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Meal prepping is scheduling time to prepare several meals at once and packing them so they’re ready for you to grab and go. Meal prepping also means that you plan in advance for quick meals during the week, so you have all the necessary ingredients on hand to save time later. Meal prepping helps to save money, time, and helps you have more control over portion sizes - and this guide walks you through exactly how to do it all!

What’s Included:

-Simple steps to master meal prepping

-Money saving tips for eating healthy on a budget

-Nutritious meal prep recipes that take less than 30 minutes to prep

-3-day meal plans for both vegetarians and meat-eaters (and portion recommendations for weight maintenance vs. weight gain)

-A weekly meal planner/grocery worksheet you can print and reuse week after week

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Needing gift ideas for your favorite fitness enthusiast, foodie, or athlete? Here’s a list of 15 gifts they’re sure to love! These are just a few of my personal favorite kitchen staples, travel essentials, and at-home gym equipment. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season from Eleat Nutrition!

Instant Pot (6 Qt. 7-in-1 Multi-Use)

I actually just got one of these this past year, and was shocked how many different meals I could make in less than an hour! My personal favorite is making Mexican casserole. I love that you can saute and slow cook all in one pot. For athletes living in dorm-style apartments or extended-stay hotels with limited appliances, they will love the versatility of an instant pot.

Classic Chef’s Knife (Wusthof, 6-inch)

I firmly believe every home cook should have one good quality chef’s knife. This makes slicing and dicing for your meal prep 10000x better. I’m personally a fan of Wusthof knives and use this exact knife daily! The one shown here is available at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Williams Sonoma, and on Amazon.

Crockpot

Whether you’re constantly busy with practice, work, or class, nothing is more useful when it comes to meal prepping than a crockpot. Crockpots are also so handy for athletes living in hotels without full kitchens, or living in dorm-style apartments without ovens or stoves. Here’s a collection of over 25+ recipes you can make in a crockpot.

Blender such as Vitamix, Blendtec, or Ninja

The perfect solution for getting in your daily dose of fruits and veggies! But really, these heavy duty blenders such as Vitamix, Blendtec, and Ninja are a must-have for every athlete. From daily smoothies and blending soups to making sauces and dressings, there’s so many different ways to use it. They can also double as a food processor. While Vitamix is the priciest of the three, it’s well worth the money. I’ve had the same Vitamix blender for going on 6 years now, and still use it at least once a day everyday!

Cookbooks

Cookbooks make the perfect gift! Adding variety to your daily meals can be tough, but cookbooks like Thug Kitchen make it easy. This is one of my favorite cookbooks, along with Zahav. I can hardly wait until the first Eleat Nutrition cookbook is published in 2019!

Travel Meal Prep Lunch Box

This is the ultimate way to make sure the athlete in your life always has a healthy meal ready to eat. Traveling can create food nightmares and hangry travelers. This cooler solves all of those problems!

Meal Prep Containers

These containers make meal prep a breeze. They’re microwavable, dishwasher safe, and store nicely - so you don’t have to worry about them cluttering up your cabinets!

32 oz. Hydro Flask

Hydro flasks and Swell have vacuum insulation that keep drinks cold for over 24 hours, and hot for over 6 hours. Cool colors and sleek designs make these a great stocking stuffer!

Travel Yoga Mat

This is the perfect gift for the fitness enthusiast who’s always on the road. This yoga mat folds up small enough to fit in your backpack or carry-on, and is perfect for airports or small hotel rooms.

Their Favorite Coffee or Tea - great stocking stuffers!

For the coffee/tea fanatics - these make the perfect stocking stuffer! I love the Holiday flavors Republic of Tea has come out with which are available on Amazon and at Whole Foods. Other ideas are Yogi tea, these travel packets of Matcha, a bag of ground coffee beans, or a gift card to their favorite coffee shop.

TRX All in One Suspension Training System

The TRX is probably the most dynamic piece of training equipment you can find that will also fit in a suitcase. With a door anchor that works over any door, TRX makes it possible to get a solid workout in virtually anywhere. This is hands down my favorite piece of exercise equipment!

Resistance Bands

Because these bands are so small and portable, they are perfect for fitting in a workout while on the road. I always have one of these rolled up in my carry-on. There are several band exercises that can easily be done in the small space of a hotel room.

Wireless Speaker

Perfect for transforming any room into your own personal fitness studio! This wireless speaker is easily portable, waterproof, and has up to 6 hours of play time from a rechargeable battery.

Foam Roller

Foam rolling helps to ease soreness and keep you performing at your best. I love this small foam roller from TriggerPoint, making it so much easier to travel with! Hyperice also makes great recovery products!

Exercise Sliders

Such a versatile piece of equipment, these sliders are a must-have for the at-home gym or on-the-go athletes! It’s amazing just how many exercises you can do with a set of sliders!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

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What I love about Trader Joe’s are the pantry and fridge staples you can find for incredibly affordable prices. In this blog, I’m sharing the 15 items I find myself buying most frequently from TJ’s - I’d love to hear if yours are on this list!!

1. Fresh Produce

I can always find fresh organic produce for affordable prices at TJ’s. While they don’t have nearly as large a selection as Whole Foods or local grocers, I can always find so many of my staples - bell peppers, zucchini, bagged baby spinach, bagged shredded kale, lemons, limes, oranges, berries, apples, avocados, potatoes, and bananas. Another plus about their produce section are the pre-chopped veggies that make meal prep so much easier when you’re short on time!

2. Old Fashioned Oats

I have oatmeal almost every single morning for breakfast, and these are my go-to old fashioned oats! While I’m not gluten-free, I love how many options they have, along with a whole list of GF products available on their website!

3. Nut Butters

I have seen almond butter to be absurdly expensive at grocery stores…over $10 a jar! Which is why I almost always buy my nut butters from TJs. These are my two favorites – creamy almond butter and mixed nut butter. (priced between $4.99-5.99)

4. Nuts

Along with their nut butters, their trail mixes and raw nuts are good buys too. Some of my personal favorites are the raw cashews, sliced almonds, walnuts, and pecans.

5. Trail Mix

I love the wide variety of trail mixes and dried fruit they have. I like the Omega-3 Trek mix, along with this cashew, cranberry, almond for snacks on the road when I’m traveling! As much as I love their selection of dried mango, apple slices, etc., a lot of them are loaded with added sugar – look for ‘just fruit’ listed on the label to make sure you’re getting the unsweetened versions!

6. Seeds

I have seeds every single day, whether in my oatmeal, smoothies, or on a salad. My personal favorites are ground flaxseed (much better texture in smoothies than trying to use the whole flax!) chia seeds (use these often in overnight oats) and pumpkin seeds (sprinkle on top of salads).

7. Plant-Based Proteins

As a vegetarian, I am always buying lentils, tempeh, and sprouted tofu. While I do love their dried green lentils and red lentils, I find that these steamed lentils are perfect for when I’m short on time for dinner, especially since pressing and marinating tofu how I like it can take so long! I love making lentil tacos with the steamed lentils, this crispy baked tofu recipe or tofu nuggets, and one of my favorite ways to eat tempeh is sautéing in my thai peanut sauce!

8. Canned Foods

This time of year I find myself making a lot more soups and crockpot recipes – and the canned beans, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, and pureed pumpkin are some of my most frequent buys! I love making this lentil tikka masala (and I always opt for the full fat coconut milk), love making these pumpkin muffins, and of course have chili…lots of chili!

9. Frozen Brown Rice & Quinoa

Love the pre-cooked, frozen boxes of brown rice and quinoa that each come with three individual packets. You can heat these up so quickly either on the stove or in the microwave. Some of my favorite ways to use the brown rice are either for burrito bowls or stir-fries, and I love using the quinoa to make quinoa+black bean burgers!

10. Frozen Fruit & Vegetables

I buy frozen whole fruits and vegetables especially when I know they’re not in season. Frozen fruits and veggies have comparable nutrient contents as fresh produce, and in some instances can actually be greater due to the fact they’re frozen immediately after harvesting. I most often buy their mixed frozen berries for smoothies and frozen broccoli and asparagus to steam or sauté.

11. Cooking Oils/Fats

The main fats I use when cooking are avocado oil and olive oil. I really like the Chosen Foods brand avocado oil that TJ’s sells. I also really like Miyoko’s vegan butter – it’s a good dairy-free alternative that’s made from coconut oil and cashews, unlike most vegan substitutes which are full of soybean and/or canola oil.

12. Vegetable Broth

As I mentioned before, soup and crockpot recipes are common for me, and while I do enjoy a homemade veggie broth, it’s so nice sometimes when I’m prepping for the week and can skip a step by using this pre-made broth. I personally like the taste of this hearty vegetable broth best, but they do offer a low-sodium version as well!

13. Whole Grain Pasta + Marinara

Their pasta selection has grown so much over the years, and I love to see more gluten-free options available that are made from lentils or whole grains! As I mentioned I’m not gluten-free, but this brown rice & quinoa pasta is delicious! Every now and then I do make my own marinara sauce at home, but they have some great sauces available for when you’re looking to save some meal prep time!

14. Sauces

A few more favorite sauces…this vegan kale, cashew, and basil pesto is great as a dip, marinade, or tossed with pasta. It’s so flavorful and a great time saver when I don’t have time to make my own pesto from scratch! I also love their vegan green goddess avocado dressing – it’s creamy and delicious on top of grain bowls or salads!

15. Seasonings

Last but not least, these two seasoning blends! This everything but the bagel seasoning is delicious on top of sautéed leafy greens like collard greens. It’s also delicious on eggs and avocado. I love adding 21 seasoning blend to my roasted vegetables or when I’m prepping turkey burgers or baked chicken.

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“I feel like I’m eating so much all the time, but can’t put weight on.” I hear this all. the. time. There’s a lot of misconceptions about how to increase muscle mass, like ‘you just need more protein or add in a supplement or two.’

Forget these myths & try a few of these tips instead for healthy weight gain.

  • If you feel like you’re eating “so much all the time” take a look at the calories in the foods you’re eating. Maybe you feel like you’re eating large amounts, but are you eating fat-free foods such as non-fat yogurt? Low-calorie bread, steamed veggies, plain rice, very lean meat with nothing on it? Making simple swaps to foods you’re already eating helps increase total calories you eat in a day, without feeling like you’re having to add more to your plate.

    • For example: a slice of bread can vary between 45-160 calories depending on the brand. A cup of steamed broccoli is ~30 calories, but drizzling it with even just a Tbsp oil increases the calories to 150.

  • Snack wisely. It’s amazing to me when I look at an athlete’s food logs & their snacks are goldfish crackers or chips. Snacking on nuts/nut butters are a great way to take in more calories.

    • For example: ½ cup goldfish crackers is 130 calories. ½ cup almonds is ~400 calories. Not only is this higher calorie, but also provides more protein, fat & micronutrients.

  • Ease into larger portions. Maybe you start with increasing the serving sizes at one meal (or adding breakfast if you’re not eating it!!) or if your diet is lacking fat, try adding sliced avocado, sunflower seeds, or oils like olive oil to your meal.

  • Make smoothies/shakes. This is a great way to sneak in loads of nutrition without making you feel overly full.

    • For example: 2% milk, PB, banana, protein powder (or whole milk yogurt), kale, & ground flax. This is ~700 calories & can be increased by adding oats, walnuts or avocado. If you’re not snacking before bed, you could try drinking one as a late snack.

  • Plan ahead. Going 6+ hrs without eating makes it that much harder on yourself to squeeze in enough calories in a short amount of time. Have the right foods handy & at the right times to optimize muscle growth- in your bag, locker, car, etc. to make sure you’re always prepared.

Watch the 2-minute video on weight gain tips here!
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An anti-inflammatory diet involves eating certain foods & avoiding others in order to minimize the risk and symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases. Probably the most popular and most researched type of anti-inflammatory diet is the Mediterranean diet. The emphasis is on eating whole, minimally processed foods, and avoiding added sugar and refined grains in an effort to reduce chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is considered a major contributor in several diseases such as cardiovascular disease, IBD, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, alzheimer’s, & certain cancers.

  • Risk factors associated with chronic inflammation: Obesity, poor diet, stress & sleep disorders

  • Research: Research has linked this way of eating to reduced risk of heart disease, obesity, and improved symptoms of IBD & rheumatoid arthritis. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce the effects of inflammation on cardiovascular system. A recent study found women with PMS symptoms were also significantly more likely to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein (sign of chronic inflammation), suggesting another group that may benefit from adjusting their diet to incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods.

  • What anti-inflammatory diets INCLUDE: large amounts of vegetables and fruit, followed by fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and other monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts & seeds. Also includes whole grains (such as quinoa, brown rice) and legumes (such as beans, lentils.) Incorporates herbal teas and herbs/spices like garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Lean cuts of meats, dairy, red wine may be consumed in moderation (few times a week)

  • What anti-inflammatory diets LIMIT: added sugar, refined grains, trans fats, hydrogenated oils. May also exclude foods that you have an intolerance to, which should be determined by an allergy test not self-diagnosis.

  • Cons: I personally don’t see any cons to eating this way and feel more people should adapt an anti-inflammatory way of eating – while also incorporating other methods to reduce chronic inflammation such as getting enough sleep & finding ways to reduce stress.

Watch the video here!
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Alkaline water is typically pricier than plain old water, but is it actually healthier for you? Let’s take a look!

Alkaline water has a higher pH level (~8-9) than normal drinking water (pH=7) due to the addition of alkalizing compounds such as calcium, magnesium & bicarbonate.

  • Claims being made about alkaline water: Balances pH levels of the body, promotes better hydration, detoxes your body, boosts your immune system, helps you lose weight, fights cancer, cures psoriasis, & prevents development of diabetes. Some websites state that “several studies can prove alkaline water has a positive effect on the body” – yet not a single study is referenced.

  • Research: No evidence-based research links alkaline water to helping with weight loss, detoxifying your body, boosting immune system, weight loss, fighting cancer, curing psoriasis, or preventing development of diabetes. One study showed a potential benefit for patients suffering with acid reflux. Another study (funded by Essentia water..) compared a normal pH water (Dasani) to an alkaline water (Essentia) post-workout. This study found a significant difference in whole blood viscosity post-workout, meaning blood flow was more efficient with alkaline water. A few things to consider, this study was funded by Essentia and was a single study with 100 participants. More research is needed before making the claims that alkaline water promotes better hydration.

  • Drinking water in general, whether alkaline or not, provides an abundance of health benefits. If you genuinely like the taste of alkaline water better, it encourages you to drink more water overall, and you don’t mind the higher price tag, then go for it!! Just be aware the health benefits you read online about alkaline water have not been proven in research.

  • While there’s no hard evidence about alkaline water being more beneficial, there’s also no evidence that it’s harmful. For those that feel they’re personally experiencing greater health benefits due to alkaline water, it’s hard to say if those benefits are coming from alkaline water specifically, or just drinking more water.

Watch the video here!!
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Bulletproof coffee is a recipe: 2 cups coffee + 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter/ghee + 2 Tbsp coconut oil/MCT oil (such as ‘brain octane oil’ bulletproof sells on their site) Nutrition facts: 440 calories 52 g fat (38g saturated) 0g protein 0g carbs 0g fiber

  • Claims: improve energy levels, brain function, mental clarity, & fat loss
  • Research: Caffeine has already been proven effective at increasing metal focus, alertness, & athletic performance…without the addition of 52 g fat from butter/oil. There’s no evidence supporting claims made that this improves the effects of caffeine more than plain coffee. While yes, there are a few studies indicating MCT oil could benefit body composition, there’s a surplus pointing to fiber & protein benefiting body composition. Adding MCTs to your diet won’t result in immediate weight loss. You still need a calorie deficit.
  • The creator of this made an entire ‘bulletproof diet’ & recommends you participate in ‘protein fasting’-limiting protein to 15g or less per day once a week. The claims? ‘lose fat, detox your cells, & sleep better!’ No. Nooooo. If this isn’t a red flag, I don't know what is.
  • Some visuals: The grams of fat in this drink (~52-60 g) would be = to eating 2 full avocados, 10 eggs, 4 servings nuts, 2 cups cream, or 1 & 1/2 cups of shredded cheese…The difference between those foods & bulletproof coffee? Significantly more essential nutrients, fiber, protein than butter/oil alone. Think how full you’d feel from 10 eggs or 4 servings of nuts, compared to drinking that much fat in a cup of coffee.
  • You’re not getting some magical brain function & miraculous fat loss by putting 4 Tbsp of pure fat in coffee. You’re getting caffeine, excess amount of fat, no protein & no fiber. I’m not saying there’s not a single person that drinks this & feels great, I’m sure there are several on a ketogenic diet that enjoy this. But there’s a lot of people not in ketosis believing this drink is providing something it’s not, & this company’s making a lot of $$ on false claims. Looking for a wholesome meal to help with energy levels & satiety? Try eggs, roasted potatoes, veggies, & avocado…of course, with a cup of coffee.
Click here to watch the video!
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Today I’m talking all about gut health – what foods are best and what to avoid to promote good digestion and a healthy gut microbiome!

  • Medications such as antibiotics, high stress levels, or an unhealthy diet can knock your gut microbiome (i.e. the collection of bacteria in your intestines) out of whack. As a result, you may experience bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramps, or weight gain. Research has shown that your diet directly influences the function and composition of your gut microbiome. A lesser known fact is that our digestive tract also plays a large role in our immune system.
  • To improve gut health, eat foods rich in probiotics, prebiotics, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats rich in omegas.
  • Probiotics are living organisms collected from strains of bacteria or yeasts. They are found in certain foods, dietary supplements, and live in our gut. They have been scientifically proven to be beneficial to our health, especially to our digestive system. Foods rich in probiotics include fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi, yogurt, miso, kefir, tempeh, & kombucha. Probiotics are fed by other foods, a.k.a. prebiotics.
  • Prebiotics are the “food” that help probiotics really flourish. They are essentially indigestible carbohydrates (fiber) that feed healthy bacteria. Probiotics and prebiotics work together as a “team” – so including food sources that are rich in both will lead to the most benefit. Foods rich in prebiotics include soybeans, legumes, whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions, asparagus, & jicama.
  • Foods that could HARM gut health include: red meat, processed meat, hydrogenated oils, fried foods, refined carbohydrates and sugar. Also limit intake of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols which could increase bloating and gas.
  • Choose leaner cuts of meat such as chicken and fish which are easier for the gut to digest than red meat. A few other foods that promote gut health are ginger, flax, chia, and hemp. Water is also extremely important for proper digestion – so stay hydrated and avoid excessive intakes of caffeine and alcohol!
Click here to watch the video!
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Today I’m talking about a topic I get asked about so frequently, Whole30. Here are the facts, the pros, the cons.

  • Whole30 is a 30-day ‘nutrition challenge’ - it allows you to eat veggies, fruit, meat/fish, & nuts. It strictly prohibits legumes, grains, dairy, sugar, & alcohol. After 30 days you reintroduce eliminated foods one at a time. Snacking and smoothies aren’t allowed & you can’t remake your fav ‘junk foods’ into healthier versions (i.e. can’t make a brownie with dates, cocoa powder, & nuts cause it looks like a brownie…)
  • CLAIMS: It will end unhealthy cravings/habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, & balance your immune system.
  • RESEARCH: There’s currently no evidence-based research supporting the claims stated by Whole30.
  • PROS:
    • No calorie counting, no weighing yourself.
    • Focus on whole foods, fruits & veggies, removes highly processed foods/added sugar.
    • Could encourage people to get involved in prepping own meals, cookbooks offer simple recipe ideas
  • CONS:
    • Health claims not supported by research. This is a big reason it’s ranked in last place as worst diet by US Health News.
    • Eliminates entire food groups & claims removing these will boost energy, improve gut health & immune system. Whole grains & legumes are rich in fiber (prebiotics),  decrease inflammation, increase good gut bacteria & decrease cholesterol levels.
    • It isn’t the best way to identify food intolerances. There’s no saying whether a food you’re having issues with was even eliminated. Out of the top 8 most common food allergies, only 4 are excluded.
    • It’s all-or-nothing/no room for error mentality. If you eat any restricted foods, you must start over at day 1. If you’re at risk or have a history of disordered eating, this program can be detrimental to mental & physical health.

Bottom Line: If you drink a lot of alcohol, try cutting it out for 30 days. If you consume tons of sugar, try cutting sweets out for 30 days. Don’t eliminate entire food groups cause a diet tells you to. A diet that bans legumes & whole grains but allows as much red meat as you want should make you question the health claims.

Think beyond 30 days – cultivate a healthy lifestyle that incorporates whole foods, mostly plants, and please don’t ever drown yourself with guilt & shame if you eat a gram of sugar.

The below video is taken from my instagram, which you can follow here

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In this week's video, I talked about the importance of magnesium! 

  • Magnesium is a mineral involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions - such as energy production, protein formation, muscle contraction & relaxation, DNA repair, and nervous system regulation. Magnesium plays a crucial role in brain function and mood, heart health by regulating blood pressure, and even helps to prevent migraines. 50-60% of magnesium is stored in bone, so low levels could affect bone loss and overall bone health.
  • Magnesium helps to regulate your muscle and nerve function, which is important for muscle contraction. Low levels may boost the excitability of your nerve endings, causing your muscles to twitch, spasm, or cramp (and yes, cause that ‘charley horse’ cramp in the middle of the night!)
  • Magnesium is found naturally in almonds, cashews, spinach, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, avocado, whole grains, and legumes. Just one ounce of almonds (~23 almonds) provides nearly 20% of your daily needs.
  • Studies suggest 50% of people in the US aren’t meeting the recommended daily amount. Men should be getting 400-420 mg per day, and 310-320 mg for women. If looking to take a supplement, magnesium chelate or citrate are good options. Just make sure to check with your doctor as magnesium supplements could interfere with some medications.
  • Athletes may require additional magnesium to accommodate losses in sweat. (Athletes training longer than 3 hours should replace 20-30 mg of magnesium per 8-12 oz. fluid)

The below video is taken from my instagram, which you can follow here

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