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How To Meal Plan For A Week

If you have worked with me in the past, we have more likely than not come up with a meal plan that suits your individual needs. If you have not yet worked with me, you can adopt some of my tips that I use when I create my own weekly meal plans for myself!

You can make your weekly plan anywhere that works for you – on your phone, on a piece of paper or on your calendar. If you are unsure where to start, take a look below at and download this template I have created!


1. ASSESS

I assess what I have on hand already so that I am not over stuffing my fridge and pantry with items that I already have.

Tip: Do you have a pantry full of shelf stable, canned or frozen items you maybe stocked up on when COVID hit? Is there food in the back of your cupboard or at the bottom of your freezer you need to use? Per the USDA, between 30-40% of the food supply in the United States is wasted.  Plan your meals around these items you’ve been storing to prevent food waste!

2. PLAN OUT MEALS / SNACKS

Making a list once a week of meals and snacks helps me tremendously throughout the week. It helps avoid stress around the question “what’s for dinner” and when I have options ready for meals and snacks, it is one less thing I have to think about. Taking 10-15 minutes to plan this out at the beginning of the week is definitely worth the time and mental space you will save during the week had you not planned ahead!

Tips: Make sure to include protein, fats and complex carbohydrates in your meals.

Plan accordingly for the specific week. Will you be ordering take out for lunch with the office or going to a restaurant for a birthday? Do you have guests coming to see you? Do not forget to account for these things when you are figuring out what you will be eating for the week. 

Some people prefer the ease in prep of eating the same meal or the same two meals all week while there are others who will not eat the same thing twice. Consider your preferences while making your plan!

Once you have your meal and snack options listed, stick to these. While you may flip flop the days of certain meals, try to stick to the meals and snacks you have planned for.

3. WRITE A SHOPPING LIST 

What items do you need to purchase? Resist filling your cart with things that “look good” and simply stick to the list of items you need to complete what you have planned for the week.

Tip: Going to the store with a list helps me stay on my budget and nutrition goals! I also like choosing items that I can use in multiple meals – for example I may purchase Avocado to use in a wrap and on tacos, I may purchase pineapple to grill with shrimp and to also have as a snack. Substitute items in recipes or meals where you can to avoid having to buy something just for one meal. For example, instead of buying lettuce for one salad, I may just use kale that I also planned on buying for use in a soup. Keep things simple!

4. PREP 

You may do the bulk of your prep on one day or prep a little bit each day. I like to make notes about what I am doing on what day. I may do the bulk of the prep one day, but include notes for other days about prep for an upcoming meal. For example, I may make a note in the middle of the week to defrost something from the freezer in anticipation of a meal for the next day or to chop up some vegetables.

Tip: Don’t skip this step! Prepping out full meals, parts of meals and snacks is key to staying on track. When you are tired after a long day or your stomach rumbles mid-afternoon and you need a snack, you may be tempted to swing by a convenience store or drive through to grab something quick. When you are hungry, your cravings will be even stronger and you will be more susceptible to doing this. When you know that you have a snack on hand or you are able to toss a meal together when you get home in no time, you can avoid the quick fixes to your hunger!

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Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Nothing says summer like having copious amounts of Zucchini (and tomatoes and peppers)! To keep from getting sick of having such a bounty, it is important to switch it up and try using this item in new ways. This zucchini ribbon salad utilizes raw green and yellow zucchini, picked while still small and tender and before the seeds get huge and out of control. This is the perfect addition to any meal or also great for lunch!

Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Rest Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:
3 Small Zucchini/Squash (I used 2 green and 1 yellow, any combination is fine!)
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Tsp Onion Powder
A small dab of honey
Ground Black Pepper
Salt
2-3 Tbsp Chopped Walnuts
1 Oz Goat Cheese, crumbled
Scallions or Chives

Instructions:

1. Wash and dry the zucchini. Chop off both ends. Using a good, sharp vegetable peeler or a mandolin, cut thin ribbons lengthwise down the zucchini, discarding the first piece that is all skin. When you reach the seeds, flip the zucchini over and start the same process on the other side. (I have found that the green variety tend to have fewer seeds). Once the piece of zucchini gets too thin to create ribbons or you have reached seeds, discard or better yet, set aside to use in a different recipe, like this amazing zucchini bread from Cookie + Kate!

2. Place the ribbons in a colander and sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt. Give the zucchini ribbons a stir to distribute the salt. Let sit for 20 minutes to drain out some of the excess water. During this time, you can prep your dressing by combing the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, onion powder and honey. Set aside. You can also toast your walnuts if you’d like. I recommend toasting them as it really brings out the flavor!

3. Using a lint free dish towel (a tea towel) or paper towels, gently pat the zucchini ribbons to remove any excess moisture. Transfer the ribbons to a bowl.

4. Pour the dressing onto the ribbons and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with goat cheese, walnuts and some chopped chives or scallions!

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My Eminence Organics Morning Skincare Routine

I usually come here to post recipes and nutrition tidbits, but today I am changing it up and talking to you guys about skincare and specifically, my favorite Eminence Organics products! While I am not a licensed esthetician and I rely on the ladies at the office for skincare and beauty advice, I have learned so much about Eminence over the last few months through wonderful trainings from the company and using these products daily. Having this knowledge about skincare products and ingredients has been really wonderful, and when working with certain clients, having this knowledge combined with the knowledge about nutrition has really helped address issues that are both above and below the surface so that they can look and feel their best!

Mid-March when everything shut down seemingly overnight in Upstate, NY seems like a lifetime ago with everything that has been happening across our world, country and within everyone’s own lives. In this new reality of life here in New York, we are wearing masks and have been for months now! As a result, I have noticed some skin troubles that I hadn’t had before, despite not wearing the makeup I would have previously when half my face was not covered. I know from numerous conversations that I am far from alone. While we are not able to offer facial services yet, we are still selling our at home facial kits online and in person at our office and many products from both lines we use at the office, Eminence and Dermalogica, are available for purchase. I am going to share my own personal skincare routine that helps keep my skin hydrated, fresh and the breakouts under control.

My Eminence Morning Routine


Cleansers: Stone Crop Gel Wash – I find that the scent is so unique and it is loved by everyone! A small amount goes a long way. I love that when I use this product, my skin doesn’t feel stripped or dry yet it still feels clean!

Exfoliators: Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant, Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzfoliant – Powdered exfoliators are amazing and these seem to last forever! I use the Strawberry Rhubarb as more of an every day exfoliator whereas the Stone Crop is more aggressive and something I may use once a week or so.

Serums: Rosehip Triple C + E Firming Oil, Bamboo Firming Fluid + Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum* – When I was younger I would always use the bare minimum amount of moisturizer so that my skin didn’t feel like dried paper mâché on my face because I was scared the moisturizer would make me break out. In reality and hindsight, depriving my skin of the moisture it so desperately needed was what was making me break out! Side note: I wonder how much younger I would look now had I saturated my skin in all of the hydrating goodies that I do now when I was 16?! Haha. The Rosehip Triple C + E Firming Oil is amazing. A couple drops of this oil is enough to reap the benefits of this product and I also use it at night time. On the rare occasions I do wear makeup, I have even blended a drop or two of this oil into my foundation and it has created a dewey, dreamy finish.

I have found that the Bamboo Firming Fluid gives my skin some extra plumpness and the product is a natural retinol alternative. Since the mask wearing commenced, I have been using the Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum particularly on the lower portion of my face that is covered by my mask! I have found that this serum is super gentle, does not over dry, does not cause red spots or blotchiness but is still effective.

Eye Cream: Hibiscus Ultra Lift Eye Cream – I am not really sure what I attribute it to, but I am definitely someone who is prone to puffy under eyes. I have also never been much of an eye cream person because I never saw them make a difference, but I really think the unique applicator for this eye cream creates an instant difference. I will put this eye cream on and let it sink in for a few minutes while I brush my teeth or do something else and THEN I decide whether or not I need to use concealer and the vast majority of the time, I don’t!

Moisturizer: Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer* – I love the scent of this. I love how refreshing it feels on my skin. I love how this product makes my skin feel like it is helping keep breakouts under control but also still so moisturizing!

SPF: Lilikoi Light Defense Face Primer SPF 23 or Sun Defense Minerals SPF 30 (Neither are Pictured) – Full disclosure, I like the Lilikoi Light Defense Face Primer, but it is hit or miss amongst those who have tried it as to whether to not they like it. Because it is not an instant love like most Eminence products are, I do not stock this product but I use it at home! The biggest complaint about this product is that it creates a white cast on the skin. I personally do not find this to be the case! I am absolutely obsessed with the Sun Defense Minerals SPF 30. This product is amazing because it is a powder so it goes on easily and evenly, is great for all ages and you don’t have to worry about it leaking all over your stuff if you have it in a beach bag.

Toner: Stone Crop Hydrating Mist – This product smells great and has a range of uses. When I am actually wearing makeup, I spray my blending sponge with this to help blend better. I also use this when I am done with my makeup, spritzing a couple times to “set” my look. Whether I am going makeup free or have makeup on, I spray my face with this to refresh my face throughout the day.

My Eminence Nighttime Routine

For Nighttime: I use many of the same products BUT I really soak my skin in the Rosehip Triple C+E Firming Oil, I use the Snow Mushroom Moisture Cloud Eye Cream and I use the Bamboo Age Corrective Masque! The Snow Mushroom Moisture Cloud Eye Cream really The Bamboo Age Corrective Masque really makes my face feel hydrated and I feel like my skin plumps right up when I use this.

* denotes items I have been using to help combat mask/summer heat breakouts that were too drying for me to use daily during the winter months!

 

 

 

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Summery Peach Tomato Salad

Some foods simply taste like summer! Every year the thought f more and more food items that I am able to buy being grown locally as the summer progresses excites me. Locally grown tomatoes, peaches and fresh picked herbs are some of my favorites. This super simple summer salad is a little unexpected and a lot delicious!

Summery Peach Tomato Salad
Makes 4 Servings
Time: 10 Minutes

2 Peaches, pit removed and sliced into 1/4 inch thick wedges
2 Tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch thick wedges
1/4 of a red onion, sliced thinky
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves, thinly sliced
Salt + Pepper To Taste
Optional: Crumbled Blue Cheese

Instructions:
1. Add peaches, tomatoes and red onion to a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients to make a dressing.
2. Pour the dressing over the peach, tomato, red onion mixture. Serve with crumbled blue cheese on the side if you’d like!

If you have leftovers, try it over a bed of arugula for lunch the next day!

 

 

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Favorite Vegetable Soup

Growing up, both of my parents made awesome versions of tomato based soups. My mom’s version was packed with veggies and had mini pasta in it and my dad’s version was more rich with oxtail in it. Quick side note – I always wondered about the origins of this soup since my Dad was born and raised in Shanghai and the soup seemed like something you’d find in the US…I stumbled upon this recipe from my favorite Chinese food blog that details the origins of the recipe my dad would make and the western influences on the recipe…if you eat meat, it’s definitely worth giving a try! Since I don’t eat meat and I have a gluten sensitivity, I have been on a quest through the dreary winter months to create an awesome tomato based vegetable soup packed with both flavor and nutrients. This super simple recipe came to be after reading a ton of different classic vegetable soup and minestrone soup recipes. I love making a big batch because it tastes even better the next day and is one of my favorite lunches!

Nutrient Packed Favorite Vegetable Soup

Makes 8 Servings

One sweet onion, chopped
Two carrots, peeled and chopped
Two stalks of celery, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp tomato paste
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
28 oz can diced tomatoes
32 oz container (4 cups) of veggie broth
2 cups of water
1 large potatoes, diced
1 15 oz can cannellini/garbanzo/kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium zucchini, diced
1 12 oz bag of frozen mixed veggies (about 2 1/4 cup)
2 large handfuls of chopped kale
1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
Salt + pepper to taste

1. Cook the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil for five minutes over high heat, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.

2. Add in the tomato paste, garlic, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Stir well and cook on medium heat for ~3 minutes.

3. Add in the canned tomatoes with their juice, the vegetable broth, the water and the potatoes. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Let boil for five minutes, covered.

4. Add in the zucchini, beans and frozen vegetables. Turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

5. Add in the kale. Stir. Stir in the apple cider vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve topped with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Top with Parmesan if you want!