Now that I got my introductions out of the way, it’s time to get to the food! If you recall, I said that I was in a bit of a hurry to get the site and blog going but I never really said why. Well, I decided to go on a diet and I wanted to document and share that with all of you. It’s not the Keto diet or Paleo or any of those other diets that I refer to as fads. They work for some people but not everyone. My whole eating philosophy is “calories in, calories out”. Your intake of calories per day must be less than the calories you put out in order to lose weight, no matter what you consume. Obviously, some food choices are better than others but really, you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight. You just might only be eating a very little, frustrating amount per day. You may be asking yourself by now what certifies me to talk to you about nutrition and dieting. Well, I mean, I took a nutrition class in college… Just kidding. I really did take the class (and wish I had paid more attention in it) but that’s not what certifies me. Actually, nothing certifies me other than experience. Eight years ago, I crafted my own low-calorie diet and lost 60 pounds. I ate roughly 1200 calories per day (with some indulgences mixed in) for about eight or nine months to reach my goal. There are all kinds of ways to approach low-calorie dieting and I’ll share those with you another day. I also want to point out that this in not just a diet food website. This is what my cooking is right now so that’s what I’m sharing.
Okay, let’s get back to the food. I’m dubbing this diet Operation Make My Jeans Fit Again. And here’s how I’m doing it. I set a 1500 calorie a day diet for myself. They may sound super restrictive but, honestly, with the right foods, it can be difficult at times to consume that many calories. My firm belief on how to be successful in this program is to log everything you eat (EV. ER. Y. THING.) and use a food scale. I used My Fitness Pal to log my food. It can also help you establish a proper number of calories to consume. I highly recommend the app/website. Now that my calorie goal is set, how am I going about figuring out what to eat? Short answer, the internet. I saved a bunch of low-calorie recipes to my Pinterest board and I’m relying on foods I made when I first dieted. I have a pretty unconventional schedule that does not always allow for quality cooking. This go around, I’m going to rely heavily on meal prepping.
Meal prepping is a lot of work up front but it makes life so much easier down the road. For a week at a time, I’ll plan out all the meals I intend to eat, the ingredients needed, and go shopping. Then I’ll spend a few hours cooking the first three days of food and prep the ingredients to cook the rest. I’m going to share my meal plans with all of you along with the recipes and my thoughts on what I made. I’m already one week in and 2.5 pounds down. One thing to note about my meal plans is that I usually don’t eat breakfast and I have no issues with eating the same meal for lunch and dinner because it just makes my life easier. Keep the number of servings in mind when you are planning out meals. You may have to alter the amount of groceries you buy from what the recipes tell you.
So, what did I eat in week one?
Day 1 – Asiago Peppercorn Chicken with Roasted Yellow Squash and Asparagus
I found some packaged, pre-seasoned chicken thighs at Walmart. Asiago may be one of my favorite cheeses so I had to try them. They were outstanding and you’ll probably see a lot of them. I cooked them in my air fryer. For the roast veggies, I simply cut them up, sprayed them with olive oil, used whatever seasonings sounded good, and baked them at 415 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.
Day 2 – Parmesan Pork Medallions with Roasted Yellow Squash and Asparagus
The only thing I did differently on this recipe was cook it in my air fryer because it was easier. I cooked it a tad too long but it was still good.
Day 3 – Cajun Chicken Pasta
I’ve linked a recipe for a lightened up recipe but here’s how I do it. I diced chicken, bell peppers, and red onions and cook it all up. I’ll throw in tomatoes (canned or fresh both work great) and begin lightly seasoning with Cajun seasoning. You’ll want to season throughout each stage of cooking. I finish it off with linguine noodles and jarred light alfredo sauce. Garnish with parmesan cheese if you wish.
Day 4 – Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry
This is a simple mix of diced chicken, brown rice, a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, and soy and teriyaki sauces. Oh, and scrambled egg whites. Can’t forget that.
Day 5 – Steak Fajitas, Salsa Rice, and Jalapeno Pinto Beans
I don’t use a recipe for this but I will soon write one up. I buy fajita cut steak (sometimes call stir fry cut steak) and season it with garlic salt and taco seasoning. When it goes in the pan to cook, I drizzle olive oil and lime juice on it. I julienne lots of bell peppers, red onions, and some jalapenos then sauté them until they soften and get those pretty brown bits on them. The salsa rice is just brown rice with salsa mixed in. The beans are even fancier. Pick up a can of jalapeno pinto beans from the store and heat it up…
Day 6 – Pepperoni Pizza Chicken (Confession, I didn’t actually make this. I opted to go out for buffalo wings instead…)
If I had made this meal, the linked recipe is very similar to how I would have done it. I swap regular pepperoni for turkey pepperoni (in dishes like this, the swap is totally worth it). Sometimes I add salami slices (because salami is king). I round it off with a couple tablespoons of pizza or marinara sauce per chicken breast and some mozzarella cheese. Be sure to pound out or butterfly your chicken breasts and season them well.
Day 7 – Dijon Onion Chicken with Roasted Carrots and Brown Rice
I’ve made this dish many times over the years and have put my own twist on it. The recipe calls for using pork and orange juice. I left out the orange juice because I never have any on hand and it didn’t make that great of a difference for me. I also used chicken instead of pork.
For the meals that I used online recipes for, I have added links to them. For the others, I’ll share posts with those recipes a later day. I cooked a huge batch of roasted veggies and divided it all up for the various meals. I also baked some brown rice (I have an incredible recipe for baked brown rice that I’ll be sharing very soon). You can use it to make so many things. I used it in three meals this week. I overload my meals with veggies because you get a lot more bang for your calorie buck that way. And about that trip to get wings…so worth it. I got the traditional wings with rub so that was still a health-conscious decision. Or so I tell myself. Ha! I just got week 2’s meals prepped. Stay tuned for those next week!
Oh, one of the most important parts of this plan, DRINK LOTS OF WATER!