Thursday, September 03, 2015

Meal Planning on the 21 Day Fix

I have been meal planning for a long time, especially meal planning on a budget.  But I admit, I was slightly overwhelmed right before the 21 Day fix started.

How much food do I need? 

What meals should I eat? 

How will I divide these containers over the course of the day? 

Will I be hungry?

So the Sunday before my first day of Round 1, I spent THREE hours in the kitchen prepping food. Seriously, who has three extra hours?!?!   I was stressed….and I am a planner and LOVE to meal plan. And when it was all said and done, I didn’t use some of what I prepped as it was just TOO much.

So the next week I simplified and over the past 5 weeks have come up with some easy tips on meal planning for the 21 Day Fix.

It is crazy HOW simple this can be!!  Though I think part of it is accepting this as a life style change and getting use to it!

These are "tips" (using that loosely, more like the things I do!) that worked for ME. Everyone is different, but thought I would share in case one or more helped you!


See above! Seriously, do not over plan meals. Especially if you are new to the program. Yes, the planner is saying don’t plan too much. I am a walking contradiction in SO many ways. I would, for the first week or two, keep your breakfasts and lunches simple. Maybe even the same with slight variations until you get use to the program, containers, how much you will eat, and proper portions.

So I did hard-boiled eggs or steel cut oats in the morning, salads for lunch, and yogurt and fruit or cottage cheese and fruit or hummus and veggies for snacks. My dinners I explored a little bit, but still kept it simple…maybe only trying one or two new recipes a week.   I also tried to incorporate "normal" food we always made before, just adjusted slightly.  I also picked only two different fruits and veggies for the week and that is what you use.  Unless you know you will use them, don't buy all the fruits and veggies.  It is more to prep and may go to waste.  Wait and see how the program works for YOU and then start adding more each week.  But to start, simplify!

Simple mushroom cap pizza!

2. Eggs are an EGG-cellent idea! 

These are my go-to food. TWO eggs = ONE red container. AWESOME. I always have hardboiled eggs to add to a salad or grab as a snack or breakfast. I also keep plenty of eggs to add to a meal or make as an meal! I have omelets at least once a week. And of course, being on a budget, eggs are fantastic. Go get those eggs!!

Spaghetti Squash "pasta" w/ poached egg

Baked egg in mushroom cap

3. Take shortcuts when you can.

Sometimes meal prep and cutting up all those veggies can be a lot.  I try to take short cuts. I buy a rotisserie chicken on Monday and shred it all up and put it in a bag for the week. I add this to salads, omelets or make meals out of it. Again, very cost effective and saves so much time.  My friend just introduced me to using steel cut oats, some water, yogurt and fruit and mixing it and putting in the fridge overnight for breakfast the next day*.  Takes literally two minutes and DONE.  Huge time saver, you know instead of cooking the oats and storing them and measuring the next day. As my son says...boring. I also buy baby carrots...I know, some are against them.  But Henry and I eat them and it is SO much easier.  For me sometimes spending a little more on individually priced items that save time is better.

4. Plan Snacks. 

Now, I think when you eat whole/clean foods you get more food and feel more full. BUT, if you are a snacker (is that a word), like I am, then making sure you always have 21 day fix approved snacks is key. Cottage cheese, apples, grapes, yogurt with peanut butter to dip your apples in – yum, veggies and hummus are a few of my go-to snacks. I am actually going to start exploring new snack ideas for the second round to change it up a bit!!  Just make sure you have options so if you DO get hungry, you are not gravitating towards the unhealthier snacks!

Just found this...21 Day Fix Buffalo Chicken Dip!  Cant wait to try it!


1/2 red container Greek yogurt
1/2 red container shredded chicken
1/2 blue container shredded cheese
1 green container veggies
Tapatio, Franks Red Sauce or favorite hot sauce

*Preheat oven to 350
* mix yogurt, chicken and 1/2 of cheese and hot sauce
* scoop into oven safe bowl 
*Bake for 15 minutes until heated all the way through

1 red container, 1/2 blue container and 1 green container!

5. Write it down!

Every night I plan my food for the next day and pack it and write it in my journal. Yep, no app for me, I hand write. I actually plan our dinners for the entire week on Friday, but lunches and stuff I go day by day, but always one day ahead.  I can do this because I keep my lunches and breakfast simple and consistent.  The dinners are the ones where there is more of a chance to have higher calories or the need for certain container amounts. So if I know what we are eating for dinner and how many containers I will need, I can adjust daily for my other food based on what we have and sounds good. But write it down! You will forget how much you had if you don’t. Plus, it is nice to go back for ideas!!

6. Have fun!

Enjoy the cooking or prepping of food.  For me, three hours was not enjoyable, but an hour or so is!  Let your kids help and wash items or pack your son loves putting items into the containers to measure out.  I am embracing the food.  Appreciating the preparation I put into getting my meals ready each week.  I am now trying new foods and meals and exploring all the options out there!!  I also am having fun with how I take my food to work (bento boxes are great - i use these), but that is just me :-) Remember, this is a lifestyle change, NOT a diet.  So if you do not love it and embrace this or appreciate how this food fuels your body, it is going to be harder to stick with it.  So have fun with it!!

And to help out, here are some of my favorite things to eat! 
All simple, easy to prep, budget friendly and 21 Day Fix approved!

Shrimp kabobs
Pita Pizzas/Mushroom Cap Pizzas
Spinach, chicken, feta whole wheat quesadillas
Grilled Chicken/Fish with veggies
Spaghetti Squash with spinach, turkey bacon, feta, & poached egg 
(used THIS method to cook the squash, but made my own recipe how I wanted)
Mushroom caps with baked eggs inside - HERE
Anything IN a pita!
Taco bowls
Greek nachos 
(baked whole wheat tortilla slices, feta, tomato, cucumber, lemon, and maybe so fresh herbs!)
Yogurt (1/2 R) with peanut butter (2 tsp) and apple slices (1P)
Chocolate, Peanut Butter Banana "ice cream"
(blend a cut/frozen banana until creamy.  Add a tsp cocoa powder and 1-2 tsp peanut butter)


And just because I have salads every day doesn’t mean they have to be boring. I have gotten great at making AMAZING and different salads every day!! I cut up the lettuce and wash it the beginning of the week. Let it sit out and dry completely then bag it up so I have lettuce for the entire work week!  I fill my salads full of veggies and make it a pretty large meal so I am not as hungry in the evenings!  For me, evenings is when I am the hungriest so I try to curb that by eating a lot and more frequently the first half of the day!

So what do you do for your meals?  Any other tips to share?

*Overnight steel cut oats - 1/2 yellow oats raw, 1/2 yellow water, 1 red yogurt....mix and top with fruit.  Put in fridge covered for 4-6 hours or overnight.

No comments:

Post a Comment