Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fuel The Burn

I can almost see the finish line of Phase 1 of my Raise The Bar challenge and it's motivating the hell out of me to work out hard, eat well, and do everything I can to maximize my results. The best part of all of it? I get to eat food that tastes good and is good for me!  Rather than just listing my workouts for the week, I thought I'd share some of the meals that are fueling those workouts as well.

I tend to feel a little queasy if I eat too soon after waking up, so I don't eat breakfast during the week until I get to work.  Fortunately it seems like most of my co-workers follow a similar pattern, so it's not unusual to chat with someone over their morning coffee/cereal/bagel/etc.  My breakfast of choice these days is 1 cup of high fiber cereal (Fiber One Honey Squares) and 1/2 cup of skim milk.  I make up five individually portioned bags of cereal every Sunday night and stash them in my desk drawer for consumption over the course of the week.

I tend to be a creature of habit with my weekday lunches as well.  I usually alternate between two options each week as it minimizes how much stuff I have to buy at the grocery store, but also keeps me from burning out from eating the exact same thing every day.  This week's choices are a Turkey Bacon/Lettuce/Tomato Sandwich on whole grain bread (with an option to add 2 teaspoons of light mayo/Miracle Whip based on your own taste) and a Veggie Burger Pita. Both sandwiches require minimal prep the night before, minimal prep at the office, and seem to withstand hanging out in my little cooler pretty well.

For the TBLT, I microwave 3 strips of turkey bacon and break each one in half so they fit in a container with the lettuce (I use a 50/50 spinach and spring mix blend) and tomato, pack 2 tsp of light miracle whip in a separate container, and bag two slices of whole grain bread the night before.  When I'm ready to eat, I just toss the bread in the office toaster, smear the Miracle Whip on both pieces of toast, and arrange the turkey bacon, lettuce, and tomato on top. Lunch is usually ready in about 3 minutes.
The Veggie Burger Pita requires even less advance preparation. I slice a whole wheat pita in half and throw it in a bag, layer a few slices of tomato, some mixed greens, and a slice of reduced fat cheese in a container, and grab my veggie burger (this week I'm using Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burger) out of the freezer in the morning.  When lunch time rolls around, I microwave the veggie burger, slice it in half so it fits neatly in the pita, cram the cheese, tomato, and greens in the pita and I'm all set.

Regular snacks are part of my day as well.  Well-timed snacks keep my energy level up and my hunger level down, so I like to mix these up a bit so I don't get bored.  I usually have a banana or an apple (especially since my favorite apple, the Honeycrisp, is in season right now) every day.

 Other snack possibilities include: turkey slices with low fat string cheese and a side of berries or a whole grain bagel thin with a tablespoon of low fat cream cheese. 

Monday night's workout of 1 1/2 miles in the freezing cold (seriously, it was in the mid-30's) and 30 minutes of Pump and Burn were followed by a delicious dinner courtesy of Mr. R&R.
4oz ultra-lean burger with low fat cheese on whole wheat bun with a side of oven "fries"
 I was a still a little low on calories after dinner, so I made one of my favorite "night time snacks" a whole grain waffle with 1 tbsp peanut butter and 1/3 of a sliced banana. The salty/sweet combination of the peanut butter and the banana was exactly what I was craving.  I also like this snack as a weekend breakfast.

Tuesday was a full rest day. No active recovery. No anything.  I know I need to rest and recover, and I usually love a good rest day, but for some reason this one made me twitchy!  Dinner was a twist on last week's Chicken and Veggie Pita Pizza - Barbecue Chicken Pita Pizza! Can you tell I'm a big fan of anything to do with pizza?

Wednesday was a tough one at the office. I barely had time to eat breakfast and lunch. Snacks? Forget about it - and raging hunger ensued. Tonight's Pump and Burn workout was just what I needed. I didn't have time to go for a warm up run, so I felt confident in increasing my weights for the squat track, and it hurt so good!  The workout was followed by Pork Stirfry with Brown Rice.  Yum!
I was still in need of calories after dinner (since snacks didn't happen today) so Mr. R&R was kind enough to whip me up one of his delicious Berry Protein Milkshakes - and we accidentally discovered that if you leave it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, it ends up the texture of soft serve ice cream!

Thursday night brought an awesome 30 minute trainer ride followed by HardCore Abs.  I felt incredibly powerful on the bike and I managed a few more walking hovers than usual during HardCore Abs, so the whole night was a win.  The bike workout put me in a big caloric hole and I'm sick to death of eating an extra snack after dinner so after a little math it was determined that mac 'n tuna topped with a slice of low-fat pepper jack was on the menu tonight.  It definitely wasn't the healthiest thing I've put in my mouth lately, especially with my 30 Day weigh-in and measurements looming so close, but it got the job done and it was good! 
I was going to swim on Friday before I did my Pump and Burn workout, but my legs were killing me all day and I didn't think that kicking for 30-45 minutes before doing squats and such for another 30 minutes sounded like such a bright idea.  After all, I'd like to be able to walk tomorrow! So I settled for just the Pump and Burn workout.  I actually struggled to complete all the reps in the squat track tonight - testament to how hard I rode the bike last night.

After the workout, Mr. R&R and I set about making dinner.  We like to use the weekends to make slightly more complex meals since we're not as time-crunched as we are during the week.  This meal  was a twist on a burrito we've been eating weekly since we started our respective programs and damn, it was good!  I guess you could call it a "deconstructed burrito" since it used all the ingredients that would go in the burrito, but just . 
Grilled baja citrus tilapia, black beans, cheese quesadilla, salsa and spicy guacamole
I didn't even realize how much I wanted this until I sat down to eat.  If I didn't know better, I'd think it was horrible for me, but in reality, it was roughly the same amount of calories as Monday's burger and oven fries!  This one will definitely be going into the regular rotation.

Saturday morning's pool plans were scrapped when I realized that instead of HardCore Abs or Flow, I was slated for another 30 minutes of Pump and Burn - and my arms really hate the chest track after I swim.  Mr. R&R and I enjoyed a lazy morning enjoying a hot breakfast and hanging out with Walter and Spot.

Poached Eggs with Whole Wheat Bagel Thin for Dipping

We did a few assorted chores and before we knew it, it was time for lunch!  Both of us love tuna melts, but neither of us want to subject our co-workers to that smell, so it's the perfect thing to have on the weekend.

We both knocked out our workouts, hit the grocery store to restock the refrigerator, and got to work making dinner: Feta Primavera Pasta.
Whole grain pasta, mushroom, red onion, garlic, spinach, lemon, and feta
Sunday brought our 30 day weigh-in, measurements, and photos (that will all be in my next post) a hike on the Ice Age Trail (I'm hoping to update our hiking blog some time in the next week). It was a perfect day for hiking. The weather was cool, but not cold. There were a few people around, but not too many. And the colors were at there peak, so there was lots to look at.
Of course hiking burns a ton of energy, so Mr. R&R and I worked up quite an appetite on our 7 mile adventure.  We discussed possibly going out for a late lunch/early dinner, but then realized that we could make a healthier version of what we were both craving at home - and for less than what we would spend going out.  We knew our entree would take a while to cook, so we also picked up a little appetizer to hold us over.

Baked Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Spicy Guacamole
After about an hour of cooking time, our dinner was ready - and it was so good!
Baked Buffalo and Devil's Spit Wings with Yogurt Ranch Dressing - and a BEER!
I was inordinately excited about the beer (Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat). I first had this beer when we were in North Carolina over the summer and absolutely loved it. It wasn't quite as good as I was anticipating - probably because everything tastes better on vacation - but it was still pretty damned good since I haven't had a beer in a month!

I also opted not to do the Flow workout that was on today's workout schedule in favor of doing a yoga sequence of my own (including all the poses from Flow) and some additional stretching since the hike really did a number on my legs and hips after 2 days in a row of Pump and Burn.

So there you have it...a week's worth of workouts and the yummy food that fueled those workouts. Eating healthy food can be tasty!  If you have any questions about any of the meals, please feel free to ask in the comments section.


April said...

Well look at you Ms. Betty Crocker/Jillian Michaels! I should add more fish in my diet but A) I don't like fish and B) I don't like fish....LOL That TBLT looked amazing, though I admit turkey bacon is one of those foods I avoid....ain't no 'bacon' on a turkey so I'll willingly trade less real bacon for scary pink smush. Sounds like you are slaying this challenge, I'm eager to see your results!

Mary said...

I used to be a turkey bacon skeptic as well, but it's pretty decent. I wouldn't want it as a side to my eggs, but in something like a sandwich, it does the job.