21 Day Fix Extreme Is Here!

It is finally here! I am beyond excited for this program! The 21 day fix extreme is officially available to purchase through me as your coach!

It combines strength training with steady state cardio and power moves to bring your body 6 days of intense change for your body!

Nutrition is KEY to your results and with Extreme you are going to be eating ONLY clean foods. So in the Fix you were able to have your wine or a treat once in a while. With the Extreme that is gone!  You are 100% clean and you are dialed into nutrition with the portion controlled containers and a list of approved foods and recipes to go along with that!

So who is this program for?

1.  People who want a dramatic short term weight loss solution for a big event like a vacation, class reunion, etc…

2.  21 Day Fix Graduates or individuals who have completed programs like P90X, P90X3, Insanity Max30, T25, Turbofire, Asylum, Chalean Extreme.

3.  People who are ready to change and have a no BS attitude.  There are no excuses, if you want the results its time to dig a little deeper and get them!  The biggest key to this program is the nutrition plan!  Having that will power to say no to the treats!  The great part is that you are not on this journey alone.  My job is to have you in my closed online support and accountability group and coach you through the entire program from beginning to end.  My goal is to make sure that you do in fact get the very best results possible.  I will provide daily accountability, tips, recipes, and we will cheer each other on and help each other stay focused when life gets in the way! Accountability definitely helps keep me on track. 

4.  This program is also for people who don’t want to count calories or macros. Its based on a simple and easy to follow portion controlled container system that gives you a very specific list of foods and ways to prep and prepare your meals.

21 Day Fix Extreme is here, What is the 21 Day Fix Extreme, 21 Day fix Extreme Meal Plan, Results, Melanie Mitro
Sample of a fix meal with the containers

What do you get when you purchase this program?

Well the best way to get this program is with what is called a “challenge pack”  that is the 21 day fix extreme complete program.  7 workouts, the portion controlled containers, the nutrition guide, program manual, countdown to competition plan and a bonus DVD called the “CHALLENGE” which you only get when you order through me as your coach!  This comes with free shipping and a discounted price when you purchase the package this way! Honestly this is the best bang for your buck.  This also gives you access into my challenge group for the customized support, meal planning, tips, recipes, accountability, how to handle cravings, temptations and social events!  I won’t let you fail.  If you want to succeed we will do this together!  I love my job and seeing other people reach their goals is the best feeling in the world.

I am also launching the 21 day fix extreme test group starting on the 9th of February!  I am going to help you set realistic goals, teach you how to follow the meal plan, how to plan your week, your days, your meals and snacks so that you can get the best results possible. We will hold each other accountable with a daily check in and rating of your day!  Our goal is to help you reach the results that you want!!!!  Do you want to do this program but you are AFRAID you will fail or that it will be another program that sits on the shelf and collects dust?  Well then join the accountability group! It does not cost anything additional.  It’s just a perk of purchasing the program through me as your coach!

If you are ready to change, I will help you succeed!!!!!

Why am I doing the 21 day fix???  I am going on a Team Beachbody Trip in 2 months to Cancun & I want to be bikini ready!

It takes more than 1 month to reach your ultimate goals with your health and fitness!  So I know that if I start now I will be at the goal when the weather warms up!

Get the 21 Day Fix EXTREME NOW!!!!!  HERE

21 day fix extreme is here, get the 21 day fix extreme, pittsburgh coach

Sweet Potato Skins with Turkey Bacon and Tomato

sweetpotato

Nutritious baked sweet potatoes replace fried white potatoes in this healthy makeover of a popular bar snack. Instead of fatty bacon and sour cream, our sweet potato skins recipe uses turkey bacon and nonfat Greek yogurt. With only 190 calories per serving, they make a delicious snack, and can even be eaten for lunch or dinner.

Total Time: 20 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min.
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
4 baked medium sweet potatoes, cut in half
1 tsp. olive oil
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
8 Tbsp. low-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 slices cooked turkey bacon, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
8 green onions, thinly sliced

Preparation:
1. Heat oven to 400° F.
2. Scoop flesh out of sweet potatoes and reserve for another use.
3. Place skins on a baking sheet. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 minutes, or until crisp.
4. Top each sweet potato half evenly with yogurt, turkey bacon, tomato, and green onions.

Sweet potato skins with turkey bacon nutrition facts and meal plan portions

77 Crock Pot Recipes

77crockpot

I love my crock pot! It makes cooking so much more convenient & almost stress free. Almost. Here are recipes from breakfasts to desserts that you can prep in a crock pot!

Breakfast

Photo: Amber Massey / Chocolate Broccoli

1. Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Tart apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and walnuts — what’s not to love? Start this recipe the night before and wake up to a delicious-smelling house and a hot, healthy breakfast.

2. Banana Bread Quinoa Why not begin the day with a protein-rich superfood like quinoa? This recipe highlights why people love slow-cookers: Just dump the ingredients into a Crockpot and let them hang out together for a few hours. Insta-breakfast.

3. Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos This vegetarian burrito filling includes loads of vegetables, beans, and eggs. Cook vegetables, spices, and beans together in the slow cooker overnight. Stuff tortillas with the filling and fresh scrambled eggs in the morning.

4. Greek Yogurt Making yogurt from scratch is takes some time, but it’s hands-off with a slow cooker and it’s much cheaper than buying it at the supermarket. Heat milk for about two hours using the high setting of the slow cooker. Unplug the slow cooker and let the milk cool a bit and then mix in ½ cup of store-bought plain yogurt. Wrap the still-warm (but unplugged!) slow cooker in a towel and let it sit out overnight. Once you have a batch of regular plain yogurt, go Greek by straining through a few layers of cheesecloth lining a colander. Let the mixture strain in the fridge overnight, and wake up to an extra thick and creamy bowl of Greek yogurt!

5. Baked Apples This healthy treat is usually served after dinner, but it works just as well in the morning. Add a spoonful of Greek yogurt on top for a hit of protein to keep moving all morning.

6. Pork Breakfast Burritos For the meat eaters out there, here’s an easy pork-based burrito filling that can be made overnight. Choose lean meat to make this spicy filling as healthy as possible. Add in some fresh avocado or spinach for good measure.

7. Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Risotto Forget the constant stirring and standing at the stove. This risotto recipe is super user-friendly. Add the ingredients to a slow cooker and set it on high heat for three to five hours, or low heat for six hours. Cut down (or out) the butter and use skim milk to make the recipe even healthier.

8. Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns These special occasion-worthy cinnamon buns are totally vegan and spiked with pumpkinpuree and plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Perfect for a chilly winter morning… or any other time.

9. French Toast Casserole Take the hassle out of French toast by baking it casserole-style in a slow cooker. The recipe calls for raw apples, but feel free to sub in bananas or other fruit for a bit of variety.

10. Hot Chocolate Oatmeal When a massive chocolate craving strikes first thing in the morning, this breakfast hits the spot. Despite the name, this oatmeal recipe isn’t too decadent — it uses coconut or skim milk, vanilla, and a bit of brown sugar to add sweetness.

11. Spinach and Mozzarella Frittata Hosting a brunch party? Mix up this vegetarian frittata early and let it cook for an hour or so before guests arrive. Part-skim mozzarella cheese, low-fat milk, and plenty of fresh veggies make this a smart option at the breakfast table.

12. Breakfast Casserole Reduced-fat cheese, turkey bacon, and skim milk make this version of a full diner breakfast much healthier. Make this crowd-pleasing dish vegetarian-friendly by ditching the bacon.

13. Blueberry-Chia Quinoa Power up for the day ahead with an antioxidant-filled, superfood-heavy breakfast. Quinoa provides plenty of protein, while the blueberries, chia seeds, and almond milk give the dish a healthy and flavorful boost.

14. Banana Bread This super-light banana bread is also gluten-free. Baking it in a slow cooker instead of the oven means running out to do errands during the cooking time is totally A-OK. This recipe cooks in about four hours on high.

15. Almond-Cherry-Coconut Granola Homemade granola is much cheaper and healthier than the store-bought stuff (who knows what’s in that cute package?!). Bonus — mixing and cooking it all in a slow cooker instead of the oven means there’s only one dish instead of multiple bowls and baking sheets to wash!

Soups and Stews

Photo: Jennifer / The Evolution of Jenn

16.  Two-Bean Beef Chili Take traditional chili up a notch with two types of beans and lean ground beef. Cook down the onions to remove some of the water, and then add them to the slow cooker with the other ingredients for four to six hours.

17. Root Vegetable Stew This filling soup (make it vegan with vegetable broth) uses every all-star in the winter root veggie playbook. Potatoes, carrots, parsnips, baby pumpkin, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes make this stew a seasonal winner. Chickpeas, raisins, spinach, and a hint of saffron keep it interesting.

18. Lumberjack Vegetable Soup This vegan stew is a great way to use up winter root vegetables like rutabaga and carrots. More veggies like celery, spinach, and mushrooms make it a smart choice any time of year.

19. Chicken Tortilla Soup This Mexican-style soup is hearty but not too heavy for a quick lunch or dinner. Chicken and cheese add protein into the mix. Throw some avocado in for some healthy fat!

20. Chicken Pho This recipe uses old chicken bits (hello, leftovers) to make a flavorful, rich chicken broth. Crunchy red onions, bean sprouts, and cilantro keep this traditional Vietnamese soup fresh.

21. Spicy Black Bean Soup For many of us, remembering to soak dried beans ahead of time is surprisingly difficult. In this vegan recipe, combine straight-from-the-bag beans and hot water (along with other ingredients like peppers, onions, garlic, and chipotle chilies) in the slow cooker and remove the need for planning ahead.

22. Apple-Parsnip Soup This light soup is the definition of easy — there are only five ingredients including salt! To make a vegan version, use vegetable broth instead of chicken.

23. Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup This might be the ultimate slow cooker recipe. Toss chopped vegetables, sweet potatoes, lentils, herbs, and vegetable broth and cook on low for 10 hours. Start the process at night and wake up to a hearty blend of veggies, potatoes, and beans.

24. Cajun Stew Get ready for some serious bayou flavor. This stew is loaded with Southern flavors like andouille sausage, shrimp, and okra. Serve it with plenty of rice (and maybe some grits, too).

25. Squash, Chickpea, and Red Lentil Stew Combine squash, chickpeas, and lentils to make this super nutritious stew. The secret ingredient — peanuts — gives this recipe plenty of North African flavor.

26. Curried Carrot Soup This brightly colored soup is perfect for a dreary winter day. It gets its bold hue from cold-weather staples sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, and curry powder.

27. Chinese Pork and Vegetable Hot Pot This filling, warming soup — flavored with anise, cinnamon, and ginger —makes a great winter dinner for a crowd.

Meat Entrees

Photo: Jessica / How Sweet It Is

28. Mini Turkey Meatballs Everyone needs a comfort food fix every once in a while. Enter these healthy mini turkey meatballs, made with lean ground meat, olive oil, quinoa, and antioxidant-rich tomatoes. Serve them with whole-wheat pasta, crusty bread, or a side of warm roasted veggies.

29. Pork Tacos No need to slave over a hot grill to make barbeque-worthy pulled pork. For this recipe, season the meat, stick it in a slow cooker overnight and wait for the magic (err…the pulled pork, that is). Add salsa, lettuce, guacamole, and any other toppings and wrap everything up in a flour tortilla for some showstopping soft tacos.

30. Meaty Red Beans and Rice Use lean ground turkey or chicken to make the meatballs for this quick and simple lunch. Beans are full of protein, fiber, iron, folate, and magnesium, so dig in!

31. Chicken Stroganoff Beef stroganoff is a classic comfort dish, but the tons of cream usually involved don’t exactly make it a health food. This recipe uses organic mushroom soup, plain yogurt, and skinless chicken breasts to lighten up the classic dish.

32. BBQ Beef Sandwiches Use a slow cooker to make this super-tender BBQ beef overnight. After cooking for seven hours, pull the meat apart with forks and serve on a whole-grain roll or brown rice.

33. Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps Make a double batch of this easy shredded buffalo chicken; we promise it won’t go to waste. Salads, soup, pizza, wraps, and sandwiches all benefit from a hit of spicy meat! Or keep it fresh (and simple) with easy lettuce wraps.

34. Honey Sesame Chicken No need to get takeout when a hankering for Chinese food strikes! This homemade recipe is lower in sodium and calories than the restaurant version. To make it even healthier, steam the broccoli instead of stir-frying it.

35. Rancher’s Roast Beef This hearty pot roast gets its flavor from homemade ranch dressing and sweet peppers. Make it really tender by cooking on the slow cooker’s high setting for three to four hours or low for six to eight hours.

36. Coconut Curry Chicken Making a curry at home sounds difficult, but this dish only calls for three “exotic” ingredients — coconut milk, curry powder, and garam masala spice mix — and all of them can be found at most grocery stores. Serve this flavorful dinner with a side of brown rice or Indian naan bread.

37. Pulled Pork Make this super low-maintenance sandwich filling overnight. Apple cider vinegar, onion, and honey give this pulled pork a distinct sweet-and-sour flavor.

38. Wine and Tomato Braised Chicken Remove the skin from chicken thighs to make this dish even lighter. Balance out the bacon’s hearty, smoky depth with a splash of acidic white wine and some antioxidant-rich tomatoes.

39. Lamb Curry Not exactly a master chef? This curry is perfect for those who don’t love fussing around the stove. Add the ingredients (all seven of ‘em) to a slow cooker, turn it on, and leave it alone for about three hours.

40. Hungarian Beef Goulash This spicy Hungarian dish gets its flavor from beef coated in crushed caraway seeds, paprika, and plenty of salt and pepper. Add veggies and let the concoction simmer in a slow cooker for four hours (on high) or seven hours (on low).

41. Stuffed Peppers Fill bell peppers with raw ground beef and cooked rice and cook them for six to eight for an easy, healthy one-dish dinner.

42. Turkey Osso Buco Sauté onions, garlic, carrots, and celery and place them in a slow cooker with some turkey thighs and drumsticks. Cover the entire shebang in tomatoes boiled in red wine and cook for five to six hours until the meat falls off the bone.

43. Moroccan Lamb A roasted bone-in lamb shank resting on a bed of couscous looks fancy, but it isn’t too hard to make in a slow cooker. The key to a deep, rich flavor is searing the meat on the stovetop before adding it to the vegetables and spices in the slow cooker.

Vegetarian and Fish Entrees

Photo: Cara / Cara’s Cravings

44. Shrimp and Artichoke Barley Risotto Barley and risotto are normally words associated with fancy, fussy food. Not so with a slow cooker! This recipe takes about ten minutes to prep, so there’s no excuse not to whip up some risotto for a weeknight dinner.

45. Cedar Plank Salmon Missing summer? Channel grill season’s best with this salmon that’s made on a cedar plank in a slow cooker. The trickiest part is finding (or cutting down) and preparing the plank to fit into the pot.

46. Loaded Baked Potatoes No oven is no problem for this baked potato recipe. Cook whole potatoes in the slow cooker and add separately cooked toppings like sautéed broccoli, mushrooms, and onions on top.

47. Vegetarian Tamale Pie Enjoying Tex-Mex cuisine can be tough for vegetarians, but this recipe uses soy crumbles instead of ground beef. Make it healthier by going easy on the cheese and butter.

48. Barley Risotto with Fennel Prepare this recipe for friends and family members who love strong flavors! Basic barley risotto gets a punch of fennel with seeds and bulbs as well as plenty of garlic and olives.

49. Vegetarian Lasagna Using a slow cooker takes the fuss out of vegetable lasagna. Layer raw vegetables, whole-wheat noodles, cheese, and tomato sauce and let everything cook together for two hours.

50. Vegetable Curry This classic curry features carrots, potatoes, chickpeas, and green beans. Make sure to use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make it vegetarian-friendly.

51. Garlic Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” This recipe has all of the “comfort factor” of classic mashed potatoes, but way fewer carbs and calories. Use the slow cooker to steam a head of cauliflower, and then add garlic, a bay leaf, and some butter and milk to give it some flavor.

52. Ratatouille As with any ratatouille, this is more of a guide than a strict recipe. Stuck with sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes? Chuck them in the pot! No mushrooms? Whatever! Use ratatouille as pasta sauce, for filling an omelet, with beans or meat mixed in, etc. It’s the perfect dish to use up all those veggies lingering in the fridge.

53. Squash Lasagna This nontraditional lasagna gets a healthy kick from whole-wheat noodles, part-skim ricotta and mozzarella cheese, puréed squash, and spinach.

54. Indian Chole Perfect for busy days, this light meal is super easy to prepare. Mix peppers, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and plenty of spices together in a blender. Add the chickpeas and let everything simmer away in a slow cooker for six to seven hours (like, say, while you sleep!).

Dessert

Photo: Amanda / Pickles & Honey

55. Banana Brown Betty What’s a brown betty? It’s like a cobbler or a bread pudding in that it contains buttery bread and sweet, spiced fruit. This banana-infused version is soy-free, vegan, and can easily be made gluten-free.

56. Poached Pears with Caramel Sauce Take the fruit out of the pie and you end up with these cinnamon and ginger poached pears covered in caramel sauce. Eat them alone or add a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt to make it even tastier.

57. Clean Eating Brownies These decadent brownies are surprisingly un-junky. Unprocessed ingredients like mashed bananas, egg whites, whole-wheat flour, honey, and unsweetened cocoa powder make these treats relatively healthy.

58. Pumpkin Bread This simple recipe comes together in about three hours including prep time. It’s not too sweet, so this yummy bread could work as a quick breakfast or with a cup of tea as an afternoon snack.

59. Chocolate Fudge Homemade candies usually aren’t lower in calories than store-bought sweets, but they typically have fewer chemicals and preservatives. This fudge is made with chocolate chips, coconut milk, honey, vanilla, and sea salt. That’s all, folks.

60. Brown Rice Pudding This rice pudding recipe includes whole-grain brown rice, low-fat coconut and cow’s milk, and plenty of raisins and cinnamon.

61.  Apple Crisp This recipe uses half the butter of classic apple crisp recipes. Layer apples, walnuts, spices, brown sugar, and flour topping and cook in the slow cooker for four hours on the low setting. A touch of apple butter (recipe below!) keeps this dessert moist and contributes to the strong apple flavor.

62. Orange Zinger Cheesecake Cut the cream cheese in half with this citrus-flavored dessert by subbing in tofu! This makes it much lighter than a traditional cheesecake. Blend the ingredients together, place them in a pan, and stick the pan into the slow cooker for about three hours on high.

63. Berry Cobbler This summery dessert works just as well with frozen berries, so feel free to serve it long after the leaves start falling. Serve warm, and with a scoop of frozen yogurt on top if you’re so inclined.

64. Pumpkin Custard This dessert falls somewhere between pumpkin pie and crème brulée. What’s not to love? Blend the ingredients together and fill ramekins or oven-safe jars 2/3 full. Place in a slow cooker holding an inch of hot water, and cook the custards for four to six hours.

Snacks, Drinks, and Sauces

Photo: Stephanie / Taste for Adventure

65.  Pumpkin Butter Throw pumpkin puree, apple juice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and sugar into the slow cooker and let everything gel together for about five hours. Stir occasionally to prevent the pumpkin-y goodness from getting burnt around the edges!

66. Slow-Cooker Bread No-knead slow cooker bread means that anyone with about five minutes of free time can make a delicious homemade loaf. Baking bread in the slow cooker actually takes less time than the oven, because the bread rises and cooks all in one step.

67. Mulled Apple Cider Hosting friends for a winter party? Greet them at the door with a cup of warm mulled apple cider. Combine cider, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg for a yummy non-alcoholic beverage that makes the whole house smell like autumn to boot.

68. Cranberry Sauce Why restrict cranberry sauce to Thanksgiving dinner? The sweet-and-sour holiday classic tastes amazing on meat, poultry, or baked goods all year round. A bit of orange juice gives this recipe a tangy kick.

69. Mulled Red Wine Nothing warms from the inside out quite like mulled wine (seriously, ask Dickens). To make this winter classic, mix a bottle of dry red wine with aromatic spices and orange slices and heat everything together in the slow cooker.

70. Cinnamon Apple Butter Make breakfast or snack time more interesting with a dollop of this spiced spread. Apple butter tastes amazing on a slice of toast or stirred into a cup of plain yogurt. This version has no added sugar.

71. Citrus Cider This bright non-alcoholic beverage is perfect for a kid’s party. The unexpected combination of lemon and orange juices with cinnamon and cloves makes for a delicious drink.

72. Spiced Nuts Make your own sweet and spicy snack mix for munching between meals or as a delicious party appetizer. Coat nuts with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and a bit of powdered sugar and cook in a slow cooker for about two hours.

73. Zucchini and Tomato Pasta Sauce Make a double (or triple) batch of this easy pasta sauce and freeze the extra for later! To make it vegetarian, just take out the turkey sausage.

74. Ginger-Lemon Hot Toddy The hot toddy gets a flavorful makeover with fresh lemon, crystallized and fresh ginger, and a touch of rum. Cook the non-alcoholic ingredients together for four hours before adding the rum and brandy.

75. Apple Butter Yeast Rolls These little bread nuggets flavored with apple butter are great for a dinner party, Thanksgiving dinner, or even a light breakfast.

76. Spirited Hot Mocha This sweet drink would make a great after-dinner beverage. Coffee balances out the semisweet chocolate, and a touch of brandy gives it an adult edge. To make this drink kid-friendly, just take out the alcohol.

77. Curried Almonds For this savory snack, coat blanched almonds in curry powder and a bit of seasoned salt. Add to the slow cooker and cook on high for approximately one hour, stirring occasionally.

8 Tips To Eat Healthy On A Budget

Eat-Healthy-on-a-Budget_dybybq

Eating fresh, healthy, organic, local foods sounds great—but what if you’re on a budget? Maybe you dream of shopping at Whole Foods, but the cold, hard light of day finds you wheeling down the aisles at your local grocery store.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to eat well and actually save money in the process. Your shopping list isn’t going to include vegetarian, brown rice sushi rolls from the macrobiotic deli case, but trust us, you’ll live.

1. Don’t shop hungry!

How often do you swing by the market on your way home from work, tired and starving? While this seems like grandmotherly advice, it’s firmly rooted in current research; a new Cornell study shows that people who shop while hungry are more inclined to buy more calorically dense food. Keep a piece of fruit or a small Ziploc® bag full of raw nuts in your bag to guard against filling your cart with foods you’re craving now but wouldn’t buy on a full stomach.

2. Buy flash-frozen fruits, vegetables, and fish.

While any processing takes away from a food’s maximum nutritional value, flash freezing is a great way to preserve vitamins and minerals when vegetables and seafood are at their freshest. And the convenience of a bag of veggies or a filet of fish in the freezer can’t be beat. The price? For seafood, there’s no comparison: fresh is much more expensive—when you can get it at all. (If you check at your local grocer’s fish counter, you’ll find that much of what is being sold in the case as fresh has in fact been previously frozen.) Produce is trickier: frozen is sometimes, but not always, cheaper than fresh, in-season, fruits and vegetables.

3. Shop at your local farmers market.

This may surprise you, but it’s cheaper to get your veggies—organic or not—at the local farmers’ market than at the local supermarket. A 2011 study by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont is one of several around the country showing that farmers’ market prices are consistently lower than those of neighboring grocery stores. Who knew? So have a great time shopping with your neighbors and supporting local farmers, and be happy in the knowledge that you’re saving money too.

4. Stick to your list.

Don’t cave in to the snazzy packaging on the supermarket shelves. Make your meal plan and shopping list at home, and then stick to it. Here’s the exception: when you shop at the farmers’ market or local produce stand, sometimes a gorgeously fresh fruit or vegetable will stand out—one you hadn’t planned on. Build some flexibility into your list to account for these unanticipated treasures . . . just decide which meals you want to add them to before purchasing. A good rule of thumb is to stick absolutely to your list of pantry items, but give yourself some leeway with fresh, seasonal foods.

5. Eat lots of beans and always soak your own.

Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and form the cornerstone of many world cuisines. And they’re dead cheap—if you buy them dried. Soaking your own beans is easy, though it does take more planning than opening a can of them. But it’s no big deal. Just decide the night before what you’re going to eat the next day. If a meal includes beans, then put them in a pot of water to soak and leave them overnight. In the morning, let them cook as you’re getting ready for the day.

6. Buy in bulk.

Costco® and other warehouse stores sell fruits and vegetables at ridiculously low prices—if you’re willing to buy, say, 15 pounds of potatoes or 8 pounds of oranges at a time. You’re in for some work at home, but at those prices, who’s complaining? Also, in many regions it is possible to pair up with another family or two and buy a portion of either a cow or a pig directly from a local farmer. In exchange, you will receive many, many neatly wrapped and labeled packages of meat. An extra freezer is necessary for this, but well worth the investment if you live in a region where such arrangements exist. Another huge benefit of this is that you know the animal was not raised on a factory feedlot. Therefore, the meat will likely be free from the steroids and antibiotics that plague grocery store bargain meat cuts.

7. Join a CSA.

Community Supported Agriculture is another way to save money by cutting out the middleman. With a CSA, you pay a flat fee up front. On the East Coast it’s typically $400-$500—for a whole growing season of produce! Every week you get a box of whatever came out of the farmer’s field. Like buying in bulk at warehouse stores, this calls for some time and creativity in the kitchen. In late summer, we sometimes freak out trying to figure out what to do with all those perfect, ripe tomatoes. What a problem to have!

8. Cut your consumption.

Over the last few decades, restaurant portions have become gargantuan, and we somehow seem to think that a platter of food is actually a single serving. Most restaurant entrées can easily feed two or three. So when you’re out, either share a single entrée, or get half boxed for another meal. And at home, serve smaller portions on smaller plates. It won’t take long at all before you’re satisfied with sensible portions!

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Turkey Meatloaf

Homemade Ground Beef Meatloaf with Ketchup and Spices

Total Time: 1 hour 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients:
2 lbs. raw 93% lean ground turkey breast
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup all-natural marinara sauce, no sugar added

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Combine turkey, eggs, onion, celery, bell pepper, oats, tomatoes, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well with clean hands or a rubber spatula.
3. Place turkey mixture in two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans (or a large cast iron skillet). Bake for 45 minutes; spread marinara sauce evenly on top of both loaves. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through.