nutrition coaching

3 Reasons to Start Meal Prepping & Root Vegetable and Bean Soup by Toby Amidor

Between clients and workshops, I've been talking about meal prep a lot lately. It seems to be on everyone's mind, and for good reason. Having a well stocked pantry and homemade meals ready to grab and go helps make it easy to eat healthy throughout your week. But you may be wondering, should I really be doing this, is it really worth it? 

Meal prep looks different to everyone. Some like to set aside a few hours each sunday to prep meals for the week. I prefer to prep things here and there, often while I'm doing something else, to save time on my weekends. So while my sheet pan dinner cooks, I'll prep a soup in the crockpot or roasted veggies or a salad to eat throughout the week. I may make some egg muffins if I have the oven on anyways, prep some overnight oats, or slice peppers and cucumbers for snacks throughout the week. Meal prep takes me no more than an hour each week, and I'm still stocked and prepped for a healthy week ahead. Find out how we can work together to make this your reality too. 

Whatever meal prep looks like for you, it definitely has it's benefits.

See my Top 3 Reasons to Start Meal Prepping below:


1. Eat Healthier & Feel Better

My number one reason to meal prep is to EAT HEALTHIER. Keeping healthy ingredients on hand makes it so much easier to make healthy choices. And by having the ingredients actually prepared makes it that much easier to choose them.

My meal prep routine includes something as simple as keeping my go-to snacks on hand. Right now I'm loving siggi's plain yogurt (or whatever plain Greek yogurt is on sale), hummus and sliced bell peppers and cucumbers, and peanut butter or nut butter packets with apples or nectarines. I know by keeping healthy meals and snacks on hand that are prepped and ready to go, I'm far more likely to make a healthy choice when I get hungry. I'm also less likely to order takeout for dinner when I have ingredients prepped and ready to throw together a healthy dinner in minutes.

 

2. Save Money & Prevent Waste

When we go to the store without a plan, it's easy to buy everything that looks good or is on sale. But by planning ahead for the week and going shopping with a plan, it's easier to leave with just the items you need. Having just a few meals and snacks in mind can help prevent you from going overboard and spending too much. Meal prep will also save you money by encouraging you to eat out less. When you have prepped and planned meals at home you won't be tempted to stop on your way home or need to grab a muffin with your morning coffee because you have better-for-you, homemade meals ready to go.

 

3. Save Time

Yesterday I took 15 minutes to made a crockpot soup and I'll probably get at least 3 meals out of it this week. I took another 15 minutes to cook up some extra veggies and a big salad with my dinner last night to use in other meals this week. By using my time wisely, batch cooking, and figuring out my favorite, easy, go-to meals, it saves me an hour of cooking each night. So even on the nights I don't feel like cooking, it's easy to eat something healthy.


Copyright Toby Amidor, The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook: Easy and Wholesome Meals to Cook, Pre, Grab, and Go, Rockridge Press, 2017. Photo courtesy of Nat & Cody Gantz

Copyright Toby Amidor, The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook: Easy and Wholesome Meals to Cook, Pre, Grab, and Go, Rockridge Press, 2017. Photo courtesy of Nat & Cody Gantz

Over the summer, my colleague, Toby Amidor, released the best meal prep cookbook! The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook is the perfect tool to help you try new recipes, get organized with meal prepping, and keep your food safe all week long (Toby is a food safety pro!).

The book includes 6 different weekly meal plans, including Clean Eating, Weight Loss, and Muscle Building meal plans (2 weeks each). Each meal plan has recipes, a grocery list, and a plan of action for your meal prep day. Each recipe includes tips for storing to keep your prepared meals safe to eat all week long. 

I'd highly recommend this book for anyone getting started with meal prep or healthy eating. Get your copy here and be sure to try her Root Vegetable and Bean Soup recipe below - it's perfect for this time of year!

Copyright Toby Amidor, The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook: Easy and Wholesome Meals to Cook, Pre, Grab, and Go, Rockridge Press, 2017. Photo courtesy of Nat & Cody Gantz

Copyright Toby Amidor, The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook: Easy and Wholesome Meals to Cook, Pre, Grab, and Go, Rockridge Press, 2017. Photo courtesy of Nat & Cody Gantz


What meal prep questions do you have? Ask me here!

Be sure to download my Meal Prep Made Easy Workbook - for my best meal prep tips and tricks, freezer meals, make ahead meals, shopping lists, worksheets, and more.


Toby's Recipe RootVegetableBeanSoup.jpg

September Monthly Faves - 5 Things I'm Really Into Right Now...

As we wrap up September, I thought I'd share a few things I'm really into right now.

Some links happen to be Amazon affiliate links, so if you choose to purchase something, I receive a minimal kickback.

Some links happen to be Amazon affiliate links, so if you choose to purchase something, I receive a minimal kickback.


What are you loving right now?


 

1. 1915 Juice

I'm usually not a big juice drinker. I find that drinking doesn't have the same satisfying and satiating effect that eating does. I much prefer smoothies, because I can eat them as a meal or snack and they retain the fiber from the fruits and vegetables. But, like all foods, juice can have a place in a healthy diet.

Last week I over did it. I was busy, I was stressed, I was working late every night. I didn't take time for me or to take care of my body. Sure enough, I woke up with a cold Saturday morning and was exhausted and congested for the next few days. For the first day or two I couldn't breathe through my nose and all I wanted was juice. I thought I'd load up on Vitamin C and Zinc to help kick the cold. (While Vitamin C may not prevent the onset of a cold, it has been shown to shorten the duration of a cold).

I found this 1915 juice (made by Bolthouse farms) at the store and have loved every flavor I've tried (I went for the ones higher in Vitamin C). If you too are coming down with your change of seasons cold, I'd recommend giving it a try. When choosing juice, read the label to make sure it is 100% juice.

(If you'd rather pop pills this cold season, use my discount here :)- for this link I do get a small kickback as a thank you, but really you're the one that reaps the benefits).

 

2. Artisana Organics Nut Butter Packets

I'm the kind of person who always needs snacks on hand. I'm also the kind of person who goes through a jar of peanut butter every other week. These packs really are the perfect way to support my habits.

I've been loving these to-go packets to bring with me to work, on hikes, bike rides, or driving around town. I've tried the walnut butter, pecan butter, and almond butter and love them all. They have a nuttier, more earthy taste than my peanut butter go-to, but they taste just as good on apples, nectarines, strawberries, toast, or on their own.

 

3. 7 Sundays Muesli

I highly recommend this one!  Their blueberry chia muesli has been my go-to breakfast for the past few weeks. Lately I've been loving it cold with siggi's dairy plain drinkable yogurt, but I love it warm like oatmeal too. With fiber from the whole grain oats and protein from the chia seeds, it's totally satisfying and keeps me full till lunch. Plus it's lightly sweetened with honey and lower in sugar than most other brands.

 

4. Peanut Stir Fry Sauce

Last weekend I taught a meal prep workshop. It was a ton of fun. We learned how to make overnight oats, chia seed pudding, we made meal plans for the week, and made our own power bowls. I made this sauce and have been putting the leftovers on everything this week.
Here's how I made it:

1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp pure maple syrup
sriracha to taste

 

5. #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso

Not food related, but a good read nonetheless. I've been trying to read more, but for me, it has to be an easy read or a really good book to get me through it. This is both. I'd recommend it to any recent grad, 20-something, or driven young woman. Sophia Amoruso was a broke 21 year old, dumpster diving through San Francisco. She decided to start an ebay store to sell her thrift store finds. 7 years later that ebay store is now a multi billion dollar company. Her book is both funny and serious and is a reminder for young women to show up and give their best. She reminds me to slow down in business and that success doesn't happen overnight. What are you reading right now?

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My Pantry Essentials Checklist- check it out here.


Should You Be Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar?

 
apple cider vinegar health benefits
 

I’ve been asked by multiple people lately my thoughts on apple cider vinegar – will it help me lose weight? Is it good for me? Do you drink it before meals? I tend to question food fads because no one food is a quick fix for all our ailments. I did a little research and here is what I found.


Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries dating back to the days of Hippocrates and Cleopatra. Back then they used it to treat infections, wounds, and dissolve rocks and minerals. However, as our culture and technology have advanced, most doctors and experts agree that other cleaning agents and wound treatments are safer and more effective at preventing disease and infection.

In regards to the various claims, here is what I think:

Weight Loss

One of the biggest purported claims is that drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before meals will aid in weight loss.

The largest and most cited study involved 175 Japanese, overweight, but otherwise healthy subjects. Over 12 weeks, the subjects drank a beverage with either 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. After 12-weeks, they lost an average of 3 pounds. Checking in with the subjects 4 weeks post-study, they had gained it back.

My Thoughts:

Like any diet, drinking apple cider vinegar for weight loss is not a sustainable weight loss method. The study showed that the subjects who drank apple cider vinegar lost some weight very slowly. If you are very patient and don’t mind drinking vinegar everyday for months this may be a great option for you. If you’re looking for either quicker or more sustainable weight loss, I’d suggest taking a look at your diet as a whole or working with a registered dietitian.

 

Blood Sugar Control

This claim seems to have the most research to support it. Multiple studies have shown that combining vinegar (any type) when eating a starch can lower blood sugar in diabetics. The vinegar seems to work by blocking the absorption of the starch.

My Thoughts: 

Yes, some studies do support this, however, this does not mean that apple cider vinegar can reverse diabetes. If you are taking any medication please consult your doctor as vinegar may interact.

 

Lowers Cholesterol

Most of these studies have been conducted in rats (note: rats are not people) and have shown mixed results. One study showed a relationship between apple cider vinegar consumption and raised HDL (good cholesterol) and lowered LDL (bad cholesterol), while another showed the opposite.

My Thoughts:

If you have high cholesterol, try emphasizing more plants in your diet or work with a registered dietitian for customized recommendations. It seems as though the research is not quite there yet, and I would not rely on this one ‘miracle’ food.

 

Arthritis and Inflammation

There appears to be just anecdotal reports of people claiming to feel better and having less pain from arthritis when drinking apple cider vinegar. Unfortunately, there are not currently any scientific reports supporting this claim. One very small study (30 participants) did measure C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) before and after apple cider vinegar consumption and did not find remarkable results.

My Thoughts: I have a hard time giving recommendations based on purely anecdotal evidence. If you think it works for you, I think that’s just great.

 

Teeth Whitening

Apple cider vinegar is an acid. Putting acid on your teeth will wear away at the enamel and protective layer, leaving them prone to cavities.

My thoughts: Not a good idea.

 

My Recommendation:

Overall, there has not been a significant amount of research done on the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar. Although some studies do suggest promising effects, many should be taken with a grain of salt. Many studies were small sample sizes or even done on rats. The good news is that there is not a huge risk factor of consuming a spoonful of apple cider vinegar, it even contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals (vitamin C, folate, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins). If you do choose to include apple cider vinegar in your diet I would recommend either including it in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, or baked goods, or dilute it in a glass of water – remember it is an acid and it may burn (and tasty pretty nasty) if you drink it by the spoonful.