This post is written in partnership with Milk. Love What’s Real.
This month we’re pleased to welcome Katie Morford as part of our January Reset Challenge! Katie is a San Francisco-based cookbook author and registered dietitian who writes the blog Mom’s Kitchen Handbook.
Like most teenage girls, I embarked on more than a few diets during high school trying to skinny myself down to what I considered an acceptable size. I rarely had much success in tipping the scales, but I did manage to mess with my natural intuition around eating.
Restrictive diets tend to do that by denying foods we love and ignoring what comes completely naturally—our hunger and satiety signals. This week’s theme is all about tapping into when, how much, and what we want to eat.
DITCH THE DIET
I’m guessing more than a few of you can relate to my high school story, since diet culture is quite a thing and has been for a very long time. But there’s a movement afoot to ditch the diets. It’s called Intuitive Eating.
In a way, it’s not all that innovative, since eating intuitively is what babies do from the get-go. They latch onto their mama for milk and then pull away when they’ve had enough.
Essentials of Intuitive Eating
This week’s theme is all about that… tapping into when, how much, and what we want to eat. It hones in on the core tenets of Intuitive Eating, a movement founded by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. It’s worth reading all 10 tenets of Intuitive Eating, which you can find here.
Below are some of the top notes:
- Break up with Dieting
Intuitive eating involves letting go of your diet mentality, one that you may have had for a very long time. It means getting off the dieting roller coaster and rejecting the empty promises to “drop 10 pounds in 10 days” or take a magic pill, potion, or cleanse to cure your weight loss woes.
- Listen to your Body
Intuitive eating is trusting your all-natural, built-in mechanism for nourishing your body. It’s called hunger and satiety. Eating intuitively means paying close attention to when you feel hungry and honoring that. It’s also about respecting when you feel full and listening to those signals just as closely.
- Make Friends with Food
Try to take the “can’t” and “shouldn’t” out of your head when it comes to thinking about food. Give yourself the green light to eat and enjoy food. Consistently telling yourself “no” to foods you love and crave may lead to weight loss initially, but ultimately can lead to feelings of deprivation and overeating.
- Know That What You Eat Doesn’t Make You Good or Bad
I often hear people say, “I’ve been so BAD today” in reference to something they’ve eaten. Do your best to divorce yourself from this way of thinking. Watch your thoughts and blow them away like a dandelion when you tell yourself you’ve been “bad” for eating nachos or “good” for drinking a green juice.
- Move Your Body
Find a way to get some movement into your day, not because it burns calories, but because it makes you feel good.
“INTUITIVE EATING” CHALLENGE
If you want to give Intuitive Eating a whirl, we have a challenge to cheer you on. This week, we invite you to keep an Intuitive Eating Journal (we’re using this one but you can use an app on your phone that you stumble across, or good ol’ pen and paper). Log what you eat and drink all week long, noting your observations along the way:
- How hungry and full are you before and after meals?
- What eating triggers did you experience that were unrelated to hunger? Tired? Stressed? Lonely?
- How present is the food police, that inner critic telling you how good or bad you’re eating, at your table?
- How do you feel physically (and emotionally) after a meal or snack?
We’re asking all of our Resetters (that’s you!) to share a snapshot of your journal on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #simplyresetjournal for a chance to win this week’s prize. We’ll have more details at the beginning of this upcoming week, so head on over to our January Reset Challenge Facebook page to learn more!
If you don’t have Facebook, don’t worry: everyone that’s signed up for the challenge is automatically entered to win (if you join us over on Facebook or Instagram and share a photo of your journal using the hashtag #simplyresetjournal, you’ll get additional entries each time you share).
Learn How to Meal Prep with This 30-Day Challenge
Everything you need to know about meal prep for beginners, starting with the fact that it's much easier (and more delicious!) than you think. We'll set you up for easier nights, faster mornings, and healthier meals all month.
Meal prepping: It's one of those things that you know you should do. (Healthy food that also saves you money? Yes!) But actually doing it (and learning how to meal prep in the first place) is another story.
Maybe you tried it for a week or two and have since sworn off anything resembling chicken, brown rice, and broccoli ever again. Or maybe you know a few healthy friends who are religious about their #MealPrepSundays, and you think, "Ah, I wish I actually committed to doing that, too." Regardless, we're going to come out and say it—meal prep can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you're a meal prep beginner. Life can get in the way of even the best of intentions. But here's the thing: Meal prep will always include some level of, well, prepping and planning. But it doesn't need to be difficult, it doesn't need to take an entire day (ack, Sunday Scaries!), and it certainly doesn't need to suck.
To prove it, we teamed up with healthy chef, YouTube foodie, and meal-prep pro Alyssa Gagarin to challenge you to make meal prep a priority this month. Don't know how to even start? Don't worry. This is the complete guide for how to meal prep for beginners. like, total beginners. Gagarin is here to show you how to set up your kitchen (and your grocery list) for success with the proper tools, food, and cooking plan. Along the way, you'll learn some genius hacks like what to prep now and what should wait, mistakes you never want to make, how to put together the perfectly balanced meal, what you can quickly do the night before for easier and healthier mornings, and even how to turn your freezer into your meal-prep BFF.
Below you'll find useful videos, easy-to-understand tips and strategies, and healthy recipe ideas for easy dinners, healthy lunches, and quick and nutritious breakfasts—just consider this your complete guide to how to meal prep the healthy and efficient way.
By the end of the month, you'll feel like a slicing, cooking, and packing pro and you'll probably save some money and eat healthier, too. Before you know it, meal prep will go from something intimidating to something that's actually pretty fun. (Once you've conquered all the basics this month, challenge yourself to a clean-eating 30-day meal-prep challenge that will open your eyes to how delicious this can actually be.)
How to Get Started Meal Prepping
First thing, Gagarin says, is to have a look at your stockpile of containers and on-hand kitchen tools. What good is all that meal prepping if you don't have containers to put your meal in? A variety of glass or BPA-free plastic meal-prep containers in different shapes and sizes is crucial (don't forget tiny ones for dressing and sauces, freezer-friendly options, and mason jars). And check to make sure you have the usual kitchen suspects such as aluminum foil, plastic wrap, cutting boards, mixing bowls, measuring cups, spatulas, and sharp knives. A blender and mandoline will make your life a whole lot easier, too.
Next up, consider your schedule for the upcoming week and plan accordingly. For example, are you meeting friends for dinner one night? Did you just join a healthy lunch club at work? How much time do you have in the morning for breakfast? This will determine the number of meals you'll need. (Beginners, feel free to start small with ready-to-go breakfasts, a lunch or two, and a few dinners.) When deciding on recipes, think about A. how long they take to make B. what pots and pans you'll be using (avoid recipes that require the same pot for faster prepping) and C. if the ingredients in the meals can be mixed and matched so you aren't eating the same thing every day.
Finally, make a shopping list and plot your meal-prep strategy. Review what you already have in your pantry and fridge and jot down what you'll need to buy. (You should always have staples such as healthy cooking oils and vinegar, eggs, almond meal or breadcrumbs, chia seeds, onions, and garlic—plus, lemons and limes and your favorite fresh herbs and dried spices for easy seasoning.) When you get home, map out your meal-prep timeline, so you can get the longest-cooking meal going first (maybe a big pot of chili), while you're roasting sweet potatoes in the oven, and chopping veggies for salads, soups, and stir-fries on the counter. And check out the graphic below for an easy way visualize your day-to-night meal-prep timeline.
Okay, you're officially ready to learn how to meal prep. Go on, and conquer that kitchen.
I used to put a lot of pressure on myself that I needed to try to lose weight before seeing family or friends because I didn&rsquot want anyone to think I&rsquod gotten fat.
Can I tell you how hard that is for me to share with you? Can I also tell you how vain I feel saying it? The reason I am saying it though is because I know, without a doubt, that I am not alone in that thinking. What I can tell you though is if you want to relieve yourself of the pressure of always having to measure up to everyone else&rsquos expectation of you, there is a way to do it.
1,200-Calorie Sugar Detox Meal Plan
In this healthy meal plan, we cut out all forms of added sugar (think granulated sugar, honey, maple syrup and all of these other names for sugar you may see in packaged foods) and load up on delicious whole foods for a week of satisfying sugar-free meals and snacks. What you will find are lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, filling lean protein and healthy fats. This balanced week of clean eating will help you to feel refreshed, energized and good about what&aposs on your plate. Plus, at 1,200 calories, you&aposll be on track to lose a healthy 1 to 2 pounds per week. Not sure if this is the right calorie level for you? Calculate your daily calorie goalਊnd then choose between this 1,200 calorie plan or theਁ,500- orਁ,800-calorie versions.
How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals:
Read the Meal-Prep Tips throughout the meal plan for information on how you can prep-ahead and use leftovers during the week. And don&apost miss the Clean-Eating Shopping Tips for pointers on how to find versions of packaged foods with the least amount of added sugars.
- Bake the Muffin-Tin Quiches with Smoked Cheddar & Potato in the morning on Day 1. Individually wrap the remaining quiches in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. You&aposll be having this again for breakfast on Days 3 and 6. To reheat, remove plastic, wrap in a paper towel and microwave on High for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Start the Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup in the morning on Day 1 so it&aposs ready in time for lunch. Refrigerate 2 servings to have for lunch on Day 2 and dinner on Day 6. Any leftover soup can be frozen for up to 6 months.
- Make the Peanut Butter-Oat Energy Balls to have for snacks on Days 2, 3 & 5. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Meal-Prep Tip: Stock up on some air-tight meal-prep containers to keep your meals fresh throughout the week. (We like these ones from Amazon, $39 for a set of 8).
Challenge: Defeat Champions in any Nightfall Strike on Hero difficulty or higher. Earn bonus progress at higher difficulty tiers.
You’ll need to run a lot of Nightfalls for this one. The harder the Nightfall, the more progress you earn. If you’re planning on doing Grand Master Nightfalls this season, just wait for those and you’ll finish this pretty quick.
Make sure to finish all of these and the rest of the Seasonal Challenges if you want to complete the Master of All Challenge by Aug. 24, which rewards a Large Bright Dust Pile.
Ready to quit sugar? Meet your 3-week sugar-free plan
The plan itself is pretty straightforward: Pick a start date, and commit to three weeks of a sugar-free life. To break it down for you, there are the allowed foods and the not allowed foods. Foods that are not allowed include added sugars, refined carbs, and artificial sweeteners. But to soften the blow, there's a weekly indulgence built into the program&mdashthat means you can enjoy an item like a glass of wine or cookie three times throughout the challenge.
As far as allowed foods go, there are three categories to keep in mind:
- Totally Allowed: Veggies, healthy proteins, unsweetened flavor enhancers, water, coffee, and tea
- Allowed In Moderation: Whole-wheat and whole grains, bread, pasta, fruit, healthy fats, and dairy
- Barely Allowed: Fattier proteins, higher calorie foods like bacon, sausage, and french fries
In Sugar Free 3, I serve up more detailed guidance on the foods to eat and ones to avoid, along with tons of nutritious recipes&mdasheven ones for dessert. I also reveal the sneaky sources of sugar in our diets (like in foods we don&rsquot consider sweet, such as pasta sauce, yogurt and salad dressing), give tips in how to spot sugar&rsquos many aliases in food ingredient lists, give advice for crushing cravings, and offer ways to navigate eating out (and maintaining your social life!).
It may not be sugar-free. but you're going to love watching Ariel Winter taste-test healthier candy.
I'll be the first to admit that it's no easy task to quit sugar for nearly a month. But here are a few tips to get you on the right track:
Opt for sweet&mdashbut sugar-free&mdashsnacks
These healthy snacks pass the Sugar Free 3 test:
- A cup of blueberries with plain Greek yogurt
- Roasted sweet potato wedges with a drizzle of coconut oil
- Sliced apple with nut butter
- Air-popped popcorn sprinkled with cinnamon
Hydrate away your sugar cravings
Sometimes (read: a lot of times, actually) thirst can masquerade as hunger or a craving. The cues are similar: You might get a headache, feel lethargic, your stomach may rumble, or you might have difficulty concentrating. A good rule of thumb: Drink half your weight in ounces every day. Up your intake with a new water bottle, drinking hot tea, or by swapping seltzer water.
Find a sugar-free buddy
I highly recommend designating someone who can support you during the next three weeks&mdashwhether that&rsquos your significant other, co-worker, friend, or family member. In fact you should tell everyone you know that you are doing Sugar Free 3, and maybe get some friends on board to do the program, too!
Every body is different. So there isn’t one best diet plan for all runners. Just like there isn’t one best training plan for all runners. What you need to perform your best and feel your best may be different from your running buddy. Heck- it may be different from month to month!
I try to eat a diet that’s 80% healthy and 20% fun (treats or less healthy options). I focus on whole foods and try to avoid super processed foods when possible. (But do what’s best for you and use this as information only.)
Clean Eating Menu Plan PDF
Here is my third week of clean eating meal plans. The menu plan is designed for an individual, and the dinner recipes are enough for 4 servings.
You can download and print the PDF version of this menu plan for free, here or click on any image below.
I hope you enjoy this ! I hope it clean eating menu plan inspires you to start your family on a path towards healthier eating. Check back next month, or follow me on Facebook, to get notified when the next menu plan is up!
Make Healthy Happen Challenge: 500-Calorie Dinner Menus - Week 3
This fried rice recipe features a fall mixture of sliced Brussels sprouts and parsnips, but feel free to use whatever is fresh and in season. This recipe works best in a wok- a skillet is too small for the volume of food and requires more oil to prevent sticking. Always use cold cooked rice, otherwise the fried rice will be gummy and sticky.
• Vegetable egg roll (2 oz.) - 92 calories
This coconut-crusted swordfish is served with a delightfully tart sauce made with kumquats-tiny citrus fruit that you can eat whole, including the skins and seeds. For an extra hint of coconut flavor, sear the fish steak in coconut oil.
• Quinoa (1 cup each) - 222 calories
Our healthy spaghetti carbonara recipe is lower in calories and fat than a traditional spaghetti carbonara recipe, plus it boasts 9 more grams of fiber per serving from whole-wheat pasta. For the best flavor, use Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The eggs in the sauce are not fully cooked if you&aposre concerned about consuming undercooked eggs, use pasteurized-in-the-shell eggs in this spaghetti carbonara recipe
• Salad of mixed greens (1 1/2 cups each with 2 Tbsp. Italian dressing) - 119 calories
Perfect for entertaining, these chicken cutlets are stuffed with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts and just enough cream cheese to hold the filling together. Make a double batch and freeze half the roll-ups (individually wrapped in plastic), then just defrost and bake as you like.
- Serve with:
- Farro (1/3 cup dry each, cooked) - 226 calories
- Broccoli (1 cup each) - 55 calories
In this Tex-Mex-seasoned stuffed delicata squash recipe we swap out half of the ground beef you&aposd normally use for bulgur to reduce saturated fat without skimping on the amount of stuffing.
• Baby spinach salad (2 cups each with 2 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette) - 127 calories
In this healthy oven-baked pork chop recipe, roasted apples and leeks lend a sweet-and-tart note. If you always chop the dark green tops off your leeks, don&apost discard them this time-they have a delicious flavor and become meltingly tender when roasted.
500-Calorie Dinners Meal Plan: Week 3
We&aposve got 5 healthy, satisfying dinners planned for you.
It&aposs finally warming up here in northern Vermont and I was all excited about that-until I took off my winter clothes and had to admit to myself that months of hibernation had not been particularly kind to the old physique. That&aposs why I&aposm grateful to have a dinner plan for the week that will help me fit back into my shorts. This plan of five 500-calorie dinners helps you organize complete meals every night, including your main course recipe, side dishes, desserts and drinks-all for 500 calories!
-Wendy Ruopp, Managing Editor
Although there are many variations of this Mexican chicken soup, spicy chipotle chiles are always part of the broth. Finish the menu with Mixed Lettuce Salad with Cucumber Herb Vinaigrette? and Fast Strawberry Frozen Yogurt?.
Tuesday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin Marinated in Spicy Soy Sauce
Crisp on the outside and buttery-tender on the inside, these sweet and spicy soy sauce-marinated pork tenderloin medallions make for a delicious, healthful and elegant entree. Serve with a couple sides: Steamed snow peas (½ cup) with a splash of reduced-sodium soy sauce? and Wild Rice with Shiitakes & Toasted Almonds?. For dessert you get to have Orange Crisps with Citrus Fruit Salad.