How to Travel with Your Meal Plan

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My Fall in Love with Fitness Accountability group is in full swing this week! These ladies are battling for time to take care of kids and ill family members, fighting sickness, waking up earlier to workout, preparing their meals in advance, avoiding their favorite candy and sodas, AND trying to stay healthy while traveling.

Life has a way of throwing a lot of curve balls in our direction, just when we are trying to focus on a new goal or mission! I’m so proud of these ladies for working so hard to achieve their goals, no matter rain or shine. Some days, they’re on point, and some days they fall down. What’s most important is that they don’t give up.

Though all of these obstacles are hard, I find traveling one of most difficult because it completely breaks your routine away from home, and often, time and food are a little more out of your control and you’re left with very few good options.

When I was traveling as Miss Virginia roughly 20 hours a week and trying to prepare for Miss America, I tried to put a lot of systems in place to keep me on track. When your job or family or schedule demands a lot of you, it’s important to be fueled well to have the energy to accomplish everything you need to! The first thing I realized is that traveling alone is boring, and made me want to eat for the entire trip. I tried to plan ahead as much as possible to avoid making a drastic decision to pull over at the nearest Wendy’s and inhale a frosty. Having good distractions like motivating podcasts, MP3 talks, a funky music playlist, or a phone call to a friend, helped to keep my mind happy and focused.

Planning ahead at least helps you have your mind made up in advance so when you’re attending that fancy work event and they pass around the giant pieces of chocolate fudge cake… your mouth waters, but you feel comfortable declining because you know it— A. has no nutritional value B. it will only take you further away from your goals.

–>The first thing I did was commit to only drink water. It will help keep you alert and full. You may stop a few more times to use the restroom, but at least your skin will be glowing when you arrive! Keep your water bottle with you at all times, or sometimes I’d have several full bottles so I wouldn’t have to stop to buy one or refill it.

–>This might be an obvious one, but packing snacks! Lara Bars are easy to transport and they just dates and a different kind of nut (which 21 Day Fix peeps can count as a purple and a blue.) Quest Bars aren’t technically totally “clean eating”, but they’re one of the cleanest protein type bars on the market. These kept me super full in between meals on the road, and are very low sugar and high fiber. Little baggies of almonds, turkey jerky, or an apple are also options that don’t need to be kept chilled.

–>Because I never knew what kind of options for meals I’d have wherever I was staying, I packed a couple meals, like chicken, broccoli, and sweet potatoes in a huge lunch box if possible. Most hotels have microwaves… I once stopped at a truck stop to heat up my food on a long trip 🙂 This saves so much money in the long run too! When I won Miss VA, a friend mailed me one of the best gifts: one of these huge 6 pack food prep carriers. It kept my boiled eggs, fruit, and full meals cool in the car in your specified containers. If you travel a lot, and you’re really serious about knowing exactly what you’re consuming, it may be a good investment!

–>If I needed to stop at a quick restaurant on my way somewhere, I’d keep my eyes peeled for a Chickfila. Usually, I would pick up grilled chicken nuggets, side fruit cup, and a yogurt, or chicken soup if I just was looking for a snack. Their chargrilled garden salad is also a good option for a healthy lunch! Panera is my second favorite option. The Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey is to die for, and the Fuji Chicken Salad is delicious as well. Dressing always on the side or ask for simple olive oil on top. Subway was third option because you can at least get a spinach salad and pick tons of veggies to load on top!

–>If you can’t control what you’re eating because someone else if providing the food, I try to just eat whatever meat or veggie they have (as long as it’s not fried) and eye ball the proper portion. As long as I don’t eat after around 8pm, I feel fine about eating what is provided. It’s important to be a respectful guest! Plus, a cheat or two won’t hurt you, so don’t stress! Take the opportunity to truly enjoy what is provided, but don’t feel obligated to eat every last bite. You’ll get back on track at the next opportunity. 🙂

–> It may also be helpful while you’re out of town to secretly TRACK! Try out MyFitnessPal, or the 21 Day Fit Tracker apps to be mindful of your target. It will also help you recognize if you went all day without any vegetables or fruit, or haven’t had enough protein. Maybe you imagine eating that giant pasta bowl is no big deal, until you look it up and realize it’s equal to your daily calorie allotment.

  • It of course depends on how serious you are about your goals and what you personally feel like you can withstand from temptations. If you know one cheat meal won’t send you on a downward spiral, go for it! I think that’s perfectly reasonable! You never want to end up feeling like your nutrition is super restricting. It should be empowering to feed your body with foods that actually make you feel good.
    When you travel, try to see it as yet another opportunity to search out the best for you, even it it means going the extra mile sometimes or asking the waiter to make some menu swaps for you. You deserve that.

Chicken Stuffed Peppers

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When I first started trying to learn how to cook by looking up recipes earlier in 2014, I found stuffed peppers on nearly EVERY site/blog! They seemed a little too advanced for me at the time, BUT here I am. I decided to give them a try and I’m so glad I did. Now I know why everyone was making them!

They are relatively easy, super delicious, and HEALTHY! They include protein, veggies, fats, and carbs for a balanced meal, and beautiful display. These are would especially be good if you’re taking an appetizer or a meal to a party or hosting someone!

I slightly improvised with the recipe as I went, so feel free to fudge this a bit as well! 🙂 It will still taste good!

At the end, I had more than enough mixture to fill 6 peppers cut in half. So 12 halves. A serving is probably 2 or 3 halves, so we had leftovers for lunch the next day! We had some leftover mixture to put in a wrap like a taco or use as dip with chips.

I used: 

-3 Green and 3 Red Organic Peppers (feel free to mix and match whatever color peppers you want!)

-One can of organic black beans (drained)

-One bag of frozen organic corn kernels

-Two Cups of already cooked quinoa (make this in advance!)

-A little over a pound of all natural chicken tenders (one pack)

-One Cup of Organic Tomato Pasta Sauce

-Two cups of frozen cut onions (but you could definitely slice it fresh and use a whole onion! I always opt for convenience)

-about a Tablespoon of Cumin

-about a Tablespoon of Chili Powder

-2 Tablespoons of Minced Garlic (or feel free to use fresh if you have it!)

-Teaspoons of Salt and Pepper

-Mexican 4 Cheese shredded blend. Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese would probably work as well.

Instructions: 

  1. Be sure you’ve already cooked the quinoa! About one cup dry will give you two cups cooked. If you end up cooking more, you can use it for meal prep with other meals for the week!
  2. Use a large skillet on the stove top on high heat. Pour in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the onion for about 3-5 minutes. (It took a couple minutes for my frozen onions to de-thaw and cook, but may take less time if you use fresh)
  3. Cut your peppers in half, take out the seeds, and place on a cooking sheet. Pre-Heat Oven to 375.
  4. Add the chicken tenders to the stove top with the onions so you’re able to see better if they’re cooking well. Once you’ve flipped them & they’re no longer pink, add all of the seasonings! You may want to cut them into pieces so they’ll split apart into stringy, shredded, digestible pieces more easily.
  5. You can turn the heat down to medium. Add in the tomato sauce and let cook for another few minutes to help the chicken become more tender.
  6. Then, add the corn and beans. Stir and continue to let cook for about another 5 minutes or so. You can take a fork and knife and pull apart the chicken in the skillet and make sure it’s evenly distributed in the mixture.
  7. After your mixture is well stirred and cooked, scoop it out into the peppers on the baking tray. Cook in the oven for ~25 minutes. (I took mine out at 20 & they were fine) Take them out, add cheese on top, then put back in for another 3-4 minutes.
  8. The longer you leave them in the oven, the softer the shell of the pepper gets. I ate mine with my hands just taking bites of the whole thing while my husband cut his with a knife and fork. ENJOY!!

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Clean Eating Snacks

The most important part of living a healthy lifestyle is PLANNING and PREPARING. You don’t get healthy and stay healthy without intentionally doing so, especially when processed junk food is so readily available and our lives only get busier and busier.

Even though cooking healthy can sometimes be more time consuming than picking up fast food, it always nice to have a few quick snacks you can count on to toss in a container/baggie and take with you on the road, to work, to a friend’s house etc.

“Clean eating” is all about finding and consuming food in it’s most natural state. Stick to the outside of the grocery store, and look for fresh produce. Eating “clean” is not about being on a particular diet, it’s about finding foods that will let your body’s organs function at their optimum level without the pollution of extra chemicals or colors or preservatives. This typically involves getting rid of extra sugars in your diet, especially the artificial ones… so TOXIC! The nutrients we eat are far more important than focus solely on calories because they have the power to prevent disease, give energy, and improve your heart health.

Ever heard “you are what you eat? so don’t be cheap, easy, fast, or fake.” –Basically clean eating’s motto!

Here are a few of my favorite go-to snack options:

Clean eating Snacks

Interested in spending 21 days learning how much and what kinds of foods to eat, doing 30 min a day workouts, and losing weight? Click here to learn about the 21 Day Fix.

Parmesan Cauliflower

Since vegetables are a staple of nearly all of our meals, I’m constantly figuring out ways to mix them up a bit! Today I roasted some cauliflower that my husband approved of so I figured I’d share, especially since cauliflower tends to taste bland but is very good for you! 🙂 It’s a quick and easy side!

First, pre-heat oven to 375 and spray non-stick spray on a large pan.

Use a head of organic cauliflower, and break it into pieces on the pan. Once the oven is heated, put the cauliflower for 20 minutes.
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While it’s cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small dish. (organic grass-fed if possible)

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1/4 cup of grated parmesan

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Once the cauliflower is finished, take it out and generously pour the mixture over the florets. If your mixture is a little sticky, feel free to take a spoon and dish some out to be sure all of the cauliflower is covered.

Put back in the oven for around 4-5 minutes and you’re done!

Finished product, served with my favorite pesto chicken and a sweet potato.

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