Monday, December 21, 2015

Planning, Pt I: Food Diary

I've been thinking about my lifestyle of fitness recently, and why it works for me. This week it occurred to me, just like with anything in my life, being active and eating mindfully has taken me a good deal of practice to perfect, but more importantly, it takes A LOT of planning.

For me, everything goes more smoothly if I have a plan, and stick to it (within reason... sometimes life happens, and sticking to the plan is impossible). Sunday is generally my day to lay out the rest of my week, although it often spills over into Monday... Let's be honest, sometimes: Football. For this reason, the following begins a series I will do on


I spend a lot of time thinking about food, you guys... Like, a scary amount. Especially when I'm working out as much as I have been lately. Believe me, I feed myself more than frequently enough, but P will tell you, I'm like a bottomless pit. I think he's exhausted when we're together from trying to keep me fed and happy. Anyway, I truly enjoy planning what I will eat in the following week and finding recipes to make. I've mentioned before, I go to the grocery store once per week (again on Sunday or Monday).

I begin working on a grocery list as soon as I'm inspired (usually immediately after leaving the grocery store for the present week). I find my inspiration on Pinterest most weeks, simply by browsing the home feed, or possibly filtering "paleo" or a specific meat or veggie I have in mind. This week, I found a recipe for barbacoa tacos and another one for brussels sprouts with bacon. I tweaked both of them a bit and came up with a meal plan revolving around the meat. I also included on my list, the snacks and breakfast items I wanted for the week, and my staples (eggs, almond milk, bananas, greens, avocado, sweet potato). Here's the list I headed out with:

Many times, I keep my list general like, "fruit," or "meat." That way, when I get to the store I can price things out, or see what looks fresh and go from there. On this particular shopping trip, I had planned to make barbacoa, but there was a good deal on ground beef so I simply adjusted the recipe to fit that instead (it was delicious!) I also found chicken sausage that sounded like better company for my brussels sprouts, so I went with that.

*Side note: I am pretty particular about my meat, so I make a separate trip to Whole Foods for that (For most items, Whole Foods is a bit too pricey for my budget, but Mariano's is my latest fave-- fresh produce at fair prices).

Here's what my grocery trip yielded:

Now for the prep part:

My method is simple, really. I just make everything on Sunday, separate it into large containers, and put it all in the fridge. Before I head out to work in the morning I take the portion I'd like in a smaller tupperware. Easy as that. I find my preference is to have some options so I don't get bored eating the exact same thing 5-7 days in a row. I will either make multiple dishes in smaller quantities OR I will make one dish in a large quantity but store each ingredient separately so I am able to mix and match from day-to-day. For example, here is what last week's food prep end product looked like:

The original recipe was Paleo sweet potato chili. By keeping the meat separate from the veggies I was able to add either chicken, turkey, or both each day. I also varied it by adding spinach, avocado, or a fried egg. I even ate it one morning for breakfast on top of scrambled eggs (SO good, guys).

This week's menu included two main dishes:

Topped with AVOCADO, and served on a bed of SPINACH

Additionally, I prepped:

Hard-boiled eggs.

I used them throughout the week as breakfast (two eggs + a piece of fruit), or as a between-meal snack. 

 Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

I boiled them in salted water, then mashed them with a fork. Throughout the week, I ate them as a side dish with the main meals above. One particularly delicious combination was the ground beef barbacoa served on top of the mashed sweet potatoes (!!).

                                                  Frozen Chocolate Cashew Milk. 

I used the milk throughout the week in smoothie bowls (new obsession) which include: frozen cashew milk (chocolate if you wish... and I do), coconut milk, berries of your choice (I used blackberries), banana (frozen or not), chia seeds, almond butter, and topped with shredded coconut, raw pumpkin seeds, and slivered almonds. 


Raw pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, and raisins. (Sometimes I add chocolate chips too... shhh).

Other snacks this week included clementines, bananas, and an always-in-stock, emergency back-up in my house, Kind Bars:

So, there you have it! A week of clean eating, Shayla style, all prepped in one day. It really does make a difference for me when it comes to being on-the-go. No more ordering out because you're too tired to make dinner after a busy day, or fast-food on the fly at lunch. Everything you need is ready to go in minutes, saving you the last hassle you want to deal with during a hectic week. 

As always, comments and suggestions help me out! Have an active, and clean week!


  1. I love this! Very similar to how I prep and eat throughout the week. Hard boiled eggs are always at hand in our fridge. So easy for breakfast or snacks!

    1. Hi Bre! Just saw this somehow... Thank you, again. I will have to do more posts like this one I think!

  2. My wife and I just decided to commit to meal prep tonight, and this has been really helpful! I appreciate the effort you put into this!

    1. It will make your life so much easier, trust me... Especially with two kiddos, I can imagine you would rather spend family time than cook a meal every single night. Good luck, and PLEASE keep me updated on how it goes!

  3. These all look great. I do much better with eating when I plan ahead.

  4. Food prep and keeping a food diary is one of the things I struggle with as far as my health regimen goes. Thanks for writing this post!

  5. I couldn't agree more! A healthy diet and lifestyle takes a lot of planning. I am so delighted that you shared your food diary and planning tips with us at the Healthy Happy Green and Natural Party!Thank you so much for sharing your gems and for your support! All the best, Deborah