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This Week’s Meal Plan: 1/26/15

Hey Hey! I am really excited about some of the meals I am sharing this week with you all. I keep it pretty simple most of the time, but try and find a couple of new recipes to add to my favorite “go-to’s” at home each week, and some of these definitely will be added as repeats for a long time! My husband’s birthday was Monday, so that was definitely inspiration to find a new tasty recipe we both would enjoy! Head over here to read more about my meal plans and why I decided to start sharing them with you all.

Nutrition Highlight from this week’s menu is: Wild Caught Salmon

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Wild Salmon is not only an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, but has almost a perfect ratio of omega6 to omega 3 fatty acids at approximately 1:1. This is largely due to the natural environment they are raised in which allows them to eat wild sea plants like krill that have a perfect fatty acid ratio. Farm raised fish unfortunately do not have access to wild plant sea life and are supplemented with a diet that is not natural for them including a variety of grains that are extremely high in omega 6 fatty acids. Farm raised fish have been shown to have a ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids at approximately 4.5:1. This still is not too bad, but if you are striving for optimal health, wild caught fish is definitely a better option and also more sustainable for the environment. There is rising concern about the levels of heavy metals and other pesticide residues in fish these days and wild caught fish is known to contain the lowest levels of these toxins. In fact one study investigated over 700 samples of salmon samples from around the world and found that on average the PCB concentrations in  farm raised salmon were eight times higher than in wild caught salmon. PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) are strongly associated with cancer and other health problems. While the these levels are reportedly safe according to the FDA, there are definitely fewer risks associated with eating wild caught salmon.

Wild caught Salmon is also high in selenium, a mineral that plays an important role as an antioxidant, preventing free-radical damage to cell membranes. Low levels of selenium raise a risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory diseases and many other health problems (Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Michael Murray). It also is important for healthy thyroid function.

If you are looking for a high quality source of wild caught salmon, this is one I recommend. If you are shopping at the grocery store, just make sure to read your labels and look for wild caught (Alaskan preferrably), and not farm raised. Any fish with the msc (marine stewardship council) label on it are also a good indicator that it was raised sustainably.

**And now for this week’s meal plan**

Monday

Lunch: Grass-fed Buffalo Summer Sausage slices with a side of baby carrots and 1 full avocado

Dinner: Bacon Wrapped Dates and Pineapple Chunks (purchase sugar free bacon from wild caught pork), Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa and Red Rainbow Cabbage Salad from Practical Paleo

  • It was my husband’s birthday so I went all out with a full course meal! It was a hit!
  • I baked my salmon at 350 for about 12 minutes and it was still fabulous!!
  • The salad recipe I used is exclusively available only in the Practical Paleo cookbook. I highly recommend it, but this recipe is similar if you want to make it without purchasing the book. If you are strictly trying to eliminate all added sugars from your diet just don’t use the maple syrup in this recipe.

Tuesday

Lunch: Grassfed Buffalo Summer Sausage slices with a large side salad

  • Side Salad: 2 handfuls mixed greens, 1 full avocado, cucumber slices, diced tomatoes, and topped with some leftover red rainbow cabbage salad

Dinner: Bacon-Wrapped Smoky Chicken Thighs, Homemade Sweet Potato Fries and Steamed Broccoli

  • I used only 1 piece of bacon per chicken thigh and that was plenty
  • I prefer to sprinkle sea salt on my homemade sweet potato fries and use coconut oil, but both are delicious. Ground Cinnamon used in this recipe makes for more of a sweet taste.

Wednesday

Lunch: Grassfed Buffalo Summer Sausage Slices + Side Salad

  • Yes I eat almost the same thing for lunches everyday if it’s not leftovers. Why make things more complicated than they need to be? Find what works for you and your schedule and stick with it! This never gets old to me, is healthy and most importantly, quick and easy during busy days. The summer sausage also makes for great healthy lunchables for kiddos!
  • Side Salad: 2 handfuls of mixed greens, shredded carrots, pineapple chunks, drizzled with raspberry vinegar

Dinner: Barbacoa Beef Burrito Bowls

Thursday

Lunch: Grassfed Beef Salami Roll-Ups

  • Roll up sliced avocado and any other raw veggies you like (bell peppers, onions, tomatoes etc.) into the salami and eat like a wrap. Eat as many as you need to to satisfy your appetite and keep you full for the next 4-5 hours.

Dinner: Leftover Barbacoa Beef Burrito Bowls

Friday

Lunch: Leftover Barbacoa Beef Burrito Bowls

  • Again? Why yes indeed! I love making tons to last me throughout the week if that means it saves me time in the kitchen! If you don’t like eating the same thing everyday, store your leftovers in the freezer and pull it out when you’re ready to eat it again maybe next week.

Dinner: We will be eating out!

 

Meal Prepping Tips

  • Make a note of when to take meats out of the freezer to dethaw at least 5 hours before and put that note somewhere where you will see it! I don’t know how many times I have forgotten to dethaw meat and it is the most frustrating thing ever when you are starving. Don’t let that happen to you with this simple tip.
  • On allotted meal prep day at beginning of week, do the following:
  1. For Monday’s dinner: chop up the whole head of red cabbage, shred carrots (only if you didn’t buy pre-shredded), chop up broccoli stems, chop up all onions, chop up mango. Store all in zip lock baggies or individual containers to mix together for red rainbow cabbage salad the next day.
  2. For Tuesdays dinner: make the Smoky Spice Blend, chop up all sweet potatoes into fries and store in the fridge
  3. For Wednesday’s dinner: chop up the onions, and peppers and break cauliflower into florets to easily throw in a blender. Look at your schedule. You will need to either make a note to prep this meal Tuesday night to slow cook all night, or make sure you have time Wednesday morning to get it in the crockpot.
  4. For all lunches: slice up all lunch meats and chop up tomatoes, cucumber and any other veggies you will be adding to your lunch salads/roll-ups

 

This Week’s Meal Plan: 1/19/15

Another meal plan comin’ at ya this week!! If you didn’t catch my first one, go check it out here.

In addition to me sharing my week’s worth of lunches and dinner’s that I personally am eating at home, I will be doing a nutritional highlight on one food included in my meal plan each week.

This week’s nutritional highlight is pumpkin which is used in the pumpkin sausage soup on Tuesday.

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Besides being a fall favorite food that can be used in a variety of recipes, pumpkin surprisingly has a wide range of health benefits. I have highlighted a couple of them for you below.

1. Has a very low Glycemic Load

  • Pumpkin has Glycemic Load of approximately 3. Foods that have a Glycemic Load any higher than 10 will cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels after consuming them. Raising your blood sugar levels quickly is never a good idea. To obtain optimal health we need to consume foods that help us maintain a steady blood sugar level. When we don’t, we risk all kinds of health issues like insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and more.

2. Has a perfect balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids

  • I think most of us know by now that omega 3 fatty acids are super important for our overall health, but what’s even more important is a proper balance of these two essential fatty acids in the body. You can eat all the omega 3 rich foods you want, but if those foods are really high in omega 6 also, the balance will be off in your body. The main reason we need to obtain balance of these two essential fatty acids is because, too much omega 6 leads to inflammation in the body which is at the root of almost all modern disease today. Studies show that when the balance of omega 6 to omega 3 in the diet is any higher than 4:1, body failures and chronic disease start to set in. The Standard American Diet on average is anywhere between 10:1 and 20:1. That is a nutritional nightmare. We do not make these essential fatty acids on our own so we must obtain them from our foods. This is why it is so important to eat foods that are not just high in omega 3, but have a healthy balance of both omega 6 and omega 3. Pumpkin is a perfect example!!

3. Is High in Magnesium

  • Magnesium is required for over 300 enzymatic processes in the body and many people are deficient in this important mineral. This mineral is often depleted after a hard sweat session which makes pumpkin a great food to consume after a workout.

4. Is High in Potassium

  • 1 cup of pumpkin has more potassium than a banana. Potassium is also another essential mineral that is used up rapidly in hard workouts, making pumpkin once again great post-workout fuel.

These are just a couple of highlights. Pumpkin has many other health benefits on top of these..Let’s give it up for pumpkin!

Now for your weekly meal plan..

Monday

Lunch: Grass-fed Beef Summer Sausage + 1 whole avocado + baby carrots

Dinner: Mini Mexi-Meatloaves with a side of Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday

Lunch: Leftover Mini Mexi-Meatloaves with a large spinach salad

  • Spinach salad: 2 heaping handfuls of greens, 1 full avocado, diced cucumber, tomatoes, and onions. No Dressing. Mashed avocado is enough for me.

Dinner: Crock-Pot Pumpkin Sausage Soup

  • I doubled the recipe to have leftovers for lunches the rest of the week

Wednesday

Lunch: Leftover Crock-Pot Pumpkin Sausage Soup

Dinner: A mix and match from a couple different recipes. Baked Spaghetti Squash topped with cooked ground deer meat and the Basil Almond Pesto found in this recipe

Thursday:

Lunch: Leftover Crock-Pot Pumpkin Sausage Soup

Dinner: Leftover Spaghetti Squash Mix and Match recipe

  • Can you tell I like to eat leftovers? Who has time to cook every single meal?? I always try and be realistic when planning my meals and plan accordingly.

Friday

Lunch: 2 Paleo Grass-fed Beef Hot Dogs, Chicago style, inspired by nomnompaleo with a Large Spinach Salad

  • Using the Franks as the bun, slice it open down the middle and place sauerkraut, pickles and a little bit of mustard in the middle and enjoy!
  • Spinach Salad: 2 heaping handfuls of greens, 1 full avocado, diced cucumbers, tomatoes and onions

Dinner: I will be on the road traveling. If you follow me on Instagram you most likely will see what I end up eating!

Meal Prepping Tips

  • Chop up all veggies used in the recipes and as salad toppings before the week begins
  • Make a note on your fridge of when to dethaw meat for each of your recipes
  • Make a note on your fridge to put all ingredients for Pumpkin Sausage Soup in the crock-pot at least 6 hours before you want to eat dinner..

 

This Week’s Meal Plan: 1/12/15

Hey ya’ll! It’s been awhile since I have posted. I have been super crazy busy! Good busy though!! I recently kicked off a Whole30/Paleo challenge at the Crossfit gym I work out of.  I had a great turn out of people sign-up and I am super excited to see everyone’s results at the end of the month. It’s only day 4 of the challenge. Everyone seems to be doing good so far.

Nutrition challenges aren’t for everyone though. Not everyone is motivated in the same way. I get that. For those of you who don’t particularly like nutrition challenges and do better at just making changes at a slower pace that is more manageable and less overwhelming to you, I don’t want to leave you out in helping you along your health journey. And, for that reason, I have decided to start posting My Weekly Meal Plan. These meal plans will be what I personally am eating throughout the week. Each meal plan will include lunch and dinner for Monday through Friday.

I will be posting them weekly as regularly as I can. These recipes won’t always be my own. Most of them will come from across the web. My specialty is not particularly in recipe creation. I simply have a passion to share with you good food that not only tastes good, but is actually good for you! I follow a Paleo diet pretty much all the time when I am cooking at home, and encourage others to follow this way of eating also, so that is the type of recipes you can expect to see on my meal plan’s with some occasional variations.

If you are unsure of what Paleo even means, read more here. For even more detailed nutrition, and the way we should be eating for optimal health, read about The Real Diet of Man. To put things simply: I believe in eating real food, not packaged, processed, low-fat, sugar-free, man made “food-like” stuff. Just real whole foods that God designed for us to eat from the beginning of time. If you desire to cut back and eliminate man-made toxic “food-like” substances that have  no nutritional value for you, and are ready to start incorporating more whole food meals into your lifestyle, you’ve come to the right place.

My hope in this is:

1. To save you time and stress during the week. We are all busy and not all of you enjoy searching through recipes like I do. I get that. Let me be the one to do that. Yes, you still have to shop for the groceries and actually make the food. Sorry. I can’t do everything, and to be honest I wouldn’t want to do everything for you because then I wouldn’t be teaching you anything. Learning to shop and cook fresh homemade meals from scratch at home is one of the best things you can learn to do for your overall health. I hope these recipes will be an inspiration to start learning!

2. That even if you don’t follow my meal plans exactly, you will start incorporating a couple of my recipes here and there throughout your week and slowly start eliminating the other junk you may or may not have been eating before. I do believe a 30 day or 14 day nutrition challenge to reset your system has wonderful health benefits, but if that’s not something your ready for, adding a couple of healthy meals in place of some previous not-so-healthy meals is definitely a great place to start!

3. That you will learn to appreciate the taste of real food and even begin craving it over less-than-healthy food options. Healthy food does not mean bland, boring and unsatisfying. It is far from that. I hope these recipes open your eyes to how good real food can actually be and more importantly, how much better you will feel when you start regularly eating them.

So with that being said. Below is your first ever weekly meal plan from me: Enjoy!

**You will notice that I do recommend Grass-Fed Meats over conventional meats in all my recipes. This is not just because I like the taste better or because I partner with Slanker’s Grass-Fed Meats. There are extreme health benefits to choosing grass-fed over conventional. I can’t lie to you and tell you that eating lots of conventional meats is good for you, because it’s not.  However, I do understand each one of us is on our own unique healthy journey and the thought of drastically changing everything that you eat can be overwhelming. That’s not to say it’s not doable. Don’t let that all of this potentially overwhelming new information stop you from starting your journey towards better health. You have to start somewhere. If you are not to the point of choosing to buy grass-fed and pastured meats,  or are unsure that you can even fit that into your current budget, just do me a favor and educate yourself a little on the topic. There are tons of great articles on this topic for you to sift through here.**

PS: Make sure to check out my meal prepping tips at the bottom to help save you some time throughout the week!

Monday

Lunch: Creamy Spiced Cauliflower Soup with 3-4 Grassfed Meatballs

  • For meatballs: Roll into approx. 1″ thick balls, place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350. The flavor of these with nothing added to them is amazing!

Dinner: Grassfed Steak with a side of Green Beans and Homemade Sweet Potato Fries

Tuesday

Lunch: Leftover Grassfed Steak with a large Spinach Salad

  • Salad: 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves, chopped cucumber, tomatoes, avocado and fresh squeezed lemon juice

Dinner: Easy Crock-Pot Chicken with Herb Crusted Acorn Squash 

Wednesday

Lunch: Leftover Crock-Pot Chicken and Herb Crusted Acorn

Dinner: Easy Slow Cooker Taco Meat

  • Eat as a taco salad on a bed of lettuce with all the trimmings: avocado, chopped tomatoes, onions, sauteed bell peppers, cilantro, sugar-free salsa
  • OR wrap it up in some lettuce wraps in place of a tortilla with all the trimmings. This is one of my favorites!

Thursday:

Lunch: Grassfed Beef Salami Roll-Ups with a side Spinach Salad

  • For Roll-Ups: Take salami and roll it up with sliced avocado, bell peppers, onions, and whatever other raw veggies you like
  • Spinach Salad: 2 handfuls spinach with chopped cucumber, tomatoes, onions, and fresh squeezed lemon juice

Dinner: Leftover Tacos

Friday

Lunch: Grassfed Beef Salami Roll-Ups with a side Spinach Salad

Dinner: Smoky Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs with a side of Homemade Sweet Potato Fries and Kale Chips

 

Meal Prepping Tips

  • Make your soup and Meatballs Sunday afternoon/evening to have prepared ahead of time.
  • Chop up all your sweet potatoes before the week begins and store in the fridge to easily grab and throw on a pan during the week to bake into fries
  • Chop up all salad topping veggies before the week begins and store in the fridge to throw on top of your salads
  • Make your homemade taco seasoning mix before the week begins for Thursday night’s meal and store in the pantry
  • Make a note of all the meat you need to take out of the freezer either the night before or morning of to dethaw

 

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