Hi CCN Fam! Ashlee here! I'm so excited to share my day with you all but I have to warn you - I'm a big creature of habit and fully adhere to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality. I have no problem eating the same thing for 3 or 4 days in a row. It helps me utilize our leftovers and really puts my healthy choices on auto-pilot. When I don't have to decide what to eat and it's already there, making the healthy choice takes zero effort.
I meal prep, but only once a week and only our CCN staples. Either Saturday or Sunday I will take about an hour to prep smoothies (3 different flavors for the week), a CCN muffin recipe (these usually last me 2 weeks), hard boiled eggs, and if it's during the school year, breakfast burritos for my kids.
I grocery shop once a week and really only plan our dinners. I put them on a specific day of the week but more often than not, they get switched around a bit as things come up in our schedule during the week. I eat leftovers for lunch 90% of the time and I keep my snacks the same to help with our monthly food budget. Other things that help keep our food costs low include at least one meatless meal a week and every Thursday night we do breakfast burritos for dinner (I grocery shop on Fridays so by Thursday night that's pretty much all that is left in the fridge).
Another meal rhythm is our weekly family pizza night. Every Friday night we do pizza and a movie together as a family. The kids get to have a picnic on the floor in front of the TV and we always pick a special treat to have for dessert. 9 times out of 10 we make the pizza homemade. I buy the dough from TJ's every week and I make a big batch of homemade pizza sauce (not CCN but so good) every 5-6 weeks and then freeze it in ice cube trays. I store the cubes in a Ziploc freezer bag and then only pull out what I need each week.
By Fridays, we're all normally pretty exhausted and need to relax a bit before the weekend starts. My kids LOVE this tradition. We've been doing it for at least 3 years now and it's a highlight of everyone's week. It's also been fun to introduce my kids to classic movies my husband and I loved growing up. This is also where I will have my weekly glass (or two, if I'm feeling crazy - ha!) of wine. I limit my alcohol to Fridays and sometimes Saturdays, if we have plans.
Everybody wins on Fridays because it's also one less meal I have to think about cooking. Which if you've done the math now, we've got 3 meals pretty much planned every week (vegetarian, pizza, and breakfast burritos) which makes filling in those other 4 days easy. We eat out maybe 1-2 times a month, max. And if we do, it's normally for lunch after church on Sundays or my husband and I will have a date night out.
Ok, I think that's it for weekly rhythms - here's what I eat in a day:
FOOD: 2000ish? CALORIES/DAY (50% carbs/30% fat/20% protein)
I put a question mark because I don't ever count calories. Some days I eat more, some days I eat less. I consistently eat every 3-4 hours but my portion size differs based on my workout for the day, where I'm at in my cycle, and just life in general. I don't stress about it.
I only drink water throughout the day, sometimes a Spindrift sparking flavored water or a Topo Chico mineral water (with a squeeze of fresh lime) if I'm wanting something different. But that's always in addition to my daily regular water intake.
6:00am WAKE UP - 8 ounces water with splash of ACV
WORK OUT - I wake up and immediately head to our community fitness center to work out. It's about a 3 minute walk from my house, so it's a great warm up just getting myself there. I recently switched up my workouts to POWER in the Kayla Itsines SWEAT app and I'm loving it! It's more weight training and less HIIT than I'm used to doing. I'm still getting in my cardio but am taking a break from running right now. I mostly walk or go for small 1-2 mile slow runs with my kids on their bikes since they're home for the Summer. I workout 6 days a week and do a foam roll/extended stretching session on Sunday afternoons.
7:00am BREAKFAST + 1 cup coffee, black + Ritual Multivitamin
MWF I do a smoothie first thing in the morning. T/TH I have overnight oats as those are usually my cardio heavy days at the gym. The weekends I will either have eggs and fruit or a CCN pancake recipe.
Mango Turmeric Tonic Smoothie
½ frozen banana
1 cup frozen mango
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
2 Tablespoons cashew butter
Large handful of greens
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon maca powder
6-8 ounces unsweetened coconut or nut milk
Ice, if desired
If it's an overnight oats day, then I will have hard-boiled eggs and 1/2 cup of fruit as a snack. I slice them in half and sprinkle them with TJ's Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. If it's a smoothie day, then I will have a CCN muffin recipe for snack. You will notice that my smoothie and snack are only 2 hours apart. This is more for my schedule than anything. If I skipped my am snack, I would be ravenous by 11am and I'm normally not home in time to eat lunch that early.
Banana Peanut Butter Pecan Muffins
Makes about 20 muffins
2 cups rolled oats
2 Tablespoons melted virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup raw honey or pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk (or coconut or other nut milk)
1 cup natural peanut butter
2/3 cup chopped pecans (plus extra pecan halves for optional topping)
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates or raisins
Add the bananas, oats, eggs, coconut oil, chia seeds, honey/maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda, and cashew milk to blender & blend till relatively smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl & add the peanut butter- stir till well mixed. Fold in the pecans and dates. Divide into a lined muffin tin or silicone muffin cups. Top each muffin with a pecan half. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown & a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Leftovers, often times remixed in some way, like a power bowl. I'm a creature of habit and have no problems eating whatever we ate for dinner the night before as lunch the next day. If I don't have leftovers available, then I usually have a pre-made Mexicali salad from TJ's (I use my own dressing) or I make my own salad.
2 crowns of broccoli, chopped
1 cup red grapes, halved
2 dates, chopped
½ red onion, ﬁnely diced
4 Tablespoons sunﬂower seeds
1 Tablespoon of dressing
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/ 3 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons honey
Juice of 1 large lemon
Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss gently until well combined. If making ahead, wait to add apple until just before serving to avoid browning. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until well combined. Pour over broccoli salad mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight.
3:00pm SNACK + Tea
I try to keep my afternoon snack more savory since I've probably already had a sweet snack in the am (either muffins or overnight oats). I will make a cup of green tea even during the summer. It's 100 degrees out and I'm inside drinking my steaming hot tea. I really LOVE doing this in the winter when it's really cold.
Veggies + 1/3 cup hummus sprinkled with pepitas or hemp seeds
OR an Apple and a Chomp Meat Stick, if I'm on the go
My family loves Mexican food so we have tacos, enchiladas, etc. at least once a week. I will do lettuce wraps or corn tortillas and skip the cheese, while my kids love any sort of filling stuffed inside a quesadilla. Which is one of my favorite tricks to getting them to eat dinner!
I use the Crock-Pot often since we're normally busy after school with sports and activities. And it's nice to use in the Summer so I don't have to turn on the oven or the stove and then we can spend more time at the pool in the afternoon!
Crock-Pot Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos
For the chicken:
1 ½ pounds chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 (12-ounce) jar clean salsa verde
1 small yellow onion, chopped
½ yellow bell pepper, sliced
½ green bell pepper, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
1 (4-ounce) can green chilies, diced
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
For the tacos:
Small corn tortillas
Romaine lettuce, shredded
Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Pickled jalapenos (optional)
Combine all the ingredients for the chicken in the Crock-Pot. Cover and cook on LOW 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. When ﬁnished cooking, remove the chicken, shred well with two forks, return to the Crock-Pot and mix everything together well. To serve, place the chicken, veggie and bean mixture in a small tortilla and top with shredded lettuce, avocado slices, tomatoes and pickled jalapenos.
Most days, I will brush my teeth, wash my face, and have my PJs on by 7:30 pm. It helps to signal my brain that I'm done eating for the day. If I do have a treat, it's normally on family pizza night.
Now that I write it all down, it seems like information overload. But really, this is all stuff that has become second nature to me. I make all these decisions (and more) each and every day and don't even think twice about them. Am I perfect? Heck no! And I think that's a common misconception that people have when I tell them what I do for work. That I'm a total robot and love Kale 24/7. Fun fact: I actually HATE Kale. Bleh.
I love donuts, cookies, and cake just like the rest of the world (maybe even more than some people). But there's a time and a place for that. I enjoy eating and I do indulge. But the way I eat is very fluid, very grey - it's taken me 3 years to get over the black/white, good/bad mentality when it comes to food. And I'm still learning. I've learned that restricting only leads to binging so it's helpful for me, personally, not to over-restrict. But I also know my body and know when I've had too much of a good thing. I feel blah and bloated and my anxiety ramps up exponentially when I've been eating too much sugar. I personally try to limit gluten and dairy to the weekends only. I don't have an intolerance to either, I just feel better when I eat less of it. But you better believe come Friday nights, I'm having a slice of pizza with my family!
All this to say, I'm just like everyone else - some days/weeks are healthier than others. But the healthier weeks outweigh the not so healthy ones and that's what keeps me on the up and up! And that's what makes CCN so easy. Long term consistency trumps short term intensity every single time!
Come back next week for a peak into my daily routine and how I fit in all the things!