A lot of you have mentioned that you’re on the lookout for quick, healthy, cheap dinner ideas and I am too! I’ve been looking for more and more healthy meal ideas lately, so I thought I put a bunch together as a helpful resource. And just to remind you, no I’m not a registered dietician. I’m just a mom, who is trying to lose some weight. I also believe that there isn’t a way of eating that’s a one size fits all. You need to be aware of what works for your body. Right now, carb-cycling thing is working well for me.
In my six months post-partum update, I talked about how I was five pounds away from my pre-baby weight, and those five pounds were killing me! I had plateaued for 3 months and hadn’t seen the scale budge.
A few days ago, I saw a friend talk about how she was doing a Keto diet and had lost 7 pounds in a week! I had to learn more! So I did a little research and found that a Keto diet can help you lose weight in a short amount of time, but it’s shouldn’t be a regular lifestyle. And that’s what I’m after. A lifestyle, not a diet. So I did a little more research and found out that carb cycling might be a good option. Basically you switch between high-carb/high-protein days and low-carb/high-protein days. Last week was my first week doing it and I lost five pounds!!! I finally reached my pre-baby weight. For the longest time I had blamed breast-feeding for those five pounds, but I just needed to switch up my diet!
I weighed myself this morning, just to be sure, and I’m up 2 pounds…. a little disappointing, but I’ve read that you gain some water weight after your high-carb days, so I’m trying to keep that in mind. Two steps forward and one step back.
First, here’s an example of what my eating schedule looked like this week:
SATURDAY: Cheat day
On my low-carb days I’m allowed 33 grams of carbs, 162 grams of protein, and 16 grams of fat
On my high-carb days I’m allowed 160 grams of carbs, 121 grams of protein, and little to no fat
You can calculate your carb-cycling requirements here
I love this method because I feel that most diets start out strong for the first few days. I can definitely eat a low-carb diet for two days. And just when I think I’m not going to make it anymore, I get a high-carb day and can eat that pasta and bread I’ve been craving (but in a healthy amount).
Here’s a look at what my low-carb day looks like meal-wise:
Eggs (scrambled, fried, baked in the oven, in a quiche) My favorite, and FAST, way to make them is to scramble them in a bowl, add salt and pepper, cook for 1 minute in the microwave, add a little cheese to the top, and cook for one more minute! I top that with some avocado and my breakfast is ready in 3 minutes!
Meat (turkey bacon, turkey sausage)
I’m a creature of habit for breakfast, so I don’t like to deviate too much from these options just so I can keep up with the nutrition aspect. I, for one, don’t want to be calculating a different breakfast dish every day of the week. Eggs, cheese, meat, and avocados have little to no amounts of carbs in them and lots of protein so for breakfast I’ve done pretty well.
Cottage cheese with avocado, salt and pepper, and lime juice (yum!)
Sausage with zucchini
Chicken apple sausages with eggs
Salad with cucumbers, h.b. eggs, and bacon
Again I’m looking for high protein, low-carb options so meats and green veggies are a great option. Sometimes I’ll have half an apple for lunch and that adds 10 carbs.
Hard-boiled eggs (again with the eggs…they are so easy to make and are so good for you)
Carrots and hummus
Dinner (here’s where I add in my carbs for the day):
Crustless Quiche with Spam and broccoli, fruit, and zucchini
Tacos with a lettuce leaf instead of the tortilla, corn, and carrots and guacamole
A small slice of pizza with a large serving of salad and side of fruit
How many carbs are in fruits
How many carbs are in veggies
Here’s what my high-carb day looks like:
Smoothie with 1 cup of berries, vanilla Greek yogurt, spinach, and milk (high protein and about 30 carbs, I really need to get a protein powder to add to this too, any favorites??)
Leftovers of any pasta or rice dishes we’ve had that week
See a list of my favorite health snacks that a perfect for high-carb days
Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice
Basically the rice and pasta dishes I love
When I first started thinking about doing carb-cycling I was freaking out about giving up bread, pasta, and rice! I LOVE them. But I’m fine with having it a few times a week. The hardest part comes in finding substitutions to all of your favorite carbs. Here are a few I’m using:
Rice: Cauliflower Rice
Buns: Lettuce leaves (I love to have my burgers “protein-style” when we go out), tomato slices, sweet potato slices
Tortillas: Lettuce leaves
Bread: Lettuce leaves, apple slices
Without further ado (ha ha! you’re probably thinking FINALLY), here is a list of my go-to health, cheap, quick dinner recipes! These are for low-carb and high-carb days, but you could easily modify them based on the substitutes I’ve given above.
See any favorites??