Networking online is essential in increasing sales. I studied digital marketing in college, and taught it as a journalism teacher. I launched a personal blog one month ago, and have already driven thousands of people to my website. I’ve done this by writing relatable content and promoting it on social media.
To seriously grow your business, especially among your target age group, you need a good digital marketing campaign. Over 78% of people ages 18-45 use the internet to make purchases. You need to be in their face every day.
Digital marketing is more than just posting a listing on Facebook, although that’s important too. It’s managing a website and writing personal posts that make people want to buy a home from you. It’s joining online marketing groups and promoting yourself. It’s leaving links every single day on every social media platform out there. It’s knowing SEO algorithms so that you show up as a top google search when people look for a home.
This can be very pricey because of the time to write, promote & manage the accounts.
- Content writers average $330 per post (about $0.80 per word at 400 words).
- Digital marketing publishers charge about $18/hour.
- Website design starts at $2000 and includes buying the domain
- Website management starts at $24/hour.
In other words, if you wanted to write, publish and promote something new every week, you would pay $792 per week for a digital marketing campaign.
In addition to content writing services I offer some digital media and website services for a fraction of the price. Contact me for more information.
The problem with healthy eating, is my family. My kids want to eat junk and turn their nose up at my healthy meals, and my husband is hungry ALL THE TIME. I know it boils down to personal responsibility but the struggle is real! It’s a constant battle for women, who are trying to feed their family and make them happy, while maintaining their own health goals.
As far as the gym, I have nobody to blame but myself. After a 5 week gym hiatus I have about 10 pounds to lose in 6 weeks if I want to be bathing suit ready for our beach vacation. With that as my motivation, I’m hoping to make that goal possible.
so, What’s My plan?
If you’ve read some of my past health and wellness posts, you know I hate the gym, but it has to become my friend again. I’ll be back at the YMCA 4 days a week for my Body Pump, Body Combat and Tabata classes. Each class is an hour and kicks my butt in all the right ways!
Due to the weight loss benefits, I’m going to incorporate apple cider vinegar in my homemade salad dressings and to start my morning. Green tea will also replace any drinks other than water. To see my recipes, check out my Pintrest board.
The goal is to eat every 3 hours so I don’t get hungry and eat whatever I can easily grab. I’m also taking fiber and a probiotic in the morning to help with digestion.
As soon as I wake up: One cup warm water, mixed with apple cider vinegar, lemon and honey
Breakfast: 1 egg, spinach, tomato bake – or – green protein smoothie w/flax seed
Early Lunch: Protein and veggie. This week: Curry chicken with cauliflower rice & stir fry veggies
Late Lunch: Green salad, no protein. This week: Modified Cobb and Apple Walnut Salads
Dinner: Protein and veggie. Primarily turkey and chicken
Before Bed: Blended chocolate casein shake with scoop of coconut oil
You can find all of this on my 6 week challenge Pintrest board which I’ll be adding to each week. The recipes pinned will have modifications as seen below for the lettuce wraps. We had them for dinner tonight and they were AMAZING! Of course my husband, still made himself another dinner. Why don’t I just make steak and potatoes every night?
I’ll be posting other modified recipes throughout the week. For now, you’ve got to try these wraps!
Thai Lettuce Wraps
- 1lb ground turkey
- 1 cup minced green pepper
- 1 can water chestnuts
- I TSP Onion Powder
- 1/2 TSP Paprika
- 1 Head Bib Lettuce
- 2 TBSP Soy Aminos
- 2 TBSP Hoisin Sauce
- 1 TBSP Rice Vinegar
- 1 TBSP All Natural Peanut Butter
- 1 TBSP Honey
- 1/2 TSP Garlic Powder
- 1/2 TSP Powdered Ginger
- Combine all ingredients to make sauce in bowl, set aside
- Put turkey in pan, sprinkle with onion powder and paprika. Cook till pink is gone.
- Add peppers and water chestnuts. Cook 5-7 minutes.
- Add sauce, lower heat and cook 5- 10 minutes
Fancy meals, no matter how large the portions, cannot make my family of 5 happy. It boils down to whether cooking new, healthy recipes makes me happy, and I think it does, most nights. The other nights, I think I’ll make them do the work and I’ll put my feet up!
What are your family meal plan struggles?
First let me say, I realize that testing is a part of life. Whether our students want to be lawyers, teachers, auto mechanics or beauticians, they have to pass tests to get degrees and certifications necessary for these jobs. Who doesn’t remember sitting in a testing room for hours while you take an exam that determines whether you pass a course, earn your degree, or get that certification for the job of your dreams? I get anxiety just thinking about it.
I am not anti testing, but testing in the state of Florida has gotten out of control.
State tests like the FSA and EOC are used by government officials to grant school funding and measure effectiveness. Jeb Bush is the champion for Common Core, high stakes testing, and linking school funding to student performance. It’s no wonder that he personally profits from the use of testing companies, like Pearson, who give millions of dollars to his campaign. Politicians have found a way to make public education profitable.
The FSA test cost our state $220 million of taxpayer dollars
Tax dollars are even paying random people to score the test, rather than professionals (see Craigs List ad below). Apparently a teacher’s degree and professional certification isn’t good enough to score student tests.
Meanwhile in schools across the state, students are forced to sit in over crowded testing rooms for hours at a time, missing months of valuable instruction per year.
The disruption to student learning cannot be ignored
It’s not just the FSA that’s causing our students to suffer, over the course of one week my daughter sat in a testing room for 16 hours out of her 30 hour school week to take End of Course exams. She sat next to a boy from Nigeria who speaks little English yet was required to take the test beside her. His score also counts toward the school’s grade and toward his teacher’s performance pay.
End of Course Exams are now state mandated and are no longer created by teachers
Since 2014, final exams must now be created by people elected by the District, and made according to state standards. EOC’s are required for every subject, even those without specific standards. Teachers are not allowed to see the test and when asked for a review, District refers them to a list of 50 generic standards online.
I administered an EOC English test which students reported 14 errors in either grammar, punctuation or spelling. One question was worded so poorly, we couldn’t even figure out what they were asking. Teachers are not allowed to help their students and must stress the importance of these tests, even though the tests are an embarrassment and do not support their instruction.
The FLDOE website shows an average of only 50% of students passing their EOC’s
This is a problem and our teachers are not to blame. Students are failing because they are not being assessed fairly. They are being penalized as each EOC counts as 10% of their final grade. Students who can’t pass the FSA receive a certification of completion rather than a diploma. Teachers who spent the year watching and celebrating their student’s growth, are helpless at the end of the year. All due to poorly constructed, high stakes tests.
politicians are using tests as a weapon to destroy public schools
Since these ridiculous state tests are not required in private, charter or home based schools, frustrated parents are pulling their kids out of public school at alarming rates. This is not due to failing public schools, this is due to greedy politicians who want to standardize our students and then penalize them when they don’t fit the mold.
If there were no profit in testing, teachers would still be able to assess their own kids. They would be treated as the professionals they are with degrees and hours of professional trainings each year.
If there was an actual benefit to the FSA and State EOC’s, all schools would use it, including private, charter, and home schools. If tests were more than just a tool to deny schools funding and teachers the pay they’ve earned, it would actually assess what the kids are learning, after they’ve learned it.
I love public education and I will fight for it. I think public school teachers are the strongest, most caring people on the planet. In spite of all the political interference, they put our children first. I believe administrators love their school and want the best for everyone, but they’re afraid. Afraid that if they don’t follow these ridiculous requirements they will lose everything.
Our schools are being blackmailed and need your help. Stand up for our kids. Write your superintendent and your legislatures:
- Tell them your kids deserve to be tested less and taught more.
- Tell them to throw out this ridiculous EOC and allow teachers to take back their classrooms.
- Tell them their tests do not accurately measure your child’s growth and ability.
- Tell them you want tests created by the people who actually teach your kids.
- Tell them your child is smarter, and better than their test.
In the meantime, look into opting out of the FSA: https://www.facebook.com/TheOptOutFloridaNetwork/
Make sure your children are taking the proper tests that count for their future. The ACT and SAT are still required for college acceptance and students can begin testing in 8th grade. Requirements for the SAT and ACT have changed in recent years. If you’re interested in finding out more information regarding college acceptance requirements, click here.
If you were asked what you remember most from school, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be testing. Let’s make sure our kids get the experiences and the education they deserve.
For source information click the pictures and links above.
There is no secret to co parenting, but here are a few ways I’ve made the tough times a little easier.
Give them confidence when they question his love
The only thing I can do is to try to make them strong and happy the 324 days a year they are with me. When they are exposed to one of his episodes, I do damage control. I say things like,
Your dad loves you, he just shows you love in a different way that we do.
Your dad doesn’t always make the best choices, but he always loves you.
Your dad doesn’t get to see you a lot so he probably doesn’t know ______.
Encourage them to share their feelings
My girls aren’t actually themselves when they talk to their dad. With me, they have no problem expressing themselves, but with him, they act the way they think he wants them to act. I encourage them to share their feelings because I can’t always fight their battles. Depending on his mood, I’m either a controlling bitch or great mom who they girls are lucky to have. Of course, what he thinks of me doesn’t matter, my priority is making sure the girls feel safe and loved.
Remember it’s not about you
I have spent the last 7 years protecting our children from his inconsistent, selfish behavior. I have shown them happiness when everything was literally falling apart around us. Some days have been hard, and I wish he would fall completely out of their lives for good, but then I remember, it’s not about me.
I can only hope that after my daughter’s experiences with their dad, they will not feel unworthy of his love, or rejected and damaged. Instead, I hope they will learn the true lesson of unconditional love.
You could say that Irish food is in my blood, because it is. My great grandparents met on the boat to America and my grandmother’s Irish cooking has stuck with me years after she left us.
I love everything Ireland and always celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a week of Irish cooking. It’s no secret that this week’s themed menu is Irish!
Before I get to the meal prep, let me give you some tips on dinners. Irish food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. There are a lot of options to sub the otherwise carby, saucy food for healthier options.
I’m not sure how happy my grandmother would be with me turning her delicious recipes healthy but it’s a different time, grandma. For example, instead of potatoes with my bangers and mash, I used this recipe and made cauliflower rice:
While Grandma White made THE best cabbage roll, or pigs in a blanket as she called them, I stick to this easy cabbage roll casserole recipe:
I don’t think she’s too angry with my modern twists, because at the end of the day, I always know to use good beer with my roasts. Guiness all the way, baby.
Now that I’ve given you 3 yummy dinner options, let’s jump into our breakfast and lunch meal prep.
- Corned Beef Hash
- Meat of your choice and Pub Salad
- Healthier Reuben Wraps
- 6 lbs or larger Corned Beef
- Low Carb Tortilla Wraps
- Bib lettuce
- Red cabbage
- White shredded cabbage
- 1 Sliced Cucumber
- 1 ½ lbs Potatoes
- 3 Small Onions
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Block Cheddar Cheese
- 4 eggs
- Healthy mayo (made with avocado or olive oil)
- Tomato Paste
- Spicy Brown Mustard
- Apple Cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Dijon Mustard
- 2 tbsp Tarragon
- 2 tbsp Thyme
- 2 Guiness Beers
1/4 tsp of the following spices
- Salt & Pepper
First you have to cook the corned beef. Here is the recipe I used and you can let it go in the crockpot while you make everything else. Once it’s done take out 4 cups (2 for ruebens and 2 for breakfast) and eat the rest for dinner that night!
Corned Beef in the Crock Pot
Combine the following ingredients in the crock pot
*If you have a small crock pot, scale potatoes, cabbage and carrots
- 5-6 pounds Corned beef brisket
- 5 Carrots, sliced
- 1 lb Potatoes, cut in chunks
- ½ head cabbage, cut in pieces
- 1 Yellow onion, sliced
Stir together the following ingredients and then pour over meat and veggies.
- 5 tbsp Brown Mustard
- 1 cup Sour cream
- 2 8-ounce beers
- 1 ½ Tbsp. Thyme
Cook on high 4 hours or best at low 8 hours
Don’t forget to save 3 cups for sliced or diced corned beef!
Let me start by saying, ruebens are not very healthy! I used a version of homemade sauerkraut and homemade thousand island dressing to make this a healthy lunch option. If you’ve never had a reuben before, don’t even think that this healthy recipe comes close to the real thing. I’m just trying to keep us healthy here!
Prepare the dressing:
Combine the following ingredients in a small container to store:
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup clean mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup chopped pickles
Prepare the “sauerkraut”
Combine the following ingredients in a medium tupperware container
- 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons mayo
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
Assemble the reuben wraps by placing a tortilla flat on the plate. Smother with thousand island dressing. Add sauerkraut then your corned beef. Wrap it up and enjoy!
Prepare the Pub Salad:
You will have a lot of leftover meat this week so if you’re like me, you’ll want to make sure that doesn’t go to waste. Pair the beef roast or cabbage roll casserole with an Irish Pub Salad twice this week for a hearty lunch.
Prepare dressing for salad:
Combine all of the following ingredients in a salad dressing mixing container
- 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 to 3 teaspoons water
Mix well and store.
I always wash, slice and store the salad ingredients to make my week easier. In this case:
- Wash the lettuce
- Slice the cucumber and onion
- Cube the cheese
- Hard boil 4 eggs
When you’re ready to eat the salad combine Bibb lettuce with shredded cabbage and top with cucumber, 1 egg, onion, and cubes of cheddar cheese. Drizzle tarragon dressing.
- Slice the 1 onion, mince 1 garlic clove, dice 2 cups corned beef and 2 cups potatoes.
- Melt 2 tbsp olive oil in skillet. Then saute the onion and garlic. Add the potatoes to the skillet and cook until lightly browned. Season with ¼ tsp thyme, ¼ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp basil, ¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp salt and pepper. Stir in the corned beef and cook for 5 minutes.1/4 tsp Basil
By the end of this meal prep you will have breakfast for every day of the week, enough for 3 reuben wraps and 3 Pub Salads (don’t forget to add leftover meat).
Remember the bangers and cauliflower mash AND the beef stew AND the cabbage roll casserole ingredients aren’t listed here. If you want to make those dinners this week, make sure you visit the Pintrest recipe and add it to your list. https://www.pinterest.com/expertlyflawed/week-4-themed-meal-prep/
I had an amazing St. Patrick’s Day thanks to some great friends, and some delicious Irish food! What did you do for St. Patti’s Day? Add your comments below.
Next week is an All American menu…
This week’s Themed Meal Prep is Italian food. I scoured the pages of Pintrest for recipes that are healthy (low in calories, carbs, and fat) and put together a complete weekly meal plan for you below. If you’re not familiar with meal prepping, or have been resistant to try it, here are three reasons why you must start with this plan TODAY!
Believe it or not, there are still people who don’t think food prepping is a good idea. The reasons usually include:
- I don’t have time
- I don’t have money
- I don’t want to eat the same thing again and again.
If you’re among them, I’ve solved these three issues with my Themed Meal Prep, giving you absolutely no reason not to prepare clean, healthy, delicious meals for yourself every week.
- You’re not too busy to meal prep! You’re too busy NOT to meal prep.
We are no longer scavengers, we don’t have to hunt and gather for every meal. So, why are you making it so hard on yourself when it comes to eating 3 well rounded meals per day? Meal prepping using my shopping list and recipes are so easy and most menus take less than 2 hours in your kitchen. Less than 2 hours and an entire week’s worth of breakfast and lunches are done. Most times, even that night’s dinner will be ready to feed your hungry family.
2. If you have the money for Starbucks, or Chick-fil-a, or Ruby Tuesdays, then you have money to meal prep.
I get it, clean, healthy foods can be expensive. There usually aren’t coupons for produce and meats, but I’ve found a way to cut my grocery bill in half. I’ve done this by making the menus culturally themed. One week it’s Greek, the next Italian, etc. etc. Making the menus themed cuts down on the ingredients because you’re using the same ones in different ways. Genius! Most of my shopping lists contain less than 20 items, any many will already be in your cabinets allowing you to buy even less.
3. If you’re bored with your meal prep, you’re not doing it right.
Since my menus are culturally themed, the ingredient list is small and the variety is BIG! You’ll love the variety of foods and never get bored eating the same thing every day. Some days I have a salad, some days a rice bowl, some days a wrap. There are a ton of options! The best part about Themed Meal Prep is, just when you’ve had enough, the week changes to another themed set of meals.
We all know what happens when we don’t prepare for lunch; we skip it, or end up eating crap. Treat yourself and go out once a week but don’t get frustrated wondering what you’re going to do everyday. Okay, let’s get cookin’!
- Frittata Muffins
- Tuscan Tortillini
- AntiPasta Salad
- Caprese with Pork
- 1lb salami (cut 3-4 times at deli counter)
- 1 package pepperoni
- 1 package spinach
- 1 package of romaine
- ½ cup red onion
- 1 red and 1 green pepper
- 1 Lemon
- 2 containers sliced grape olives
- Jar of Sundried tomatoes in oil
- Jar of Artichokes in oil
- Small jar of pesto
- Small can black olives (sliced)
- Small jar green olives (sliced)
- Package Cheese Tortellini (I buy whole wheat)
- Parmesan Cheese
- 6-8 oz mozzarella balls
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
*Optional: Peperoncini peppers and pine nuts for antipasta salad
This is so easy it’s going to blow your mind! You only have to cook one of the three lunch recipes this week!
How to Make the Tortellini Lunch:
2 lunch servings
- Boil tortellini according to package directions – Set aside.
- Add ¼ cup olive oil to skillet, saute ⅓ cup red onion and a minced garlic clove
- Add ½ cup sliced sun dried tomatoes, 1 cup spinach, and tortellini
- Salt and Pepper as needed
- Store in two containers for lunches
How to Make the Anti Pasta Salad
4 lunch servings
Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl:
- 2 heads diced Romaine lettuce
- 1/3 red onion sliced thin
- ¼ cup small can black olives
- ¼ cup green olives
- ½ package pepperoni
- ½ deli salami sliced
- Full jar of artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
- 1/2 container of grape tomatoes
- *Optional: Toasted pine nuts and peppercini peppers
Divide between 4 containers and store for lunches.
How to Make the Caprese Salad
Prepare the Caprese Salad by combining the following ingredients:
- ½ bag spinach
- 1 crate halved cherry tomatoes
- Package of mozzarella balls
- 2tbsp Pesto
- 4tsbp Olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt Pepper
I stored this in a container and ate it with leftovers from the week.
I made some delicious dinners this week; Veggie lasagna, chicken bruschetta, and Italian pork in the crock pot. If you’re interested in seeing those recipes, check out my Pintrest board: https://www.pinterest.com/expertlyflawed/week-3-themed-meal-prep/
Finally, to prepare the breakfast muffins follow this recipe:
- Dice green pepper, red pepper, and red onion – Add 1 cup shredded spinach
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray (spray well).
- In a large bowl, beat 10 eggs and add diced ingredients above.
- Sprinkle in cheese of your choice (I used shredded mozzerella)
- Scoop 1/3 cup of mixture into each compartment.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the center of the muffin is completely cooked.
So easy and so good! Next week is St. Patrick’s Day so guess what my themed menu will be? Irish food! This Irish girl can’t wait! See you next week…
I’m sorry for the lack of pictures this week. I lost everything on my memory card while recording my daughter’s chorus concert (priorities)! I’d love to see your pictures though. Please post your Italian Meal Prep pics below. Happy, healthy cooking!
Do you find yourself staring into a full refrigerator wondering why there’s nothing inside you want to eat? My kids do it all the time so I’ve made sure to stock “their shelf” with plenty of healthy snacks they can grab and go. Moms often forget to do this for themselves. I’ve found a meal plan that keeps the guess work out of what to eat and only takes a couple hours to prep for the entire week of meals!
I love Themed Meal Prep because my menu changes each week and the ingredients are generally the same which saves me time and money. Each week I choose a theme, search healthy recipes on Pintrest and then prep on Sunday so I’m worry free for the week.
My Pintrest Board for this week
Last week, we focused on Asian food which included lots of nuts, soy sauce (or healthier aminos) and garlic. This week, garlic is about the only similarity as we spice it up with greek food. A mediterranean diet is especially healthy because of the oils and ingredients like artichokes, olives, and cucumbers. While I’m not including my dinner recipes here, I made an awesome mediterranean baked chicken that you have to try!
Step One: Put the chicken nugget down and pick your menu theme (Italian, Asian, etc). My Greek themed menu is outlined for you below. Just screen shot the grocery list and go buy the simple ingredients.
- 2lbs chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- Minced Garlic (4 heads)
- 4 lemons
- 6 cucumbers (peeled and sliced)
- brown rice
- container of cherry tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- feta cheese
- kalamata olives
Step Two: Get Cookin’
Once you’re home, start marinating the chicken immediately! These recipes require the chicken to be in the fridge for at least an hour, longer if possible. Mix up the chicken as stated below:
- In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tbsp garlic, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp oregano, 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt and salt and pepper. Mix well
- After mixing, remove 1/4 cup for the salad dressing and place in fridge for later
- Add the restof the marinade to a large storage bag and add 2 lbs chicken.
- Massage to make sure chicken is fully covered. Marinate in fridge for at least one hour.
While chicken is marinating, prepare the Tzatziki sauce:
- Mix the following ingredients in a storage container. 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 diced cucumber, 1 Tbs minced garlic, 1/2 Tbs dill, 1 Tbs lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon zest, S&P to taste
- Once fully combined, place in fridge. This go toward both the bowl and the salad.
After preparing the Tzatziki, prepare the salads
- Greek Bowl: Mix the following ingredients together in a storage container: 2 cubed cucumbers, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 Tbs red wine vinegar, 1/2 Tbs minced garlic, 1/2 tsp dried oregano – Store in the fridge until ready to eat
- Salad Mix: Mix together romaine lettuce, 3 cubed cucumbers, 8 oz cherry tomatoes, 1 sliced green pepper, ½ sliced red onion, Feta cheese, 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives. Store in a container until ready to eat.
Cook the brown rice according to the package
Cook the chicken
- Remove the chicken from the fridge and drain the marinade from it. Discard.
- Heat some olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken. Cook approximately 5-6 minutes per side. Cooking time depends on thickness and size of the chicken.
- Let it cool and then cut into bite sized pieces
At this point, everything should be stored in separate containers:
- One chicken container
- One brown rice container
- One with greek salad
- One with cucumber salad
- One with tzatziki
- Small container of salad dressing from marinade
Then, when you’re ready to eat:
Assemble Salad: Place desired amount of salad on plate, mix with desired amount of chicken and salad dressing. You may add tzatziki sauce if you want.
Assemble Bowls: There’s a trick to these… heat up the brown rice and chicken before placing the rest of the ingredients inside your bowl. After heating the chicken and rice for a minute or so, add cucumber salad and tzatziki.
*Follow serving sizes that are appropriate for your weight goals.
This should make about 6 lunches for your week. I made 3 bowls and 3 salads so I didn’t get bored. The awesome thing about a Themed Meal Plan is just when you do get bored, another awesome menu, with completely different ingredients is coming next week.
Finally, as promised from last week, I said I’d share my breakfast prep with you as well. This recipe was awesome so if you’re worried about putting eggs in a crock pot, don’t! The Greek flavors make this healthy egg white recipe delish! Add it to your grocery list and mix it up in your crockpot while your prepping the lunches to have 12 meals done in under 2 hours!
If you would like to see how I assembled my bowls, or hear me talk about this week’s Themed Meal Prep, here’s a link to my youtube channel for the episode connected to this post.
Each week I’m tasked with finding lunches and dinners that aren’t going to make me run to the closest fast food restaurant for an easy meal. I’m not the type of person who can eat salads every day, but I do need to eat healthy meals or I guilt myself like crazy. Am I alone in this?
I found a solution that saves me time and money when it comes to lunches. I call it (drumroll, please) Themed Meal Prep. Themed Meal Prep gives me a variety of food options while using the same ingredients to cut down on cost and time in the kitchen. If you’re like me, and want to eat healthy but get bored easily, you’ve got to start this meal prep plan today!
Step One: Choose a type of food you like: Italian, Greek, Asian, etc. and stick to it for the week.
Once I find a theme, I like to search for my recipes on Pintrest. For my first week of Themed Meal Prep, I choose an Asian menu. All I did was search Asian Recipes on Pintrest and started pinning.
Step Two: Make a list and go shopping!
After I’ve pinned recipes I like, I make a list for the grocery store. Of course, you’re not going to cook everything on your board. I usually pick two recipes for lunch and one for dinner that have similar ingredients. With themed meal planning you’ll notice most of them have similar ingredients so this should be easy! This week I choose an Asian chopped salad and a Thai wrap that will come from a peanut chicken recipe I’ll make for dinner. The ingredients listed below are for 3 recipes and will make an entire dinner for my family of 5, as well as ALL 5 lunches for my week.
- 9 chicken breasts
- 7 cloves of garlic
- 1 bunch of Green onions
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- Red pepper & chili pepper
- Cabbage (or 2 bags slaw mix)
- 2 Limes (4 tblsp)
- 1 papaya
- 3/4 cup Peanuts
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- Gluten Free Tortillas
- 8 tbsp Soy Sauce (or coconut aminos)
- Low Sodium Chicken Stock
- Sesame Oil
- White vinegar
- Red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
Step 3: Get Cookin’
Reduce your prep time by doing one simple thing, make all the chicken according to the dinner recipe and then divide for your lunches. Once you do that, you just mix up some dressings and chop some veggies. Here’s a sample of how I prepped for my Asian themed week.
*You will need to make 2 batches of chicken using the recipe below (unless you have a huge skillet that will fit all 9 pieces of chicken and double the sauce). Each batch takes about 20 minutes to cook and once finished, you’re done with the stove!
- Brown the chicken in a large skillet on medium high heat using 1 tbsp oil. 5-10 minutes on each side.
- Reduce heat. Add 1 sliced red pepper and 3 cloves of minced garlic to the skillet. Sautee for 5 minutes – If garlic starts to brown, turn down heat.
- In a separate bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, 1/3 cup peanut butter, 3 tbsp soy sauce and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. Whisk until smooth.
- Pour sauce into skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low.
- Let simmer, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle green onions over top and save for lunches
- Repeat for your yummy dinner.
To Prep Your Salad:
- Take 2 chicken breasts from the peanut chicken recipe and add to large tupperware container
- Add rest of cabbage mix (about a bag and a half), shave 1 large carrot into container, add small chunks of one papaya, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/2 cup, green onions
- *NOTE! This is a double batch because you will use this for your wrap as well! Also, make the dressing in a separate container for storage (otherwise your salad will only store for a day).
- Whisk together 4 tbsp soy sauce or aminos, 2 tbsp lime juice, 4 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 4 cloves minced garlic and 1 tsp red pepper flakes. Add 1 cup peanut butter (and drops of water as needed). Whisk until smooth.
- Store until ready to eat. When ready, pour desired amount of dressing over the top of the salad and top with some crushed peanuts.
To Prep Your Wrap:
- Take 2 chicken breasts from prepared peanut chicken recipe
- Add 1/2 cups cabbage slaw, 3 tbsp green onions, 3 tbsp cilantro and 3 tbsp peanuts to large bowl and toss.
- When ready to eat, add chicken and slaw to tortilla. Drizzle prepared salad dressing over the top and enjoy!
Total prep time on Sunday is about 2 hours, but that meant countless hours of free time and less worry on my weekdays. Not to mention, I’m eating healthy meals and I’m not getting tired of them. Next week, it’s on to Greek/Mediterranean!
Want to be a rockstar? Check out my Themed Meal Prep Menu next week which includes breakfast! Another meal to check off your weekly worry list.
Let me know what you think about my Themed Meal Prep, especially if you’ve tried it! If you have any ideas for themes, I’d love to hear them! Be sure to comment below 🙂
Valentine’s week was a little nuts for us. Not because of the sweets, but because of the hustle. We hustled to get ready for our camping trip. We hustled to get Valentine’s and treats for school. We had an unusual weekday soccer game and tournament. We were just in constant hustle mode. Coming off a crazy week, I hoped for a little reprieve, then life happened, again.
To help make my week successful, I meal prepped on Sunday. I even invited my mom and mother-in-law over to get in on the fun. My mom declined, which is another blog post all together, but my mother-in-law came over bags of groceries in tow. I gave her a list that included everything she needed to bring over for the recipes. The menu was based on Asian inspired recipes for lunch and dinner, and a few items for breakfast and snacks.
An Asian diet has many benefits. Since it’s packed with vegetables and light protein portions of chicken and fish, it is a heart healthy option. The diet follows the Asian Diet Pyramid which includes balanced portions of protein, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc. Spices used in Asian food such as, turmeric and cumin, have shown to decrease obesity in people who use them regularly. The oils in place of butter also makes this a healthy option.
My greatest diet flaw is that I get bored and therefore, need a lot of meal options. Options can be time consuming when preparing various foods at once, or if you don’t prep, it can leave you wondering what to put on your plate when scavenging through your cabinets. So, my idea was to have healthy lunches and dinners based on a new theme each week. This week’s Asian theme incorporated many of the same ingredients, keeping my grocery bill low and eliminated confusion in the kitchen. My favorite was the Thai peanut chicken that I used in just about every recipe last week.
There was just one problem, LIFE. When the mom guilt set in and my kids begged me to have lunch with them at school, I stopped and bought us all Chick-fil-a. When I skipped the gym last week and my gym partner got lonely, I showed up to our lunch date fully showered, while she sat in wet gym clothes. When my family and I went to yoga and passed our favorite ice cream shop on the way home, we stopped for a homemade waffle cone. When the week got the best of me, I opted for pizza and beer on Saturday night, and Bloody Mary’s on Sunday.
I could sit around and count my flaws like calories, but that will only make me feel worse about myself. Why do we beat ourselves up instead of celebrating our accomplishments? I made home cooked meals for my family 5 days in a row. I ate most of the delicious meals I prepared for myself. More importantly, I spent a lot of quality time with my kids and volunteered at Special Olympics. I did things greater than my tiny flaws.
This week’s diet and exercise flaws resulted in smiling, ice cream eating kids and a happy Saturday night date who toasted me over a veggie pizza. Cheers to flaws!
Click here to see the complete menu and shopping list?
Get all the recipes I used this week on my Pintrest Board: