. I also have my cutting board, knives, and any other items I need out to make things quick and easy when it comes to step 5. 

Step 4: Cook like a MOFO

One you have your kitchen all set up start the cooking. I love to grill most of my chicken or use recipes similar to my Lemon Basil Chicken that require one pan to make things really easy. When I'm using my grill I can grill up several proteins at the same time like chicken and steak while the rice is boiling or the potatoes are cooking in the oven. Strategize your meal planning so that you can use several different cooking elements simultaneously so you don't feel like you're in there for days! One other meal prep hack: grilled veggies are bomb dot com and anything on the gril is amazing because you don't have any pans to wash off. 

Step 5: Measure out your meals and pack them away!

Now that all the cooking is done its time to measure all the items, wait for it to cool down a little, and pack it away. I find a lot of power in meal prepping because its that day where you've realized that you've already done something healthy for yourself every day of the week. It's that moment of gratitude and feeling of accomplishment that really helps to start your week of the right foot.

Hope this helps and comment below if you have any tips for meal prepping, I'd love to hear them! 

 

 

 

 

 

EAT: Chicken with Lemon Basil and Garlic

Lately I've been on the struggle bus with eating healthy and it hit me on Friday night why. I had been so busy with a ton of meetings that had me traveling back and forth to SF and I haven't been as consistent with my meal prepping as I have generally in the past. Part of this is due to having such an major shift in my life from having a full time traditional 9-5 career to now figuring out how to align all my passions of health and wellness together. As I begin to figure that part of life out I had to remember that the most important thing to do is to give myself grace in this major transition of life. (giving myself grace, although I preach it so much, is not always easy) 

So Friday night I got turnt up in the kitchen and started to meal prep for part of my upcoming week. I bought this basil plant from Trader Joes and decided that to start pulling off all the basil leaves from it because I'm terrible at keeping plants to make lemon basil chicken. 

4 oz of chicken, 3 oz of white rice, and 4oz of steamed green beans and 1/2 of a fuji apple.   The macros: 274 calories for the entire meal, 34g of carbs, 31g of protein, and 2g of fat

4 oz of chicken, 3 oz of white rice, and 4oz of steamed green beans and 1/2 of a fuji apple. 

The macros: 274 calories for the entire meal, 34g of carbs, 31g of protein, and 2g of fat

Ingredients:

  • 3 Chicken Breasts roughly 1.5lbs (cut to 2 inch strips to cook more evenly)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar or white wine (I’ll let you guess what I used)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
  • 1½ teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 cups low sodium chicken broth (475 ml)
  • 1 cup fresh basil, leaves torn or coarsely chopped (about 1 large bunch) (more for garnish)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, for garnish

Directions:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  1. Pre-heat a iron skillet or dutch oven on medium-high for a minute and then add the oil. Add the chicken breasts and cook until deeply browned (5-7 minutes). Turn and lightly brown other side (3-5 minutes). Remove chicken to a plate and set them aside.
  2. Use the same pan as you used to cook the chicken. Lower the heat to medium. Add onions and cook until just soft, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for one minute more. Whisk in the apple cider vinegar or wine and let it simmer for 3 minutes while scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. 
  3. Add honey, lemon juice and zest and bring to a simmer. Taste sauce for seasoning, add salt and pepper as needed. Stir in half the basil.
  4. Put the heat down to low and add back the chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add the rest of the freshly chopped basil and enjoy. 

Now if you wanna make this for the family or if you're not looking to have a lean protein version then simply change up the chicken breasts to chicken thighs with the skin on. And replace the step 1 and 4 with the following:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat a iron skillet or dutch oven on medium-high for a minute and then add the oil. Add the chicken thighs skin down and cook until deeply browned (5-7 minutes). Turn and lightly brown other side (3-5 minutes). Remove chicken to a plate and set them aside.

4. Put the the entire skillet in the the preheated oven uncovered and cook for 10-20 minutes. 

I love prepping my meals and following macros. Now this might not be the case for everyone and everyone may not like this, but it works for me and my busy life. My biggest piece of advice: FIGURE OUT WHAT TYPE OF HEALTHY MEAL PLANNING WORKS FOR YOU! Now I know you're probably asking: "How do I do that, where do I start?!" My answer: Experiment. This part of your journey will take a little bit of trial and error until you find what works best for you since nutrition is very personalized to the individual.