Tasty Tuesday- Meal Planning

When I decided to complete a Whole 30 I knew I was going to need some support. It was like some kind of divine intervention when I came across the Real Plans Meal Plan system on my Instagram feed one day via the Whole 30 account. Real Plans teamed up with Whole 30 to develop a 30 day, compliant recipe, customize to your servings, dietary restrictions, and other various factors. I didn’t care that it cost me money. It was reasonable and a justifiable expense because I KNEW I needed help to stick with it for the entire 30 days. Well guess what, ya’ll! It worked like a dream.

It was super simple. You tell the configurator how many meals you need to prep for in a week, the difficulty and prep time needed for your typical meal, accounts for leftovers to take as lunch the next day, how many servings you would like to fix, and click GO. Boom. Meal plan done for a month (or how long you set up your subscription). You can swap things out if you don’t care for them. This includes the recipes for the week! It spits out a shopping list for you, which you can customize to your needs, and you’re ready to go. It’s seriously the best thing ever!

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This is from my first week. All of these were delicious. Did I make them with the intent of my kids eating them? Not really. They have a different metabolism and caloric need. Did they like almost all of the dinners I made from this? Yep. As long as I had some other carbs with it they were happy.

Our favorite lunch and snack was avocado eggs and prosciutto wrapped mango. The trick is finding ripe mangos. They seem to be in season right now and you can’t go wrong with bacon. It has become our go-to snack. It’s so darn good.

Now the trick is to plan meals myself for the next month, especially during the next week and a half during fall break. Mixing things up so I don’t get bored is the key.  I will be reintroducing some foods to see how they affect me, but planning to stay W30 compliant through the end of the month. I’m kinda freaked out to reintroduce foods. It shouldn’t be difficult. I know two things that negatively affect me. The key will be taking it slowly and really listening to my body for it’s responses. Stopping long enough to recognize those warnings is something that has come into much clearer focus for me. I love how I feel and I don’t want the crappy feelings to return. As in all of life, I will have to spend time finding some balance. Here’s to continued success, increased flexibility, and positivity!

What’s your greatest struggle with meal planning?

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta

Sweet Sausage Pasta

The weather has turned cool this week which has left me hungry and craving hearty foods. I opted for a pasta dish, partly because my boys are still working out after school in addition to putting in time outside in the field and are starving when they come in, and because I needed a good carb fix. Don’t worry, I didn’t go all out white flour pasta. That would just be silly. I found this quinoa pasta at the grocery that is both gluten free and pretty tasty. The link is for elbows, but I used penne. It’s chewy and like al dente, but heartier like a whole grain pasta. It tastes like regular pasta, too. My boys ate it without complaint. They actually ate less of this than regular white pasta. That’s always good!

The kale was a last minute touch. The peppers and onion just weren’t enough with the sausage. It needed more. I had some fresh kale from the garden and knew that was the answer. Again, my boys ate it and my oldest gave me the “Mom of the year hug” as he likes to call it. I’ll take it! It’s filling, but incorporates your veggies, proteins and carbs all in one. Yes, the calorie count is a bit higher, coming in at 517 per serving. It also makes great leftovers for lunch the next day, if there’s anything left!

Here’s the run down.

1 package of sweet Italian turkey sausage, cut into bite size pieces

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

1 sweet yellow pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped finely

4 kale leaves, washed and cut into small pieces

2 cloves garlic, chopped finely

olive oil

12 oz quinoa pasta

8-10 heirloom tomatoes, quartered

fresh basil (I used 3 leaves) chopped small

fresh parmesan cheese, about 1/2 cup

salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. DON’T OVERCOOK! It turns into mush if you do.

While water is on to boil, add olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) to a non stick skillet and add onion, peppers, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until soft, but not translucent. Add sausage. Cook through. When sausage is almost completely cooked, add kale. Put lid on skillet and steam kale with veggies about 1 minute. Add drained pasta to sausage mixture. Then add tomatoes, fresh basil, and parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste (I added pepper but no salt to mine).

Enjoy!