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Healthy Meal Planning Made Easy & Week 21 Meal Plan

Healthy Meal Planning Made Easy & Week 21 Meal Plan

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Once a week, I am going to start sharing a tip, trick, or some interesting information about meal planning. I believe meal planning is critical to any long term and effective healthy living or weight loss goals. For me it was the single thing that finally made permanent weight loss achievable. The quote stood true, when I failed to plan, I failed, and I don’t want that to happen to others.

Additionally, I believe that meal planning is a skill that takes time to master and we can all use some help! When I first started meal planning it took up countless hours pouring over recipes, calculating nutritional info and/or points, and creating elaborate calendars. It was painful. Anything I can do to ease that pain for someone else is a win-win in my book.

Finally, I hope by sharing meal planning strategies, it will help you find a system that works for you. Whether it’s using our meal plans, scratching one into your weekly planner, or creating your own meal planning system – I hope this feature inspires you to start planning at least a few meals every week. It will save you time, money, and it truly will help you reach your weight loss and healthy living goals. So with that, on to this week’s tip!

Meal Planning Made Easy: Leftovers!

In my opinion the key to any great meal plan is incorporating and re-purposing leftovers so that recipes can do double duty. Cook extra servings and reuse them for lunches and/or quick dinners and you won’t find yourself scrambling and starting from scratch at every meal. Here are some of my favorite ways to re-purpose leftover proteins and veggies to create new meals.

  • Tacos & Burritos: Tacos and burritos are one of my favorite ways to use up extra veggies or proteins. Make Mexican style tacos with your favorite salsa, Asian tacos with cabbage and Sriracha, or veggie packed tacos with avocado. Use low carb tortillas or wraps for even less calories.
  • Soups, Stews, and Chilis: Leftover proteins like shredded chicken or beef can easily be added to a cup of your favorite store bought vegetable soup for a quick lunch. Add leftover veggies or beans to creamy store bought vegetable soups. For a more substantial meal, use leftover proteins with a homemade soup packed with veggies and whole grains like pasta, brown rice, or quinoa. Chili is also a great way to incorporate leftover ground or slow cooked meats.
  • Pasta Sauces: For a quick pasta dinner, bulk up your favorite store bought pasta sauce with leftover meats or veggies. All you have to do is add your leftovers to the sauce as you warm it up and serve it over pasta for a meal in under 15 minutes.
  • Stuffed Baked Potatoes: If you have a microwave nearby, you can always heat up a regular or sweet potato and pack it with leftover meats, veggies, or beans. Top with some cheese, salsa, yogurt, or marinara sauce for a complete meal in minutes.
  • Quesadillas: Much like tacos, quesadillas are perfect for leftovers, especially low point veggies. Use a reduced fat cheese and low carb wrap to keep the calories low.
  • Pizzas: Pizzas are another great vehicle for leftovers. For a meal for the family, use leftover proteins to make a delicious homemade pie. For example, leftover grilled chicken can easily become a BBQ Chicken Pizza without too much work. For individual meals, consider using low carb wraps or English muffins to make individual pizzas that work with any leftover meats, veggies, or legumes.
  • Salads: Salads are a classic use for leftovers but make sure to bulk them up with lots of fresh veggies and fruit. I almost always add a chopped apple, mandarin, or cup of berries to my salads to keep them exciting. Goat cheese or feta cheese can round things out to make a salad worthy of any meal.
  • Lettuce Wraps: For low carb diets or when you have high calorie leftovers, consider wrapping things up in lettuce leaves or collard greens instead of tortillas or wraps. This makes a very low calorie and fun way to enjoy leftovers. Salad dressing , salsa, or store bought marinades can tie everything together.
  • Quiches and Frittatas: When in doubt, throw it in with eggs! Quiches, frittatas, omelets, and scrambles taste great with almost any leftovers.
  • Brown Rice and Quinoa Bowls Whenever you make brown rice or quinoa, make a few extra servings. It is easy to build a meal with veggies, beans, and/or leftover proteins on a bed of healthy grains. Top with hummus, salsa, marinades or dressings, or some balsamic vinegar and cheese.
  • Enchiladas: Last but not least, enchiladas area great way to use up leftovers. Stuff them with leftover meat, veggies, or beans and then add your favorite enchilada sauce. It’s a quick and easy meal and can be packed with as many veggies as you like in addition to the leftovers.
  • What are your favorite ways to use leftovers?

Love the idea of meal planning but don’t want to do all the work? Since I know that many people simply don’t have the time to create their own healthy meal plans, we provide delicious and healthy meal plans at Slender Kitchen.

Here are some highlights from this week’s healthy meal plans:

  • Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos with Black Bean and Corn Tacos
  • Slow Cooker Black Bean Enchiladas (vegetarian plan)
  • Creamy Tomato, Mushroom, and Spinach Pasta (with spaghetti squash and sausage for low carb)
  • Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken with Sweet Potatoes
  • Korean Beef (or Tofu) Lettuce Wraps
  • Italian Pesto Chicken Bake with Parmesan Zucchini
  • Foil Baked Salmon and Asparagus with Cauliflower Rice
  • Healthy Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps
  • Homemade Chia Berry Jam Parfaits
  • Skinny Pina Colada Smoothies
  • Banana Quinoa Breakfast Bowls with Melted Peanut Butter
  • Egg White, Tomato, & Avocado Breakfast Sandwiches
  • Paprika Cauliflower Steaks with Corn Salsa (vegetarian plan)

Each healthy weekly meal plan comes full of delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The meal plans come in regular, vegetarian, and low carb options. All feature complete nutritional information, Weight Watchers PointsPlus®, and categorized shopping lists! There are also two bonus fallback recipes weekly and the option for either a complete meal plan or a Dinner Only plan. All that for less the cost of one cup of coffee per month with the yearly plan.

Sign Up Now!

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Coconut Lime Shrimp

Coconut Lime Shrimp

Coconut milk, lime, cilantro, garlic, ginger, and some spicy chili peppers make a perfect marinade for a quick and easy summer shrimp dish. The flavors mimic many of the traditional ingredients found in Thai soup but are used as a quick marinade instead. From there you can grill, saute, or poach the shrimp for an easy meal. Make extra shrimp for quick tacos, salads, and sandwiches as the leftovers are delish.

Coconut Lime Shrimp
Servings: 4
Serving Size: 4 oz.
Nutritional Info: 191 calories, 4.9g of fat, 5.3g of carbohydrates, 0g of fiber, 35.1g of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 4 *

(more…)

* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Vegetarian Banh Mi Bowls with Gardein & Win a Target Gift Card

Vegetarian Banh Mi Bowls with Gardein & Win a Target Gift Card

Thanks to Gardein for sponsoring today’s post and sharing their delicious Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips and Meatless Meatballs.

Lately I have been a bit obsessed with two things – turning traditional sandwiches into “bowls” and making all things Asian. So when an opportunity came around to work with delicious Gardein products and come up with a quick and easy Meatless Monday meal, I jumped at the chance. Without too much thought, I knew I wanted to make my own version of a traditional Banh Mi sandwich in a bowl complete with spicy pickles, lots of crunchy veggies, and Gardein’s delicious Teriyaki Chick’n Strips and Meatless Meatballs. It was too hard to pick just one.

I have been a pretty big fan of Meatless Mondays for a long time and stand behind it for both its health and environmental benefits. (Reducing your meat intake just one day a week can have a considerable impact on your health, increasing life expectancy while reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes. Additionally if all Americans ate one meatless meal a week all year it would equal the equivalent of taking 1/2 million cars off the road.) However getting my meat loving partner to get on the Meatless Monday train has not been quite as easy.

To overcome his aversion to meatless meals, I am a huge fan of vegetarian meat replacement and Gardein makes some of my absolute favorite products in this category. I like Gardein for lots of reason, the most important of which is that is it delivers on the taste, the texture, and the nutrition of meat with no cholesterol, less fat, and less calories. Seriously, every time I make the chick’n, it takes him a few minutes to realize it isn’t the real thing. It’s also made with non-GMO soy and wheat, ancient grains and veggies and is a product that’s good for me and for the planet. For me it’s a terrific, easy to prepare, alternative to meat and comes in so many varieties I can pretty much find a Gardein product to use in any of my favorite recipes.

So now on to that Banh Mi Bowl I was telling you about! And make sure to check out the coupon and giveaway below as well.

Vegetarian Banh Mi Bowl
Servings: 2
Serving Size: 1 bowl
Nutritional Info: 411 calories, 7.2g of fat, 69g of carbohydrates, 11g of fiber, 22g of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 10 *

(more…)

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Easy Spicy Barbecue Chicken Thighs

Easy Spicy Barbecue Chicken Thighs

Last week I warned you that there night be a boatload of broiled chicken thigh recipes coming your way after sharing these yummy Broiled Asian Chicken Thighs. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to make a quick meal and giving I faced some rain this weekend, I went for the broiler again instead of the grill. These chicken thighs only take about 10 minutes to cook, but you will need some advanced planning for the marinade. It’s a simple homemade barbecue sauce that’s spiced up with some Sriracha. After marinating, the sauce is boiled to create a savory dipping sauce to serve along with the chicken. Easy and sure to please.

Easy Spicy Barbecue Chicken Thighs
Servings: 4
Serving Size: 4 oz.
Nutritional Info: 256 calories, 6.9g of fat, 28g of carbohydrates, 7g of fiber, 21g of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 6 *

(more…)

* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Friday Five: Chia Seeds for Breakfast

Friday Five: Chia Seeds for Breakfast

Have you jumped on the chia seed bandwagon yet? At this point I am pretty much a daily passenger. With around 60 calories per tablespoon, these little powerhouse seeds contain protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, iron, calcium and magnesium. Not to mention they are low carb, naturally gluten free, and are touted as one of the most nutritious foods around. Given all this, chia seeds are a great item to add to your morning breakfast routine. Here are some of my favorite ways to use chia seeds, what are yours?

1. Chia Seed Pudding: Since chia seeds gel when they soak in liquid, chia seed pudding is one of the most popular ways to use chia seeds. The basic recipes call for 2 tbsp. of chia seeds per 3/4-1 cup liquid. From there you can add whatever you like to create your favorite flavor combinations. Some of my favorites are Apple Pie and Almond Butter, Greek Yogurt and Berries, this healthy Pumpkin Pie version, and Chocolate Cherry Chia Seed Pudding.

2. Smoothies & Juices: Another great way to add chia seeds to your diet is in smoothies and juices. For smoothies, just add 1 tbsp. per serving to pack in extra nutrients. If you don’t like the texture, you can pulse them in the blender first to create a chia “powder” and then blend. Chia juice is another fun way to incorporate chia and something they have been making in Mexico for centuries. You’ll need 1.5 tbsp. of chia seeds for 2 cups of liquid. One of my favorite combinations after a workout is 2 cups coconut water, 1.5 tbsp. chia seeds, and a good squeeze of lime juice. Shake or stir and let it sit for 10 minutes before drinking.

3. Homemade Jams: Chia seeds are a great alternative thickener for homemade jams. You can make it with virtually any fruit and then use it on toast, in yogurt or oats, or even over ice cream.
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Meal Planning Made Easy & Week 20 Meal Plan

Meal Planning Made Easy & Week 20 Meal Plan

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Once a week, I am going to start sharing a tip, trick, or some interesting information about meal planning. I believe meal planning is critical to any long term and effective healthy living or weight loss goals. For me it was the single thing that finally made permanent weight loss achievable. The quote stood true, when I failed to plan, I failed, and I don’t want that to happen to others.

Additionally, I believe that meal planning is a skill that takes time to master and we can all use some help! When I first started meal planning it took up countless hours pouring over recipes, calculating nutritional info and/or points, and creating elaborate calendars. It was painful. Anything I can do to ease that pain for someone else is a win-win in my book.

Finally, I hope by sharing meal planning strategies, it will help you find a system that works for you. Whether it’s using our meal plans, scratching one into your weekly planner, or creating your own meal planning system – I hope this feature inspires you to start planning at least a few meals every week. It will save you time, money, and it truly will help you reach your weight loss and healthy living goals. So with that, on to this week’s tip!

Meal Planning Made Easy: Start Small

I often get asked by friends and family what is the best way to start meal planning, and for good reason, it’s hard! Not only can it can feel overwhelming to actually put together a meal plan, it can feel equally overwhelming to think about beginning to follow one. So what’s the best way to start?

In my opinion, the most important thing is to start small. Plan out one dinner each week that can be reused for at least 3 of your lunches. For example, make this Slow Cooker Carnitas on Sunday for dinner. Then use the leftovers for lunch three times that week. One day you can make a burrito bowl, make a taco salad one day, and make a pulled pork wrap the final day with a low carb wrap, some BBQ sauce, and some veggies. In addition, plan for one more dinner that week and three breakfasts. Without too much effort, you have now have a meal plan for 2 dinners, 3 lunches, and 3 breakfasts. Start with that for a few weeks and then continue to add on!

Love the idea of meal planning but don’t want to do all the work? Since I know that many people simply don’t have the time to create their own healthy meal plans, we provide delicious and healthy meal plans at Slender Kitchen.

Here are some highlights from this week’s healthy meal plans:

  • Slow Cooker Curried Chicken and Vegetables with Cauliflower Rice
  • Carrot and Cheddar Mac & Cheese
  • Spaghetti Squash and Broccoli Alfredo (low carb plan)
  • Grilled Margarita Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa and Black Beans
  • Honey Sesame Pork Tenderloin
  • Mexican Quinoa Skillet (vegetarian plan)
  • Dill Salmon Burgers
  • Mini Salsa Meatloaves
  • Overnight Chai Steel Cut Oats
  • Skinny Pina Colada Smoothies
  • Greek Veggie Burgers with Tzatziki (vegetarian plan)
  • & More!

Each healthy weekly meal plan comes full of delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The meal plans come in regular, vegetarian, and low carb options. All feature complete nutritional information, Weight Watchers PointsPlus®, and categorized shopping lists! There are also two bonus fallback recipes weekly and the option for either a complete meal plan or a Dinner Only plan. All that for less the cost of one cup of coffee per month with the yearly plan.

Sign Up Now!

You May Also Enjoy:

Read More →

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