A Day On My Plate

First off, I am sorry this is getting posted a bit late. That is of course assuming that some one is actually sitting and waiting for it… anyways, below you will find a sample of what I eat in a day and as I promised it is more than you would guess.

Second, can I just vent my little heart out to you for a quick second? I try not to get to personal on here but I really think I could eat my weight in food right about now. This baby (I’m 33 weeks pregnant) is apparently growing like crazy because I cannot seem to eat enough. Now I’m definitely to the point in which my meals must be small unless I want to feel miserable. However, I feel as though I am eating constantly. Add on to this that I am attempting to walk anywhere from 3-5 miles a day (I am hoping to convince this baby to get out as soon as possible, in a healthy way of course), and those burned calories are making me a starving woman.

Don’t believe me… well I ate a banana this morning, as in first thing this morning. Guys, I HATE bananas! Life is getting really weird over here, but on a good note I have at the most only 9 weeks to go!

Back to what we are both here for…

A Day On

 

So here is the run down…

6:30 a.m. – Shakeology made with whole milk

9:00 a.m. – Greek Yogurt with Berries (today it was blueberries and raspberries)

11:30 a.m. – A slice of toast, 1/4 of an Avocado and an egg

2:00 p.m. – 1 Cup of Roasted Broccoli, 2 oz. of Cheese and 3 Olives

4:30 p.m. – 8 Baby Carrots and 2 tbsp. of Hummus

7:00 p.m. – Lettuce Wrap Taco’s

A Day On My Plate

 

Some nights, the above just isn’t enough… so I make myself a home-made slurpee! That recipe (which is mind blowing) will be coming your way on Friday. So stop back by to check it out and see just how easy it really is to stick to a real food diet.

 

What are some foods you eat on a regular basis that you would consider to be a staple in your diet?

Have you been pregnant?

If so, did you ever experience extreme hunger at one point or another?

Maybe you haven’t had hunger because of pregnancy, but maybe you have had it for other reasons or seasons in life?

If this is the case, how did you deal with it mentally? Truth be told it’s quite a change mentally.

Real Food 101

Real Food 101

When I first got pregnant (and didn’t know that I was pregnant), I was following a Paleo diet. My husband and I had just ventured back from our honeymoon and we were excited to take the fall to get fit for reasons that were not related to our wedding. We were excited to take on a lifestyle that is known to reduce auto-immune diseases and prevent them in the future. We stocked up on all the best foods and tried to buy local.

Fast forward to just 6 weeks after we said “I Do” and 5 pregnancy tests were telling my husband and I that our lives were changing in ways we most definitely were not expecting. Approximately 1 week after that, the vomiting started and I soon found myself without enough energy to get out of bed let alone cook meals. Our Paleo dream lasted about a month before my husband’s world began to consist of take out, fast food and eating alone on a different floor than I was on in hopes that I could go one night without getting sick.

When I started to feel better (around 22 weeks pregnant), I decided I would try the whole ‘be in the kitchen and enjoy it’ thing. The problem? I had just taken a 4 month hiatus from food and I had no idea what to do with or about it. I knew I wanted to be eating healthy, but my food aversions were still often and broad so I was at a bit of a loss to say the least. I decided that a real food diet (with quite a few things still on my “NO” list) would be our best bet! And guess what, it was and still is.

Now that I am just a few weeks from meeting the little person who has flipped my world upside down, I get a lot of people telling me that I look really great. Little do they know that the reason I haven’t gained much weight is because the early stages of pregnancy were by far the most effective diet I have ever been on and I still hate the sight/smell/anything of meat. In other words, my eating still isn’t what most people experience in this arena of life.

The best part for me about adopting a real food diet has been that I don’t have to think about what I eat 99% of the time. Can I just say as someone who is attempting to stay healthy so that I can keep someone else healthy that this is a huge burden off of my shoulders. And although pregnancy is ending soon for me, the demand on me being healthy for others isn’t. Fingers crossed, I’ll be making someone else’s food for the next 12 months, and then I’ll be chasing around that little person before it all begins again with another pregnancy.

My body isn’t my own and it won’t be for a very long time. For this reason, my health must be a priority! Following a real food diet has allowed me to do just that without getting into the “fad diet cycle” that is so easy to fall into. I find that shopping for groceries has become unbelievably easy, as well as planning meals and even making them. My husband has remarked that he feels (in terms of his intestines) much better when we eat real food.

So why in the world did I just tell you all of this? Well, you see…. I don’t think most people realize what a real food diet is and I really wanted to share with you how to transition into a diet that consists of real food at least 80% of the time. Just to show you how real that 80% is… I just ate a snickers bar last Friday and it was wonderful!

Eating real food has been described in many ways…

“Eat only what your great-grandparents would recognize as food”

“Only shop the outside of the grocery store”

“Stay away from white foods”

“If a wild animal wouldn’t eat it, then you shouldn’t either”

“Make sure your plate has at least 5 colors on it”

… and so on, and so forth. But what does this all mean? Well friends, it all means that we as American’s are eating wrong! All of the above statements are true and can definitely be practiced while adhering to a real food diet.

Staying away from processed goods (let’s not even call Oreo’s and tater tots food) is most definitely the first step in transition into this diet. Eating lots of fresh foods; fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, nuts, seeds and legumes as well as beans and specific grains, is a great way to get the important nutrients your body needs. In fact, with saying that, I like to define a real food diet as one that gives your body the optimal nutrition it needs to exceed in life!

I think that in our society liveable diseases are so common and so “normal” that people really don’t realize just how sick they are on a daily basis. As a society, we are dying from the inside out in the name of convenient, cheap and chemical ridden food. Can you imagine waking up and not needing a cup of coffee? Or how about feeling good at 3 p.m. because your body is still working and not begging you for a break? What would you think if you body could distinguish between hungry signs and thirst signs? Or how about the idea that you as a human do not HAVE to crave sugar on a daily basis in the form of breads, baked goods and candy.

By following a real food diet and by getting your body the nutrients it needs to not just survive but also thrive, you can completely change your life.

I’m serious… you are having a hard time believing me because what I just said sounds like a cheesy statement from an infomercial but it’s the truth. When your body has everything it needs to work, it won’t send you signals claiming it needs caffeine, sugar and other chemicals to just simply get through the day. Instead, your body will send you signals to get up and moving in ways that help you enjoy life. I have even found that my mood has received positive benefits from following a real food diet.

A real food diet really will change your life… and just to prove it to you, I have planned that this week and next we will go over more details about this lifestyle so that I can help you transition into it easier.

Below I have for you my grocery shopping list… in fact, this is the exact one I am using to go shopping today. Hopefully this will give you an idea of what foods we eat on a regular basis and what foods we stay away from. Remember, maximized nutrients is key for us!

RF GSList

 

Come back on Wednesday to see what a day on my plate looks like. Just a little hint, a lot goes on my plate throughout the entire day. I eat 5 or 6 small meals and I promise they are as delicious as they look.

I also have a recipe post for you this Friday and next to show you just how easy swapping out fake food for real food has been. And I hate to break it to you, but if a pregnant chick can do it, you can too!

 

Measuring Success

Measuring Success

The scale seems to be King in the world of Health, Fitness and Wellness. The truth of matter however is that those who have found success in said world, have come to the conclusion that the scale is only a very, VERY small factor in finding health and happiness.

Today I wanted to talk to all of you friends about this topic because I hear so many people agonizing over the fact that they are not happy with what the scale is telling them concerning their overall health journey. Why do we focus so much on the scale friends? Is it because it’s a solid number that we can easily compare to another? Or perhaps it’s due to the fact that measuring our success in this way is easy in that it only takes stepping on a scale. Not matter why we do it, I’m here today to attempt to convince you to start measuring your success in other ways.

Before getting to a few ideas on just how to do this, I want to say to all of you that I am not against weighing yourself. Instead, I just simply think that what you put all of your hope in is often what controls you. Putting all of your hope in a number on the scale can be very risky because weight does not accurately portray factors such as water retention, fat percentage verses muscle percentage and other metabolic issues such as hormonal changes. But let’s get to it…

Running/Walking a Mile – This is something I recommend to my clients often. Almost anyone can walk a mile! For this reason, measuring your success by walking or running a mile a few times a week and recording the time it takes you it something almost anyone can do. When you see that each week you are taking time off of your mile, you should surely be proud of the progress you are making!

Body Inches – Just about anyone who has had a gym membership has at some point had their inches taken in different areas of their body. I find this technique to be especially helpful for those who are losing fat or building muscle. It is so rewarding to see that you waist measurements have gone down while your arms or chest measurements are increasing. I also find this way of measuring success to be helpful if you are in a bit of a stalled period in your health journey.

An Activity – There are so many people in this world who are not taking place in activities that they really enjoy. This can be something like hiking, riding a bike, swimming in a public pool or taking a salsa class. Just because you haven’t reached you goals concerning your health and fitness doesn’t mean you should hold yourself back from enjoying life. By taking part in something you have always wanted to, you are pushing yourself to be healthy which most definitely qualifies as making progress.

Cooking & Eating – A huge step for many, many people in their health journey takes place in the kitchen. From choosing to cook more meals, engaging in something such as weight watchers or calorie counting, or even just making more healthy meals instead of your usual grilled cheese… stepping up your game in the kitchen can definitely be a way to measure your success.

Fitting into Clothing – A pair of goal pants is a wonderful idea for measuring your progress. Goal clothing can be anything you want it to be… a pair of pants, a dress, a strapless shirt to show off your tones arms. Any of these things will work and I highly recommend that we all do this regardless of any other progress measures you take! Because lets face it, who doesn’t want an excuse to go get some new clothes?!

Pictures – I think that taking pictures, preferably in the same clothing and the same environment, is a great way to track your progress and success. By doing this, you have something to look at and compare similarly to the way people appreciate the numbers on their scale. With pictures, you can see things such as fat pockets around the thighs, extra padding in your midsection, muscle definition in your arms and many other things that decrease and increase over time. Specially, these things do not show up on the scale so they make as a great way to measure your success!

Success is something that is very personal, is defined differently for most of us and something we should be looking for in our lives daily. Don’t limit your success because you only measure it in one way. Instead, branch out and look for it all around you.

 

Do you weigh yourself daily or weekly?

DO you find this to be helpful in your health journey or does it at times encourage you to emotional struggle?

What are some ways you measure your success in life?

Fro-Yo!

It seems like Frozen Yogurt has been all the rage for about 3 summers now. I completely understand why… it’s refreshing, delicious and a healthier option than regular ice cream.

Frozen Yogurt Guide

But here’s the thing about the last part of the above statement… most people turn this healthy treat into one that is just as unhealthy as ice cream. Add on top of that, that many eat this unhealthy treat so often in the summer (hello every night trips to your favorite yogurt shop), claiming it to be healthy and you can see why Frozen Yogurt can (and has… here, here and here) have a bad rap in the world of nutrition, dieting and health.

Now, this is unacceptable to me. Why you ask? Because I am absurdly  pregnant and frozen yogurt (along with cucumbers) is my BIG pregnancy craving. So, where do we go from here concerning frozen yogurt? Well, in my opinion we chalk frozen yogurt up to being a treat that we don’t eat everyday… even if you really think this is a good idea when you are a million months (I’m only 8, but you get the gist) pregnant and your husband is totally in agreement with you that you should eat it everyday. It’s a treat… definitely step one. Next you ask? Well, I have conjured up all of my best thinking on this topic so that we can have a great (and guiltless) frozen yogurt eating season!

Stick to the basics.… it can be VERY easy to be drawn to the delicious sounding flavors that frozen yogurt shops have to offer. From caramel to cookie batter, strawberry and double fudge, as great as these all sound, the truth is that these flavors are packed full of sugar which means extra UN-needed calories. When you go this route, you might as well just be eating ice cream. Instead, stick with the “Original” flavor that your shop has to offer and enjoy it because it really is wonderful.

Don’t fill up…. the cup that is. Frozen yogurt is measured and usually priced by weight, don’t fill up your whole cup just because you can. Instead, attempt to only fill your cup up half way and save some room for your toppings. Most people filled up their entire cup with frozen yogurt and then are slightly confused at the suggestion that they are consuming more than a single serving of their favorite summer treat.

K.I.S.S…. Keep it simple stupid! Just because you can add 25 different toppings to your yogurt doesn’t mean you should. In fact, I try to only pick out two toppings to go with my yogurt. This helps me to fill up my cup with healthy fruit while still enjoying my favorite treat. This also helps me stay away from eating tons of candy while telling myself it’s healthy.

Be honest with yourself… candy is candy, no matter what you sprinkle it on top of. When people add toppings on their frozen yogurt that has chocolate, caramel, nugget and white sugar o/in it, they shouldn’t act as though they are eating healthy things. For that exact reason, I try to stick to fruit but sometimes I do sprinkle a little coconut flakes on top of my favorites which are pineapple and strawberry.

{{ Here is a sneak peak of what my fro-yo usually looks like! }}

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I hope that this post only encourages you to make the best decision possible in all situations in life, but especially those concerning your health. We don’t live in a perfect and that’s ok, we can still make the best of it!

Do you enjoy eating frozen yogurt?

If so, how do you prefer it?

What are some of your favorite summer treats to eat?

Tone It Up

Are you bikini ready?

Honestly, being pregnant has seriously changed my priorities in life… health has taken over so many words in my vocabulary such as fit, thin, hot, fat and so many more. Now that I have a human inside of me, my goal isn’t to be any of those things or the lack of them. Instead, my goals consist of being healthy and happy, being able to wear my clothes comfortably, having energy, sleeping well, feeling good about things like my skin color and my water intake. I think most moms would read this and think something along the lines of “Welcome to the Club”.

I am very thankful for this change in mindset and although I know that once this little one is earth-side some of those feelings of ‘I want to be fit, I want to be hot’ will come back, they no longer have a home to come back to.

Anyways….. I have just shy of 10 weeks (or so) left in this pregnancy and I am ready to go out with a bang. Well maybe not a bang considering it’s getting difficult to tie my shoes, but you know… I’m ready to say good bye to this pregnancy on a very good note. It seems that every since week 22, my exercise has slowly but surely returned and I have more energy than people told me I would have, so let’s keep this good streak up shall we!

I signed up to do the 8 week Bikini Series (that starts today) through Tone It Up! Now although my goals are different than most of those doing it, I am excited to be joining a community of women who are putting their best foot forward in bringing in the summer months.

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Sign Up HERE!!!

The most exciting part of this challenge for me is the no-brainer it is. Every Sunday, this community will be given a a workout schedule for the week. Now, my ab workouts will definitely be modified and my ability to run is pretty much non-existant, however I positive that with a little creativity, I will be able to join in on this fun. I’m not exactly looking to win prizes, break records or be the poster child for this series, but I am looking to be held accountable and feel great with each passing day.

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If you are looking to vamp up your workout routine, I highly suggest you take a look at everything that will be happening with this challenge! I’ll be doing daily instagram posts to keep myself in the loop and accountable to the community and you can see all of it here.

I’m really looking forward to giving myself a mental break on the whole ‘how am I going to workout today’ thing all the while staying health this spring and early summer. So…. do you want to join me? Even though it started today, you can still join. After all, all we have to lose are some inches and a few pounds!

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Maybe this bikini series isn’t for you, but how are you getting ready for summer dresses and shorts?

Do you currently have any health goals right now that you either want to accomplish for either #bikiniseason or #babyseason like me?

Best Health Apps

The world revolves around our phones, or so we think!

I’m not great with technology, it just isn’t my “thing”. My husband on the other hand, well he lives and breathes it! He claims that his upbringing in Albania has made him appreciate technology in a way that I just don’t understand. I on the other hand think that he is a man so his hobbies are limited to much more than me as a female… sports, technology, politics and that it’s folks. At least for him 😉

We have a new rule in our house… Leah get’s a new phone when her current phone dies and that’s it! I can’t switch phones once a year, heck I have a hard enough time switching phones once every two years. I don’t care if the latest and greatest phone is going to predict the future for me and clean the toilet, I’m not getting it because it is just way to hard for me to go from phone to phone, to phone and to learn where things are and how they work.

All of this is to say that today’s post is real… I didn’t just google “Best Health Apps” and string a few words together to make Friday’s blog post complete. Because let’s face it, I am not downloading anything I don’t have to just to take screen shots for the heck of it!

Apps for Health

1. MyFitnessPal – I have loved this website and app for quite some time. I find it really helpful not necessarily to count my calories but instead to plan out my meals. I tend to log my food the day or night before so that I have a plan in place for better success. If you want to, you can definitely count your calories using this app and even join in with others in the community to interact and be held accountable to reaching your health goals.

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2. MapMyRun – Now that I am almost 8 month pregnant, running is a memory of mine. However, I still really enjoy this app… it keeps a record for me of how much I walk and I look forward to popping this kiddo out and getting cleared to start running again come this fall. For anyone who enjoys running, this is a must have app!

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3. Health – Technically, this isn’t an app, or maybe it is but it just comes with your phone… like I said, technology isn’t “my thing”. Anyways, I love that this bad boy has a step counter on it so that when I am running around I can get an idea of how active I’m been in a day. I tend to check it around 4 in the afternoon and if I haven’t been as active as I wanted to be, I just take our dog for a longer walk… she definitely appreciates this app. For me, this is just a friendly reminder to stay active and moving throughout the day.

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4. PopSugar Active – Need a quick workout? Find yours here… this app has a ridiculous amount and types of workouts all for free. You can pick based on time, body group or other details all on this one app. Some workouts are videos you can follow along to while others list what exercises to do along with the when, how and how many. It’s a really great resource if you are short on time and/or planning.

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5. AllRecipes – I really enjoy my time in the kitchen, it’s where all my creative juices flow. But have you ever looked in your refrigerator to think “What in the world can I make with all of that?”. Well this app my friends will solve this problem! With a matching website, this app has tons of free recipes, most of which include nutritional stats and some even have videos. Best part? You can select which items you have readily available and this app will tell you what you can make with those ingredients! Dinner is saved 🙂

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What are some of your favorite apps to help you stay on track in terms of your health journey?

Non-Toxic Baths

If I am not feeling well, if I feel stressed, frustrated, overwhelmed or tired, my beyond sweet husband will oh so often recommend, and even start for me, a bath.

I’ve turned into my mother and there is nothing that can be done about it. I remember growing up that my mom would often deal with life by taking an almost hot bath. She would slip away, after dinner was over, when the dishes were put away and her kids were not burning anything down to the bathroom were she was almost escape reality and the many pressures of life that were taking place. She would more often than not emerge with a smile on her face and enough energy to finish what needed to be done that evening.

Scratch the whole kids thing, and I’m there!

Unfortunately though, there has been a bit of an internal war that has been taking place within me. You see, I read this post quite some time ago and thought “hmmmmmmmm”, and went on with life. However, in the last 3 months, something else has happened. There seems to be a bit of a water probably in the DC area and it’s orange – yuck!!! The issue has cleared up (in color at least), but I can’t get out of my head the fact that every time I turn on the faucet, I have no control over what is going to come out. I’ve read a few articles in which people from all over our country are complaining about their water and it’s quality. So after reading all of this info and having my stomach turn inside out, I decide I needed to make a plan on how to combat this whole water issue so that my life could go on without major problems.

 

NT Bubble Baths

 

Magnesium Flakes – these wonderful flakes help to draw out some of the toxins in water. Magnesium flakes are also a wonderful way to supplement with magnesium in a way that allows your body to absorb just as much as it needs which helps to not create a toxicity issue between your body and this mineral. They key to using the flakes is to use them in warm water and not hot water… warm water allows the flakes to dissolve into the water best and then gives your body the ability to absorb then best. If you are interested in buying these, here is the product I use.

Essential Oils – I have recently bought and started using (topically and via a diffuser) these gems and love experimenting with them. I have the Young Living kit and one of the oils that came with my kit is Purification. This product is great at helping to detox many things and purify, as the name indicates. I use a few drops of this in my bath and loves the effect it has on my overall experience.

Bath Salts – another great way to introduce something great into your bath in hopes of balancing out any chemicals that may be in it is Epson Salts. I prefer this brand and love it. These salts are great for helping the body to detoxify. I find that the addition of bath salts just simply help to boost the overall effect that a bath has on my health.

If you want to read some more creepy information about water, check out this article – When Your Water Becomes Flammable.

 

Do you enjoy taking baths?

Are you a bubble bath person or do you prefer to omit the bubbles?

I’m currently looking for a bubble bath that smells good, bubbles well AND isn’t filled with tons of chemicals… do you have any recommendations?

Cool as a Craving…

So that’s not exactly how the saying goes… It’s more like, Cool as a Cucumber. And that my friends is what I have been. O.K., actually, again this is a bit of a fallacy as well. Pregnancy leaves me at times a little less cool and a little more bent like a fork after taking a ride in the garbage disposal… but that it neither here nor there. Would you believe me if I said that last week I ate 6 cucumbers? They are apparently my “pregnancy food” and my goodness do they satisfy my oh so pregnant taste buds.

Since I have a hard time doing much in life without research the who, what, where, when and why, I woke up this morning and after thinking… “Is it to early to eat a cucumber”, I pulled out my laptop and started searching away to find out what exactly it is that my body finds so gratifying via these long green things.

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The answer…….

– Vitamin K, Vitamin B, Potassium, Magnesium and so much more!

Let’s just say that I’m really thankful I’m craving cucumbers and not cake right about now.

Nature really is a magical thing to me. I find it amazing that the earth we live in is capable of growing for us so many different foods that not only supply us with energy but also do it in a way that gives us optimal health.

This “craving” of mine has really had me thinking more and more about putting optimal nutrition into my body. Because the truth of the matter is, I could get away with a lot right about now. My husband is beyond wonderful and therefore gets me everything and anything that I could possibly desire in the name of “It’s for the baby” and “You’re growing a human”. As wonderful as he is, and as true as said statements are, the other truth is that the machine growing and housing this tiny (S/He is around 2.7lbs right now) must be well oiled and taken care of to properly be used and produce the best products. This cannot occur if I am filling my body with sugar, salt, processed fats and other unhealthy food products.

I had a friend ask me just yesterday if I feel tired, hungry, grouchy, etc., I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I do feel irritated at people. But that might be a personal problem and not a pregnancy problem. As far as the tired and hungry go… well, overall I feel really good. Yes there are times in which I think a bag of salty chips will cure all of my and I.S.I.S.’s problems, but then again I’ve been saying for a solid year that most of those guys just need a good memoir to read and a bubble bath and their life will be looking better in no time. I definitely also go to bed earlier and have this amazing ability to sleep in to 9 a.m. if I let myself. I think these things (probably not the I.S.I.S. part) are to be expected during pregnancy. My life is definitely different than it once was, but it should be.

Why in the world are you reading a blog post that has talked about everything from I.S.I.S. and bubble baths to cucumbers and cravings you ask? For that I have no answer, let’s chalk it up to pregnancy brain or adult A.D.D., or even a case of the Fridays.

What I do know is that we have the ability to put into our bodies everyday really good things, or not so good things. We can choose to use food as fuel or we can choose to use it as a vice to hopefully solve some of our life’s problems. The decision is up to you and I hope that today you choose well! I will be greatly attempting too 🙂

Ever been pregnant? What are some of the foods you craved?

Have you ever considered that what you are craving is actually a secret message from you body telling you it needs something to work well? If so, what were you craving and what do you think that craving provided for you nutritionally?

Want to know more about cucumbers and all the super nutrients they have to offer? Check out this article!

 

DIY Meal Planning Tool

When I first got pregnant, my husband and I were following the paleo diet. We felt really cool, like we were these fancy people who were good and restricting our diets of grains and honestly, we really liked the lifestyle.

Then I got pregnant and everything started to smell… like bad! And just a few weeks later I started puking my guts out on a daily basis. In a matter of 2 months, my husband and I went from eating paleo and running, to him getting take out and eating it in a room far, far away from me.

Because you know, total extremes are great for your health!

Around week 20/22 my vomiting slowed down and has now completely stopped. As wonderful as this has been, and it has been beyond wonderful, the result is me looking at my husband and uttering the same words to him night after night, after night… What are we eating for dinner?

This little rerun episode of Life At The Kuqo’s It has given me flash backs to growing up and hearing my mom say things such as “We eat the same thing for dinner all the time”. It was a common complain of my mom’s and quite frankly I never got it until the last few weeks.

This “problem” only became, well that, a problem when I realized that much sooner than later I will be going about my days with a newborn and said question will only become one I loath. So I grabbed anything in our house that was craft like and set out to figure out how to solve this problem before it becomes a real one. THis is was resulted…

DIY Recipe Card Meal Planning Tool

I now have 28 recipes, one on each index card with the directions on back all together hole punched and on a ring next to my stove. This means that every Sunday as I set out to plan my week, I can randomly, or not to randomly choose 6 or 7 index cards and flip them over to make my grocery shopping list. The beauty of this system is that if I am bored of this activity I can have my husband go through the cards and pick out what meals he would like to eat that week. I could also see this being a fun little activity for kids to get in on. Here is my finished product… but I will walk you through the steps of how I came about doing this entire little DIY project.

** What you will need: 25-30 index cards, a pen or marker, a hole punch and a ring for the finished product. **

1. Start by finding 25-30 recipes that you and your family like. We choose real food or clean eating recipes but more on that below.

Here are a few links of places that you might find helpful when looking for recipes…..

Skinnytaste

The Kitchen Revolution

Eat Yourself Skinny

Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

2. Once you have gathered your recipes, make sure you have an index card for each recipe. Place or write the name of the recipe on one side, and the recipe itself on the other.

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3. Here is where things can getting a detailed as you choose. Trace over the recipe title with a marker according to the protein used in the recipe. For instance, I used purple for chicken, green for turkey and so on and so forth. This will greatly help in the financial planning aspect of this little project. By having the recipes arranged in this way, you can better plan out your meals and ultimately save money while buy meat.

Recipe Colors

4. Hole punch all of the index cards in the top left corner and place the recipes on a ring.

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5. Keep the ring somewhere accessible, however not someplace that they will get confused as scratch paper.

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Like I stated above, I choose recipes that are all considered to be real food or clean eating recipes. You should choose recipes that fit your lifestyle as well as your health goals. For me, and my family clean eating means food that is not packaged or processed but instead full of real nutrients. As much as I enjoyed following a paleo diet, I don’t see how this would be applicable to the end of my pregnancy as well as the beginning of motherhood. I found that paleo cooking took me much more time than what I will realistically having in the coming months.

What are some of the ways you help yourself out in terms of meal planning and recipe organization?

Do you follow a specific type of eating? Whether clean eating, paleo or weight watchers, what are some of the ways you have streamlined these lifestyles into yours?