Zone Meals That Are Working

4 weeks into this Zone business, and I’m starting to get into the swing of things.

Here is what our meals are looking like:

//Breakfast//

The Usual is: 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 oz string cheese (god I love string cheese, I’m like a child!), 156 grams of sweet potato hash (3 blocks worth!) and some olives.
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I make a big batch of sweet potato hash on the weekends while I’m hard boiling eggs and grilling up some meat — usually Sunday night’s dinner, plus miscellaneous other protein. All of my food prep on the weekends takes about 90 minutes, and it is TOTALLY WORTH IT. When the hash/eggs are done I portion it up into containers with the rest of breakfast.

Grab and go!

That is actually a pretty substantial breakfast. I usually don’t snack in the morning after I eat that. It keeps me full until lunch.

Another variation when we don’t have sweet potato hash is to throw in an apple and some roasted seaweed. You guys I am ADDICTED to the roasted seaweed from Costco. It’s amazing. I’ve had wasabi seaweed before and sesame seaweed, and all of it just tasted like fishy, flavored yuckiness to me. The salted roasted seaweed from Costco tastes like POTATO CHIPS! Obviously, I’m in love.

Rise and shine with a glamorous Zone-friendly breakfast. Ha!

//Lunch//

For lunch, I generally cook up a big batch of ground turkey or ground beef with onions and peppers on the weekend during that 90 minute prep. Maybe about 2 lbs worth — and then I portion them into lunch size protein blocks (for me 4, for Garrett 5). Then I use 64 oz tupperware containers to store salads full of lettuce, tomaotes, cucumbers and peppers and stack em up in the fridge. I make them all at once (about 2-3 days worth at a time so they stay crispy) and it’s like a little salad assembly line of convenience throughout the week.

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Sometimes, if I have a day with a little more time at lunch I will heat up some of the chicken I have grilled on the weekend and we will eat that with some quick sauteed vegetables, which is a nice alternative if I’m not feeling like a salad. Yep, even though I enjoy salads, some days are just NOT salad days. That’s why I grill up that extra meat on the weekends. A lady needs her options.

//Dinner//

Dinner is actually the meal I think about the least, which is funny because prior to Zone I thought about how to get dinner on the table the most!

Generally I have some cooked protein in the fridge, either from the chicken I grilled or the leftover ground meat that I’ve cooked up on the weekend, so for a couple of days we will use that along with various vegetables — sauteed brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli, cauliflower rice — you know, the usual.

Sometimes I will cook up some sausages. Lately I am loving Aidells Chicken Chorizo (that stuff is magic!) or the Rocky the Range Garlic Chicken Sausages. For “processed food”, both are alright by us. We’re staying as Paleo as we can through this process, and while neither of those options are “Strict” Paleo, we’re cool with it.

Last night I cooked shrimp because they were HUGELY on sale at Costco last week (are you noticing a trend in my purchasing? You’re welcome, Costco, for keeping you in business) so we have a lot of them. I anticipate many more shrimp dinners in our future.

Day 20: Before & After -- shrimp! #marchphotoaday

I tossed them with a little bit of oil, added some grill seasoning, red pepper flakes, and extra garlic powder and then broiled them on a cookie sheet for about 6 minutes. Delicious. But more important — QUICK! Which are the kind of dinners I like on a weeknight.

//Snacks//

As for snacks, I usually make up some 2 Block Snack Packs in the fridge that contain a few ounces of deli sliced turkey or chicken, the correct portion of fruit (lately it’s been kiwi) and either some olives or walnuts or something. It’s plain and boring but it works.

We’ve also toyed with the Zone Snack Bars, just because of the convenience of their proportions, and while those are delicious they are 100% completely un paleo and full of crap I don’t want to make a habit of eating, so we’ll probably ween ourselves off of those pretty quick. But, dude — candy masquerading as “healthy energy bars” in fudge graham flavor, has been kind of delicious. Sorry, I’m not sorry. :) Not part of the long term strategy though.

//Results//

In case you’re keeping track (HA!) the weight loss has been a little slow going, which is not my favorite. I was down 3 lbs the first week, gained .5 lbs the second week, and stayed completely the same the third week (yep, to the TENTH OF A LB. argh!) So I’m not super thrilled with that, but you know…weight loss is weird. I’m rolling with it. Refining our meals, our strategies, my approach to my workouts, all of it.

There are a lot of moving parts, and I’m committed to giving all of this a good try so I will keep on trucking. Plus, I’m not going to lie, the Cheat Day on the Zone has been enjoyable and I’ve been using that day to eat chips and drink wine, and let’s be real — I could eliminate that if I was really concerned about my weight loss progress. But there needs to be balance — even when you are weighing and measuring your food, which seems to be just about the most unbalanced thing to do ever! So that’s the update, you all!

*****

Any other Zone questions I can answer? I will do so in the comments

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10 comments to Zone Meals That Are Working

  • AndreAnna
    March 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    How does the Zone (and by the Zone, I mean you) feel about fasting?

    I can’t – just CANNOT – portion out my meals and count things because it takes me to Very Bad Places mentally.

    And though I eat 90% Paleo and with zone-ish tendencies (I also eat rice and sweet pots), I’ve been really researching Intermittent Fasting and a 24-hour fast once a week or so as a means of getting the benefits from Calorie Restriction without actually without going into the Bad Place of calorie counting or giving up on my indulgences (wine, chocolate CADBURY MINI EGGS FOR THE LOVE).

    Thoughts? (Or, you know, a whole post?) :)

  • Holly
    March 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    You know I totally understand this, I am also a Bad Place Dweller when it comes to counting things. I think I will call it Points PTSD. It has a nice ring to it, yes?

    I started this as an experiment of sorts. After almost 2 years of Paleo I really felt like I had things down (and to some extent I did) but what the Zone Experiment has helped me see (or feel, rather) was that my portions WERE larger than I was really acknowledging, but more importantly larger than I needed. Also, I was eating a lot more protein/less carbs out of habit.

    The “forced mindfulness” of portioning food with respect to macro-nutrients has made me feel a little more enlighted, though TRUST ME it is not something I will do forever. But honestly, it feels more…”efficient” for lack of a better explanation. I really feel like my input/output is aligned well.

    The struggle for me most has been the eating lots of small meals. I am much more comfortable doing Intermittent Fasting. I used to really only eat between about 11:30 and 6:30, and really didn’t feel any hunger. So back to snacking and 3 square meals and all of that is different. But not necessarily worse (which I thought it would be!)

    This is a long comment to say that I don’t have any conclusions yet,but so far has been a useful and eye opening experiment. And even though I hate measuring (and its ass-face) a little structure is good for me on occasion. But I don’t think it’s a sustainable lifestyle and I only think it has been useful because I have spent 2 years RETRAINING MYSELF about what hungry/not hungry feels like through Paleo, you know?

    (I could make this a whole post…but I guess it will fit into my Calorie Counting Manifesto eventually :))

  • sizzle
    March 22, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I need to make some of that sweet potato hash. Sounds so good! I love to prep my food for the week on the weekend. Then I can use my brain power for work and watching The Voice. ;-)

  • Maureen
    March 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    “Points PTSD”-hah! I do believe I suffer from that, thanks for putting a name to it.

  • Megan
    March 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing your meal prep! It’s helpful for me to see what/how you do it. If I don’t make it to the grocery store and prep everything for the rest of the week on Sunday, it’s not happening. And it’s such a relief to just grab a container of salad and fixins out of the fridge when I’m running late in the morning (which, let’s be honest, happens A LOT). I’m also NOT AT ALL imaginative when it comes to meals – (and the boy gets sick of grilled meats/veggies). Who would have thought you could bake shrimp?! You’re changing my life, lady. :)

    • Holly
      March 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      Oh, I’m so glad! Yeah I really actually like it popped in the oven…it’s just easy and if you aren’t making that much you can roast some veggies on there too.

      My meal planning holy trinity is Creative//Easy To Cook//Super Healthy — if I hit two out of three most nights during the week, I’m cool with it. :)

  • Meredith
    March 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Somehow counting calories was impossible for me, yet ounces and cups totally works. I love the Zone because it truly showed me how out of whack my portions were and how much alcohol I really consume. For awhile, 11 blocks/day was really working for me. However, this week I have been experiencing what I call the HUNGER which turned into the ANGER. So I have allowed myself to add 1-2 blocks when I feel that HUNGER coming. I hope this helps curb the ANGER. Although, it also might be all the preschoolers with whom I have been dealing for the past two weeks. Only time will tell.
    Thanks for the update- keep it up!!

  • Holly
    March 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Ah yes….HANGRY…I know this feeling well :) This is what caused me to binge on string cheese yesterday. In the moment I thought to myself LIFE ISN’T WORTH LIVING IF I CAN’T HAVE A DAMN STRING CHEESE WHEN I WANT. And then I ate two. :) Proactive snacking, like you are doing, probably more effective haha!

  • What’s For Dinner?
    April 1, 2012 at 5:03 am

    [...] Breakfast, I’m sticking to the Zone Combos that have been working so far. I made some sweet potato hash before we headed out of town, so [...]

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