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5 Easy Tips to Keep Meal Prep Simple

5 Easy Tips to Keep Meal Prep Simple

When you think about meal prepping does it seem like some daunting, time consuming task that you HAVE to do? It definitely used to be that way for me. I felt like I needed to prep something different for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. That, as you can imagine, led to a lot of money wasted on ingredients and a lot of extra food that sometimes went to waste. I now have a pretty tight budget when it comes to groceries because it can be so easy to go overboard. Developing a simple meal prep routine has really helped me stay on budget each month, eat healthy, and save time during the work week.

Here are my top tips for keeping meal prep simple:

  1. Make a plan for the entire week. Figure out your schedule with work, workouts, and extra curriculars and see where you can most benefit from meals that are already prepped. Hitting up the 6:40 PM class consistently? Definitely meal prep your dinners, so that by the time you get home all you need to do is reheat your food.
  2. Batch cook! Prep things like protein and starches in bulk. Add a bunch of chicken to a sheet pan or crock pot and cook enough servings for the entire week. Same with your starches– sweet potatoes, rice, spaghetti squash, etc. These generally take longer to cook and reheat fairly well, so make them ahead of the week to save time.
  3. Use convenience appliances like a crock pot or instant pot. During your weekend prep you can create entire meals to store in the freezer, then during the week add the meal to your crock pot and let it cook all day. Easy for family dinner nights! Pinterest has A TON of freezer meal ideas.
  4. Plan for meals that you know you will be eating out. Make meals out special! Spend your time and money wisely and choose places that serve quality food. Rather than grabbing fast food on your lunch break or on your way home from the gym (gasp).
  5. Choose a method that work for you. Do enjoy cooking dinner for yourself or your family each night? Great! When you do your weekend prepping make a plan for the week ahead and get all the ingredients you need. You can prepare ingredients like washing and chopping vegetables and thawing out protein. Everything will be ready to go each night when you make dinner. Do you know for a fact that you will not cook during the week? Then follow step 1!

I hope this helps! Establishing a healthy meal prep, or nutrition in general for that matter, routine takes some trial and error. You cannot know what will work best for you until you try out different things. You can only benefit from being organized!

Halloween Candy and You

Halloween Candy and You

Halloween is just the beginning of all of the treats that accompany the holiday season. It’s so easy to grab a handful of candy when it’s sitting in excess around the house. Here is a fun game to play with your kids to get rid of all the extra Halloween candy. It’ll benefit you AND them!

Ghouls, Goblins, and Monsters all sweep the streets on the last night of October. You prep your kiddos to be scary, cute, fun and cool for a chance to stay up late and get candy! Halloween is the one night you get to be someone (or something) else, walk alongside people in your community, subject yourself to a haunted house or two, and take candy from neighbors.

While there are so many positive sides to trick or treating, there is one major negative side. The CANDY!  In all its glory and yumminess, candy is not an ideal part of a well-balanced diet! It can cause hyperactivity, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and so much more. So how can you alleviate the burden of such a monumental part of Halloween?

Introduce the Switch Witch!

The Switch Witch is a fun and exciting way to get rid of all the excess candy. After a fun night of Trick-Or-Treating, have your kids choose the top 5-10 pieces of candy that they want to keep and then put the rest outside of their bedroom door when they go to sleep.Why would they do that you ask? Here’s more on the Switch Witch:

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Not sure what to do with all of the excess Halloween candy? We are donating to Operation Gratitude this year. It is an organization that sends donated Halloween candy to our troops overseas. We will be collecting excess candy for donation through Monday, November 4th to send out on Wednesday the 6th! Drop your candy off at Icehouse and we will take care of the rest. 🙂

 

Coach Skeds’ “Fit for Fall” Recap

Coach Skeds’ “Fit for Fall” Recap

#fitforfall has been a common hashtag for most social media posts from the Icehouse coaches these last couple months…but what’s the meaning behind it and what’s the story…?

Coming from North Dakota I’m used to the “standard” cycle of nutrition and fitness…hibernate in the wintertime (read: skip morning workouts) with all the carbs, holiday goodies, and drinks.  Then try to undo 8 months of winter in 3 weeks getting ready for “lake season”…

It never ends well…you’re crabby, you family is walking on eggshells…all for that perfect “beach body” that really only normally lasts until that first picture kicking off lakes season…after that, it’s a deep dive into white claws, mayo based salads and “the perfect summertime desserts”, right?

 

So Fit for Fall…it was a weight loss challenge right?

…Not really…

What?!?

Fit for fall, for me, did catalyze with another InBody scan that I wasn’t super happy with, but I set my mind to changing habits and letting the numbers land where they land.

 

What do you mean…”Not a weight loss challenge…” What’s the point then?

That’s the thing about this Fit for Fall challenge…Coach Anna was determined to educate us and focus on habits and feeling rather than hitting prescribed numbers.  

I set my intentions:

  • Attend at least 2 CrossFit classes per week and all 3 Fall Strength Cycle sessions per week
  • 8 Hours of Sleep
  • Meal prep all breakfasts and lunches

I prepped my notebook and calendar, and even got ahead on my pen and ink nutrition journaling.  I was ready!

 

So…now that I’m in the last week of the Challenge…how did it go?

In retrospect…pretty well.  This was the right challenge for the right time for me…it wasn’t just about getting lean, it wasn’t just about improved physical performance, it wasn’t just about setting recovery habits it was about getting 1% better everyday at the things I was doing everyday…

I’ll give you my “Top 5 Takeaways” from my #fitforfall challenge.  Some of them validated what I was already doing and what I already know work, and some of them were new and provided solid evidence that I could exercise a bit more moderation into my normally rigid routine.  Enjoy!

 

Top 5 Takeaways from #fitforfall Challenge

  • Meal prep breakfast for and lunch for the work week…minimum.
  • Tell the people in your life what your intentions are and allow them to support you.
  • Get to bed on time.
  • Check in with the people in your life during your challenge and let them know what’s working and what you need more support with.
  • Just taking the risk and setting a goal drive personal improvement, pick something and go for it.

 

If you’re interested in our Individualized Nutrition Coaching click here to schedule an intro session that works for your schedule.

The Importance of Proper Digestion for an Athlete

The Importance of Proper Digestion for an Athlete

We aren’t what we eat, rather we are what we absorb.

The digestive system is the foundation for all other processes that take place in the body. What we put into our body is what is mainly responsible for our energy, mood, performance, and overall wellness. In today’s age, there is a huge disconnect between what we put into our body and how that can affect our overall health. Poor nutrition, and even further, poor DIGESTION are major contributors to chronic disease.

I believe that proper digestion is the root to optimal health and here’s why: digestion begins in the brain. The brain signals saliva to be produced when we begin to chew food. Our saliva contains different enzymes that begin the breakdown of food. Chewing your food THOROUGHLY is extremely important for proper digestion. Ideally, we should chew each bite around 20-30 times (the average is 4). Chewed food becomes what is called a bolus that is swallowed and moved through the esophagus and down to the stomach.

WHEN DIGESTION IS OPTIMAL, adequate stomach acid is secreted in addition to pancreatic enzymes that further break down the bolus into a substance called chyme. Chyme is extremely acidic as it moves from the stomach into the small intestine. Once in the small intestine, the acidity of the chyme becomes more neutral thanks to additional enzymes that are secreted, as well as bile from the gallbladder. These are to further breakdown proteins and fats. MOST NUTRIENT ABSORPTION OCCURS IN THE SMALL INTESTINE. What is left from the chyme is passed through the large intestine where any remaining usable nutrients and water are absorbed before being excreted from the body.

This is why a properly functioning digestive system is essential to optimal health and performance. Every single thing we eat goes through this process. We can eat the healthiest diet, but if we are not digesting properly then we are not absorbing all of the nutrients our body needs.

As an athlete, we need a proper balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates because we expend a lot of excess energy during workouts. In addition, we may also need to consume more calories to adequately replenish our glycogen stores, repair damaged muscles, nourish the body and maintain general health. The digestive tract of an athlete is put under more stress than that an individual who does not regularly train. This is why it is incredibly important that as an athlete, we have a strong digestive system to break down food properly for optimal absorption of its nutrients within the body.

Tips to improve digestion:

  1. Chew food thoroughly. Ideally 20-30 chews per bite.
  2. Eat in a relaxed state. Sit down to eat your meals without any distractions as this will let the body solely focus on the process of digestion.
  3. Drink warm lemon water before meals. This is very soothing to the digestive tract in preparation for eating and the acidity of the lemon may help with stomach acid production.
  4. Try not to consume liquids during meals. Small sips of water are okay, but avoid chugging drinks as this can dilute stomach acid.
  5. Eat a properly prepared, nutrient-dense, whole food diet. In addition to the macro-nutrients, whole foods provide many micro-nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

 

Eating Seasonally

Eating Seasonally

Eating seasonally is a great way to mix up your meals with fresh, in-season produce. Seasonal produce is purchased and consumed shortly after it has been harvested, and therefore when it is most nutritious. Even better, seasonal produce that is produced/purchased locally does not require long transport times and has moved from farm to table in a shorter amount of time.

Choosing local produce also has it’s own benefits:

  1. Beneficial to our local environment.
  2. Supports our local economy.
  3. We are able to get to know our local farmers and growers who can tell us how their products are grown and raised.

Produce that is in season right now (early September) in North Dakota:

  • Apples
  • Asian pears
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Bok choy
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Celery root
  • Chard
  • Chicories
  • Chili Peppers
  • Chives
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Green beans
  • Green onions
  • Ground cherries
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lima beans
  • Melons
  • Mint
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Oregano
  • Parsnips
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Radicchio
  • Raspberries
  •  Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Shallots
  • Sprouts
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Thyme
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Watermelon
  • Winter squash
  • Zucchini

If you haven’t been to the Red River Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 10 AM – 2 PM, I would highly recommend checking it out! Get to know the growers and support the local community. Plus, the produce there ROCKS!