Culinary · meal planning · Uncategorized

Weekly Meal Planner: January 20-26

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season behind me, I’m back to my weekly meal prep. If you’re new to meal prep or unsure of the benefits it provides, I encourage you to check out my previous article here.

Cook Once, Eat Twice

One of my tips for simplifying meal prep is to utilize leftovers for the following days’ lunch. I often double recipes to ensure I have enough to enjoy for dinner and to pack for a tasty lunch the next day.

I’ve included links to suggested recipes for each dinner idea. I follow these recipes for most meals, however will occasionally create something of my own inspiration.

Shrimp & Quinoa Bowl
Butternut Squash & Sausage SkilletTaco SaladChicken Alfredo PastaMarinara Spaghetti Squash & MeatballsPizza, Chicken Wings & SaladDinner Out

Taco Salad

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Ground beef, cooked & seasoned with a packet of taco seasoning
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Tortilla chips, broken into pieces
  • Diced red onion
  • Sauteed peppers and onions
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole

Marinara Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs

  • Cooked spaghetti sauce
  • Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked Turkey Meatballs
  • Prepared marinara sauce
  • Parmesan cheese

Pizza, Chicken Wings & Salad

  • Frozen pizza
  • Baked chicken wings with BBQ sauce
  • Bagged salad mix with dressing


Weekly Roundup

Quote of the Week: “Don’t set the rest of your life of your life up on a downhill slope because of one hard season.”- Rachel Hollis, Girl Wash Your Face

When we’re going through something unpleasant, whether that be difficult, disappointing or depressing, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking that the way we feel now, and the situation we’re in currently will last forever. This quote reminded me to think of the many instances in my life in which I faced something tough; often times I did feel as though I was ‘stuck’. Yet I’m able to look back today and realize that the pain did not last, that I was able to move forward.

Something New: Thanks to my hubby, I’m catching up with the rest of the world in technology. I received an Apple Watch for Christmas and I’m now able to make calls, respond to texts, and listen to podcasts all from my wrist! One of the main features of the Apple Watch is its ability to track activity, specifically time spent exercising, standing, and general movement. Between walking my dog and going to the gym, I’m already fairly active so I haven’t believed an activity tracker would do much for me. One thing that’s come as a surprise though is the amount of time I spend sitting at work. I have the Apple Watch programmed to send a reminder for me to stand for at least a minute every hour. This may not seem like much, but with some heavy computer work this past week, I forced myself to stand a lot more than I otherwise would have without the reminders.

Training: I subscribed to 4-time Figure Olympia Nicole Wilkin’s membership site for some workout ideas and have been following her Holiday Challenge. This past week’s workouts have included many more sets and reps than I’m used to (15-20 reps), as well as other intensity-building techniques such as supersets and giant sets. This increase in training volume has been a humbling experience to say the least. I’ve been winded during workouts and sore for a couple days afterwards. My takeaway- Seek out workout ideas whenever you’re in an exercise funk. Paid membership sites, or free options such as or even Instagram offer lots of ideas to help you get back in the groove.


Weekly Roundup

Quote of the Week: “Eating a donut isn’t called “cheating” and eating a salad isn’t called “willpower.” It’s just called eating.

I pulled this quote off of Instagram, from Brandan Fokken’s stories (@brandanfokken). It spoke to me because it brings light to a concern around ‘clean eating’. More specifically, clean eating taken too far, in which food choices become moral decisions. Example- “I ate a donut, donuts are bad, I am a bad person.” Most all people, even those of varying nutrition philosophies would agree that a salad is a healthier choice than a donut. Yet when a food choice becomes associated with positive or negative personal attributes, the door opens to food morality and dogmatic thinking. IMO- You are a ‘good’ or ‘bad person’ based on what you do and say, not by what you eat.

Something Old: I’m still running! Last winter I took an extended break from pounding the pavement primarily because of Cleveland’s winter weather. This year though has been relatively mild and we haven’t seen much snow. I’ve been getting out 1-2 times per week for a 3-mile run. I’m toying with the idea of a spring ½ marathon so I think these regular short runs will help with the transition into a spring training plan.

Something New: This week I signed up with a ketogenic diet coach, Robert Sikes, of Keto Savage. I’ve been eating a ketogenic diet for the past two years, stemming from curiosity and personal experiment and I’ve continued to follow it because of some beneficial effects. After completing my most recent physical pursuit, the Detroit ½ Marathon in October, I found myself looking towards a new challenge. I’ve enlisted the assistance of Robert to help me achieve my body composition goals through his Deeper State Keto protocol. A main stake of his instruction is reducing total carbs to no more than 10 grams per day. Yes, only 10 grams of carbs for the whole day! This past week has certainly been an adjustment period for my body and I have experienced symptoms of the “keto flu”, specifically headaches, nausea, fatigue and decreased exercise performance. I know these side effects are only temporary and as my blood ketones rise, I’ll start feeling much better. I’ll be sure to touch upon my progress as my plan progresses.

Something Blue‘ish’: Coffee lovers, check out Trader Joe’s Winter Blend. The only thing blue about it is the canister. I typically stay away from flavored coffee because I find the taste overwhelming, but this one is different. The flavor of cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns is subtle and enjoyable.