Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Happy Eats

When I started the blog almost a year ago, I included stats at the end of each post about what I ate and how I trained in the event anybody had suggestions or guidance on what I could be doing better in order to meet my sub 2:00 half marathon goal.

Those that were following along back then probably noted there wasn't a whole lot of variation in my day-to-day or week-to-week meal plan. I tend to stick to the same foods because I approach food the same way I do everything else in the day - get it done and over with and move on to the next thing.

I'm pretty content with the way I eat, but I've been looking for ways to break up the routine a bit. So I was really excited to be offered a two-week free trial to PlateJoy, a new healthy menu planning service, as part of their Ambassador program. (Oh, and I get to offer a $10 discount to readers. You can stop reading here if you are only interested in the discount - just click the image below and use code "Run2016" when checking out*).

This is the first meal planning service that I know about that creates a customized meal plan based on your specific needs. Here's how it works:
  1. Take a short quiz so they know who you are, who else you have to feed, if you have weight-loss goals, how you prefer to eat (gluten free? paleo? ketogenic? whole 30? low fat? vegan? I promise, they've got you covered!), how much you hate mushrooms, how much time you really don't want to spend in the kitchen... you know, the basics. 
  2. PlateJoy then provides you with a meal plan tailored to your needs, complete with recipes and super-organized shopping list. You can easily remove things from the shopping list you might already have in your pantry.
  3. They'll even deliver the groceries you need right to you if you live in a city serviced by Instacart. Unfortunately, mine is not, so I did have to schlep to a few grocery stores. I do pretty much all of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's and Costco, and was a bit bummed to have to go out of my way to get things like "fish sauce" and "kelp noodles." 
So I gave it a try over the last two days and documented all of my efforts on SnapChat (follow me?

low carb paleo smoothie

low carb paleo noodle bowl

Dinner tonight: Manhattan seafood chowder with shrimp and tilapia. I am not a food photographer and barely know how to work my smartphone camera, so I hope I did it justice.

low carb paleo seafood chowder

Anyway, here's the verdict: I'm a huge fan. Every meal I ate over the last two days was really good, and I didn't have to spend an eternity in the kitchen to make them. I had leftovers for lunch, and meals were just as good on the second day as they were on the first. They were very satisfying, and gave me the needed variety I was looking for.

However, I noted one claim that PlateJoy makes is that they reduce food waste. In my two day trial, I was disappointed to see there wasn't a lot of overlap in ingredients, leaving me with partially used cans of tomato paste, opened cartons of broth (did I really need to use chicken broth in one meal and vegetable broth in the other?) and extra veggies that I have to figure out how to use before they go bad. If I'm making a carrot smoothie, why am I using carrot juice and not the carrots I have remaining from my stir fry?

Anyway, a pet peeve of mine is food waste, 

How to solve? Easy! Because I really enjoyed what I was eating, I have no problems making these things again to eat the rest of the week in order to use up the rest of my ingredients. 

So if you are looking for a highly tailored meal plan to shake your routine up, and you don't necessarily mind repeating recipes through the week (or don't mind food waste, although *I* mind you wasting food), I think PlateJoy can really help you meet your health goals. Don't forget to use code "Run2016" to get your $10 discount!

*In full disclosure, PlateJoy did not compensate me for this post, but they did give me a free trial and I will receive a commission if you choose to purchase. If you're on the fence or have any questions, shoot me an email or leave a comment below! Much obliged.  

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