Weekly Meal Plan #10

My meal plans were a feature I used to do every week about a year ago. While it’s not something that I’m going to continue to post every week, I still think it is a fun look into my kitchen every once and a while and get some recipe ideas and meal prep inspiration. Here’s a look into what we had for dinner last week:

MondaySheet Pan BBQ Meatloaf Dinner

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This dinner came one day after the Super Bowl (*sad face*), for which I had made BBQ pulled pork. I had made my own BBQ sauce from this recipe, and saved a few tablespoons to use in the meatloaf.  Homemade BBQ sauce tastes soooo much better than the bottled stuff, is much less processed, more nutritious, and doesn’t take long to prepare at all. The meatloaf is rounded out with sweet potatoes and broccoli for color and nutrition.

TuesdayCarrot Apple Ginger Soup with Grilled Cheese

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This soup is on the sweet side because of the apple and carrots, but has a savory component from the onion and vegetable broth as well as some zing from the ginger. Soups always need a little something else on the side, so we had grilled cheese too!

WednesdayPiña Colada Chicken

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I actually got the idea to make this again when I was looking through old meal plans on the blog. One of the best things about having piña colada chicken in the winter is that the tropical flavors almost make you forget it’s winter (almost…).

Thursday– Banza Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Vodka Sauce and Spinach

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High protein pastas are all the rage these days! While there is nothing wrong with the carbohydrates in regular pasta, if you can squeeze some extra protein into your diet without any extra effort that is always a plus! Banza  pasta is made from chickpeas, and compared to whole wheat pasta has 5 additional grams of protein and 3 more grams of fiber.

FridayDeep Dish Pizza with Caprese Salad

I’m so sad I forgot to take a picture of this, but it was national pizza day so we had a little pizza party at my house. To make it more nutritious, I used whole wheat pizza dough and made my own tomato sauce.

Drink Up!

One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to drink more water. Sometimes I do really well with my water intake, but occasionally a day will go by that I’m rushing from appointment to appointment barely taking a sip. I know that I’m not the only one with this issue, so today I wanted to share some tips on hydration.

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The Importance of Water

Everybody knows we need water to “stay hydrated,” but what does this mean for our bodies? Water is needed in every cell, organ, and tissue in the body, and is vital for numerous bodily functions. Continue reading

Game Day Recipes

The only thing that’s been on my mind for the past 2 weeks is Superbowl Sunday! I’m a huge Patriots fan and am keeping my fingers crossed for a 6th Superbowl win! Whether or not you’re a football fan, Superbowl Sunday is known for being a day for drinking beers and eating appetizers. Luckily you don’t have to stick to the veggie platter to eat healthy! These recipes are dietitian-approved and, most importantly, incredibly delicious and sure to please a crowd! Continue reading

Why I don’t Recommend the Whole 30

If there is one thing I wish everyone could understand about nutrition, it’s that all foods can fit into a healthy diet (barring any sort of medical condition-I’m talking about in a pure weight loss/general health sense. This post is not about people who have genuine food sensitivities, but more for the majority of people who use the Whole 30 as a weight loss aid). The Whole 30, the latest diet trend that everyone is trying, is a strict elimination diet that puts all sorts of food off limit- even foods that most people consider healthy. To put this into the simplest terms- I do not recommend the Whole 30 diet and would caution people against it. Continue reading

Why You Should Cozy Up with a Chai Tea Latte

I’ve always been a tea drinker, with chai tea topping the list as my absolute favorite type to drink. Something about relaxing on the couch with a warm cup of masala chai latte is just so cozy and the perfect way to unwind. The mix of winter spices along with the creaminess of milk makes it the perfect beverage to enjoy on a cold, winter day. As a bonus, chai tea also boasts many health benefits because of the spices that are commonly included in the blend.

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How to Make New Years Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

Okay so I know this this topic is completely cliché, but tis the season that everyone is reflecting on the previous year and looking ahead at what’s to come. It’s human nature to constantly want to grow and improve, which is why over 40% of Americans make New Years Resolutions. Unfortunately, only 9% of people are successful with their resolutions. This year, set yourself up for success by setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time specific. Let’s break it down:

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Maximizing Muscle Growth

Protein has been a hot topic in the nutrition in fitness world for years now, and there is no sign of that slowing down. Since I work in a gym setting, the topic of muscle growth in relation to protein intake comes up all the time between clients and trainers alike. While at FNCE a couple weeks ago, I attended an interesting lecture about muscle synthesis and wanted to share some interesting findings that might be helpful to those of you looking to build muscle.

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Nutrition and exercise are the two main anabolic stimuli- and they work hand in hand. In other words, you can’t drink protein shakes all day and expect to build muscle if you’re not putting the work in at the gym. On the flip side, exercise is much more beneficial if you learn to fuel your body correctly. Muscle synthesis is increased for up to 3-5 hours after a workout, so be sure to eat within 30 minutes-1 hour after working out to take advantage of this.

The source of your protein matters. Animal proteins like beef or chicken trigger a more favorable anabolic response than vegetarian protein because they have a higher leucine content (the amino acid that signals muscle synthesis) and a higher digestibility. Vegetarians should consider increasing their protein intake to compensate.

The amount of protein matters- to an extent. Eating 20g of protein in one sitting is sufficient for most people, with muscle synthesis only increasing slightly with greater intake. Consuming more than 40g of protein in one sitting shows no increase in muscle growth compared with smaller amounts. To put this in perspective, an average chicken breast found in grocery stores is 6-8oz. which amounts to 36- 48 g of protein.

Timing of protein ingestion is important. Most Americans tend to load up on protein at dinner, but spacing your protein intake throughout the day is more beneficial. Try increasing your protein intake at breakfast with eggs or yogurt, focusing on lean source of protein like chicken, fish, or even beans at lunch, and snacking on nuts or dairy between meals.

Eating carbohydrates with protein doesn’t necessarily mean greater gains. It is commonly believed that eating carbohydrates along with protein helps muscle growth because the carbohydrates stimulate insulin, which is an anabolic hormone (aka it stimulates growth). Current research shows, however, that only small amounts of insulin are sufficient for creation of new muscle. The small amount of the hormone can typically be reached stimulated protein ingestion alone.

Time to hit the gym! And the kitchen!

Favorite New Products from FNCE

This past weekend I attended FNCE, which is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. The conference includes dozens of lectures per day along with an expo that features new products in the world of food and health. The expo is my favorite part of FNCE because I love trying all these products and finding new ones that I can recommend to my clients. Here are some of the top finds this year. Continue reading