Monday, January 30, 2012

The Rotation System of Meal Planning

Numerous studies support the benefits of eating regular, frequent, healthy meals. According to many nutritionists six meals a day is more beneficial than a traditional 3 meal a day plan. It is not only about what you eat but how and when you eat that plays a role in metabolism and hunger and energy levels. Although most of us know to do this already, actually doing it is another issue. This rotational system makes it easy, cheap, and possible. (If you want to skip the history of the plan you can scroll down and see a simple table below of how it works)

I was converted to meal planning early on in my marriage (ironically enough) while living in the jungles of Africa. My husband and I were on a humanitarian aid project for several months in Kenya. We lived with another newly married couple and we had to make one trip to the store together every few weeks. I figured we needed to make a plan if we were going to survive. The other couple (who I love dearly) did not make a plan. We would both go and buy our groceries then make them last as long as possible. They would be out of food after just a few days. I saw how a plan made our food go further, last longer and saved us a difference of what would be equivalent to $100 US dollars a trip.

When I first started trying to eat 6 meals a day I did everything wrong. Since I already was a planner I would sit down and write a plan for well, 6 meals a day. They were 6 different meals each day, throughout the week. If you do the math that adds up to be 42 different meals. I found that we were wasting a lot of food. I got frustrated and overloaded. Those plans were too complicated. In the end I would have around 42 meals to buy, make and eat. I got frustrated with the 6 meals a day and stopped doing it but soon I found that I was still snacking and again wasting money.

I then read some research about how it is beneficial to repeat 6 meals daily for a week. I tried a meal plan that incorporated that principle. While my husband thrived on this plan (he can eat the same meals every day) I found that I often became sick when I thought about eating the same food again. I felt great physically, but I couldn't mentally bring myself to eat the same items over and over again. I needed variety.

That is where the rotation system comes in. It is a meal plan made for a week, and the week can even be repeated (making it a two week plan). You have six meals a day but three of these meals can be rotated with other meal options. Meal options within the same rotation should have approximately the same amount of calories. I originally had 3 meals a day that were repeated daily and did not vary, then incorporated 3 other meals in between that had a rotation. This worked well! Extremely well. I found that I could stick with this and feel great too. I didn't have to figure out calories for 42 different meals I could just do it on a handful of meals.

Here is the basic system:
meal 1 same
meal 2 rotate choose 1 meal out of 3 meals options with approximately same calories
meal 3 same
meal 4 rotate choose 1 meal out of 3 meals options with approximately same calories
meal 5 same
meal 6 change up each night eat with the family

click here for a blank meals planning sheet with the rotation system

The benefits
It is easy -Although it looks a little complicated at first glance it is a simple way to do things.

Saves money- compared to a plan that has several different meals a week. You buy items more in bulk and you are able to use them longer. And since the week plan can expand to two weeks you can do a two week shopping trip and stay out of the store which as anyone one knows that saves money!

It helps to boost metabolism- This system stays with the idea that if you eat the same amount of calories at the same time each day your body knows what to anticipate and actually plans for the calories making your metabolism more efficient.

Variety- It also has enough variety to make things interesting but a pattern to keep things less complicated.

I am not selling this system. It really is a work in progress and will continue to be. My hope is that someone reads through this, tries their own version of my ideas and that their family eats a little better because of it. Good luck everyone!

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One of my sisters lost 25 pounds! I love what she said about it!

My sister Jackie has recently lost 25 pounds. She is absolutely amazing!

I loved what she wrote to another friend on Facebook who was struggling with weight loss so I included it below.

"The other day someone said to me that it was easier for me to lose weight because I liked to exercise.

I was stunned...not just because I have to force or trick myself into exercise most of the time, but because I realized that is what I have always thought about most fit people...

"It is easy for them because they like to eat healthy or they like to exercise."

Wrapping my head around the idea that fit people are fit because they make healthy choices and sometimes deprive them selves of much wanted treats and not because it is just second nature or they don't like sugar... has been hard for me.

Another thing that has been hard for me to realize is that I can work out all day long, kill myself at the gym and still eat healthy, but if I eat too many calories my body is going to store them... even if all my calories came from apples and wheat bread. 

After this process I am a firm believer that weight loss happens 80% in the kitchen and 20% in the gym. Maybe even 90% to 10%. Oh and support has been HUGE for me as well! Don't get discouraged! You can do this!!!"

Happy Healthy Eating!
- Susan
For your free copy please email We send the emails out once, sometimes twice a day, so just be patient with us and we'll get it to you. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pre-Meal Munchie Management

When I begin to cook about a half hour to an hour before dinner, my sharks (little boys) begin to swarm around my feet. The aroma of the meal makes them hungry and thy can hardly stand to wait another minute!

My friend Lisa Willey introduced me to this wonderful concept of putting healthy foods on the cupboard or table at eye level and within reach at this pre-meal time. Sure it might spoil a few appetites to have them snacking right before dinner but it makes fresh fruits and veggies available to the family when they are at their hungriest. 

When we are hungry we will most likely choose foods that are easily within reach and so will our kiddos. I look at it as the pre-meal salad. Here is a picture of our pre-meal munchies this evening. I either take what is left over and put it on the table for dinner or put it in the fridge for other snack times.

Happy Healthy Eating!

- Susan

For my FREE clean eating meal plans please go here and enter your name and email.  You will be sent my printable pdf files with the shopping lists, bulk prep, meal plan and the recipes! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lean "Talk About Taco Salad"-290 calories

Made with protein ranch and microwaved corn chips. It is definitely a yummy, healthy alternative to a once fat filled meal.

I hope this recipe makes sense. This is a favorite family meal that I have modified for myself. I usually make the kids by mixing beans, ranch, turkey and cheese then use normal tortilla chips with theirs. I don't top theirs with salsa and we add in lettuce and mix.

With mine I count the calories and set my portions aside. Here is what I do for mine.

The Fluffy Diet

Here are some new pics of my progress. I know they look a little repetitive and may look like I am going backwards but I am still trying to get back to where I was before I started my holiday free eating in December.

I have been asked a lot about what I am doing since I stopped endurance running and started lifting. I thought I would share. Just remember I am not perfect, just surviving on what I know and how much of that I can do. Please don't use this to judge me. Just love me ;)

The Cut Diet

Since I am sharing other meal plans I might as well share this one. This is an extremely clean meal plan for women. There is a reason that it is called the cut diet because there is not fluff in it at all. It will lean up ANYONE that can follow it. I have another version of this as well but it was shared by a trainer and I am not sure if I can share it on here so until I get permission I will just share this one and it's link. Roy Critchfield pointed me in the direction of this diet.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Basic Nutrient Timed Meal Plan Out-line

I am sharing this sample meal plan outline from Rachael Elizabeth of Cause Fitness. I love her website and she is absolutely darling. If you are more curious about this meal plan click on her link. It refers to a grocery list which she has on her site. I won't include it here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Healthy Breakfast Fruit Pizza!

This is made by using the Oat Cake recipe that I published a couple of days ago.

Healthy Breakfast Fruit Pizza 
You'll love this simple and healthy fruit pizza!
Serves 1

1/3 cup (30 g) of old fashioned oats,
4-5 egg whites,
2 Tbs no sugar apples sauce,
2 tsp splenda or other sweetner,

2 Tbs or 1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt (stats are with fage)
2 tsp splenda or other sweetner,
1/4 banana, 2 strawberries,
1/4 cup blueberries (I used frozen).

Oat cake crust- Put oats in blender or magic bullet until it's flour. Combine egg whites, apple sauce, oat flour and 2 tsp of splenda in blender and mix. Pour mixture in a large nonstick skillet and let cook on medium heat until it begins to bubble like a pancake. Flip and cook until light brown on underside. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl mix non-fat Greek yogurt with sweetner and then add to the top of cooked crust. Add strawberries, blueberries and bananas (see note below) then cut with a pizza cutter. You get to eat the whole thing

1 Pizza
Calories 267
Fat 2g
Chol 0
Sodium 242
Carbs 38 g
Sugar 14 g
Fiber 5g
Protein 26g

***Note - Protein for this is perfect but the overall carbs are higher than what I would like them to be. We can knock out 7 carbs and 30 calories by omitting the 1/4 banana. The blueberries and strawberries make it tasty without.

Microwave Corn Chips

Super easy and no grease! Cut 2 corn tortillas with a pizza cutter in wedges or strips.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Applesauce Oat Cakes

I love these. I don't do well with repetition in my meals but I could eat these every day.
They have great nutrition stats and are an easy way to get the morning egg whites down.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rippedusa cheat sheet

I love how basic this R.I.P.P.E.D. USA website is on meal planning and how to correctly select items for each meal. It also has some great info on blood sugar stabilization. That is where I took the picture above. Just thought I would share.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Clean Eating Shopping List

I stole this (with permission) from my facebook friend Christy Stevenson who I would consider a fitness guru. I love how she did this!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Customized meal plans a recommendation

I hope that is it is clear from the side bar that the meal plans I have shared are meal plans that I have made for my own family. They took a bit of work so I decided to share them on the blog that I had created around changing my lifestyle.

Clean eating has been a difficult lifestyle change for me. I have eaten poorly most of my life. I would eat and poorly but then run several miles to burn off the calories so I stayed somewhat thin but my family suffered. When my brother passed away at age 42 of a sudden heart attack I looked at my husband and children and knew that the change had to be made in my own life.

A friend introduced me to the idea of clean eating. She was busy with her new abounding business (kristi approved) but I hung on to whatever advice I could get out of her. I then began to read more and more about "clean eating". It felt right. I knew that the definition of "Eating Healthy" had been shaded over the years. It can mean anything from fat-free, free range, wheat instead of white, to a restaurant salads that still contain well over 1000 calories a serving and lots of hidden sugars. Clean-eating was more defined (although there is still a little bit of a debate but that is for another post.) I instantly felt better than I ever had when I tried it.

My meal plans are focused around keeping blood sugars level, hitting around 1600 calories and trying to involve the family. It took me a long time to figure out how to manage the meals in a way that I wouldn't get sick of the foods and also make it so I wasn't eating separately from my kids. It only seems fair to share these ideas. We can review the statistics on how a family meal influences our children. Better grades, less chance of substance abuse, and less chance of early sexual activity are just a few things that a meal together with parents and kids can provide. I wanted us to eat together.

I had these meal plans in pdf form on this site over two years ago but took them down and asked that people email me to get them. I receive about 5 emails a week every week until recently when my mail box got flooded for requests so I posted them back up. Since then the statistics on this site have sky rocketed and the plans have gotten a lot of unexpected attention. Some bad some good. Please be aware these are free, they are flawed but they are helpful. They are also not as clean as what I would like but for my family they were functional.

Thanks everyone for reading. I appreciate your kind words and emails!

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Meal Plan Week 7-8 Click on images to enlarge

On the shopping list I indicated what ingredients were for the dinner meals. For example DM2 means dinner meal 2. That way you can swap out dinner meals that work better for your family if these don't work.

On weeks 5-8 I was mostly writing these meal plans for myself so I didnt cite my sources very well on the recipes. The sunrise shake came from biggest loser and so did most of these dinner recipes.

For your free copy of my 7 Day Meal Plan please email We send the emails out once, sometimes twice a day, so just be patient with us and we'll get it to you. 

Week 5-6 Click on images to enlarge

Dinner ideas:
BBQ Sandwiches
Tortilla Pizzas
Pureed Tomato ad Black Bean soup with cream
Healthy turkey meatloaf
Grilled peach and blueberry salad
Tortilla soup

If you would like me to email my Free 7 Day Meal Plan to you, please enter your name and email below. A pdf will be emailed immediately!

Free Meal Plan Fit for a Fam Weeks 3-4

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