Easy Meal Prep Ideas – Lunch

Easy Meal Prep Ideas Lunch

Lunch prep saves me on so many occasions when I start to feel hungry and need to eat a meal. I can be very indecisive (Libra tendency) when it comes to what I would like to eat (Just ask my husband when we are trying to figure out what to eat for dinner), so it is best for me to have some “go-to” items in my kitchen, or on the go that I will eat and not be tired of it. Some of my easy meal prep ideas for lunch are listed below.

  1. Greek Yogurt – I tend to pick up the singe serve packages. I like to catch them on a sale at my local supermarket when they are 10 for $10 when I can, or I usually pick them up from the membership store (i.e. Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s). In addition, I get the smaller tub of plain Greek yogurt so I can add fresh or frozen fruit to them. I also add granola to my yogurt for a nice crunch and additional sweetness.
  2. Fruit/Cut Veggies – These are easy foods to add on to leftovers from the fridge, or to pair up with some cold cuts or rotisserie chicken.  My fave fruit to have on hand – apples, oranges, clementines, melons, peaches/nectarines, plums, berries, pineapple, mango, grapes, cherries. My fave veggies for snacking – cucumber, bell peppers, celery, shishito peppers, grape/cherry tomatoes, carrots.
  3. Rotisserie Chicken – Whether I’ve prepared chicken at home or I’ve bought chicken from the supermarket, I love to have this on hand so that I can eat it warm or cold with veggies. I pair it with cut veggies, with a fruit salad, or I make a chicken quesadilla.
  4. Cold Cuts – I love to have cold cuts on hand to make quick sandwiches with either whole wheat bread, rolls, croissants, pita bread or tortillas. I also will roll up the meat (turkey or ham) with cheese to pair with my veggies or fruit. It is an easy way to get in some protein with your meal.
  5. Chips/Crackers/Pretzels – I love to have a salty crunch with my meal, and in moderation, it is fine to have chips or crackers or pretzels. I always portion out my snack and put it on the plate with my meal, or in a small bowl to pair with my lunch. This helps with my portion size, and when I have finished that portion, I ma not as likely to go back again to fill this container again.

These are some of my choices to regularly have on hand in my kitchen. I can easily put a meal together either to go to work with me or to have for lunch over the weekend while at home with the family. This helps relieve me of something I call “food choice exhaustion/indecision”. The less I have to think about what I have to eat, the more I can make effective food choices to support the life that I am working to build for my health.

Easy Meal Prep Ideas – Dinner

Easy Meal Prep Ideas – Dinner

There are times where I dread prepping and cooking and being in the kitchen. I know that it is helpful for me to have food prepped and in the fridge so that I can always piece a meal together. I used to prepare all kinds of meat, rice, veggies, etc., but I found that there was too much food left over for too long. Because I noticed this was happening, I started to fine tune what meal prep meant for me. Meal prep for me is having foods that are prepped that I can put a meal together in a quick amount of time to be heated up and eaten with minimal prepping time. Here are five items that I love to have prepped on a regular basis that I can use as a base to make dinner.

  1. Chicken Thighs – This is a staple for me to have on hand either in the fridge or the freezer. These can be purchased at your local supermarket, meat purveyor, farm, or membership store (i.e. Costco, Sam’s BJ’s). When prepping, season the chicken and cook it in one of three ways – roasting in the oven, air frying in the air fryer, or cooking on the stovetop. Usually roasting in the oven or air frying is what I fall back on because it is an easy prep – place the chicken in the pan (after seasoning) and letting the oven or the air fryer do the work.
  1. Seafood – I always have salmon or shrimp in the freezer for really quick meal prep for the next day. Salmon I will season, squeeze lemon/lime/orange on it, and put in the oven to roast for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cut of salmon. Quick tip – when you squeeze a citric acid (lemon/lime/orange) on the salmon, it lessens the “fishy” smell in your home significantly. Shrimp, I will season and cook on the stove. Depending on the size of the shrimp, the cooking process can be completed in as little as 6 minutes.
  1. Green Veggies (Broccoli, Asparagus, Green Beans) – I love to roast or air fry my veggies. It actually changes the flavor profile of the green and has it tasting a little bit nutty. The texture changes a bit as it roasts – I like to say that I capture a bit of char on my veggies so that it has a crunch factor when I eat the veggies. I season the veggies, spray with either olive oil, coconut oil or a canola/olive oil blend, and roast off until the desired texture is reached. I usually roast at 375/400 degrees for about 25 minutes, longer if I desire a more crunchy texture.
  1. Jasmine Rice – This is a staple that I always have in my kitchen to add on as a side dish to my protein and veggies. Quick tip – I flavor my rice with sea salt and powdered chicken bouillon. It kicks up the flavor profile and makes it more fun to eat alone, or with additional items on your plate.
  1. Bell Pepper/Cucumber/Onion/Tomato – These items I always have on hand. Bell Peppers, Tomatoes and Cucumber I use to make a quick salad, or to eat alone as a snack or side dish with my meal. Onion I always cook down either by itself or with the bell peppers to pair with my protein. I very rarely eat raw onion because I don’t prefer that taste. The only onion I eat raw on occasion is a red onion, and that only happens when I order a meal outside of my home that has the onion paired with the meal (such as a salad or authentic tacos).

These are my go to items that are always on my grocery list and in my fridge/pantry so I can quickly put these things together to make meals. It has helped tremendously in creating new meals and fighting food boredom at home.

Working out While Injured

Foot Brace to hold my toe in place.

I broke my toe. I stubbed my toe on my 10-pound weight while going to open up the window so I can get air to finish out my workout hour at home. I didn’t pay attention to where I was walking, and I stubbed my index toe (the toe next to the big toe) on the 10-pound weight. I heard a crack, and I KNEW that was not a good sound to hear.

Now that that is out of the way, I want to let you know that I still worked out right after the stubbing happened – I had a 15 min stretch of workout left.  Yes, I was working out while injured. It hurt, but I figured that the pain could dwindle down by the nights end. Please know that this is not the right thing to do, and I advocate halting all activity if you feel an injury occurred that is outside of your pain threshold. The pain in my toe did not dwindle down by night’s end. I visited urgent care the next morning for an x-ray to confirm what I was dreading – I have a toe fracture.

How do you workout when you have a toe fracture? You workout intentionally and carefully. There are many upper body workouts that can be done: bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder press, and variations of the aforementioned. You can even perform pushups (modified by using the wall instead of pushing your body up from the floor). But, what do you do when you want to do lower body workouts? We look for exercises that would not require weight placement on the foot that is injured. One main exercise that I am looking into placing into my rotation – leg lifts. Outer leg lifts, inner leg lifts, diagonal outer leg lifts and diagonal inner leg lifts. All of these lifts I will complete on the floor. In terms of squats, there is an opportunity for me to start doing one legged squats, lifting the leg that is injured in the air, and holding on to a pole or the back of a chair (the same side of the injured foot that is lifted). These are some of the exercises that I am looking to incorporate into my regimen while my toe is mending.

In visiting the foot specialist, it has been determined that the healing of the toe would be approximately 4 to 6 weeks. This can occur given the boot for my foot is worn the majority of the time, I tape up my toe according to how the foot specialist showed me (which was not the way I was advised to tape up the toe from the urgent care doctor), and I minimize the movement of my toe. 

Key takeaways I have learned as a result of my injury

*Always listen to your gut/inner self

*Listen to the advice of medical professionals

*Work within your means

*Have GRACE with what your body can do

Workouts I can do with a foot injury –

*Leg lifts (outer leg)

*Leg lifts (inner leg)

*Fire hydrants

There are definitely modifications that I can find for additional leg exercises, but I am going to keep it simple for the next week and focus mostly on upper body workouts and core exercises.

The one thing I know for certain that I will do is to keep going. I will find ways to workout my body, which doesn’t add stress to my foot. Although I will miss my go to lower body workouts, I know that I will not have to avoid doing these workouts forever and this is what needs to be done now so I can heal by toe as best as I can.

First Visit to the Gym since March

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting the gym and working out for the first time since March 2020. In NY, gyms were closed up until the last week in August 2020, and then slowly started opening up in September 2020. I haven’t gone to the gym since March, and partly because I was scared of being in a closed environment along with so many people working out, breathing hard, sweating, etc. I kept up with my workout routine at home, utilizing workouts I would make up myself, walking outdoors, using the peloton app for a variety of exercises as well as trainer directed exercise programs provided by Erica Fit Love.

One of my gym buddies joined a gym, which is a little farther away than us – it is the next town over, but when you are used to driving 3 minutes to your gym, it feels “far”. She has invited me countless times to go, and I have been hesitant, to be honest. I was hesitant because I will be in the vicinity of others while working out. Breathing, sweating, working out – together. She finally asked me again Sunday night to accompany her and I said yes. I said yes because I wanted to see what it was like to workout in the gym again, after working out solo for basically 10 months, with the exception of riding SoulCycle outside in late fall.

So I FINALLY went to the gym, y’all! I met my friend at around 6:45 – which is usually primetime for gym activity. After I checked in as a guest with my friend, she gave me a quick tour of the facility, as I have never been inside of this gym before. It was very spacious, and clean, as far as a gym is concerned. Initially I was concerned when I parked my car because there were a lot of cars in the parking lot. Once inside, my concern went away. The facility is large and spread out nicely. The cardio equipment was on a different floor, the weights section is spread out, and there are multiple sanitizing stations with paper towels and signage encouraging the cleaning of any equipment both before and after use. I felt comfortable here. I completed my cardio training upstairs using the elliptical trainer for 20 minutes. I did workout with my mask on; it is required to put on and keep on your mask for the duration of your stay at the gym. Every other machine was available; the ones not in use had a sign stating that it was “rest day”. In total upstairs there were maybe 5 people using the machines (there were at least 50/60 different cardio machines on this level). I went downstairs to complete my upper body weight training. There was ample space around the machines as well as the weights. There are about three different sections where you can complete your exercises, and I did not feel crowded at all. Everyone was respectful of spacing, and was doing a great job of cleaning the machines.

Overall, I spent a little over an hour at the facility and I feel comfortable going there again with my friend. I am not yet at the point where I want to commit to joining the gym at this point, because I feel good with my workout routine I have set up at home, but I am glad I faced my fear of working out indoors and went to the gym. Would you go back to working out at the gym? How do you feel the environment is at the gym that you go to? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Welcome to the Blog

My name is Joni, and I envision this blog to be a story about how a woman decides to take charge of her life after years of “letting” life unfold in front of her. I decided to take charge by embarking on my weight loss journey, which has also turned into a journey of strength, physical and mental as well as a journey of discovering self-empowerment. My journey is one of discovering all of the things I have ever wanted to do and taking action to DO THEM.

During this journey, and especially in the last few years of my life, I have worked through my self-limiting thoughts about “who I should be” and “who do you think you are” when doing things that I could never envision doing before. I am still working through those thoughts and ideals now. I want you to know that all of these thoughts are normal, and you too can work to become the best you that you want to be in your life. I want you to see that I am similar to you. I don’t have all of the answers, yet I still seek them and I trip up and fail. A LOT. I am still showing up as my absolute best self so I can become who I truly desire.