Summer Winners, Summer Losers…

So, I’m not really sure how this happened, but on Sunday night I decided I would begin a Whole30 challenge on Monday morning.  It all started with my friend’s weight loss group on Facebook.  I know a girl who began this group as a way to hold herself and friends accountable to their weight loss goals.  She knows that food and wellness are my hot buttons and assumed I’d be interested.  I joined the group and poked around a little bit (okay I didn’t actually facebook poke anyone… creepy) and it just made me feel SO motivated!  All of these people were taking on really awesome challenges in the name of getting healthier.

It got me all fired up!  Meanwhile, another friend of mine just began her very first Whole30.  I guess I just figured that there were too many stars aligning and I just needed to do a Whole30 as well.  (What’s wrong with me!?!)

In all seriousness, it really does get my blood flowing to see other people (moms in particular) making an effort to eat well, move their bodies, and involve their families.  I’m not in the group to lose weight per se, but seeing so many people really step up and declare their goals to one another made me look at my own goals.  I would like to tone up and clean up.  I’ve been drinking too many lattes and eating too much dark chocolate, and it’s made my sweet tooth pretty hard to control.  So I joined.  I even had to post “before” pictures of myself in a sportsbra and shorts.  (You better believe those pictures will never end up on this blog.)

I may be mistaken, but I think that I’m the only paleo eater in the group.  I have seen a lot of other members discuss clean eating, Weight Watchers and the like.  There seems to be a lot of diversity when it comes to what people are trying.  I’ve been posting a few food pictures of things that we’ve been eating over at our casa, and a member of the group asked if I’d share my meal plan.  I am dorky enough to think that sounds like a lot of fun, so I’ll share below.

A few things to say before I start with our weekly plan.

  • Meal planning is not always my strong suit.  I always intend to do it on Sunday and then again on Wednesday.  When I actually follow through, I find that it saves me time, eliminates any wasted food, and saves money.  And of course, I never end up stranded somewhere with nothing healthy to eat.  I try to buy ingredients that all work well together and that we don’t mind eating over and over again in various meals.  For example, this week you’ll notice that I bought a lot of kale and avocado, so that is in just about every meal.  Next week it might be beets and rutabagas or sweet potatoes and spinach.  It just depends on my mood and which produce is on sale at our grocery.
  • I plan my meals around my meat.  We buy meat from local farms.  Recently we purchased a half of a grassfed cow, and right after that we bought half of a pastured hog.  That means I have pretty much every cut of beef or pork in my deep freezer at any point.  I still buy chicken, eggs, and fish from the grocery store, although I look forward to finding local sources for that as well.  If I’m using a cut of meat that you aren’t familiar with or don’t have in your grocery store, just use something similar.  For example, I made a steak salad tonight using grassfed beef cutlets, but honestly any type of steak such as strip steak or ribeye would be just fine.
  • The same goes with vegetables.  If I use a veggie that you don’t like or can’t find, just swap something out that you do like.
  •  My cooking always follows the same template:  meat + variety of veggies + fats + spices/seasonings = food!  It’s not fancy but it is always fresh and it’s always made of REAL FOOD!  I also aim for the meat portion of the meal to take up less than 50% of the plate – I like it when the majority of the meal is from a plant – even breakfast!  Yes, we eat vegetables for breakfast every day.
  • Rather than cook at each mealtime, I try to just cook all three meals at once.  I figure that if I am going to get the kitchen dirty, I may as well cook just about everything I can so that I don’t feel like I am a slave to food prep!  Typically, I cook breakfast and lunch the night before.
  • For someone who hasn’t researched paleo, it may be shocking to see that we eat so much fat and protein.  Just notice that the fat is all very GOOD fat – full fat coconut milk, nuts and nut butter, some eggs (my husband can’t eat eggs but I still do, this will explain to you why some of our breakfasts are quite untraditional), single ingredient oils such as coconut oil or olive oil, and avocado.  As for the meat, we eat meat from such great sources.  I recently had my bloodwork done and it came back not just good but at optimal levels – and I eat red meat and saturated fat every single day.  I firmly believe that processed foods and sugar are health culprits, so I try very hard to avoid them!   That being said, we are not perfect eaters over here.  I still like to meet my friends for ice cream, grab a latte from Starbucks, or eat a piece of birthday cake on occasion.  But I have one pretty strict rule – if it’s under our roof, it’s paleo!

Okay, here goes!

Day 1:

  • Breakfast –  Ground pork, butternut squash, kale and apple with a bit of sage.  I just threw the meat and squash in a cast iron until cooked and then added 1 apple, a bunch of chopped kale and a bit of sage just before turning the heat off.
  • Lunch – Grilled chicken tenderloin on greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard) with strawberries and avocado, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  (You could also add slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds to this.)
  • Dinner – Pork chops in fig sauce with parsnips and carrots, served over swiss chard.  (Just brown the meat and throw it in your crock pot with the veggies.  Chop up a handful of dried figs and throw those in, too.)
Day 1 Breakfast

Day 1 Breakfast: Ground pork, butternut squash, kale, apple and sage.

Day 1 Lunch

Day 1 Lunch: Chicken, Avocado and Strawberry Salad

Day 1 Dinner

Day 1 Dinner: Slow Cooker Pork Chops, Parsnips and Carrots with Fig Sauce

Day 2:

  • Breakfast – Leftovers from Day 1’s breakfast.
  • Lunch – Grilled chicken tenderloin on greens (kale, spinach) with mango and avocado, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Dinner – Puerto Rican beef (recipe here…. might I add that this is Oatmeal’s favorite) served with boiled sweet potatoes and avocado slices.
Day 2 Dinner: Puerto Rican Beef

Day 2 Dinner: Puerto Rican Beef

Day 3:

  • Breakfast – 3 eggs fried in coconut oil, served over lightly sauteed kale with sliced grapefruit and avocado.
  • Lunch – Leftover Puerto Rican Beef from Day 2’s dinner.
  • Dinner – Baked salmon served on top of greens (kale, green cabbage, cilantro), avocado, chopped oranges and tossed with olive oil and any citrus juice (I squeezed an orange).
Day 3 Breakfast: Fried eggs, swiss chard, grapefruit and avocado.

Day 3 Breakfast: Fried eggs, swiss chard, grapefruit and avocado.

Day 3 Dinner: Baked salmon salad.

Day 3 Dinner: Baked salmon salad.

Day 4:

  • Breakfast – 3 eggs fried in olive oil, served over lightly sauteed kale and strawberries.
  • Lunch – Ground beef and vegetable curry.  I browned 1lb beef with frozen stir fry veggies and added some full fat canned coconut milk and red curry paste.
  • Dinner – Steak served with grilled onions, grilled carrots, avocado, raw broccoli, kale, and cilantro. Toss with olive oil and lime juice.  (Would also be great with tomatoes or grilled zucchini.)
Day 4 Breakfast: Three fried eggs, sauteed kale and strawberries.

Day 4 Breakfast: Three fried eggs, sauteed kale and strawberries.

Day 4 Lunch: Beef and Veggie Curry

Day 4 Lunch: Beef and Veggie Curry

Day 4 Dinner: Steak Salad

Day 4 Dinner: Steak Salad

Day 5:

  • Breakfast – Ground beef with grated sweet potato and spinach, with a teaspoon of maple syrup to add more of a breakfast-y flavor.  With a banana.
  • Lunch – Grilled chicken, leftover steak strips from Day 4’s dinner, sliced grapefruit, raw carrot sticks and an apple.
  • Dinner – Grilled yellowfin tuna steaks with roasted brussels sprouts and mashed rutabagas.  (Haven’t made this yet, it’s for tomorrow!)
Day 5 Breakfast: Ground beef with grated sweet potato, spinach and a touch of maple syrup.

Day 5 Breakfast: Ground beef with grated sweet potato, spinach and a touch of maple syrup.

Day 5 Lunch: Chicken and beef strips, kale, carrots, grapefruit and an apple.

Day 5 Lunch: Chicken and beef strips, kale, carrots, grapefruit and an apple.

I hope that this helps anyone who is planning a menu for your week.  If you have any specific questions about any of the meals above, just let me know in the comments below and I’d love to answer them.  🙂

A special snack for Oatmeal.  He doesn't get these every day.

A special snack for Oatmeal. He doesn’t get these every day.

Baby Poppyseed enjoys all of the food that we do, just cut into smaller pieces.

Baby Poppyseed enjoys all of the food that we do, just cut into smaller pieces.

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Comments

  1. Looks delicious!

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