beachbody · Meal Prep · postpartum · Recipes · self care · Ultimate Portion Fix

Ultimate Portion Fix – Plan C Meal Plan (with container counts)

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I just completed my 21 days of Ultimate Portion Fix (UPF) partnered with the 21DF Extreme workouts, and I’m hooked! I feel so much better and healthier. I haven’t been perfect in terms of sticking to the eating plan, but I have cleaned up my eating significantly and cut way back on processed food. I’m so glad to be back in the swing of Beach Body programs again, and back in my fit life.

Here are my results from the first 21 days:

  • Starting Point, 5 weeks Postpartum:
    • Waist: 34.7″, Hips: 36.5″
  • Mid-point, 6.5 weeks Postpartum:
    • Waist: 32.5″, Hips: 34.5″
  • “End” Point, 8 weeks Postpartum:
    • Waist 32″, Hips: 34.5″
  • Weight: Lost 3lbs (but feel much more toned, added muscle)

I’m happy with the inches lost around my midsection, but more so I’m happy with how I feel – I feel healthier, stronger and determined to continue!

Now, I’m planning to continue with the Ultimate Portion Fix eating plan but move on to other workouts, I’m not sure which workout program I’ll tackle next, but this week I’m going to just do a variety from different trainers all on Beachbody on Demand. Monday I did the ‘Obsessed with Fix’ and it was an awesome workout, Tuesday I did T25 Cardio and it was killer!

Now, back to the meal plan. I really wanted to streamline this week, since I only have a couple weeks before I have to go back to work! I will have very little time to plan, prep and cook meals at that point – so I’m getting back into that mode. Rather than picking recipes to make, I just went for staples.

Here’s the food I bought for each of the container categories this week, and this will feed myself, my husband and our 2 yo for the week (and technically my baby girl too since she is nursing).

  • Red Container (Protein)
    • Eggs
    • Siggis Yogurt (low in sugar, high in protein!)
    • Orgain PB Protein Powder
    • Turkey Bacon
    • Ground Turkey
    • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
    • Ricotta Cheese
    • Whole Chicken
    • Tonnino Tuna – yes this tuna is expensive, and yes it is worth it! I stock up whenever I find it on sale
  • Purple Container (Fruits)
    • Mandarin Oranges
    • Strawberries
    • Blueberries
    • Bananas
    • Apples
    • Lemon and Lime
  • Green Container (Veggies) – this list is the longest because we’ll eat more veggies than anything else!
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Asparagus
    • Broccoli
    • Cucumber
    • Golden Beets
    • Bell Pepper
    • Bok Choy
    • Radish
    • Celery
    • Carrot
    • Spaghetti Squash
    • Red Onion
    • Cherry Tomatoes
    • Tomato Sauce (not pictured)
  • Blue and Orange Containers and Teaspoons (Healthy Fats)
    • Blue:
      • Feta
      • Almonds
      • Walnuts
      • Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
    • Orange:
      • Olive Oil (to make healthy salad dressings) – can also be used as teaspoon for cooking
    • Teaspoon:
      • Fresh Ground Peanut Butter
      • Butter (not pictured)
  • Yellow Container (Healthy Carbs)
    • Sweet Potato
    • Oats
    • 16 Grain Bread
    • Quinoa
    • Whole Wheat English Muffins

I am the only one in my house who eats wheat bread, my husband and son go for white bread and pasta. So I freeze at least half of the bread and english muffins when I get home from the store – they freeze really well and this way I don’t waste any!

My prep plan of attack –

  • Saturday:
    • Chopped a bunch of veggies (radish, cucumber, celery, carrots, pepper, sliced red onion)
    • Prepped Broccoli Salads
    • Prepared Orange Chicken marinade (see recipe below) on Saturday.
  • Sunday:
    • Roasted beets, sweet potato and spaghetti squash

Since I’m still on maternity leave, I didn’t actually grill the chicken thighs until Monday, but you could easily cook these Sunday along with the ground turkey to be able to throw dinner together quickly Monday and Tuesday!

This week I used jarred tomato sauce (ok if you buy a brand with no sugar added and basically veggie only ingredients) but Fixate has a great recipe for Quick Marinara that you could make to be 100% clean.

For the whole chicken, I suggest cooking it Wednesday (as I did). You can make this in a slow cooker, instant pot, or roast in the over depending on what works best for you (and how much time you have available) so there’s not a big reason to cook days ahead.

Here’s this week’s meal plan (and container counts) with a few recipes and tips below!

Reach out via comments if you want to learn more about Ultimate Portion Fix or to start your fitness journey today!

Plan C Meal Plan

Some of the week’s highlights so far:

Orange Chicken Thighs

This recipe is from Little Broken Blog, and super easy to make. The only change I made was to substitute Coconut Aminos for the Soy Sauce to get that same umami taste without any soy. It happened to rain the day I made this, so I broke out my handy indoor grill (great for food prepping in New England given the unfriendly weather!)

Veggie Packed Tuna Salad

Veggie Packed Tuna Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


INGREDIENTS
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 radish, diced
pickles or cornichons (optional) diced
1 jar tuna with 1 tsp packed oil
1 tsp mustard
salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
After collecting 1 tsp of the oil, drain the tuna and place in a large bowl. Add reserved oil, mustard, veggies and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Serve on wrap, wheat bread or top on a garden salad!

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash is so easy to prepare and holds up well for 3-5 days if stored in an airtight container, making it perfect for meal prep! I have found this to be the easiest way to prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
  • Cut the squash in half the long way. Be careful when slicing because it can be hard to get through!
  • Clean out the seeds and stringy substance
  • Place the squash on baking sheet flesh side up
  • spray lightly with EVOO and season with salt and pepper
  • Cook 35-50 minutes depending on the size of the squash (squash should be soft but not fold in on itself when grabbed).
  • Allow to cool enough to handle
  • Using a fork, scrape/shred the inside of the squash creating ‘noodles’
  • Divide into 4 containers to portion out
  • Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days

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beachbody · Meal Prep · postpartum · self care · Ultimate Portion Fix

UPF Week 1

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Ultimate Portion Fix is in full swing! It feels great to be working out again. Today is day 4, so far I’ve been able to get the workout in each day, even though sometimes I have to stop a couple times to feed or soothe my baby girl. I also had to significantly modify yesterdays workout (21 Day Fix Pilates Extreme Real Time). Any moves targeting legs I completed as is, but any targeting core I just substituted in one of the Diastasis Recti exercises, to be safe.

The eating plan has been going fairly well. On Day 1 my Brother-in-law (professional chef) made homemade fried chicken, so I broke my meal plan on the first day, but it was worth it! Day 2 I was perfect to make up for it 🙂 In general it is a lot of food – and I’ve found some great new recipes even in the first week. Fixate has a bunch of good options for vegetables/salads. Two favorites this week (so far) are the Fixate antipasto salad and the roasted cabbage with Cotija cheese.

Fixate Antipasto
Fixate Roasted Cabbage

I was able to complete the bulk of the food prep Saturday/Sunday before the week started which is essential. I’ve been fitting in the other steps here and there where I can. Its been a super rainy week here, which gets a little depressing when you can’t get out of the house with the baby, so I’m glad I’ve had the Beachbody workouts to get me moving a bit and get those endorphins going!

It’s not always easy to fit all that prep in, or get anything done in a day it seems! I’ve taken to ‘baby wearing’ lately. Its one guaranteed way to calm my little one down, as she loves to be close to me. There’s not too much I can get down while wearing her, but prep is ok (I’m just slow and can’t bend over!)

#Momlife. Instant Pot and Rice Cooker going while baby sleeps, for the win!

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beachbody · Exercise · Meal Prep · postpartum · Recipes · Ultimate Portion Fix

Prepping for Ultimate Portion Fix

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As mentioned in my last post Ultimate Portion Fix! I am planning to start this program this coming Monday. One of the most important things when it comes to eating clean is preparation, and that is especially true for a Portion Fix (container based) program.

I know I am much more likely to stick to the healthy eating 100% if the food is prepped and ready to go. If too much work is required at the end of a hard day (and with an infant, aren’t they all challenging in some way?) then I am waaaay more likely to choose fast food, or make a quick grilled cheese or something that doesn’t contain a vegetable. So my main focus this week is to make a plan, and prep for that plan – that will help me be successful next week.

Due to the fact that I am breastfeeding, I fall under calorie Bracket C (1800-2199 calories) in the Ultimate Portion Fix Program. Now let me say when you are eating clean without any processed food, 1800 calories goes a long way! Here is my meal plan for next week.

My first thought when I finished laying this out was Holy Moly that’s a lot of food! This is a good thing, since I’ll also be incorporating daily workouts for the first time in quite some time (modified as appropriate). However my second thought was – wait this is going to require a LOT of prep! A few notes on that – first, I have 4 of the items already done and frozen from my Freezer Meal Prep I did in late February. Without these completed, I would not attempt this meal plan, because it would just be too much. Second, there are ways to simplify if you don’t find yourself with meals already prepped (and I will utilize these in coming weeks).

  1. Instead of targeting too many complete meals/recipes (like Taco Bake or Balsamic Chicken Salad) just go for basics – cook a bunch of chicken with just olive oil and seasonings and add this to salads, wraps, pasta or with veggies on the side all week long per your containers.
  2. Just roast a huge batch of veggies on Sunday and use them all week to pair with chicken or other protein.
  3. Make a big batch of quinoa and/or brown rice on Sunday and have it on hand to pair with veggies and chicken.

In this way, instead of worrying about creating specific recipes you are stocking your fridge with healthy bulk items (easy to prepare) and then you can throw together a meal easily day of.

I would still 100% advise you to create your meal plan ahead of time though so that you can be sure you’ve cooked enough staples to get you through and to eat all your containers!

It’s also very common for people to eat the same thing for all 5 weekdays. I myself will probably do this once I return to work. This also cuts way down on the complexity.

Once I’ve determined my meal plan, I list out my ingredients (this list pictured above doesn’t include any ingredients for the freezer meals that are already done) and then I make a plan of attack for prepping. Normally, I would do all the prep in one day, typically Sunday – but with two kids under 3 I’m going to try to spread it out since I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a 3hr block of time to dedicate to prepping.

With all this planning for next week, I didn’t make a meal plan for this week. I had a bunch of leftover Easter food we’ve been eating, I also used my Chicken Teriyaki freezer meal paired with brown rice and asparagus for dinner Tuesday and Wednesday, and I’ve just been keeping it simple. Today for lunch I whipped up a healthy broccoli slaw salad – it took less than 5 mins and was delicious!

Quick Slaw Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


INGREDIENTS
1/2 bag Broccoli Slaw Mix
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/4 cup walnuts
4 Tbs Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette (or similar)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
In a small bowl mix the tomatoes, cucumber, celery, walnuts, dressing and lemon juice.
In a serving/storage bowl place the broccoli slaw and pour the tomato mixture over the slaw.
Stir to coat
Enjoy!

The other prep I’m doing this week is physically. I won’t be fully cleared for exercise until next week, but I have been doing the post-natal workout on beachbody on demand (which is especially designed to start easing postpartum women into workouts) and have been making a special effort to get a full 1mile+ walk in each day. This will help me hit the ground running next week!

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beachbody · Exercise · Meal Prep · postpartum · self care · Ultimate Portion Fix

Ultimate Portion Fix!

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The time has come – time to get serious about getting back in shape and just getting healthy again! My path to a balanced, healthy lifestyle of exercise and clean eating is the Ultimate Portion Fix program. This is the latest Beachbody program, and I must admit I’m a full-blown Beachbody believer! For full disclosure, I am also a Beachbody coach (although this was on hold during my pregnancy). I’ve completed various Beachbody programs over the years, 21 Day Fix and Extreme, 80 Day Obsession and Shift Shop. I’ve loved them all and had results each and every time. I first tried 21 Day Fix when I was preparing for my wedding, and was able to lose those pesky 10lbs before my big day!

The largest transformation I’ve ever had (so far!) was after the birth of my first child. For some reason, I expected to be one of those women who is just magically skinny weeks after giving birth. I don’t know why I had that expectation (because I was clueless about what it’s really like to have a baby, most likely ;)) but I did. I was WRONG. Instead of being magically skinny I was exhausted, out of shape, and eating tons of junk because I had no time or energy to eat healthy. After about 2 months of this I decided something had to change and started the Shift Shop program. The results started almost immediately – within 2 weeks I felt better, energized and confident. By 1 month I was starting to feel progress physically – exercises that I could barely finish at the start were now too easy, I was increasing my weights, etc. By 2 months I was seeing the results – not just fitting into pre-pregnancy clothes but actually liking the way I looked in them. By the time my son was 6 moths old, I had not only lost all the baby weight but had actually hit my goal weight, which I don’t think I had been at for a decade!

July 2017

For each program I’ve completed, I’ve used some version of the portion-controlled meal plan. I believe it is the best way to eat because it is :

  • Balanced
  • Easy to follow
  • Sustainable
  • Largely Plant-based
  • No deprivation!

I don’t believe in crazy fad diets that may be effective short-term but then you can’t keep it up and you end up gaining back all the weight (and then some). So, when I was looking into what program I’m might try after this pregnancy, I was psyched to see a new Portion Control program available. If you’ve ever tried 21 Day Fix (or 21 Day Fix Extreme), the Ultimate Portion Fix is very similar. Essentially it is an update to the meal planning guidelines and containers that were developed for those programs, incorporating all the learnings over the last 5 years and including 100+ new recipes. They are also updating the 21DF and 21DFX workouts.

The version of the program I ordered (there are different options in terms of the supplements) pictured above came with:

  • Ultimate Portion Fix Kit:
  • 30+ Step-by-Step Videos
  • Workbook
  • Daily Logbook
  • Set of 7 Portion-Control Containers
  • FIXATE® Vol. 2 Cookbook
  • FIXATE Cooking Show
  • 75 Healthy Lunch Ideas For Kids (Digital PDF)
  • Access to nutrition tracking and the Ultimate Portion Fix program through the Beachbody App
  • 21 Day Fix & 21 Day Fix EXTREME workouts shot in real time, updated for faster progress
  • 30-day supply of Beachbody Performance Stack
    • It includes two supplements —Energize and Recover— designed to help give you a blast of energy, sharpen your focus, improve your performance, and speed recovery.*
    • I LOVE the Energize to take before workouts, I’ve actually missed it during my pregnancy and can’t wait to start it up again!
  • Performance Shaker Cup
  • Free Access to my own Personal Coach
    • This is one of the greatest benefits of Beachbody programs – you gain an entire community of people who are going through the program alongside you – they help offer support, but it also keeps you accountable as you want to check in with your team every day!

I am planning to start the program next Monday, as this is when the new live versions of the 21DF Extreme workouts will start to stream. I’ll be 5 weeks postpartum and ready to start exercising again (although I will need to modify some exercises) and ready to start eating a bit more healthy (although still consume at least 1800 calories a day to support breastfeeding). For the rest of this week I’ll be getting ready, making my meal plan, shopping and prepping food, and reading up on all the program materials and videos!

If you are interested in taking this journey with me, or learning more about Ultimate Portion Fix (or any Beachbody program) please let me know in the comments section!

*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.

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Meal Prep · postpartum · Recipes

Healthy Postpartum Meal Plan Week 3

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Trying to keep it simple this week so that I’ll have time (and energy) for Easter prep later in the week! So I’m only making 3 meals (+ a freezer meal already made) to fuel the whole week. Throw in a couple easy breakfasts and lunches here and there and happy healthy family achieved!

Monday

Sometimes I forget how much I love cereal. Its not always the healthiest option, so I don’t rely on it too often, but it does hit the spot sometimes! Any cereal makes a more complete meal with fruit and nuts added – I had Kashi 7 Grain cereal (which I love) and added strawberries with slivered almonds.


Eggplant Parmesan

Let me just say it – this meal was a home run. I loved it, but my toddler wouldn’t try it – too bad because I think he would have loved it too, but no dice.

This recipe is from The Stay at Home Chef, but I made a couple modifications.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • shredded mozzarella
  • freeze dried basil (or 1/4 cup fresh)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese divided

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds. Lay out in a single layer on a paper towel lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let sit 1 hour to release moisture.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  • Set up 3 shallow dishes for dredging. In the first dish, stir together flour, salt and pepper. In the second dish, whisk eggs. In the third dish, stir together panko bread crumbs, Italian bread crumbs, and garlic powder.
  • Working one at a time, dredge eggplant slices in flour mixture, dip in egg mixture, and then coat in bread crumb mixture. Place onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Sprinkle on a light coating of parmesan cheese.
  • Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, flipping eggplant slices halfway through.
  • Spread 2 tablespoons of marinara into the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 dish. Layer half of the eggplant slices onto the bottom. Top with half of the remaining marinara, and then layer on all mozzarella to desired cheesiness. Sprinkle on half of the basil and half of the parmesan cheese.
  • Place remaining eggplant slices on top and cover with remaining marinara, basil, and parmesan cheese (a little extra mozz is a good too).
  • Bake, uncovered, in the 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and the top is bubbling and lightly browned.

Tuesday

As I’m starting to get back into a fitness mindset, I’ve reintroduced protein powder into my diet (I had cut it out during pregnancy to be extra careful). I tried Orgain Peanut Butter because I’m comfortable with the ingredients, and I’m happy to report that it’s delicious! This will be my new go-to smoothie recipe for Spring and summer, its like a milkshake or frappucino! I included oats to keep my lactation needs in mind.

Espresso PB Protein Shake

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


INGREDIENTS
4 oz Espresso (or coffee)
3/4 cup Almond Milk
1 banana (frozen)
1 scoop Peanut Butter Protein Powder (I like Orgain brand)
1/4 cup old fashioned oats

INSTRUCTIONS
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth
Serve and enjoy!

When I was at the grocery store I saw the Sonoma Chicken Salad in the prepared food case (at Whole Foods) and couldn’t resist. Having some prepared chicken salad just makes meal time easier. If you can’t get this near you though, Whole Foods has posted the recipe. I highly recommend it. I had mine on some whole wheat English muffin with a can of sparkling water.

Since I had this chicken salad for lunch, I saved the Eggplant Parmesan leftovers for dinner and moved Apricot Chicken to Wednesday.

Wednesday

Apricot Chicken and Rice

Make the rice first (this can also be made ahead of time). I used basamati rice, added slivered almonds and a few diced dried apricots to the rice.

The Apricot Chicken recipe comes from Chef in the Burbs blog.

INGREDIENTS (for me this made 6 servings)

  • 4 thin chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • ½ cup apricot jam/jelly/preserves
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oil in an oven safe 12″ saute pan over medium high heat.
  2. Salt and pepper chicken breasts and add to saute pan.
  3. Cook for five minutes or until golden brown.
  4. While chicken cooks, stir preserves, soy sauce and garlic together in a glass measuring cup and microwave for one minute, stirring a couple times during microwave time.
  5. Move oven rack to just below broiler and turn broiler on.
  6. Flip chicken and pour glaze over.
  7. Broil for two minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

I had so many leftovers of this Apricot chicken that we basically ate it the rest of the week. I once again pushed out the Turkey Sloppy Joes (froze the turkey), so I had a nice break from cooking until Easter.

Check out my post on our Easter Dinner here

diastasis recti · Exercise · parenting · postpartum · self care

Make the Most of your Postpartum Time : Week 3

Diastasis Recti and Baby Tummy Time

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This week I started thinking about getting active again, and about getting my body back. It’s not the priority – my priority is having this special time with my little lady, making sure I take time to just hold her, just stare at her beautiful teeny tiny face (corny but true), nurse her, sing to her, keep her alive 😉 you get the idea…

However, self-care for mom is important too, and for me that includes getting back in shape. Prior to pregnancy I was very active – I typically work out at least 4 days a week (often more). I try to eat healthy, but balanced – I love food and wine (in moderation).

So over the last three weeks, even though I was mostly ignoring these thoughts until this week, I did measure myself – because the truth is a lot of progress has already been made without taking any action – just by letting nature run its course (the human body is amazing, and knows what it’s doing!).

When my daughter was 1 week old – the largest part of my belly measured : 39″ (99cm)

At 2 weeks old : 34.5″ (87.5cm)

Today, at 3 weeks old :

At the 1 week mark, I started wearing my belly bandit. I’m not sure if I believe in this product yet. I didn’t use it with my first child, and did (eventually) get my belly back to its pre-pregnancy size – even though I don’t believe the stomach muscles ever fully returned. This time, I’m older, its my second child, and I just thought it might be worth it to try the product out – it certainly can’t hurt.

Wearing my Belly Bandit

This week (PP week 3) I started dealing with my diastasis recti. Keep in mind I am not a health care professional and am only sharing my personal experience.

  • What is diastasis recti?
    • Short answer – diastasis recti is separation of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy
    • It is officially defined as a distance between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle of two centimeters or more
    • It affects at least 60 percent of women six weeks after birth and 30 percent of women have it a year after birth
    • It is caused by pressure on the rectus abdominis muscles leading to overstretching, which is why it occurs so commonly during pregnancy
  • Do I have it?
    • Technically, we should wait at least 6 weeks to check manually for DR – the reason being that before 6 weeks the uterus is still working/shrinking and your body is still recovering in general (for many women the separation will correct itself by 6 weeks)
    • My midwife checked me in the hospital before I left, and the early check indicated that I do have a significant separation
    • To perform a manual check –
      • Lie on your back with your knees bent, and the soles of your feet on the floor.
      • Place your fingertips just above your bellybutton
      • With your abdominal wall relaxed, gently press your fingertips into your abdomen.
      • Roll your upper body off the floor into a very small ‘crunch’ – lifting your head off the ground but keeping shoulders on the ground
      • Check how many fingers can fit in the ‘opening’ created by the cruch
      • Repeat and test for separation a few inches higher above your belly button and below your belly button.
      • Two fingers of separation would indicate possible DR (to check again at 6 weeks PP) – Three fingers could indicate a more serious separation and you should consult with your doctor or a physical therapist (this is always a good idea).
    • Truthfully – the actions to correct diastasis recti are beneficial for anyone, so there is no harm is proceeding with an assumption of DR
  • How do I fix it?
    • There are some specific exercises that can help you, and some that can really hurt you (make your diastasis worse)
    • Avoid:
      • abdominal sit-ups
      • crunches
      • oblique curls
      • double leg lifts
      • upper body twisting exercises
      • exercises that include backbends over an exercise ball
      • yoga postures that stretch the abs, such as “cow” pose and “up-dog” pose
      • pilates exercises that require the head to be lifted off the floor
      • lifting and carrying heavy objects
    • Make sure you consult with a doctor before starting any exercise postpartum.
    • For me, I started with these exercises this week. I kept a close eye for any bleeding or other signs that I might be overdoing it, and especially focused on the Alternating Heel Drops, Seated Tummy Flex and Hip Bridges as these were specific exercises stressed by my midwife.
Alternating Heel Drops
Hip Bridges

This graphic below is from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/426223552234538866/

Now, speaking of tummies – I also started daily tummy time with my daughter this week. This is time the baby spends on her stomach while awake and supervised.

Why is tummy time important?

  • Helps baby develop head control
  • Promotes motor skills
  • Prevents conditions such as flat head syndrome (given that our babes always go to sleep on their backs, tummy time offers them a different position to spend some time).
  • Tummy time helps your baby build strength needed for sitting up, rolling over, crawling and walking

When should I start?

  • Your baby can start tummy time right away after coming home from hospital
  • Each session should last about three to five minutes at first.
  • My first week or so at home I tried tummy time with my little one periodically, but this week we completed two to three times a day.
  • Don’t be surprised if your baby doesn’t enjoy tummy time at first – it can be uncomfortable for them compared to the position in which they regularly spend their time. Just take a break and try again later. Tummy time is easy to skip especially if you have a baby that doesn’t enjoy it, but stay committed mama!
  • As your baby gets used to tummy time, place your baby on his or her stomach more frequently or for longer periods of time. Aim for around 30 minutes a day of baby tummy time by the time he is 2-3 months old.
  • You can even arrange age-appropriate toys within his or her reach once they show interest in toys – mirrors also work really well!
  • Your baby should work up to an hour of Tummy Time per day by 4 months of age.
  • Eventually we want to see baby pushing up on her arms and picking her head up on her own
  • Then keep the practice up until baby can roll over on his own, a feat many babies accomplish around 6 or 7 months of age.

How do I do it?

  • There are a few options, I try to incorporate all of them throughout the day:
    • Lay your infant facedown on your stomach or chest or across your lap (this is perfect after feeding assuming babe stays awake) – I also think this is the best method when starting out as it keeps baby calm.
    •  A blanket or a tummy time mat on a firm, flat surface (floor). Here we would lay right next to her so we are in her line of sight. As a bonus, I could do some of my DR exercises while laying on the ground with her!
    • Boppy Nursing pillow – I use this for breastfeeding (I actually have 2, one upstairs and one that stays downstairs) but it is great as a tummy time pillow as well – it creates a slight elevation.
  • The purpose is for baby to try lifting her head, so if she doesn’t do this just as a result of the positioning, try to engage her! Put your face close, or a rattle, etc. 
Its hard to see, but she is lifting her head here – we start small!

Remember – every bit of Tummy Time with your baby makes a difference and adds up, so keep going!

If you have done plenty of Tummy Time with baby, but are concerned they are not meeting their milestones, bring your concerns to baby’s pediatrician or healthcare provider.

Meal Prep · parenting · postpartum · Recipes

Healthy Postpartum Meal Plan #2

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The plan for this week includes some lactation boosting foods, some family crowd pleasers, and some very quick and easy ideas because we need to be realistic. This is my meal plan – a target, not a requirement. Sometimes I stray from the plan, and there’s certainly no reason to feel pressure to follow it. When you’re a mom you really only get ‘pockets’ of time around the kids schedule and needs. It may be 10 or 15mins here and there, and I use that to chop veggies or cook rice, or get other prep done. When I was making the chickpea tomato salad for example (which is literally such an easy dish that it takes less than 10 minutes to assemble) I was interrupted twice. I just stopped what I was doing, fed my babe, and then came back to it.

I will once again enjoy the work I put in before the baby came by taking advantage of a few of my freezer items – the Cinnamon Apple Oat Bake, Smoothie packs, and Fennel Orange Chicken.

I realized later that I missed some ingredients on this list! I had to send my husband to the store on his way home from work to pick up my Baked Ziti ingredients (see recipe below).

Meatless Monday

Apple Cinnamon Oat Bake (freezer meal)

From my postpartum freezer meal prep, I had forgotten how much this recipe made! I definitely don’t need all of this in one week, so I thawed it out just slightly enough to be able to divide it in half, and refroze the rest. It’s about 10 servings total. (That missing corner down below was from the day I made it, a cook has to taste her work 😉

Chickpea, Pesto, Tomato Mozz Salad

This is delicious and so stinking easy, I’ll be revisiting it often.

INGREDIENTS (makes 2 servings)

  •  1/2 pint chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 of an English Cucumber, sliced into thick rounds and then quartered
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  •  2 Tbl pesto (this time I used jarred, but my husband makes an amazing pesto – I’ll include that recipe next time….)
  •  1/4 cup shredded mozzarella (this would be amazing with fresh mozzarella, but I was keeping it simple and reducing the number of items on my shopping list this week)
  •  Salt and black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Assemble all ingredients in a bowl, mix and enjoy !

What to do with the other half can of chickpeas? I roasted them – makes a really good snack and very easy. Heat oven to 350 degrees, cover chickpeas in a generous amount of olive oil, lightly salt and roast until crispy, about 20 mins. You’ll definitely want to blot with paper towel to get some of the oil off after roasting.

Vegetable Stir-Fry w/Soy free Teriyaki Sauce

Have you noticed how soy seems to be an ingredient in EVERYTHING? Even things where its pretty unexpected. In general, I’m trying to avoid too much soy, so I went searching for a good stir-fry sauce without it, and found a Paleo Teriyaki. You can of course use bottled teriyaki or another sauce to keep it simple if you prefer. If you are making the sauce, my advice is to make it ahead of time (in one of those mom pockets of time).

Soy Free Teriyaki Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup coconut aminos
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice or water
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1/8 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp tapioca flour (optional- if you want your sauce to be thicker, I did not use)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix the coconut aminos, orange juice, honey, ginger, garlic and chili flakes in a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat. If you are using tapioca flour, mix it with 2 tablespoon of cold water and add the mixture into the sauce and cook until thicken. If not using tapioca, just simmer the sauce until thickened.

Veggie Stir-Fry

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • One bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • One white onion, diced
  • handful Mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 green onion (optional) sliced
  • 3/4 cup brown rice (dry)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • First cook the rice, this can also be done early (even the day or 2 before). I cooked a double batch (1.5 cups dry) so that I would have some ready for my pesto rice salad later in the week. I used my rice cooker per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Heat a large non-stick skillet or wok, over high heat.
  • Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, sprinkle with salt, and cook covered for about 15, or until onions are caramelized, stirring occasionally.
  • After onions are caramelized, remove them and place in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Add the mushrooms, peppers, celery and teriyaki sauce and simmer uncovered for 3 to 5 minutes, or until slightly reduced.
  • Add the onions back to the skillet and cook for about 1 minute
  • Put 3/4 cups of rice into each (2) bowls and divide the vegetable & sauce mixture amongst them
  • Sprinkle green onion on top (sesame seeds would also be good to add)

Tuesday

For Breakfast I just heated up another piece of the Apple Cinnamon Oat Bake and made a decaf cappuccino.

I actually didn’t end up making the Pesto Rice salad today because I still have some leftover Beef Chili from the weekend, and didn’t want to waste it. So I’ll push the Brown Rice Salad to Wednesday.

Since I didn’t have to make breakfast or lunch (and baby girl has been sleeping a lot today) I decided to make the PB & Jam cookies. I actually wasn’t sure if I would end up making these this week or not (I planned to, but wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it happen) as they are more effort for a ‘snack’ than I might have available, but it worked out. They are a great postpartum snack because they include some of our lactation boosting superfoods (oats and flax) and they are filling and tasty.

PB & Jam Cookies

I got the recipe from Sweet Peas and Saffron, who is a meal-prepping goddess, and I didn’t make any modifications.

INGREDIENTS (yields 6 cookies, I kept 3 for this week and froze 3)

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
  • 2/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 6 tablespoons jam of choice (I used no sugar added Smuckers Fruit & Honey, and yes those are my son’s matchbox cars in the background)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Melt coconut oil in a large bowl. Stir in the peanut butter, eggs, vanilla and honey until smooth.
  • Add the rolled oats, flour, baking powder and ground flax. Mix until completely combined.
  • Scoop out 1/4 cup portions and shape them on the baking sheet into a round cookie with an indent in the middle.
  • Spoon in 1 tablespoon of jam in the center of each cookie.
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes, until edge around the bottoms start to brown.
  • Cool completely before storing away for 3-4 days in a sealed container.

Infused Water

For this week, I’m doing cucumber ginger infused water since I needed those ingredients for other dishes as well. I took 1/4 of an English cucumber, chopped and 2″ of ginger, peeled and chopped. I will refill the water in the jug over the next 2 days as needed, then dump the cucumber/ginger and make a fresh batch on the third day.

Baked Ziti w/ Chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2lb ziti pasta
  • 1lb Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 3 cups pasta sauce – I recommend a hearty sauce with garlic for this dish
  • 3 cups shredded chicken (I recommend a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken to keep this simple)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook ziti in boiling, salted water until al dente (firm).
  • Drain pasta and place in a large bowl
  • In a medium sized bowl combine the Ricotta and half (1.5cups) Mozzarella
  • Add cheese mixture to ziti and mix
  • Grease a 9×13″ pan (or separate into two smaller pans to freeze half for another meal – this is what I did)
  • Cover bottom of dish with half of the sauce
  • Spoon the ziti mixture over the sauce
  • Add chicken evenly through the dish
  • Cover with remaining sauce
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and the remaining mozzarella cheese
  • Bake for 20 to 30 mins
  • Remove from oven and let stand for 10mins for easier serving

Wednesday

OK – yesterday my little one slept really well, and was on a regular schedule eating every 2-3hrs and sleeping in between – it was great, but it didn’t continue through the night. Last night she wanted to feed pretty constantly from 1AM to 5AM, and was very unhappy anytime I’d put her down. So lets just say I’m exhausted today, and I foresee miss fussy pants will continue today as well (so far at least).

So I didn’t make an omelette this morning, but just warmed up some more Apple Cinnamon Oat Bake, and my coffee today is half and half (half caffeinated, half decaf) because mama needs a pick-me-up. Luckily my toddler was happy to have some Oat Bake as well, and I was able to gobble up my breakfast in 5 minutes flat.

Sometimes, the little one just want to be held, so let yourself get nothing done and just be with the newborn. I know how quickly this period flies by and I want to make sure I spend that special time with my baby and give myself a break if everything else (except for my son, of course) falls by the wayside.

Snuggle Time

I’ve been drinking this Organic Milkmaid tea Organic Milkmaid Tea by Earth Mama | Supports Healthy Breastmilk Production and Lactation, Herbal Breastfeeding Tea Supplement, 16 Count – its delicious and I feel like it does help with supply, but today I got the perfect message on my teabag, it says “its OK to not love every single minute”. Isn’t that the truth? Some days its hard to have a newborn, that’s a fact – and we need to take it easy on ourselves (and each other). Sometimes I feel like Supermom and other days it feels like a struggle, but I know I love this little lady and that is all that matters in the end!

I did manage to make my lunch, even though it took a couple tries to get through it. I was able to feel some sense of accomplishment for eating a healthy lunch!

Brown Rice Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

I found this recipe at From the Larder, to keep it simple I left out the fresh parsley and dill (I added the almonds after I had snapped the pic).

INGREDIENTS (for two servings):

  • 175 g brown rice
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 yellow pepper diced
  • ½ red onion finely chopped
  • ½ cucumber de-seeded, diced
  • 150 g cherry tomatoes halved
  • 40 g flaked almonds toasted
  • 2 large handfuls parsley finely chopped
  • 1 medium handful dill finely chopped

pesto vinaigrette:

  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • juice of ½ small lemon
  • 4 tablespoons pesto (any kind, homemade or shop bought – whatever you have in your fridge)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cook the brown rice according to the packet instructions then leave to cool (or hopefully you have some leftover cooked rice from Monday)
  • Meanwhile mix all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl and add to the rice once cool.
  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk the Dijon and lemon along with some salt and pepper in a small bowl until thickened.
  • Whisk in the pesto then drizzle in the olive oil whisking all the time until the dressing has come together.
  • Pour over the rice salad, mixing in well.
  • Store the salad in the fridge until needed.

Thursday

Today little miss and I ventured out into the world for the first time (other than her doctor’s appointments). We went to the coffee shop where I shamelessly enjoyed a delicious donut and iced coffee (decaf) and then the grocery store. I didn’t attempt a full shopping, just fruit, veggies and essentials. I plan to order the rest via delivery from Whole Foods, which is such an awesome service – definitely take advantage of grocery delivery if your local store offers it! I do find that I don’t receive the best produce when I go with the delivery option though, which is why we made our little trip. It was great to be out and about, and she basically slept the whole time (cars tend to have that effect) so I’m declaring it a victory!

Tuna Tomato Melt

This is a great little lunch. Low carb but filling, and looks pretty too! I got the idea from Skinnytaste but just made my typical tuna salad that I like (I don’t use mayo) and I’ve included my recipe below – and snuck in some Cape Cod chips.

INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings)

  • Tuna filets in olive oil – I love this brand, high quality and they also have flavors like w/oregano or w/jalapeño (which would work great for tuna salad). Its even more expensive in the store so I like to buy via Amazon for a better price! I use all the tuna and about 1 tablespoon of the oil in the jar to mix into the tuna salad
  • 1 tsp Mustard (I use the olive oil from the tuna and mustard as the ‘sauce’ of my tuna instead of mayo)
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Mixd the first 5 ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Set oven to Broil and arrange rack 1 note down from top
  • Slice the top of each tomato and clear out some of the seeds.
  • Fill each tomato shell with half of the tuna salad
  • Cover each tomato with 1 slice of cheese
  • Broil tomato sandwiches for ~2 minutes until cheese is fully melted

I moved my freezer meal – Chicken with Orange and Fennel – to today, just wanted to take advantage of work that was already done 🙂 The important thing to remember for the freezer meals is to thaw overnight or very early in the morning before you plan to cook it. This one, (recipe in my post on freezer meal prep) cooked on low for 6 hours and was really tasty – something a little different with chicken is always welcomed.

Friday

I still had a little Apple Cinnamon Oat Bake left, so I finished it off for breakfast. I made it a little special with strawberries, blueberries and whip cream – my toddler had some berries in whip cream too!

My mother-in-law is visiting from out of state (to meet her new granddaughter!) so we were a little off plan today – we went out for pizza for lunch! So I’m going to push the turkey sloppy joes to next week, we have to be flexible!

Saturday

Brunch! I am happy to report we successfully went out to brunch with both kids and it wasn’t a disaster. This may never happen again….

French toast with blueberry compote, bacon, coffee, chicken and waffles for my husband – delicious!

Bacon anyone?
Sleeping Beauty

She’s in there – I promise! This nursing/carseat/stroller cover is a lifesaver – I use it to cover her up in public, it shields her from some of the noise and light in a restaurant for example (which helps keep her calm and sleepy) but I also use it on her stroller to completely shield her from the sun (just be careful it doesn’t get too hot in there) and then its also a nursing cover/scarf – score!

Chicken Wild Rice Soup – Instant Pot

You may have noticed I like gadgets – kitchen gadgets. This has been especially true since becoming a mother – where before I may have been able to perfectly cook rice on the stovetop every time, now I prefer the dump it and leave it approach. As my toddler likes to say, “I too busy”. The rice cooker is definitely one of my most used items, it is great for meal prep because you can make a batch of rice or quinoa on Sunday for healthy meals throughout the week!

For rice or noodle based soups, I always cook the rice/pasta separately. If I’m making a big batch of soup (and plan on enjoying the leftovers) I definitely don’t want leftover rice in there – it ‘drinks’ up all the broth and gets totally mushy. I find it works better to cook it separately, then just add a little into each individual bowl when its time to serve it – then the next day I do the same and can enjoy the leftovers longer. This recipe is inspired by The Kitchen Magpie, but I made a handful of changes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 3 carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup wild rice, dry

This recipe only calls for two chicken breast, and the package comes with three, so I saved one that I’ll bake tomorrow and use for salads/lunches next week.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cook wild rice in rice cooker or other method
  • While rice is cooking, add all ingredients except rice into the instant pot
  • Press the Soup button and cook for 45 minutes
  • When ready, remove the chicken breasts onto a plate and shred them. Mix back into the soup.
  • To serve add ~1/5th of the rice to each bowl and spoon in soup.
  • Store leftover rice separately from leftover soup
Big batch of soup!

Tomorrow (Sunday) I’ll mostly eat leftovers – my remaining PB & Jam cookie, soup, etc and start prepping for next week. Here’s my next postpartum meal plan: