Healthy Freezer Meal Options

With a baby coming sooner rather than later, I wanted to make sure I had some healthy meal options for the freezer.  Lord knows I’m not cooking for a bit, and my husband probably won’t be feeling up to it either!  We are blessed with a great church family who have already told us they’ll be setting up a meal train (woot woot!), but I wanted to have some options for our freezer, as well.

  • Cauliflower crust pizza–we love the CauliPower brand!  It’s easy, it’s pizza, my kiddo will eat it without fighting us on it, and it makes me feel better than other frozen pizzas.
  • These blueberry muffins–now that we know my kiddo is allergic to tree nuts, we don’t use almond flour and just sub in gluten free flour.  These muffins are healthy and filling as a breakfast or a quick snack.
  • Gluten free waffles–we love these blueberry waffles and they work for breakfast or a quick dinner
  • Homemade burger buns–these aren’t “healthy” per se, but they taste amazing, I know what’s in them, and we can use them for all kinds of sandwiches
  • Tomato sauce–yes I use canned sauce too, but this sauce is flavorful and perfect for our favorite sloppy joes!
  • Black bean soup–you can make a batch, and freeze in individual servings or in servings of 2-4.  This is true for any soup!
  • Italian Pork Roast–this is a recipe I’ll prep beforehand, put in the freezer, and then dump into the crockpot to eat that night.
  • Maple Mustard Chicken and Potatoes–again, prep beforehand, keep in freezer, then cook in crockpot.
  • Chicken Fajitas–prep, freezer, crockpot.  Sensing a theme here?
  • There are 3 weeks worth of slow cooker recipes on this blog!

If you prep meals ahead of time to cook in the crockpot later, be sure you clearly write on the baggie to label what the meal is, how long it needs to cook, and when you prepped the meal.  Those meals are good in the freezer for 3 months.

What are your go-to freezer staples?  I’d love to get a few more ideas before it’s baby time!

Keeping It Simple

If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, you probably see me posting the same meals over and over again.

I tend to eat the same meals when I find something I like. I make my shake the same way almost every day.  I buy the same foods at the grocery week after week.  I saute some spinach to put over toast for breakfast and eat some yogurt or some cottage cheese with it.  For some people, it seems boring to eat the same things all the time, but for me, it’s a necessity!

Whether you’re 34 weeks pregnant like me, or just someone who’s busy and doesn’t want to spend a lot of time each week and each day figuring out what to eat, keeping it simple helps SO MUCH.

Here’s how I try to simplify eating healthy:

  • I create different meal options for me to choose from throughout my day.  I make sure each meal has a serving of protein, veggies, and carbs.  I spread out fruit throughout the day, and add in healthy fats as well.  I use my container system and current weight to figure out how many servings of each type of food I need, especially to ensure I’m eating enough during pregnancy and nursing.
  • For example, this is a sample of the types of meals I’ve created in the past to choose from:
    • Spinach sauteed in coconut oil on Ezekiel toast, and Greek yogurt with fresh berries
    • My daily shake with banana, PB2, coconut flakes, flax milk, baby spinach, water, and ice
    • Baby carrots with hummus, a pear, and Ezekiel toast with coconut oil
    • A dinner option, like my family’s favorite sloppy joes

When I find simple meals that I like and taste good, I stick with it like white on rice.  Especially preparing to have my second kiddo and become a momma to a newborn and a 5 year old, I need to not think much about what I’m eating.  I also need to make sure I’ve got healthy meal options so I’m not eating Lucky Charms and Oreos all day long.  It keeps me sane, it keeps me healthy, and it helps me continue to feel awesome even as I’m gaining weight and getting bigger the closer I get to delivery!

If you are someone who needs to mix it up more with your food but still wants to keep it simple, you can approach your planning a couple of different ways.  You can either create all new menus each week, or you can plan for a certain menu Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Sunday and another menu Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday.  It will probably take some trial and error for you to figure out what kind of planning system works for you, and to find meals that you really enjoy!

Be sure to search through my site to find different recipe options–there are lots of meals on here to choose from and experiment with!

Healthier Beef and Broccoli

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I LOVE all types of Asian foods–takeout, sushi, egg rolls, pad Thai: it’s all amazing to me!  When I saw this recipe for a healthy version of beef and broccoli, I was PUMPED.  I’m always looking for healthier versions of unhealthy foods I love.

Right off the bat, I knew this recipe would be really simple to modify if I wanted to.  I’m honestly not the biggest fan of cooked broccoli and my boys don’t love it either, so I knew that if I were going to make this and have a shot at it being successful with the whole family that I needed to substitute a different veggie.  I opted for coleslaw mix and it worked really well!  I used 4 cups of slaw mix and since cabbage cooks down and shrinks, it didn’t make 4 full servings like the recipe says.  Next time I’ll add in some more slaw mix so there are 4 full servings after cooking.

Another really simple modification you can make is the protein: not everyone loves steak (I’m usually one of them!).  It can be really chewy and dry if you overcook it, especially when cut into pieces.  You can make this with chicken, shrimp, ground turkey, or any other protein you like.  As long as you’ve got the sauce, it will be good!

You can also add some brown rice to add a little more volume to your meal or to add some carbs if you wanted to eat this as a lunch.  Carbs are your friend for lunch to give you energy to get through the rest of the day!

Enjoy!

Healthier Beef and Broccoli (from Ilana Muhlstein)

¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

6 Tbsp. water, divided use

2 Tbsp. corn starch, divided use

1 Tbsp. raw honey

1 lb. raw top sirloin beef, trimmed of fat and sliced into ½-inch thick pieces

1 tsp. coconut oil

4 cups broccoli florets

2 medium bell peppers, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 thin slice fresh ginger, peeled, finely chopped OR 1/2 tsp ground ginger

 

Combine soy sauce, 4 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. corn starch, and honey in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.

Combine remaining 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. water in a large bowl; mix well. Add beef. Toss gently to coat.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. 

Add beef; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from skillet, keep warm.

Add broccoli, bell pepper, garlic, and ginger to skillet; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes. Place broccoli mixture in beef bowl.

Add soy sauce mixture to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for 30 seconds, or until thickened.

Return beef and broccoli mixture to skillet; cook, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until well mixed and heated through.  Serve immediately.

(Simple and Clean!) Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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When it’s cold outside and you’re 24 weeks pregnant, you want ALL the comfort foods!  Sometimes I give in to my cravings and have some not-healthy food, but I’m really working hard at staying healthy this pregnancy, so I need some healthy options at the ready.

Enter this soup.

It’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s filling, and it’s simple to make.  All good things for me right now!

The recipe calls for whole wheat pasta which is what I normally get, but I had a coupon for a different type of pasta that you see in the picture.  Whole wheat or gluten free are my top choices, but any pasta you like will do.  I also left out the cilantro because I didn’t want to buy a whole bunch just for this soup, but I love cilantro so I’m sure it’s a great addition!

For the chicken, I bought a family pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and cooked them all in the crockpot on high for 4 hours with some olive oil and Trader Joe’s Garlic Salt Seasoning.  I just shredded up half of it for this recipe and half for another recipe, no measuring.

Enjoy!

(Simple and Clean!) Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (from Fixate)

2 tsp. olive oil

½ cup chopped onion (approx. ¾ medium)

2 cups sliced celery (approx. 5 medium stalks)

8 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

½ tsp. ground black pepper

1½ cups sliced carrots (approx. 2 medium)

1¼ cups dry whole wheat pasta

3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast, boneless, skinless

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.

Add broth, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, over high heat, stirring occasionally.  Add carrots and pasta; boil, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Remove from heat.

Add chicken and cilantro; mix well.

This serves 8, with each serving being about 1.5 cups.  For my container peeps, each serving is 1 green, 1/2 red, and 1 yellow!

Enjoy!

Crunchy Veggie Hummus Wraps

 

Being pregnant means I am hungry ALL THE TIME.  And since I’m staying active and working out during my pregnancy, I’m pretty sure that makes me hungrier than usual!  I am all about quick and easy small meals that are healthy so I can keep from getting too hungry and hangry, and so eating smaller amounts at a time will help me not suffer from that dreaded pregnancy acid reflux.  It’s truly the worst.

This recipe has been my jam for the past couple of weeks!  It’s simple, fast, and full of healthy nutrients for me and the babe.  If you prep the veggies ahead of time and keep them sliced in the fridge for the week, it makes it very simple to make!

In the name of ease, I sliced a whole avocado, tossed it with the juice of half a lemon, and added parsley, salt, and pepper, and just kept it in the fridge for a couple of days before it got too browned.  The lemon juice helps it not brown, but it doesn’t completely prevent it.

For me as a pregnant person, this is a good snack by itself.  It doesn’t have much in the way of protein, so I wouldn’t count it as a full meal by itself.  I recommend adding some protein to this (or on the side) to make it more well-rounded as a meal!

You could also substitute different crunchy veggies if you wanted–sliced radishes would add a nice kick!

Crunchy Veggie Hummus Wraps (adapted from Beachbody)

1 multigrain tortilla wrap (I use the Flat Out brand)

2 tbsp hummus in the flavor of your choice

1/3 cup sliced red pepper

1/3 cup shredded carrot

1/3 cup sliced cucumber (sliced into matchstick pieces, not rounds for easier folding)

1/4 avocado, sliced

1 tbsp lemon juice

Parsley to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice the avocado and toss with the lemon juice, parsley, and salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Lay wrap flat on prep surface/plate.  Spread hummus evenly on wrap.

On one half of the wrap, place cucumber slices, then layer with carrots and red pepper slices.  Top with avocado slices.

Fold wrap over to be either taco style or burrito style, whatever’s your jam.

Enjoy!

 

For my container people, I am not 100% certain about the wrap, but I counted this as one green, one blue, and 1 yellow.

Even Simpler Healthy Breakfast

I’ve posted about simple egg breakfasts before, but I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything this simple!  This takes less than 5 minutes for me to make, from start to finish–no prep work, no chopping, or anything!

I’ve been eating a lot of protein+veggie meals with this 80-day program, and this has been one of my go-to meals.  It’s cheap, it’s easy, and I can make it even when my kiddo is home with me.  Win on all counts!

For this recipe, I *highly* recommend using unrefined coconut oil.  This program is the first time I’ve ever eaten unrefined coconut oil simply because there was some that was cheap, so I went for it.  I was afraid to add a coconut flavor to my food, but it really doesn’t add a coconut flavor as much as it adds flavor, if that makes sense.  I don’t like bitter cooked greens, so a little bit of sweetness from the coconut oil makes it taste amazing.  Sprinkle some Himalayan sea salt and garlic powder on there and it’s SO GOOD.

Enjoy!

Super Simple Breakfast

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup baby spinach (a couple of handfuls, really)

1 tsp unrefined coconut oil

Salt and pepper (or other spices) to taste

 

Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.  Melt the coconut oil in the skillet.  Add the spinach and stir for about 1 min, until spinach wilts and darkens a bit. Add the salt and spices.  Stir to mix.  Add the eggs and cook, stirring frequently, until completely cooked.  Transfer to a bowl and voila!  You’re done.

I’ve eaten this alone, on a piece of Ezekiel toast, over some leftover roasted sweet potato, and in a corn tortilla.  Every option is great!

Clean-Eating Eggplant Fries with Tzatziki Sauce

I love eggplant, I love fried foods, and I love Greek food.  This recipe is the perfect combination for me, and it’s completely on my meal plan!  It has the crisp and crunch of a fried eggplant, but it’s not completely horrible for me.

The Tzatziki sauce had so much flavor!  I loved the kick from the garlic, and I ended up using a lot of the sauce for a chicken quinoa bowl as a kind of dressing.  I’ll be using this sauce for several protein options to add some flavor without compromising on my goals.

I will say that I had a horrible time finding whole wheat panko.  I went to 4 different stores and NO ONE had it except Wal-Mart.  I looked at Kroger, Target, and Trader Joe’s before I tried Wal-Mart, so it was pretty frustrating for me.  Learn from my mistakes and just go to Wal-Mart first!

I highly recommend this.  It took a while to make it, but then it was ready for the whole week.  It lost some of the crunch as it sat in the fridge, but I think it would help to reheat on the stovetop instead of the microwave.  Either way, it tastes great and is good for you!

Clean-Eating Eggplant Fries with Tzatziki Sauce (from Fixate)

For the eggplant fries:

1¼ cups whole wheat panko bread crumbs

½ tsp. ground smoked paprika

½ tsp. chili powder

¼ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. onion powder

¾ tsp. dried oregano leaves

1 medium eggplant, peeled, cut into 40 ½-inch-thick fries (about 1¼ lbs.)

½ cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

¾ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

½ tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425º F. Combine bread crumbs, paprika, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano in large nonstick skillet; cook, over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from skillet and place on a large plate (or shallow pan).

Dip each eggplant fry into flour, then eggs, then bread crumb mixture. Place on large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fries. Make sure there is a little space between each fry. Discard excess flour, eggs, and bread crumb mixture.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until eggplant is fork tender and breading is deep brown.

Season with salt and pepper; serve five fries with 3 Tbsp. Tzatziki.

5 eggplant fries is 1 green and a 1/2 yellow.

Tzatziki Sauce (from Fixate)

1 cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel (lemon zest)

1 clove garlic

½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

½ cup coarsely chopped seeded cucumber (approx. 1⁄3 medium)

2 tsp. fresh dill

2 tsp. fresh mint leaves

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth.  Keep cold in an airtight container.

Tzatziki Sauce: 3 tbsp is FREE (no containers!)  3/4 cup is 1/2 red container.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s my other favorite cookie recipe!  This has been my JAM on Refeed Days–I have been eating one of these at 5 AM before my workout.  It’s awesome!

My cookies look very different than other people who have made them–I am sure I messed up the recipe somehow, but even if I didn’t and it was just a weird fluke, they still taste awesome (honestly, I think I may have accidentally used almond flour instead of coconut flour).  My cookies spread out more than they puffed up, so they are a little thin and kind of flimsy.  But it’s a chocolate cookie, so I kinda don’t care.  If it tastes good, I’m okay with it.

Just like last week’s cookie, I’m only eating one or two per Refeed Day, so the batch went into the freezer.  I take the cookie out the night before and thaw it in the fridge, then microwave for 10 seconds right before I eat it.  It’s a very moist cookie, so be sure you have a napkin around!

Double Chocolate Cookies (from Fixate)

¼ cup extra-virgin organic coconut oil, melted

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup canned lite coconut milk

1⁄3 cup coconut flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup dark chocolate chips, 70% cacao (or more)

 

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Lightly coat baking sheet with spray. Set aside.

Combine oil, applesauce, maple syrup, and coconut milk in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside. Combine flours and cocoa powder in a small bowl; mix well.

Add flour mixture to applesauce mixture; mix until well blended. Add chocolate chips; mix until blended.

Drop by rounded Tbsp. onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until firm.

 

1 cookie is 1 yellow container.

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

Refeed Day is the best.  I get to eat more, and I get to eat cookies.  This week and next I’ll be sharing my two favorite healthier cookie recipes with you all!  Please note that these aren’t HEALTHY cookies–they are simply better options!

The first is this gluten-free cookie.  Now, listen–this dough will not look like cookie dough.  It will be crumbly and you will think that you’ve messed up the recipe somehow.  IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE CRUMBLY!  I promise it will be okay.  They may not look pretty, but they will taste good!

I actually ended up adding a couple of tablespoons of water to my dough to make it a little easier to form–when I tried to put the first tbsp of dough onto the cookie sheet, it literally crumbled in my hands.  Oops.  I got the hang of it though.

The cookies won’t rise or spread much, so don’t worry about packing your dough too much as you shape the dough into the tbsp-sized balls.  Again, they will taste good, so who cares what they look like!

I have been eating one or two cookies at a time per Refeed Day, so I put my cooked cookies in the freezer in a freezer gallon bag.  I’ve been taking one out the night before I plan on eating them and put it in the microwave for 10 seconds right before I eat it.  It gets warm and yummy!

If you keep them on your countertop, eat them quickly because they only last for three days in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Fixate)

¼ cup extra-virgin organic coconut oil, solid

½ cup coconut sugar

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. baking soda, gluten-free

¼ tsp. baking powder, gluten-free

½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

¼ cup dark chocolate chips, 70% cacao or higher

Preheat oven to 325º F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer; beat until well mixed. Add egg yolk and extract; mix well. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well.

Add oil mixture to flour mixture; mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.

Roll into Tbsp.-sized balls and place on prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

 

1 cookie is 1 yellow container and 1/2 tsp.

Easy Chicken Quinoa Bowls

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This is one of my favorite quick meals!  It is a variation of the typical meal I would bring with me to work when I was still teaching–one bowl, lots of healthy nutrition, and easy to eat!  No heating up is required, which was SO helpful when I was teaching and only had 20 minutes to eat lunch!

This meal is super versatile, too–you can switch out the protein, the veggies, the carb, and even change out the herbs and seasonings to make whatever type of quinoa bowl you want–Asian inspired, a taco bowl, etc.  I stuck with the Greek theme here because I needed olives in my life!

The hardest part of this super simple recipe is prepping all the ingredients, so if you can buy pre-chopped onions, frozen cooked quinoa, and of course pre-pitted olives, that helps so much!  I also used dried parsley because I already had it on hand.  There are several ways you could shortcut this recipe–use a food processor for the veggies, buy lemon juice instead of juicing whole lemons, etc–but I personally enjoy all the prep work so I don’t mind doing it all myself.

The recipe below makes one quinoa bowl, but this is really easy to double or triple and make multiple servings at a time.  I made 5 servings on a Sunday afternoon and ate it for dinner all week!

Enjoy!

Easy Chicken Quinoa Bowl, aka Quinoa Tabouli Bowl (from Fixate)

½ cup cooked quinoa

1⁄3 cup chopped onion (approx. ½ medium onion)

1⁄3 cup chopped tomato (approx. ½ medium tomato)

1⁄3 cup chopped cucumber (approx. ½ medium cucumber)

¾ cup cooked chopped chicken breast, boneless, skinless

1 dash sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

10 kalamata olives, pitted and whole or chopped

Combine all the ingredients and toss to combine.  Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator and serve chilled.

Container counts (per bowl): 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green, 1 orange, 1 tsp