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If you’re an Autumn Calabrese fan, a Portion Fix follower, or if you’ve ever done a Beachbody On Demand program, you know those 7 color-coded portion-control containers are #LIFE.

And by now, you’ve probably heard about the new Ultimate Portion Fix nutrition program.

But you’re probably asking, “What’s the difference between Portion Fix and Ultimate Portion Fix?”

Portion Fix* gave you the basic tools to master portion control; Ultimate Portion Fix is a 30-day nutrition program with shopping tips, meal preps, tracking tools, hundreds of recipes, and more.

Think of it like this: Ultimate Portion Fix expands on the foundation set by Portion Fix and takes it to the next level with more nutrition information, more support, and more options.

Autumn has refined and clarified her portion-control approach to teach you and your family — including your kids! — how to eat delicious, healthy portions for good.

*Portion Fix is no longer available for purchase.

Check out this handy chart below for a quick comparison:

And that’s just the beginning — you can read more about everything you get with the Ultimate Portion Fix here.

Bottom line: Ultimate Portion Fix is a nutrition program that can help you gain a deeper understanding of nutrition and what it means to eat healthy.

With the information, strategies, and healthy hacks that Ultimate Portion Fix provides, you’ll be able to create a healthy way for you and your family to eat for life.

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Every great product has a great origin story — and Shakeology is no different.

It all started 10 years ago with Beachbody CEO Carl Daikeler’s hate/hate relationship with vegetables.

“I admit it — I ate like a second-grader. I needed a superfood health shake to make up for years of a terrible diet,” he says.

So he turned to nutrition specialist (and wife) Isabelle Daikeler who teamed up with “ingredient hunter” Darin Olien to find nutrient-dense ingredients from all over the world.

Together, they crafted a formula with a potent blend of high-quality ingredients. The result: Shakeology, the nutrient-dense superfood protein shake that you know and love.

And even if you love vegetables, it can still be a struggle to get your daily greens in.

“This is one of the reasons we created Shakeology. Even if you do eat healthy foods, you’re not assured you’re getting everything you need,” says Isabelle. “Shakeology is a good way to get carbs, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But it also contains all those “extras” like adaptogens, prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes that can be difficult to get all together in most foods.”

“When we created Shakeology, we knew this had to be a whole new type of shake,” says Olien. “So, we traveled around the world gathering some of the most potent, nutrient-dense, whole-food based ingredients, and exotic superfoods on the planet.”

If you want to do a deeper dive into Shakeology, the ingredients, and how a daily shake can help start your day with a healthy foundation, check out these articles from the Beachbody Blog:

Shakeology: What IS It, Exactly?

How Shakeology Ingredients Work Together

8 Reasons to Start Drinking Shakeology

How Shakeology Can Help Curb Your Appetite

4 Shakeology Myths, BUSTED

*Statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. ⁣⠀

Shakeology: Change Starts Here - YouTube

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At first glance, Beachbody On Demand’s INSANITY and INSANITY MAX:30 look strikingly similar.

They’re each the brainchild of Beachbody Super Trainer Shaun T, the workouts are rooted in high-intensity interval training (HIIT), both last 60 days and require no equipment, both will push the limits of your endurance and test your grit, and they’ll both elevate you to an elite level of fitness.

But make no mistake: INSANITY MAX:30 is not INSANITY 2.0.

They’re entirely different programs that take different approaches to help you get in the best shape of your life.

What Are the Key Differences Between INSANITY and INSANITY MAX:30?

Whether you do INSANITY or INSANITY MAX:30, you are going to lose weight.

You are going to build strength and stamina. And you are going to become fitter, leaner, and more defined in just two months.

Indeed, you’ll develop a whole new appreciation for your mirror, because you’re going to love the way you look.

But understanding their key differences will help you decide which one is right for you.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two programs is the length of their workouts.

With INSANITY, you can expect to sweat for between 40 and 60 minutes on most days of the week — longer on days that include an additional core workout.

With INSANITY MAX:30 you’ll be done in 30 minutes every time (unless you follow The Ab Maximizer Workout Calendar, which occasionally throws in an additional 10 to 15-minute core workout).

Does that mean that INSANITY MAX:30 workouts are easier? By no means.

In fact, you can think of an INSANITY MAX:30 workout as condensing the intensity of a typical INSANITY workout into half the time.

That can make them even more challenging. And with 150 new moves and a greater emphasis on strength building, INSANITY MAX:30 workouts are anything but typical INSANITY workouts.

Shaun T also introduces the concept of “Maxing Out” in INSANITY MAX:30 (hence the name).

What that means is that you go as hard as you can for as long as you can — until your body gives you no choice but to stop to catch your breath and ease the burning sensation in your muscles.

That point is your “Max Out” time, and you’ll record it for every workout, so you have a benchmark to beat during your next one.

Maxing Out does not mark the end of the workout. It’s simply the point at which you have to take your first break.

You might have to take more than one by the time you finish the workout, and that’s OK. Everyone Maxes Out (even Shaun T!), so don’t try to be a hero.

When you feel your muscles burning, your lungs heaving, and your form begin to break down, grab some water and take a breather. If you don’t Max Out, you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough.

If you find any of the primary moves in INSANITY MAX:30 too difficult or the workouts to challenging to complete, you have the option of following the modifier, which is the member of the cast that demonstrates slightly easier versions of each exercise.

You’ll also have two rest days per week instead of one (as you get with INSANITY) to help your body recover. INSANITY and INSANITY MAX:30 take slightly different tacks when it comes to nutrition as well.

Both include eating plans that will help you dial in your diet to optimize weight loss and fitness gains, but INSANITY MAX:30 makes it easier than ever by utilizing Beachbody’s unique portion control container system.

The seven color-coded containers correspond to different food and macronutrient groups. Simply eat the amount of food allotted by the prescribed number of containers each day to maximize your workout performance and total body transformation.

Which Program Should I Do?

INSANITY was designed to elevate people who are in excellent shape to truly elite levels of power and endurance.

There are no modifiers, and Shaun T has no mercy, so if you don’t consider yourself “advanced” when it comes to exercise, do one of our other programs first.

Doing FOCUS T25 is a highly effective way to prepare for INSANITY.

INSANITY MAX:30 is a natural next step once you complete INSANITY — or if you’re already in great shape and are looking for a challenging program with workouts that last no longer than 30 minutes.

But the inclusion of modifiers also makes this program doable for people who aren’t quite fit enough to tackle INSANITY. As a result, it’s amenable to a wider range of fitness levels.

Either way, if you’re looking to boost your aerobic capacity, build cardiorespiratory fitness, shed fat, and start turning more heads even when fully clothed, these programs will do you right.

But if your goal is to pack on muscle and stretch the limits of your shirtsleeves, then you might want to consider doing a program with a greater emphasis on strength training, such as P90X, LIIFT4, or The Master’s Hammer and Chisel.

How Long Until I See Results With INSANITY and INSANITY MAX:30?

No matter which program you choose, you’ll likely start seeing results within a couple of weeks.

Initially, those results will come in the form of greater workout performance and capacity. In other words, you’ll find that you can exercise harder, longer, and more effectively (in terms of maintaining good form) within seven to 14 days.

Stepping on the scale might also reveal a bit of weight loss during the first week or two, but results you can see in the mirror usually begin to occur around week three.

Your pants will fit looser. Your shirts will seem baggier. And you’ll begin to notice greater definition and less jiggle in areas such as your arms, chest, abs, butt, and legs.

Keep in mind that neither program is intended for beginners or people who have a lot of weight to lose.

If you’re overweight or obese, performing plyometrics and/or HIIT might be too much for your body — especially your joints — to handle.

If you are just starting your fitness journey, or if you’re more than 20 pounds from your ideal weight, prepare for the intensity of INSANITY and INSANITY MAX:30 by completing one of our beginner and/or intermediate programs first.

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Your social media feeds are full of them: gorgeous, elaborate smoothies with 52 ingredients (15 of them sold only online) with a color-coordinated array of tastefully arranged toppings.

Pretty, yes. Practical? Not so much.

When you’re running out the door in the morning or barely able to lift your arms after a LIIFT4 Shoulders workout, making a complicated Shakeology smoothie just isn’t gonna happen.

That’s why you need these 8 Shakeology recipes with only five ingredients: They’re simple, delicious, dependable recipes, with ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge and pantry.

Shakeology Recipes With Only 5 Ingredients

1. Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Shakeology

This deliciously satisfying Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Shakeology takes your regular morning oatmeal and kicks it up a notch.

With fresh (or frozen) strawberries plus Strawberry Shakeology, this shake will definitely satisfy your berry craving and fill you up with superfood nutrition to boot!

Get the recipe.

2. Mocha Chip Latte Shakeology

This Mocha Chip Latte Shakeology recipe will make you swear off those coffeehouse lattes forever. This luscious shake is full of chocolatey, creamy goodness and 20 grams of protein! (Beat THAT, coffeehouse latte).

Get the recipe.

3. Chocolate Surprise Shakeology

If you’re a dues-paying member of the I Hate Vegetables Club, then we have a recipe for you.

The struggle is real for picky eaters, so we snuck in some spinach plus a delicious scoop of Chocolate Shakeology. Whether you love veggies or not, everyone can enjoy this velvety smoothie.

Get the recipe.

4. Creamy Tropical Shakeology

When you sip on this Creamy Tropical Shakeology, it’s not hard to imagine lying on a sandy beach somewhere hot.

But unlike the typical beach drink filled with sugar and other not-so-healthy ingredients, this tropical drink features banana, avocado, and Shakeology.

Get the recipe.

5. Banberry Shakeology

There’s something so comforting and familiar about bananas + berries. The dependable duo is the base for all kinds of smoothie recipes, but sometimes you just need to let those two flavors shine.

This Banberry Shakeology recipe does just that, with a scoop of Strawberry Shakeology to add some superfood nutrition to your shake!

Get the recipe.

6. Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Shakeology

You can never, ever go wrong with dark chocolate.

And when you add some sea salt to balance out the sweetness, it’s perfection. This five-ingredient Dark Chocolate Sea Salt smoothie is an ideal way to savor that salty-sweet combination.

Get the recipe.

7. Sweet Creamy Coffee Shakeology

A huge cup of coffee is a delicious way to wake up in the morning, amirite?

But let’s face it — it’s not the most nutritious way to start your day. Here’s a better way to face the day: Try this Sweet Creamy Coffee Shakeology.

All you need are five ingredients, and in about 10 minutes, you’ll have the flavor of coffee plus the healthy nutrition of Shakeology in a glass.

Get the recipe.

8. Blueberry Yogurt Shakeology

Sometimes you feel like a smoothie with all the ingredients: berries! bananas! milk! chia seeds! honey! almond butter! avocado! kale!

The problem with all that deliciousness? The more ingredients you add to your smoothie, the easier it is to forget about proper portions.

The answer: A simple, delicious shake with just a handful of healthy ingredients, perfect if you’re short on time or you don’t feel like investing $25 in a single smoothie.

This Blueberry Yogurt Shakeology hits all the right notes — it has only five ingredients, it’s easy to make, and it’s healthy!

Get the recipe.

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It’s always a little rankling when someone refers to Beachbody Performance Recover as “just” a protein powder.

Yes, the timed-release whey, pea, and casein blend in Beachbody Recover provide you with 20 grams of high-quality protein post-exercise to help speed muscle recovery and support muscle growth, but that’s only half the story.

Also playing a huge role in helping you rebound faster? The 650 milligrams of ellagitannin-delivering pomegranate extract you’ll find in every serving.

(Pro tip: Don’t run out of your Beachbody Performance supplements — get them here.)

Benefits of Phytonutrients

While nutritionists have long known about the athletic advantages of increasing protein intake, they’re only just beginning to comprehend the fitness benefits of eating more phytonutrients — bioactive (i.e., have an effect on the body) compounds found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other “phyto” (plant) foods.

You’ve likely heard about the most popular ones, including resveratrol, lycopene, and even curcumin.

But more than 5,000 others have been identified in the more than 150,000 known edible plants, and many scientists estimate that the bulk of phytonutrients — and their benefits — have yet to be discovered.

But one great benefit of a few phytonutrients — especially as far as athletes are concerned — is their ability to help fight exercise-induced muscle soreness.

If you’ve ever felt sore a couple of days after a tough workout (a phenomenon known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS), you know what I’m talking about.

And one phytonutrient has best studied to be particularly efficient at checking this type of muscle soreness: ellagitannins, a type of polyphenol you’ll find in raspberries, strawberries, walnuts, almonds, and most notably for our purposes, pomegranates.

In a study at the University of Texas, participants who drank pomegranate juice experienced 25 percent less muscle soreness two hours after working out than the placebo group.

They also recover 10 percent more of the strength they lost following a muscle-damaging bout of exercise two days later.

And in another study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, subjects reported less elbow soreness after resistance training when supplementing pomegranate juice.

Combine this powerful phytonutrient with protein and you’re tackling post-exercise nutrition from two angles — dealing with exercise-induced muscle soreness and muscle recovery ASAP so that you’re ready to go hard at your next workout!

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So, you’re working out, eating right, and getting some results.

But for some reason, you can’t seem to take your fitness to the next level because there are days when you struggle just to get through your workouts.

Enter Beachbody Performance Energize.

This pre-workout supplement can help you crush your workouts so you can hit your ultimate goals, whether it’s to finish 80 Day Obsessionbuild muscle, or get leaner, faster, or stronger.

How? It combines three key ingredients (beta-alaninecaffeine, and quercetin) that are individually shown to help boost energy, enhance exercise performance, or delay fatigue.*

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Whoa, whoa, whoa — I’m not a professional athlete or anything. Why do I need to use supplements?

We asked Beachbody Super Trainers that very question (and others) — see what they have to say!

Pro tip: Energize is now available in convenient stick packs! You can now purchase a carton of Energize (32-stick packs) as a one-time order AND as a monthly subscription.

1. I’m not an athlete. Why do I need a performance supplement like Energize for my workouts?

“You don’t have to be an athlete to get a little help from Energize with your workouts. The goal is always to push as hard as possible in your workout. Energize gives you that little extra boost to help you go all-in for the entire workout.”* Autumn Calabrese, 21 Day Fix and 80 Day Obsession

“You may not be an athlete in that you’re not training for the Olympics or making a kazillion dollars playing a sport. But isn’t the requirement of life pretty athletic?

“Endless hours working, chasing kids around, taking care of every life detail, and STILL try to get your workout in… why wouldn’t you want help?

“Energize is scientifically designed and clinically tested to help increase performance during your workout and help DECREASE your perceived exertion — meaning you’re working out harder but don’t feel like it! That’s athletic baby!”*‡ Joel Freeman, LIIFT4 and CORE DE FORCE

“Workouts without Energize are like mornings without coffee. Whether you’re an accomplished athlete or working mom trying to squeeze in some exercise, everyone deserves a boost of energy during their workouts!”* —Jericho McMatthews, CORE DE FORCE

“Energize helps with overall focus and helps keep you ‘in the zone’ while working out. You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits of performance supplements.”* —Chris Downing, SHIFT SHOP

2. What’s the downside of NOT using Energize?

“The downside would be not going as hard as possible or maybe not having as good a workout because you’re tired. Energize helps you push to your max.” Autumn

“You know that feeling before your workout where you don’t want to do it? Of feeling tired throughout the entire workout?

“Or that feeling at the end that it wasn’t that great a workout because you were so tired and really didn’t put that much effort into it? Yeah, all that.

“Why not give your body a clinically test, high-quality, and effective boost? You demand so much from it; reward it in kind!”Joel

“Decreased overall energy, performance, and focus — before, during, and after your workout!” —Jericho

“I’d probably say you’re missing out on the mental focus it provides to power you through your workouts.”* —Chris

3. What Beachbody Performance supplements do you use in addition to Energize?

“I use the entire Beachbody Performance line except for Creatine. It does just what it says — it enhances my performance. It also helps with my recovery time, which is important so I can get back at it just as hard the next day.

“I like drinking Hydrate during my workout; I sweat a lot, especially during cardio workouts. It replenishes my electrolytes, which is important to be able to push through your workout and not end up dehydrated the rest of the day.

“I love chocolate Recover immediately following my workouts. As a fitness competitor, it was always really important to get that post-recovery shake in following your workout so you can give your muscles exactly what they need to start to repair.

Recharge is definitely great before bed. I always take it at night after a hard lifting session. I know no matter what I’ll be sore the next day, but taking my vanilla Recharge means that I’ll be acceptably sore and still able to work out hard the next day.”* Autumn

“My BBP staples besides Energize are Recover and Recharge. I’m all about making sure I get enough daily protein intake to stimulate muscle recovery and encourage new muscle growth.

Recover and Recharge are no-brainers for these two things. I’m also never without Hydrate when I know I’m heading into an intense workout session.”* Joel

“My favorite supplements besides Energize are chocolate Recover and Hydrate! I love the chocolatey taste of Recover — it’s like a post-workout treat and badge of honor.

Hydrate is amazing because it’s light and refreshing to enjoy but also works wonders to help replenish electrolytes and boost hydration without tons of added sugar, calories, or artificial ingredients commonly seen in other sports drinks.”* —Jericho

“I’m a huge fan of Hydrate, particularly because I’ve always struggled with hydration during workouts. Hydrate replenishes electrolytes to my body and I need that because I sweat a lot!”* —Chris

The Bottom Line

But the real proof is in the pudding: If you want to get the most out of your workouts, then try Energize — and the entire Beachbody Performance line — to see how it can help you push harder so you can get in the best shape of your life!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

‡Results of an acute clinical trial of 13 trained cyclists who performed 30 minutes of vigorous Steady-State Exercise at 80% V02 Max (when Perceived Exertion was measured) before a 15-minute Time Trial Performance Test (when Power Output and Total Work Done were measured). Participants consumed either 2 scoops of Energize or a calorie-matched placebo prior to the test.

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LIIFT4 is an efficient, no-nonsense workout that combines weightlifting and calorie-burning high-intensity interval training. You’ll build muscle, shred fat, and burn a ton of calories.

As a result, you’ll need meals that will fuel your workouts and aid your recovery. That’s why we created this LIIFT4 Meal Plan.

This meal plan is built for those following Eating Plan A. (Check out page 4 of the LIIFT4 Program & Nutrition Guide to figure out which calorie level plan to follow). If you’re not on Plan A, don’t worry. We have more coming soon!

This plan uses the color-coed Beachbody Portion-Control Containers, which simplify healthy nutrition and eliminate the need to count calories. If you’re eating at a higher calorie level, simply add additional containers to each meal according to your plan, or combine extra containers to create additional meals or snacks.

Don’t have LIIFT4? Get it here or stream it today on Beachbody On Demand!

What About the LIIFT4 Cheat Day?

Once a week during LIIFT4, there’s an optional cheat day. That’s why this plan only features six days of meals. If you want to stick with your calorie count on day 7, simply follow one of the days below!

To get the most benefit from cheat days – you read that right, a cheat day can work in your favor – schedule it for the day before a tough workout. Check out page 11 of the LIIFT4 Program Guide for more tips on how to get the most out of it!

LIIFT4 Meal Plan for Plan A

For this LIIFT4 Meal Plan, we planned out six days of meals that include not only your main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) but also snacks and Beachbody Performance supplements!

We’ve also included a grocery list. Take it to the store with you and follow the simple instructions to make all of these tasty meals. Not everything needs to be made from scratch! Save time by buying pre-cut veggies and pre-cooked rice and proteins.

You’ll notice that each workout day starts with your nutritional foundation—Shakeology. For rest days, we’ve given you the option to enjoy eggs for breakfast, but you can swap it with your favorite Shakeology breakfast shake (just make sure it has the same container count).

Step-by-step instructions for recipes can be found after the menus!

LIIFT4 Meal Prep Menus


Consume these meals on two workout days.

Breakfast: Berry Walnut Shakeology
Pre-Workout Supplement: Beachbody Performance Energize
Workout Supplement: Beachbody Performance Hydrate
Post-Workout Supplement: Beachbody Performance Recover
Lunch: White Bean and Kale Grain Bowl
Snack: Deli Lettuce Wraps
Dinner: Zoodles with Ground Turkey and Marinara Sauce
Nighttime Supplement: Beachbody Performance Recharge


Consume these meals on two workout days.

Breakfast: Sweet Potato Pie Shakeology
Pre-Workout Supplement: Beachbody Performance Energize
Workout Supplement: Beachbody Performance Hydrate
Post-Workout Supplement: Beachbody Performance Recover
Lunch: Spinach Salad with Egg and Quinoa
Snack: Nut Butter Rice Cake with Yogurt
Dinner: Spicy Feta Burger
Nighttime Supplement: Beachbody Performance Recharge


Eat these meals on rest days.

Breakfast: Eggs with Toast and Fruit
Morning Snack: Shakeology with Berries
Lunch: Turkey Tacos
Afternoon Snack: Hummus with Vegetables
Dinner: Chicken Breast with Sauteed Vegetables

LIIFT4 Meal Prep Recipes
Berry Walnut Shakeology

Portion Control Containers: 1 purple, 1 red, 1 blue

  • 1 scoop Shakeology
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 8 walnuts
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup ice


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth.

White Bean and Kale Grain Bowl

Portion Control Containers: 1 green, 1 red, 2 yellow, 1 orange, 1 tsp.Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup red onions
  • ¼ cup mushrooms
  • ½ cup kale
  • 4 oz. cooked chicken breast
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup white beans (drained; rinsed)
  • 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette
  • 1 tsp. olive oil

Preparation (for two servings):

  1. Cook ⅓ cup rice in a rice cooker, or use this method.
  2. To bake chicken, preheat oven to 375° F.
  3. Place 8 oz. chicken in ovenproof baking dish coated with nonstick spray.
  4. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle and juices run clear.
  5. Place 2 tsp. oil in a medium pan and sautée ½ cup onions and ½ cup mushrooms until onion is translucent and mushrooms turn brown, about 5 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper if desired. (Mushrooms and onions shrink when they cook. For a heartier meal, add extra to the pan to yield ¼ cup when they are cooked.)
  6. Chop 1 cup kale and rub it roughly between your palms to soften.
  7. In two meal prep containers, arrange half of the vegetable mixture, ½ cup kale, ½ cup rice, ½ cup beans, and 4 oz. chicken. Serve with 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette.
Deli Lettuce Wraps

Portion Control Containers: 1 green, ½ purple, 1 red

  • 3 romaine (or Bibb) lettuce leaves
  • ¼ cup sliced red bell peppers
  • 1 small tangerine
  • 4 oz. deli sliced roast beef (or turkey, or ham)


  1. Top each lettuce leaf evenly with beef and peppers. Roll. Serve with a tangerine.

Zoodles with Ground Turkey and Marinara Sauce

Portion Control Containers: 1 green, ½ purple, 1 red, 1 tsp.

  • 1 cup spiralized zucchini
  • ½ cup marinara sauce
  • 4 oz. ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Italian seasoning (to taste)

Preparation (for two servings):
Be careful to avoid overcooking the zoodles. They’ll reheat nicely if just barely cooked when you meal prep.

  1. Place 1 tsp. oil in a medium pan; add 2 cups zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Divide evenly between two meal prep containers and set aside.
  2. Place 1 tsp. oil in a medium pan; add 8 oz. ground turkey and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper (if desired), and 1 cup marinara sauce; stir to combine. Pour half of turkey mixture over each serving of zoodles.
Sweet Potato Pie Shakeology

Portion Control Containers: 1 purple, 1 red, ½ yellow


  • 1 scoop Shakeology
  • ½ large banana
  • ¼ cup cooked sweet potato
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup ice


  1. Peel and chop sweet potato. Place in a small saucepan and cover with water. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. To make smoothie, place ¼ cup sweet potato and all ingredients in blender; blend until smooth.

Tip: Have extra sweet potato? Mash it, freeze in an ice cube tray, then transfer to a plastic bag to make future meal preps even easier. Each well of an ice cube tray holds about 2 Tbsp.

Spinach Salad with Egg and Quinoa

Portion Control Containers: 2 green, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange


  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ½ cup cucumber
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette


  1. Cook quinoa using this method.
  2. Boil eggs in an egg cooker, or use this method.
  3. In each meal prep container, place 1 cup baby spinach, ½ cup cucumber, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, 2 hard-boiled eggs, ½ cup cooked quinoa. Serve with 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette.

Nut Butter Rice Cake with Yogurt

Portion Control Containers: 1 red, ½ yellow, 2 tsp.


  • 1 whole grain rice cake
  • 2 tsp. nut butter
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (plain 2%)
  • ground cinnamon (to taste; optional)


  1. Spread peanut butter on rice cake. Place yogurt in a bowl; top with cinnamon.

Spicy Feta Burger

Portion Control Containers: 1 green, 1 purple, 1 red, 1 blue


  • 4 oz ground beef
  • ½ jalapeño (optional)
  • 2 lettuce leaves
  • ½ cup pico de gallo
  • ¼ cup feta (or avocado)
  • 1 small apple

Preparation (for two servings):

  1. Shape 8 oz. ground beef into two patties; season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  2. Heat medium pan over high heat; when hot, coat with nonstick spray. Place patties in pan and cook 4-5 minutes on each side, or until done to your liking. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Place two lettuce leaves in each meal prep container, top with one patty, jalapeño slices, and ¼ cup crumbled feta, ¼ cup pico de gallo, and one small apple.

Tip: You may add finely chopped jalapeno and feta to the ground beef before you shape the burger patty.

Eggs with Toast and Fruit

Portion Control Containers: 1 purple, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 tsp.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 slice whole grain toast
  • 1 tsp. nut butter
  • 1 cup..
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Vanilla Shakeology is anything but basic: You can use it to make all kinds of Shakeology smoothies and Shakeology snacks.

If you’re a Shakeology newbie or just need to have a handful of go-to Vanilla Shakeology recipes on hand when you’re in a rush, then check out these 8 recipes — they’re all five ingredients or less (minus the ice) and you can make them in a flash.

If you’re a superfan of Chocolate and Café Latte Shakeology, too, here are 24 Shakeology recipes for the Barista Combo Pack.

Pin it, print it, share it — these recipes will ensure you’re never far from your vanilla fix!

Don’t have Shakeology? Get it here!

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What’s the biggest complaint most of us have about healthy eating? No time to cook.

Who has hours to simmer soups, braise stews, or cook beans from scratch — especially on a weeknight?

That’s why I love the Instant Pot. What is an Instant Pot? It’s a trendy, multitasking cooking appliance that lets you make slow food fast. It’s perfect for people who like to cook things from scratch without always having the time necessary to do so.

I’m not a trendsetter in most areas of my life, but as a recipe developer and cookbook author, my kitchen appliances tend to be ahead of the curve.

I bought my Instant Pot on Black Friday 2015 for about $115 — and that was on a deep discount. A few foodie friends were raving about it and I decided to treat myself to one.

Within a week, my Instant Pot had earned a permanent place on my kitchen counter.

What Is an Instant Pot?

An Instant Pot (aka, Insta-Pot) is a multi-cooker appliance that lets you cook food faster, using far less energy.

There’s a Facebook Instant Pot group with 1.2 million members, and the Instant Pot was one of the top Black Friday sellers in 2017.

Devotees are called “Potheads,” and multi-cooker sales have exceeded $300 million.

This updated version of a pressure cooker functions as a slow cooker, rice/porridge maker, steamer, yogurt maker, and warmer — and it has a sautéing/browning function, too.

Slow cookers require forethought. Instant Pots are a forgetful cook’s (or procrastinator’s) BFF.

What about those nights when you forget to thaw chicken breasts for dinner? Or you discover the stew you planned to make requires two hours to cook?

The Instant Pot will save the day: Unlike slow cookers, you can cook frozen meats in it, slashing cook times from hours to minutes.

It seals in moisture, so moist heat cooking methods work best (think: steaming, braising, sauteing, boiling, and simmering).

Note: The tall sides and deep pot don’t promote evaporation the way a low, shallow skillet would, so you won’t achieve crunchy or crispy textures.

What Kind of Instant Pot Do I Need?

If your biggest obstacle to healthy eating is time, you’ll love how the Instant Pot simplifies your clean-eating routine.

There are now several lines of Instant Pots — one of which is Bluetooth-enabled and programmable via an app.

The newer ones have 10 features, with added egg cooker, cake maker, and sterilizer functions.

If you’re cooking for one (or two, like I am), there are smaller, cheaper Duo models, and there’s an Ultra version designed for more advanced cooks.

What’s the Difference Between an Instant Pot and Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker?

The difference between an Instant Pot and a slow cooker or pressure cooker is simple:

An Instant Pot does the job of the other two appliances (and does a better job, in my opinion), while also taking the place of other kitchen gadgets.

As with any appliance, you need to follow the directions and check to make sure you’re using the correct settings for your particular recipe.

You can use slow-cooker recipes in an Instant Pot, but you need to make certain adjustments — check your user’s manual or pressure cooking time charts.

A general rule is that meat will cook in about a third of the time (20 minutes versus an hour), with beans and grains taking about one-fourth of the time.

Slow cooker recipes with meat or beans that call for 7–8 hours on low heat or 4 hours on high will work in the Instant Pot — and be ready in less than an hour.

Use the appropriate setting on your Instant Pot (meat/stew, bean/chili, soup/broth, poultry, etc.).

The Worst Foods to Cook in an Instant Pot

Since the list of foods that do work in an Instant Pot is quite lengthy, let’s start with what you should avoid cooking in it instead:

– Creamy soups and milk- or cream-based sauces don’t work well because dairy tends to curdle when boiled. Most Instant Pot recipes call for adding cream or milk at the end after pressure is released.

– Tender vegetables like greens, bok choy, and asparagus cook too quickly to bother with the Instant Pot. You can stir them in at the end, but if they’re a standalone side dish, cook them on the stove.

The general rule is to avoid anything delicate or tender, fried, or crispy in your Instant Pot.

(And don’t even think about trying to deep-fry in your Instant Pot!)

The Best Foods for the Instant Pot

Other than that short list, everything else you can imagine makes the list of best Instant Pot foods.

Basically, if a food cooks using moist heat, you can make it in your Instant Pot:

– soups

– stews

– risotto (no stirring needed!)

– steel-cut oats

– root vegetables

– stocks and broths

– whole chickens

– large or tough cuts of meat

– hard-cooked eggs (even a dozen at a time!)

– whole grains and dried beans

I especially love using it for weekly staples to streamline meal prep.

Barley or farro might take an hour on the stovetop (and require constant attention), but they cook without supervision in the Instant Pot in far less time. And dried beans don’t need to be presoaked!

10 Tips to Get the Best Results From Your Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is one smart cooker, but you can still mess up recipes.

My top tip to get the best results from your Instant Pot: Read the manual.

Three years later, I still refer to the Instant Pot manual regularly, especially when cooking grains and beans so they achieve the perfect consistency.

Even seasoned “Potheads” have Insta-Pot fails: A blogger friend recently overfilled hers with apples for applesauce and ended up with an apple-splattered kitchen.

I was relieved to see that while the pot overflowed, it didn’t explode. (That’s still my secret fear, though I know it’s safe!)

Another friend left the pressure valve open when cooking chicken curry, and returned home to find her kitchen speckled by bright yellow sauce.

1. Read the manual

I know I said this already, but seriously, don’t skip this part.

Get to know the various parts of your Instant Pot — the release valve, the condensation collector, the sealing ring, etc. — and how to take it apart, wash it, and reassemble it.

2. Do the math

Yes, it saves time, but when an Instant Pot recipe says it will take five minutes to steam potatoes, it doesn’t mean five minutes total — it’s five minutes after the pot reaches optimal pressure.

3. Learn the language

The Instant Pot hisses, clicks, and beeps. Don’t fear those noises, but learn the difference.

You’ll hear the pot click as it comes to pressure if you’re standing nearby, and if you choose quick release, be ready for the loud hiss of the steam.

The pot will beep when it reaches pressure and when it is ready.

4. Don’t skip the liquids

The Instant Pot boils liquid to create pressure. If you skip the liquid (or don’t add enough), you risk burning your food or not getting it up to pressure.

You need at least a cup, but make sure to follow your recipe precisely. If you’re cooking lean proteins, make sure there’s plenty of liquid so they don’t dry out.

5. Know its limits — and yours

If you’re new to the Instant Pot, start with simple dishes like the recipes in your user’s manual, soups, and stews.

Once you’re familiar with the quirks, you can try more advanced dishes like cheesecake, yogurt, or whole chickens.

6. Know when to release

Use natural release (waiting for the pressure to naturally release) instead of quick release (turning the valve) when your pot is quite full or contains foamy food like grains, pasta, and beans.

This adds a few minutes but avoids a mess.

7. Thicken at the end

If your Instant Pot recipe calls for a thickener like cornstarch, add it at the end to avoid a sticky mess in your release valve.

8. Mind the valve

Close the valve before you start cooking. If you forget, steam will escape and you might have a foamy mess.

9. Put a ring on it

Don’t forget the sealing ring, otherwise, your Instant Pot will leak steam and not pressurize.

10. Leave room

Don’t overfill your Instant Pot: Fill it halfway for beans and grains, which tend to foam, and two-thirds of the way for most everything else.

The Bottom Line

The Instant Pot is a safe, easy-to-use time-saver that can replace your slow cooker and pressure cooker. (Yay, counter space!)

Read the directions, and you’ll be ready to convert almost any recipe to your Instant Pot.

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