Culinary · Nutrition

Weekly Meal Planner

To aide in planning and preparing balanced and varied meals, I started completing a weekly meal planner earlier this year. It’s Nothing complicated, I simply pick out various recipes I’d like to make over the coming week, and then take time each Sunday to shop for ingredients and do some basic meal prep. The outcomes have been positive; I’ve been enjoying a home cooked meal on most weeknights and utilize leftovers for lunch the following day. I’ve saved money by ordering take-out meals less frequently.

Photo by Alyson McPhee on Unsplash

As my work lunches became more interesting (sorry PB&J), colleagues took note of my meal variety. They, and friends have questioned how I have time and energy to come home after a work day and cook a meal from scratch. In effort to dispel the misconception that I morph into an executive chef each evening, I’m sharing various meal planning tips including my Weekly Meal Planner tool.

Heather’s 5-Step Meal Planning Process

  1. Select Recipes & Meal Ideas– Each Sunday morning, I sort through cookbooks and my favorite cooking websites for meal ideas. I typically select 5-6 meal ideas.
  2. Meal Scheduling– From my meal ideas, I begin entering entering them into a Meal Planner Calendar. At this time I consider what I have planned for the week work- and activity-wise. If I’m anticipating a longer work day, I’ll pick something simple for that day, like a sheet pan dinner, whereas, if I have a free night, I may decide to experiment with a new recipes or ingredient.
  3. Grocery List– Utilizing my Meal Planner Calendar and recipes, I start a shopping list of what I’ll need to prepare everything for the week. I like to organize ingredients by food category or store section to help streamline grocery shopping.
  4. Shop- Shopping list in hand, I head to the grocery store and pick up what I need. I prefer and highly recommend early Sunday morning to avoid crowds!
  5. Prep– Once returning home with my ingredients, I take some time to prep what I can to make things easier during the week. For example, I wash all of my produce, slice veggies, and cook grains like quinoa and brown rice.
My Meal Planner for this coming week.

That’s it! This 5-step process (including shopping) takes me about 2-3 hours total, depending on how much prep I get done.

Do you meal prep? If so, leave a comment with your tips. I’d love to hear them!


Nutrition · travel

Travel-Friendly Keto Snacks

Hello from beautiful Banff, Alberta, Canada! The town of Banff is located within Banff National Park and is nestled amongst the Rocky Mountains. My husband and I are vacationing here, taking in the amazing views, hiking trails and hot springs. We even saw a mamma bear and her two cubs on our tour today! Continue reading “Travel-Friendly Keto Snacks”

Motivation · Nutrition


Imagine you’re in your car, driving along on a bright and sunny day. Things are going well, until all of a sudden when you hear a loud “bang”, soon followed by “thump, thump, thump”.

You’re able to pull over and get out of the car to take a look. Just as you expected, you’re dealing with a flat tire.

So what do you do? Your car is temporarily out of commission. Your day has taken a hit. Perhaps you’re a bit shaken up too. That appointment you were right on time for, is now out of the question.

You’re feeling frustrated, hopeless, and disappointed. Your plans for the day are “ruined”. You let your emotions get the best of you and quickly decide to take out your pocket knife and slash the remaining 3 tires.

Huh? Does that make sense? One tire is down, why would you destroy the rest?

So often I use this analogy with clients when talking about diet. It usually has to do with the same type of scenario….”I’ve already messed up, so **ck it, I’m going to blow the rest of the day/week/month…off”. A classic example of “all-or-nothing” thinking. “I overate at breakfast, I’ve blown it, I might as well just eat what I want and start back fresh tomorrow”.

This kind of thinking is all too common and I’m quite familiar with it myself. I used to approach my diet with such ‘black and white’ mentlity and every so often I still find myself contemplating the urge to finish off the box of oatmeal cookies just because I’ve enjoyed one too many. Yet today I’m much less inclined to slash the tires or say “**ck it”. When I’m in a situation where my diet is less than optimal or I’ve strayed off plan, my motto is “Do the next best thing”. What’s been the difference? Learning more about nutrition and metabolism, cutting myself some slack, a greater sense of self-acceptance, and ultimately realizing that it is consistency over time, not one day/week/month of off-plan meals that has the biggest impact on my progress. Changing my perception of the “perfect diet” has allowed me to adjust my mindset, and ultimately my success.

This week I asked myself to “do the next best thing” on multiple occasions. Today is an example for #WhatIAteWednesdsay.

Meal 1: Power Coffee (Coffee, whey protein, coconut oil, almond milk)



Meal 2: Egg & egg white omelette, sautéed bell peppers




Meal 3: Out of chicken, so another omelette with roasted asparagus while at work



Meal 3.5: One of mom’s homemade butter tarts & coffee. (Not planned, but really craving)




Meal 4: Greek yogurt & almonds



Meal 5: 5-grain oat cereal, whey protein & SF syrup



Meal 5.5: Brussel sprouts & almond butter (strange, mindless snacking, again off plan)



Meal 6: 2 Carb Master yogurts with 1/2 oz walnuts (not shown)

I had a couple extra ‘treats’ today that I had not planned into my macros. I could have used either situation as a reason to go off the deep end, but rather I did the next best thing, which in both cases was to get right back on track. I didn’t restrict for the remainder of the day either, I chose to continue fueling my body right. I took good care of the remaining three tires and decided I’d better learn how to fix a flat!



What I Ate Wednesday

It’s been a very busy couple of months over the holiday season. Between shopping for gifts, decorating the house, traveling (including a trip to NYC for NYE!), and attending family get-togethers, I haven’t had the chance to sit down to write much. Or rather, I’ve made blogging less of a priority during this time.

Following a structured meal plan was also made less of a priority during this time.  Intentionally. My opinion is that the holidays and the good food, family and celebration that come with it are meant to be enjoyed. This year for me, it felt right to stay from macro counting. I didn’t go crazy and eat everything in sight, but rather enjoyed some treats on a few occasions.

Now that we can officially say the holiday season has come to an end and the New Year is well underway, I’ve gotten back to making my nutrition a priority. I’m tracking my intake much closer with the intent of leaning out over the next 16 weeks. I’m currently following a macro-based approach and aim to meet certain numbers for protein, calories and fat each day rather than following a set meal plan. This is allowing me to maintain variety in my diet. Some days I have eggs for breakfast, others its chicken or Greek yogurt.  I’m enjoying the same variety with my carb and fat sources too. In fact, I had reduced-sugar ice cream with my mid-morning snack the other day simply because I wanted it.

Here’s a look at what I’m eating today- Scroll over each photo for a description.



Fight Back Against Colds & Flu with Good Nutrition

As temperatures begin to drop, sniffles and sneezes are on the rise. Each year, winter in Michigan brings snow and ice, as well as colds and flu. While there is no way of completely preventing the common cold, a strong immune system gives your body a fighting chance to ward off pesky germs. One of the simplest and most effective ways of ensuring your immune system is running on all gears is through good nutrition.

There is truth to the age-old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples, as well as most other fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C.  Vitamin C is a nutrient that may decrease the symptoms and duration of the common cold. There are endless ways to increase your intake of vitamin C. Add some mango chunks to your cereal in the morning, or eat a kale salad with your lunch. If budget makes it a challenge to purchase fresh produce, consider frozen or canned varieties. Frozen fruits and vegetables contain just as much vitamin C as their fresh-counterparts. This is because they are picked and frozen at their peak. Canned fruits and vegetables are another option. Look for fruits packed in water or 100% juice, and reduced-sodium vegetables to help ensure the most nutritious choice.

Last weekend I made big batch of Heirloom Squash Farrotto, recipe courtesy of bon appetit. It features butternut squash, which in addition to being an awesome source of vitamin A, contains a good amount of immune-boosting vitamin C.

risotto recipe pic

I made a few modifications to the recipe: subbing plain, non-fat Greek yogurt for whole-milk yogurt in the creamy sauce, and using ground cumin instead of cumin seeds. I doubled the recipe to make 8-main course servings. My husband and I had that down in a little over a day because it was so good!

For my clients: With my modifications taken into account, each serving was the equivalent of 3 starchy carbs and 1/2 lean protein.