I want to preface this whole series with the disclaimer that I’m just a regular ole mom of three who wasn’t super comfortable in her own skin after growing and birthing and nursing said three humans. I’m not a professional, I’ve had no training in this. In fact, I’ve never worked out consistently in my WHOLE LIFE until August 2017. But with that, I hope it encourages you because if I can do this, you can do it too.
PSA: YOU CAN STILL GET $15 OFF ANY CLEAN SIMPLE EATS MEAL PLANS (DIGITAL OR HARDCOPY) WITH CODE JEN! JUST A FRIENDLY REMINDER! I use this for about 90-95% of my daily meals!
Sorry guys, I’ve seriously been meaning to write this post for weeks but you know how it goes with three kids! And let’s just be honest, by the time they’re in bed all I want to do is watch tv. So just like my workout post I want to say that this is what has worked for me. Take little bits from different plans, take what works for you + your lifestyle from different people and adjust to fit what YOU need. I’m so grateful for those of you that are cheering me on with these posts + progress shots on instagram. I can’t tell you how much it helps in continuing!
It’s funny because when I first started working out I was totally like, “I workout so I can eat whatever I want. I will NEVER be a person who counts calories or knows how many calories are in different foods. Nope, that’ll never be me.” And just like all of the ways I said I’d parent before I had kids, I’m eating my words on this one too. I was SO frustrated though working out for months and not seeing very much progress. It’s not like I was going to the gym as much or as consistently as I do now but still, I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere!
I had looked into healthy meal planning and it was overwhelming and the food just didn’t look that great. Grilled chicken and spinach/sweet potatoes/asparagus for lunch multiple times a week was not something I could maintain. I love food. I love good tasting food. I found Clean Simple Eats (CSE) at the end of December and drooled over her pictures for a week before ordering her Winter Meal Plan. I knew this was something I could do. The first month I definitely calculated how many calories to eat incorrectly. I was NOT eating enough. I knew I was hungry but I thought it was mental! In February I started eating a little more intuitively and in March I recalculated my calories and figured out the right number. Thank goodness I adjusted pretty quickly because you have to fuel your body! In the front of each CSE meal plan she has all of the calculations to figure out how many calories to eat per day to align with your goals. It’s so helpful!
Do my kids eat CSE recipes? For the most part YES! Sometimes I’ll adjust things a little because I know their preferences (i.e. they don’t like BBQ sauce so if something calls for BBQ sauce I’ll take a portion of chicken out before I add it). They don’t love bell peppers and onions so on a kabob recipe, I’ll leave those off and do just chicken then steam a bag of a veggie I know they do like. If I know they’re really not going to be feeling a recipe I’ll do eggs & toast for them but that’s really pretty rare.
I’m pretty type A so calorie counting does help me. I try to eat about 1900 calories a day so I’m in a little bit of a calorie defecit. I also like treats so counting calories helps me know when I have extra calories to spare. This is not for everyone but it does help me. I use My Fitness Pal and just FYI…all CSE recipes are preloaded on the app! I was manually entering them for a few months before I found that out. Do I still treat myself? YES! Friday night I had a burger, fries, and a milkshake. Saturday I had two donuts. If I’m really craving something, I eat it. It’s all about balance and it’s good for your mental well-being to not fully deprive yourself.
CSE meal plans have literally every meal and every snack planned out for you. Grocery lists and everything. If you want to just follow that, it’s super easy. I sit down every Sunday and pick recipes we love or want to try, write them down and write out my own grocery list. It’s a little bit more work but it’s what works for us! I also want to say that meal planning and saving leftover CSE meals has been a life saver when it comes to lunches! Anyone else there just eat leftover mac and cheese/quesadilla/whatever your toddler didn’t eat for lunch? That was me! Having healthy (and actually tasty) meals that I can grab and heat up in two minutes has saved me from eating 1/2 a box of kraft mac and cheese too many times to count. Sometimes I’ll double recipes if I know I really like them to save some for lunches. I linked to my favorite meal prep containers below and they are dishwasher and microwave safe!
Other adjustments I made:
- I used to drink A LOT of whole milk. Like maybe a gallon a week? Maybe not that much but a lot. I’ve mostly cut out drinking milk and go for water instead.
- I swap out for healthy choices when possible. For example, I make regular spaghetti noodles for the rest of my family and I’ll spiralize a couple of zucchinis for me! Not a ton of extra work but saves a ton of calories.
- I found Halo Top ice cream! Not all flavors have been winners for me but my favorites so far are chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies and cream, and waffles & syrup. When I want something sweet I’ll grab that a lot of the time.
- I cut out soda for the most part. I have a little here and there but I used to drink a lot of coke.
- If I’m itching for a cookie or something I’ll try to grab a protein ball to see if that curbs the craving (CSE’s recipes are so good! The almond joy ones are my current favs).
Favorite products to help with meal planning:
I hope this helps and answers any questions you may have! Feel free to ask questions in the comments or leave comments on my instagram (@littlewifepowerhouse)!
This post contains affiliate links but only to things I use and love!