Disclaimer: This post is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Beach Body or 21-Day Fix. I am not a coach, but I can sure hook you up with a few. Also, there are some Amazon affiliate links in here, and I do receive a small commission off anything purchased. Just bein’ real.
On November 1, I started a new 21-Day Fix meal plan AKA COUNTDOWN TO THANKSGIVING!
I decided that I really want to enjoy the holidays, but I can’t completely enjoy them until I do some resetting with my body. What a better time than now? I decided I could handle 3 weeks of no fall treats before the explosion of culinary glory happens during my favorite time of year. I knew a 21-Day Fix meal plan would help with that.
Yesterday started Week #3, and this will be my last aggressive 21-Day Fix meal plan for 2016. I completed 3 rounds of 21-Day Fix (this makes #4) and 2 rounds of 21-Day Fix EXTREME this year. The first 3 rounds were consecutive, and then I took a tiny break before 2 back-to-back rounds of EXTREME. 25 lbs were down for the count! After the last round of EXTREME, I continued to eat well on an 80/20 balance for a while, but somewhere in there, the scale tipped a bit, I lost motivation, and I started on a 50/50 balance. It wasn’t quite working out for me. I didn’t feel as well and started fighting off 5 lbs of bloat. Before the holidays hit and I feel completely miserable (and in an effort to NOT undo all the hard work I did this year), I figured it is time for one last round for the books. Then I’ll enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas full-force!
I have to admit, December is off limits. I love Christmas time, and I have no shame in the baking and cooking that will happen during that month… but that’s what January is for, right? 😉 Work hard now, play later… then work hard again to kick off 2017. It’s only logical. I will still exercise in December, just not as aggressively or as consistently. I’m talking 3-4x/week instead of 6-7x/week. I think it’s fair! Like I said, I have no shame in admitting what I’m about to consume in December.
So, with all of that shamelessness said, November 1-21 is (and has been) a strict round of 21-Day Fix, and here are some of the things I’ve been eating pretty consistently:
21-Day Fix Meal Plan:
Countdown to Thanksgiving
- PureProtein bars. 1 bar = 1 red + 1 yellow. My old nutritionist turned me onto these, and while I definitely prefer eating something less processed, they are the best balanced protein bar when it comes to protein and sugar content. Each bar has 15-20 mg of Protein and only 2-4 mg of sugar, that’s it. Most protein bars on the market are horrendous little wolves in sheep’s clothing, pretending to be healthy protein bars, hoping you won’t actually read the label. And like I said, I prefer something less processed and with less additives, but this is the best option you’ll find for a grab-and-go, protein packed breakfast or snack. I prefer the chocolatey ones… the fruit ones taste like poison to me!
- Baked Egg Cups. 2 = 1 red. I pre-bake a bunch of these and keep in the fridge for an easy breakfast. Just grab and microwave!
- Protein shake. 1 red + 1 green + 1/2 yellow + 1 tsp + 1/2 purple. While Shakeology is by far the BEST quality, (and no, I am not paid to say that) it hasn’t been the best option for me on a monthly basis financially. I sadly had to discontinue my monthly subscription, but that’s okay. Some day we’ll reunite! I have been using PureProtein powder, and while it’s nowhere near as good or as high of quality, it works for now when I use it in addition to all of these other items I mix in. It’s high in protein (35 g), low in sugar (2 g) and low in carb (4 g). I usually use almond milk, baby spinach, peanut butter and banana for a nice morning pick-me-up. I don’t have this for breakfast often… when it is cold in the morning, the last thing I want is a cold breakfast. The coldest thing I’m interested in during early morning time is a room-temp protein bar.
- Weekends: I’ll cook up some eggs (1 red), turkey sausage (1 red), and have with a side of fruit (1 purple).
- Dinner leftovers are my jam, so I always endeavor to have leftovers as frequently as possible. Talk about an EASY grab-and-go lunch!
- Salad in a jar. 2 green + 1 red + 1 orange + 1 blue. So easy, so filling, and you can quickly prepare 3 at once as grab-and-go options for lunches. Just make sure you have a plate and fork at work waiting on you to dump it on to! I normally use mixed dark greens, sugar snap peas, baby sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken, feta or goat cheese, and a vinaigrette. I’ve talked about this before, but in case you missed it, this is how you layer: dressing on bottom, followed by protein, cheese, veggies, and lastly your greens. Shake the jar up before dumping into a plate.
- A couple of times I have had lunches out with work friends, so I’ve made sure to order large salads with vinaigrette.
- PureProtein Bars. 1 red + 1 yellow.
- Greek Yogurt 2 Ways. 1 red + 1-2 tsp. + 1 purple. My mixing options: 1) peanut butter, honey, cinnamon, banana. 2) honey, vanilla, strawberries.
- Sabra Hummus Cups. 1 yellow + 1 blue. I found that the portion of pretzels was just right for 1 yellow, but the hummus portion is kind of large, so I would often use half of the hummus one day, and finish it the next day with baby carrots (1 green). I love these as a grab-and-go snack, and I like that I could keep the leftover hummus in the fridge at work so it was already waiting on me for the next day. Just grab one of these with a cup of veggies and you have 2 snacks already prepped!
- Guacamole Cups w/ Baby Carrots or Sugar Snap Peas or Bell Peppers. 1 green + 1 blue. The guacamole cups from Aldi are PERFECT for a grab-and-go blue. I especially love the spicy guac! SO GOOD!
- Apple or Banana & Peanut Butter. 1 purple + 1-2 tsp. Only the best snack ever!
- Fruit and cheese. 1 purple + 1 blue. My favorite glycemic index-friendly fruits that I always have on hand: blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries. I also enjoy the Mini Babybel mozzarella cheese wheels!
- Nuts & Olives. 1 blue + 1 orange. I love pistachios, almonds and pecans, and my absolute favorite olive is the kalamata.
- Baked salmon (1 red) with brown rice (1 yellow) and steamed broccoli (1 green), or roasted sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli. Note that you can buy a huge slab of salmon for the cheapest price per pound at your local meat department. Our Walmart has these all the time, and I always watch for slabs that are almost to their sell-by date because that means they are CHEAP. I’m talking $4/lb instead of the normal $6-7/lb. I’ll buy several and store in my deep freezer. I never, ever buy pre-frozen salmon in the freezer section. It is never as good… never. And the portions are always terribly thin with very little meat.
- Taco Tuesdays w/ either grilled chicken or ground turkey (1 red + 1-2 yellow), and sautéed peppers, onions, and mushrooms (1-2 greens). I normally use wheat tortillas and top them with spinach, tomatoes, plain Greek yogurt and guacamole (1 blue). AND LOTS OF SRIRACHA! I always save my blue container on taco day for dinner! I also take the leftovers and make taco salad for lunches, and will use a tomatillo salsa as my “dressing” (1/2 purple).
- Pineapple chicken stir fry. 1 purple + 1 red + 2 greens + 1 yellow + 1-2 tsp. This recipe I found on Pinterest was so good! For the homemade sauce, I took the measurement in the recipe for the hot sauce and split it in half with liquid aminos. I like hot sauce just fine, but I have a six-year-old who is just discovering her tolerance for it, so it’d be rude for me to go all in with a “good luck, kid!” mentality. This was delicious, and I mixed in brown rice for some carb.
- Lemon pepper shrimp (1 red) with brown rice (1 yellow) and roasted string beans (1 green). Sometimes I’ll use 1/2 a blue and add goat cheese… goat cheese roasted on string beans is amazing!
- Breakfast!!! Eggs and turkey sausage patties (2 red), roasted potatoes with peppers and onions (1 yellow + 1/2 green), roasted asparagus (1 green). Yes, asparagus is awesome with breakfast. Don’t judge me.
- Chicken and rice soup. This isn’t a specific recipe, but more of a throw together option I do, and I like to save all of my carbs for the day for this one. I usually take low sodium chicken broth and water, and season it up with thyme, sage, and any other earthy herb I’m feeling. I boil chicken breast (shred later), and simmer with onions, peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini, then add the cooked brown rice at the end. SO good and perfect for fall. This is great with a side salad or a crusty piece of whole wheat bread if you have enough yellows left for the day. What I love about making this is I can literally scoop out how much rice I want… I don’t add a ton to make it crazy thick with rice, so I’m able to go light on my rice portion if I want a side of bread to dip in. This makes great leftovers!
- Morning Star spicy black bean burgers (not actually spicy, 1 red) topped with avocado (1 blue), served with roasted zucchini and Brussel sprouts (2 green). Note: I think 21-Day Fix would call these burgers a carb because they are black bean, but they’re also very packed with protein and my nutritionist used them as a protein on her plan, so I do, too. I just try to serve without an extra carb and instead double on the veggie so it’s balanced out. This is all probably up for debate, but this is what I do, and I do it every other week. Plus, Zoey absolutely LOVES these and has since she was 18 months old and a non-meat eater.
- Pizza, 2 ways: 1) I ordered a thin crust, grilled chicken and veggie pizza from Jet’s Pizza when we visited with friends, and it was a good pizza option paired with salad. I just saved my carbs for this one meal, and I enjoyed within reason! 2) Homemade pizzas on naan bread with regular pesto and sundried tomato pesto, grilled chicken, loads of veggies, olives, and a little shredded parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Such a great way to meet that pizza craving!
- Spinach & Feta Chicken Sausages (1.5 = 1 red), brown rice (1 yellow), roasted broccoli (1 green)
- Veggie Pasta (pasta made from veggies, 1-2 yellow) with creamy avocado and spinach sauce off Pinterest (1 blue + 1 green + 1/2 orange), grilled chicken (1 red) and more roasted veggies (1 green)!
- Whole roasted chicken (1 red – and I roasted 2 at once for leftovers!), roasted broccoli and portobello mushrooms (2 green)
Those are the dinners that we have rotated throughout most of the last 3 weeks, and we’ve even had a couple of “leftovers” nights in there. Every Tuesday is “Taco Tuesday”, but the rest of these have rotated. I know I’m already down a couple of pounds and suspect I will be by a couple of more by the time Thanksgiving Day rolls around. And while I fully intend to enjoy myself on turkey day with NO shame in sight, I also fully intend to go on a run the day after to try to burn at least 1/3 of the calories eaten.
And no, that run won’t include down the aisles of Black Friday retail stores. I’m not THAT crazy… 😉
I’m always looking for new dinner options for 21-Day Fix, so if you have a favorite, please share!