Welcome to week 3 of the Winter Shape Up! (Looking for the home base Winter Shape Up page? Click here – it has the answers to any questions you might have about the challenge and links to all the weekly content, too!)
As you know, my friend Gina and I have partnered up to bring you this fun healthy living 4 week challenge to inspire you to kick off the year on the right foot in terms of fitness and nutrition. Gina is a personal trainer, so on her site, you’ll find the weekly workouts for the challenge, including videos. Here on mine, I’ll be sharing the weekly nutrition-focused content, which will feature quick and easy recipe ideas for your meals and snacks.
We’d love to hear how you guys are doing with this challenge! If you share updates or photos on social media, please include #WinterShapeUp and, if you have space, tag both myself (@fANNEtasticfood – follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!) and Gina (@fitnessista) so we can see! :) You are also welcome to snag this graphic to put in your posts or on your blog sidebar, if you want!
Before I get into the plan, please remember that everyone’s nutrition needs are different and will vary based on activity level, age, gender, height/weight, and more. I am a Registered Dietitian, but this meal plan is not meant to be a substitute for personalized nutrition plans or nutrition counseling (like I provide in my AnneTheRD private practice). Above all, use this as a guide, not a concrete plan, and change it as you see fit based on your own hunger levels, preferences, and dietary needs. I’m not including specific quantities/portion sizes because of this – try to eat intuitively and listen to your body. This guide may be too much food for some of you and too little for others. If you’re getting full, save the rest for later. If the meal or snack wasn’t enough, don’t second guess yourself – listen to your body and have something else. If you’re really hungry and try to deny it, it will only lead to overdoing it later or feeling like crap. Honor your hunger, my friends. And same with the other end of the spectrum – stay mindful during your meals, and stop as soon as you start to get full. If you’re distracted, it’s a lot easier to overeat. Your body knows what to do if you just listen to it! Sound good?
A note on drinks: I didn’t include drinks in this guide, but aim to limit sugar-sweetened beverages. If you’re currently having a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, sweet tea, sweet flavored water, etc.), try to cut back by 1 or 2 drinks per week until it becomes an occasional treat vs. a daily habit. Focus on drinking lots of water, some unsweetened tea/coffee (if you’re into it), and the occasional wine or beer, if you like. :) Regarding dessert, I didn’t include it in the plan for simplicity’s sake, but indulgence in moderation is certainly part of a healthy relationship with food. The key is to view dessert as an occasional treat vs. letting it become an everyday habit. If you really want something, by all means allow yourself to have it and really savor it. There’s no point in feeling guilty – eating perfectly 100% of the time isn’t realistic or healthy. Just make sure that when you do indulge, it’s worth it. Choose the real thing, not a diet imitation; stay mindful and stop when you are satisfied. And lastly: for snack ideas – see the end of this page!
Monday, Feb 10 – Sunday, Feb 16
First things first – here are the grocery shopping lists:
The snack list PDF can be found at the bottom of this post. (It’s the same as last week, but I’ve included some new make-ahead snack recipe suggestion links.) Everyone go say a big thank you to my dietetic intern Jackie for putting the grocery lists together for us!
Smoothie time! Blend 1 small very ripe banana, 2 tablespoons nut butter, 1 cup milk (or dairy alternative), a big handful of baby spinach, and a few ice cubes. For extra protein, you can add 1/2 C plain Greek yogurt to the mix, or a protein powder scoop (especially if you’re using non-dairy milk, since it will be lower in protein).
Healthier Chicken Salad sandwich or wrap. Sides as desired!
- Gluten free option: use gf bread or gf wrap, or serve atop salad or quinoa.
- Vegan option: use tofu instead of chicken.
BBQ Chickpeas with Sweet Potatoes & Bok Choy (vegan & gf)
Microwave Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie for One (vegan & gf if you use gf certified oats). Goes nicely with a latte. :)
Deconstructed Quinoa Burrito (vegan & gf)
Salmon cakes (gluten free)
- Vegan option: use white beans instead of the salmon.
- Enjoy cakes with a side salad or your favorite veggie recipe from last week!
- Gluten free option: use gf certified oats
- Vegan option: use a dairy-free alternative (soy, almond, coconut milk, etc.)
- Add toppings as desired (be sure to incorporate some healthy fat like ground flaxseed, chia seeds, nuts, or other seeds!)
- Meal out on the town! Enjoy, and remember to eat intuitively and stop when you are feeling full. :)
- Tip: pick something with a good mix of fiber (whole grains or fruit) + healthy fat (things like avocado, seeds, nuts, etc.) + protein (meat, beans, etc.).
Lentil & Brown Rice Herbed Salad (vegan & gf)
Breakfast burrito! Tortilla/wrap filled with two cooked whole eggs, 1/4 cup of black beans, a few slices avocado, tomato, wilted baby spinach, and pico de gallo, plus some salt/pepper to taste.
- Gluten free option: use a gf certified corn tortilla.
- Vegan option: use scrambled tofu instead of eggs, or nix that and just add extra black beans and avocado.
- Quick tip: cook the eggs and wilt the spinach in the microwave! For the eggs, in a microwave safe bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray/oil, whisk 2 eggs. Microwave on high 2 minutes. The eggs should be fully cooked! For the spinach, simply place a huge handful of raw fresh baby spinach on a plate and pop it in the microwave on high for about a minute, or until wilted.
Leftover Lentil & Brown Rice Herbed Salad. Sides as desired.
Chicken & White Bean Chili Soup (gluten free)
- Vegan option: omit chicken and use veggie instead of chicken broth. There’s still enough protein from the beans!
Flour-Free Protein Pancake (gluten free)
- Vegan option: repeat Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal or Microwave Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie for One, or try these Vegan Protein Pancakes
Leftover Chicken & White Bean Chili Soup. Freeze the rest for later portioned out into freezer safe ziplock bags!
Meal out on the town! Enjoy, and remember to eat intuitively and stop when you are feeling full. :) Not in the mood to go out? Repeat your favorite of the previous dinners.
Day 6 (Weekend!)
Note: for weekend days, I’ve just included brunch and dinner since I know many people tend to eat a late, larger breakfast and then just have some snacks between then and dinnertime. If you’re not a fan of this approach, feel free to repeat your favorite of the breakfast/lunch ideas above instead!
- Gluten free option: use gf bread.
- Vegan option: try my Almond Butter Stuffed Vanilla Coconut French Toast instead, and use a flax egg instead of a regular egg. To make a flax egg, add 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed to a bowl, then stir in 3 Tbsp. water and refrigerate 15 minutes. It should now have a nice gel consistency!
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (gf). If you want, you can feel free to add a side of meat, but this meal is delicious as is.
- Vegan option: omit cheese.
Day 7 (Weekend!)
Meal out on the town! Enjoy, and remember to eat intuitively and stop when you are feeling full. :) Not in the mood to go out? Repeat your favorite of the previous breakfast ideas.
Thai Chili Garlic Chicken with Veggies and Brown Rice (gluten free – double check the fish sauce, though)
- Vegan option: use firm tofu instead of chicken, soy sauce in place of fish sauce, and agave (or even brown sugar) in place of the honey.
Daily Snack Ideas for the Week
Choose these based on hunger levels. Some days you might need a snack or even two, while other days you might not need one at all. Focus on how you feel. Hunger levels change daily based on activity and a host of other factors, so don’t expect to feel the same every day. For snacks, just like meals, focus on a good mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fat to keep you satisfied.
Here’s the downloadable PDF with some easy snack ideas/things to pick up at the grocery store (these are not necessarily included in the overall grocery list in most cases): Winter Shape Up Snack Ideas.
Make-ahead snack recipes:
- Cinnamon Raisin Almond Balls (vegan)
- Banana Nut Quinoa Muffins (vegan & gluten free)
- Spiced Cherry Pecan Granola Bars (gluten free)
- Sweet Potato Banana Oat Muffins
- PB&J Protein Bites
- Quinoa trail mix muffins
- Apple cinnamon granola bars (gluten free, vegan if replace honey with maple syrup)
- Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip (gluten free – try it with the plain Stonyfield Greek!)
Looking for the main Winter Shape Up page where you can find the introduction information and links to each week’s meal plans and workouts? Click here.
This week’s featured sponsor is Stonyfield! I’m so excited to have them as a sponsor because they are one of my favorite companies – not only do they make a delicious product (have you tried Stonyfield Greek yogurt yet?), but they are also very passionate about the environment and keeping their products organic, made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics, or GMOs. I had the pleasure of taking a trip with Stonyfield a few years ago to see firsthand more about what being organic means, and you can read more about it in this post: Organic Farming Question & Answer. I never used to buy organic anything until that trip; now I always buy organic milk and eggs, and try to buy organic veggies/fruit (especially those on the Dirty Dozen list) and meat when it makes sense/is available.
For this week’s giveaway, Stonyfield is offering one lucky Winter Shape Up participant $100 worth in Stonyfield Greek yogurt and swag. Comment below up to once per day with how thing are going for you during the challenge and each comment will count as an entry! I’ll randomly select a winner after the week is over (Sunday night/Monday morning) and notify them directly by email. Good luck!!