Trim Healthy Mama Budget Menu

Looking for a Trim Healthy Mama Budget Menu to help keep your food costs down? Read on.

I’ll be honest here and admit something. Since I started Trim Healthy Mama, my grocery spending has gone up. I’m not gonna lie. It’s worth it. The sustainable weight loss I’ve experienced and the non-scale victories are totally worth it! I know that long-term, spending a little more on a better diet will cost less than the chronic disease that results from a standard (crappy) American diet.

Recently I’ve begun thinking more about how to lower my monthly bills. Since I have 7 kids, grocery spending is our biggest expense after housing. Therefore, spending less on the food budget has a quick impact.

When we think about creating a budget menu for Trim Healthy Mama, sometimes our first thought is, “How can I spend less on the food I’m buying?”. Truly, however, that’s backwards. What we should be asking is, “Which foods are inexpensive to start with and are on-plan?” Do you see the difference? The first approach will have you scouring for sales, coupons and coupon codes. The second is far less stressful.

Trim Healthy Mama Budget Menu

Trim Healthy Mama Budget Menu: Start with Protein

Since Trim Healthy Mama meals are anchored with protein, let’s start with that. Which protein sources are least expensive?

A Google search turned up the following information on quite a few pages (most of them about bodybuilding, lol!). Budget sources of protein include:

  • Canned tuna
  • Eggs
  • Whey protein (this surprised me – maybe bodybuilders are using cheap whey protein. The THM whey protein is around .89 a scoop, hardly cheap – so instead, use cottage cheese or half a scoop instead. The Trimmy drinks only call for a teaspoon of whey protein powder.)
  • Ground beef
  • Frozen chicken breast
  • Cottage cheese
  • Ground turkey

(You know what’s NOT on the list that should be? Gelatin! A tablespoon of gelatin has 11 grams protein. (A can of Great Lakes gelatin has 38 servings, making it around .50 a serving. The Trim Healthy Mama gelatin is a little cheaper. )

See anything cool here? These are all on plan! Try forming the bulk of your meals around these protein foods. Canned tuna is especially cheap and it’s a Fuel Pull. I love it with hot sauce sprinkled on. You can make it an S food by mixing it with mayo. A half can of tuna along with sides will fill you up for hours. Around here, eggs have been around a buck a dozen. That’s a dime for almost a complete meal!

Cottage cheese is also cheap. I love it with sweet potatoes instead of meat. (If you mash it into a hot sweet potato, it sort of melts and gets gooey!)

Trim Healthy Mama Budget Menu: Now for the sides

What about produce? We THM types like to eat a lot of non-starchy vegetables. Check out this list of the cheapest vegetables by month. Because there’s no way I’m going to remember this list when I’m at the store, I simply have a price per pound in my head that I’m willing to pay for fresh fruits and vegetables, and I don’t go over it. That price dictates what I buy. For fruit, it’s .99 a pound. That means I buy apples and bananas more than anything else unless something’s on sale.

Do the same for meat. Vow to never spend over .99 a pound except for special occasions. If you shop loss leaders, you can accomplish this easily. You might not have as much variety, but who needs a different type of meat each day of the week to be happy?

Frozen! Frozen veggies and fruits are almost always cheaper than fresh in my area.

Don’t forget your E meals and snacks. Since they’re fueled with carbs, and carbs are inexpensive foods, E meals and snacks help the THM food budget. See how to get enough E meals and snacks here. Oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruit: all cheap!

Ease up on the fats. Since fats are the most expensive, ounce for ounce, of any foods we buy (nuts are more expensive than steak), try eating more Light S meals. Avocados, nuts, cheese are all delicious, but they’re easy to overdo and can cause weight loss plateaus or stalls (which is why they’re not on the Fuel Cycle plan!).

Bulk it up. If you eat a lot of a particular food, say brown rice or oats, price that food in bulk quantities. I get my oats, brown rice and beans in 25-50 pound buckets. This is a bit of an investment up-front, but the price per pound is better than what I can get at the cheapest grocery store. I get my bulk stuff from Amazon. Two good brands are Augason Farms and Honeyville.

Trim Healthy Mama Budget Menu
My 50 pound bag of oats. Because we eat oats in some form every day.

I haven’t investigated warehouse clubs. Many frugal bloggers love them though, so it’s worth checking their prices.

Go NSI. No Special Ingredients – these recipes are marked in the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook because they contain no special, fancy ingredients (just an on-plan sweetener in the case of desserts).

Shop your local Scratch ‘n Dent. I don’t have one nearby, but I do have a Bargain Hunt, and I find THM-safe food there every time I go! I’ve bought flavorings, teas, canned food, protein bars and other things, all at a discount.

Shop at ALDI if you have one nearby. ALDI prices just plain beat everyone’s. If you have to drive a long way to get to an ALDI, it might be worth it to stock up once a month. They have awesome prices on unsweetened almond milk, 0% Greek yogurt, eggs, shredded cheese, produce and meat. Here is a free ALDI shopping list for THM. See all the pages tagged “ALDI“.

Eliminate Convenience. Anytime a human or a machine does something to process your food, you’ll pay. So romaine hearts are cheaper than bagged salads. Whole fruit is cheaper than cut. Blocks of cheese are cheaper than shredded (though not always – check prices per pound!). Riced cauliflower is more expensive than whole. Salad dressing can be whipped up in a minute and is cheaper and healthier than store bought. A large jar of Slim Belly Jelly is a fraction of the cost of all-fruit jelly. When eggs are cheap, it’s less expensive to separate them yourself rather than using boxed egg whites. Etc.

Learn to love pure stevia. THM pure stevia powder is the most budget-friendly sweetener they offer. It’s fine to start with Gentle Sweet if you begin THM as a sugar addict, but slowly acclimate your taste buds. Put your big girl panties on!

Stock up when the Trim Healthy Mama store offers a sale. Guess who ordered 3 bags of Baking Blend when it went on sale for 3 for 16.99 even when she already had two bags in her pantry? Yeahme. If you’ve ordered from the girls before, you’re on their list and they’ll email you when a sale hits. Take advantage!!

Eat smaller portions. Yeah, I went there! Just because we’re on Trim Healthy Mama and have food freedom doesn’t mean we need to eat on plates the size of a small parking space. Look at your grandma’s plates from the 50’s. They were probably 9″ in diameter, whereas modern plates are up to 15″! This is insanity. SIZE MATTERS. French women don’t get fat, and neither did our grandmothers – because small portions! Keep in mind that a portion of protein should be the size of a deck of cards. A portion of cheese? Two dice. Etc. Here’s a nice visual using your hand to help you remember this.

Fill your plate with non-starchy vegetables! The THM authors don’t just tell us this because it helps us stay thin. It also costs less!

Start a price book and use it to guide purchases and meal planning. This can be as simple as keeping grocery receipts for a few weeks. Write in a notebook or computer document the items you buy most often and the price you pay. You’ll start to see patterns – what’s a good deal (stock up!), and what’s not (eat something else).

Since the THM E pancakes/waffles are made with cottage cheese, egg whites and oats, the contain no special ingredients and are budget friendly
Since the THM E pancakes/waffles are made with cottage cheese, egg whites and oats, they contain no special ingredients and are budget friendly. Maple syrup is expensive, but the faux syrup recipe is cheap!

Sample Trim Healthy Mama Budget Menu

Budget THM Breakfasts

  • Oats with berries and 0% Greek yogurt or cottage cheese for protein (I like to blend my cottage cheese with a dash of vanilla extract and stevia to make it extra-creamy, almost like cheesecake!). E fuel.
  • 2 scrambled or fried eggs with sauteed vegetables or greens – hold the expensive cheese! Enjoy your eggs Deep S.
  • 1 large ground turkey patty with stewed apples (cook them in a very small amount of butter and a bit of water, add cinnamon and stevia). E fuel.
  • Leftover brown rice, warmed with a dash vanilla, cinnamon, almond milk and stevia for Hot Breakfast Rice. (Add a protein source like a Trimmy with collagen and whey protein, or put egg whites in the brown rice while you’re warming it.) E fuel.
  • Any of the smoothie recipes (sub 1/3 cup cottage cheese for whey protein)
  • Trim Healthy Mama E pancakes (made with oats, egg whites and cottage cheese)

My week on Trim Healthy Mama: a Fuel Pull lunch

Budget THM Lunches

  • Waldorf Salad from the cookbook
  • Any of the single serving soups from the cookbook
  • Tuna prepared how you like it, with a side salad and homemade dressing
  • Sweetie on steroids (cottage cheese, cooked chicken or ground turkey for protein)
  • Cajun-style rice and beans (with ground turkey or low-fat chicken sausage for protein)
  • Creamless Creamy Chicken (over cabbage)
  • Egg Roll in a Bowl – especially if you buy your cabbage whole and cut it yourself! Cabbage is super cheap.
TrimHealthyMama Popcorn Recipes!
Popcorn is an E fuel and is on plan! And it’s VERY budget friendly.

Budget THM Snacks

  • Glucomannan, since only a tiny amount is required, is quite cheap. Therefore, recipes that call for it are usually inexpensive. Gluccie Pudding is an example. – FP
  • Apple slices with peanut flour/0% Greek yogurt dip – E fuel
  • Celery sticks (chopped yourself!) with peanut flour/0% Greek yogurt dip – FP
  • Peanut flour is also very budget-friendly. A tablespoon only costs about a dime! Use it instead of peanut butter. It’s cheaper and has far fewer calories.
  • Oat flour is less expensive than Baking Blend, so find recipes using it.
  • Cottage Berry Whip is a Fuel Pull, inexpensive and very filling.
  • Popcorn!! Popcorn costs pennies per serving. Find Trim Healthy Mama popcorn recipes here.

Budget THM Dinners

  • Buy large bags of frozen chicken – these are often priced far lower than fresh. You can throw them straight into the slow cooker (or Instant Pot) too.
  • Any of the bean soups from the cookbook are budget-friendly.
  • Egg roll in a Bowl
  • Lentil soup
  • Cowboy Grub (with plenty of veggies, rice and beans, less meat)
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Sweet Potato Bar
  • Vegetable Soups (add ground turkey or shredded chicken for protein, or enjoy them with a Trimmy or Collagen Tea)
  • Chana Dahl
  • Main dish salads

Some more ways to save money on Trim Healthy Mama:

  • Try using cash-back apps to save money on groceries. There is a list of those here: Trim Healthy Mama Saving Money with Cash-Back and Coupon Apps
  • Try re-growing vegetables. No planting of anything required.
  • Your kids need crossovers! Have a pot of rice and/or beans on the table with every meal to fill growing bellies.
  • Make your own baking blend. You can buy coconut flour and almond flour in bulk on Amazon and mix them to create your own.
  • Make your own almond milk for pennies!
  • Since you only use a tiny amount of glucomannan per serving and it fills you up, it’s budget friendly. Gluccie Pudding made with homemade almond milk would cost you pennies per serving.

 Follow my Budget Trim Healthy Mama Pinterest board for more ideas!

Trim Healthy Mama Fuel Cycle: My first day

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to do a Trim Healthy Mama fuel cycle. A fuel cycle is designed to wake up your metabolism. It’s not for people new to Trim Healthy Mama. It’s recommended for those who have been on plan for a long time and have mastered the concepts, but who have a bit of stubborn weight hanging on.

Trim Healthy Mama Fuel Cycle

I’m hoping to lose a bit of “fluff” around my waist and belly, sadly a problem area for les femmes d’une certaine age. I think also I’ve gotten a bit lazy in my diet lately. While I’m on plan 90% of the time, I don’t eat enough Deep S meals, or Fuel Pull meals. Maybe this will help me discover some new favorites and remind me of the importance of JUGGLING the fuels!

I also chose to do the fuel cycle for only one week, instead of two. I don’t want to lose a lot, just a couple of pounds that hopefully will come off my waist and belly. I’ll update every day on what I’m eating as well as my thoughts on the fuel cycle process.

If you want to know how to do a Trim Healthy Mama fuel cycle, you must read the book! If you haven’t already, go here to get a copy for around $12 on Amazon.

Trim Healthy Mama Fuel Cycle

This is my very first time doing a fuel cycle, so I made things easier on myself by getting prepared. I created a Fuel Cycle pinterest board and added meal plans. I read about other people’s experiences. I made a meal plan for the week, down to the snacks, so I wouldn’t have to think about what to eat.

Trim Healthy Mama Fuel Cycle

Starting weight: 124.2
Waist circumference: 29″
(yuck)

Here I am, in my messy pajamas still, first thing in the morning. (Funny note: I actually weighed myself a few minutes earlier and the scale said 126. Then I used the bathroom. For kicks and giggles, I decided to weigh myself again, and I had “lost” 2 pounds. Ha!)

The Fuel Cycle days will look like this:

Day One: Deep S
Day Two: Deep S
Day Three: E fuel
Day Four: E fuel
Day Five: Fuel Pull
Day Six: Fuel Pull
Day Seven: Deep S, Deep S, E
Fuel Cycle Results!

Fuel Cycle Day One – Deep S Day

Breakfast (6 AM) – 2 eggs fried in butter with sauteed kale, 4 strips of bacon and a Trimmy Rich.

Trim Healthy Mama Fuel Cycle

Snack (9 AM) –  fried egg (I was going to have something else, but this was left over from breakfast, so I had it so it wouldn’t go to waste), Trimmy made with Teeccino (see my review of Teeccino herbal coffee here).

Lunch (12:30 PM) – Green salad with cucumbers and seasoned chicken. I sauteed the chicken in butter and Cajun seasonings with added chili powder and onion powder. The salad dressing was a simple olive oil and ACV vinaigrette. I enjoyed a Roobios Shrinker after my meal.

Trim Healthy Mama Fuel Cycle
Snack (3:30 PM) – Deep S Hot Custard (thanks Briana, you are amazing!). The custard was delicious and so easy, but I still felt STARVING after I ate it, so I cooked a chicken breast in butter and seasonings (left over from lunch), along with pan-sauteed kale and a Trimmy.

I recall being VERY hungry the first week or two on Trim Healthy Mama. I think because I’ve always had issues with low blood sugar, and it was hard for me to adjust to fewer carbs. I found that I felt better with S helpers some of the time instead of regular S meals.

At this point in the day I’m feeling a mild headache. I’m not sure if I’m in ketosis or detoxing or what. I took a nap! I drank a big glass of water too. (Maybe I’m not drinking enough?) Then I made myself a GGMS to sip on.

Dinner (6:30 PM) – Faux Taco Salad – a huge plate of lettuce topped with seasoned ground turkey, black olives and cucumbers and lots of Tabasco to tickle my taste buds. I had a few pieces of Skinny Chocolate for dessert.

Thoughts on the first day of my fuel cycle:

  • I love Hot Custard. This one’s a keeper.
  • I need to eat more kale with eggs. So yummy. When I first began THM, I ate fried eggs with greens a lot, but got out of the habit.

I’ll be back tomorrow, another Deep S day, for an update.

Have you ever done a Fuel Cycle on Trim Healthy Mama? What were your experiences?

Trim Healthy Mama What to Buy for Success on Plan

Thinking about starting Trim Healthy Mama? What to buy to have success on plan and to understand how THM works.

Trim Healthy Mama What to buy to understand the plan

While it is entirely possible to do THM without any special ingredients, I would NOT recommend trying to work TrimHealthyMama without reading the plan book. (See also: How to do TrimHealthyMama without the book.)

Also important to buy for success on THM? The cookbook. I use my cookbook every single day.  The recipes are delicious, and cooking from the cookbook for a while will help you figure out how to “Trim-ify” your other recipes.

How to do TrimHealthyMama Without the Book

Trim Healthy Mama What to buy to eat

Of course, you need to buy plenty of health food to eat on THM! Meats of all kinds, non-starchy vegetables, sweet potatoes, dairy products such as butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, cheeses, cream – all on plan. Stock up on brown rice and oats, berries and fruit too.

Trim Healthy Mama What To Buy

What about special ingredients? Which ones do you need to buy to do well on TrimHealthyMama?

One must have (in my opinion) for success on THM? A good-tasting stevia!

These vary a lot in their quality and taste. TrimHealthyMama’s stevia products are hands down the best I’ve tasted, and I’ve been using stevia for almost 20 years. I’m partial to Super Sweet. Gentle Sweet is also very popular. And the straight up Pure Stevia is very economical, as you only have to use the tiniest amounts.

I also like the stevia from ALDI. Buy the one in green packets, not the large bag (it is mixed with maltodextrin and is not on plan). The packets are great to keep in your purse.

Buy Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend. Trust me on this. It’s delicious and makes your life easier. You need it to create the yummy desserts (pies, cakes, cookies and muffins) you can enjoy on plan. You can also make a delicious pizza crust and several on-plan breads with the Baking Blend. If you’re gluten-free, you’re good, as Baking Blend is also GF. (See also: Can you do THM gluten-free?)

I consider the above products to be absolutely necessary for success on plan with THM. Buy them right away when you start Trim Healthy Mama.

Without them, you’re going to make life much more complicated and far less delicious. Without a good stevia product, you’ll be tempted to eat sugar. Having a yummy on-plan treat around means you won’t succumb when people around you are eating sweets.

The following ingredients are always stocked in my kitchen too:

What to buy to make Trim Healthy Mama much easier and more delicious

Whey protein is also super-helpful for THM. You use it to make smoothies puffy and creamy and to add protein, among other things. Whey protein is something you have to shop very carefully for because much of it contains added sugar or other unwanted, unhealthy ingredients. The TrimHealthyMama whey protein is wonderful and has no suspicious junk in it. It’s also priced more reasonably than other brands.

Collagen is an ingredient that’s not only great for your health, but it makes you prettier!

Peanut flour – if you are a peanut butter lover like I am, you must get your hands on some peanut flour. You can find it in grocery stores these days, but some of them have added sugars. Play it safe and buy the THM brand.

Flavor extracts – I get mine from OliveNation because their prices on organic flavorings are great, and they send out discount coupons to your email regularly. I order lime, caramel, raspberry, strawberry, maple, and other flavors for smoothies, desserts and other yummy things.

Oolong Tea – I love oolong tea now. Before THM, I had never drank it. I use it to make Salted Caramel Oolong (sooo delicious, it feels like a decadent dessert) and for the Shrinker. I buy the Prince of Peace brand because it’s organic and very budget-friendly.

You might want to visit my TrimHealthyMama Amazon store to buy THM-safe products all in one spot. See more of my favorite TrimHealthyMama products to buy here.

 

My Week on TrimHealthyMama

This year I’m going to try out a new feature here: “my week on TrimHealthyMama” will feature short snippets of life as a THM lady. I’ll post new recipes I’ve tried (and my thoughts on them), time-saving shortcuts and tips, and general tidbits on how I fit THM into my life. I hope it’s helpful to you!

Earth Milk Sip

(from the TrimHealthyMama cookbook)

Earth Milk Sip
Earth Milk Sip

Every time I make this drink, I remind myself that I should be drinking it more often! It’s yummy and just makes me feel good, and I find it’s filling too – it takes away my urge to nibble between meals.

Funny story: after I made it, my 6-year-old daughter asked what it was. I told her and offered her a sip. She took a big gulp, then made a face. “Yuck!” she said. A few seconds later, she asked for another drink. Then another. Then she started sneaking little sips behind my back. Haha!

This is a drink that looks nasty but tastes great.

Hot Fudge Sundae

I really needed a chocolatey dessert, and thankfully had a Trimtastic Zucchini Cake in my freezer! I cut a slice, topped it with a bit of dark chocolate, then microwaved it so the chocolate would melt. Then I put fresh whipped cream (from heavy whipping cream with a drop of vanilla and a bit of Gentle Sweet added) on top. Oh. My. Goodness.

Hot Fudge Sundae
Hot Fudge Sundae

An Oopsie – Peanutty Fudge

I started making the peanutty fudge recipe from the THM cookbook, only to discover halfway in that I was out of cream cheese! Yikes.

I decided to add a bit of gelatin instead, figuring it would cause the fudge to thicken, and would you know it turned out perfect? It wasn’t as greasy as the normal recipe in fact, I preferred the texture. It was every bit as delicious. This lowers the fat content of the fudge and is another way of getting collagen/gelatin into the diet.

Eat more non-starchies: Put it on a salad

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to increase my intake of non-starchy veggies? Simply put everything on top of a bed of lettuce.

I made pizza using the perfect crust (from the cookbook). Put it on a bed of lettuce.

IMG_20161216_175103

I made ground beef for tacos (for the family). I put it, along with salsa and sour cream which make a sort of “dressing”, on a bed of lettuce. Voila. Instant taco salad.

Put it on a salad
Put it on a salad!

So easy. Eating a lot of non-starchy veggies is important on TrimHealthyMama because a) they’re good for you b) they fill you up with minimal calories c) they’re inexpensive.

I buy bagged salad mixes to make things easier. I know I would save a few pennies by chopping my own greens, but you know what? I eat FAR MORE veggies when I buy them pre-washed and chopped! My health is worth a couple of dollars more each week.

One of my favorite E meals: Tilapia Veracruz

I’m so glad I tried this recipe right away (also from the THM cookbook!). It’s become one of my all-time favorite meals and the family loves it too.

IMG_20161215_173735076

It looks so pretty on a plate!

If you struggle with getting enough E meals, try this recipe.

 

How to do TrimHealthyMama without the book

If you’re wondering how to do TrimHealthyMama without the book, this post is for you.

How to do TrimHealthyMama Without the Book
My well-loved copy of the THM cookbook, filled with Post-Its and with pages falling out!

How to do TrimHealthyMama without the book

Step One: Misunderstand the plan and therefore, accidentally eat crossovers or off-plan all the time (or no E meals). Either you won’t lose weight or you’ll plateau and never reach goal weight.

Without reading the TrimHealthyMama plan book, you won’t understand the science behind the plan and how and why it works.

Because of this, you’ll make excuses, go off-plan frequently, and trash-talk THM online. You’ll ask simplistic questions in the THM Facebook group that are easily answered in the plan book, wasting other people’s time as they attempt to answer your questions and testing the endless patience of the administrators there, who volunteer their time to help people who are actually committed to their health and weight management.

Step Two: Spend hours of time and tons of frustration searching for free THM explanations, shopping lists, menu plans and guides

Without the book, you won’t understand how to implement the plan into your life. You won’t know exactly which foods are on plan, what’s off plan, and what’s a personal choice. You won’t know how to grocery shop, meal plan or what to eat in a restaurant.

Therefore, you’ll spend hours in hair-pulling frustration searching online for free information instead of having it in one volume that you can pull off your shelf in seconds. You’ll spend more money in printer ink and paper, printing these guides out and cluttering up your kitchen with loose pages.

Step Three: Stumble around looking for THM recipes online, hoping and wishing they’re actually on plan. 

Without the book, you won’t have a fundamental understanding of how E, S and FP meals are created. So you won’t know how to tweak your existing recipes to make them THM-safe, and you won’t know if bloggers’ recipes are actually compliant.

Step Four: Get serious about your wellness, actually commit, and go to Amazon and buy the book.

At the time of this writing, you can get the book brand new (with free shipping if you have Prime), for $12. $12! Anyone living in a developed country can afford this, and if you can’t, you can request the book from your library (or through inter-library loan if your local branch doesn’t have it).

You’re worth it. Invest in your health and longevity and buy the TrimHealthyMama plan book!

Now here’s a great question:

Which Trim Healthy Mama book should I buy?

Most people recommend the second book. It looks like this:


It’s more concise, cheaper and has all the info you need to succeed with THM. The authors self-published their first book and it’s not as professionally copyedited as the second. In fact, many people having great success with THM have never even held the first book in their hands. Me included!

p.s. Sorry for the snark, but I used a bit of sarcasm to get the point across. Every day in the THM Facebook group, I see people jumping into the discussion, asking the most basic questions, obviously having never bought the THM book. It’s available in most public libraries, so if money is tight, you can always read it that way. Every day the sweet, patient admins of the group remind people that in order to understand the plan, they need to read the book!

Changing your life takes commitment and work. But you’re worth it.

Trim Healthy Mama E Meals: how to get enough

Are you wondering how to fill up when eating Trim Healthy Mama E Meals? That’s one of the challenges for people new to the plan. It was certainly the case with me.

Eating healthy, moderate carbohydrates (“E” fuel) is important for the metabolism and energy levels. This is what makes TrimHealthyMama different from low-carb diets. Low carb diets often cause fatigue because they can mess with thyroid function. This happened to me, which caused me to drop low-carb, thankfully I found THM! Eating low-carb for even a few days causes me to have debilitating fatigue. And no, it’s not “low carb flu”. It never goes away.

Eating carbohydrates in your E meals and snacks prevents this. But some THMers struggle with E fuels, either because they find that E meals don’t fill them up, or because fattier meals (our “S”, or satisfying fuels) are more delicious! But eating too many S meals can cause a weight loss plateau and even mood changes (you need healthy carbs for brain health, it’s the abuse of cheap carbs that cause problems).

Getting enough “E” meals and snacks also helps you stay in your budget, since E foods (rice, fruit, on-plan breads, sweet potatoes) are inexpensive.

Here are a few tips.

Trim Healthy Mama E Meals

Trim Healthy Mama E Meals: how to fit E meals into your THM diet

Devote one meal or snack per day as your “E” fuel.

I love having cream in my morning coffee, so I eat an S fuel breakfast every day so as to avoid a crossover. Because of that, I chose my lunch as my E fuel, since in the middle of the day is when I need the most energy for taking care of and homeschooling my kids.

Lentil stew - "E" meal
Lentil stew – “E” meal

Yours may be different. Maybe a lighter E breakfast works for you (you can enjoy a Trimmy beverage with your breakfast if you like a hot caffeinated drink in the AM).

On-plan granola recipes, oats, egg white omelets with fruit on the side or fruity smoothies are all E fuels. Or try a brown rice pudding – cooked brown rice topped with a little almond milk, vanilla extract and a bit of stevia is delicious for breakfast, especially in cold weather.

I also love having E suppers occasionally since for me, supper usually is a lighter meal. (I prefer to eat most of my calories early in the day and have a light evening meal.)

Lately, I’ve been making a lot of pork chops or pork tenderloin with a fruity glaze. For example, yesterday I cooked pork chops in a pan with a little chopped pineapple and soy sauce for flavor, served over brown rice with half a small sweet potato. It was so delicious!

How to get enough E meals and snacks on THM: Pineapple Pork

Pork tenderloin is also low in fat, quick and easy to cook, and perfect as a protein source with E meals. Last week I made “caramelized” pork tenderloin by glazing it with soy sauce, garlic and a bit of stevia and baking it. So yummy and easy with vegetables.

Trim Healthy Mama E Meals: How to fill up

Get enough protein with your E meals and snacks

Protein is the missing link in making sure your Trim Healthy Mama E meals sustain you!

If you have oatmeal for breakfast, try serving it with Cottage Berry Whip. Or have a Trimmy beverage (FP) with collagen and/or whey protein with your E snack. Have a serving of 0% Greek yogurt after your E lunch, with a dab of stevia and freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice as a light dessert.

When life gives you Meyer lemons, you make lemony Greek yogurt!
When life gives you Meyer lemons, you make lemony Greek yogurt!

For lunch, try tuna with hot sauce or lemon juice as your protein, or a fish fillet pan-fried in a skillet with just cooking spray.

Keep gummy snacks made with gelatin on hand for dessert after an E meal. They’re usually Fuel Pulls so add few calories, but provide protein to fill you up.

Chicken tenderloins are handy for easy, fast “E” lunches and dinners. These can be purchased inexpensively frozen in large bags. They’re easy to season (use any spice you like; from Cajun to Herbes de Provence to lemon-pepper, or make a simple mustard sauce with a little white wine) and cook fast.

Cook low-fat ground turkey (browned, then rinsed) and store in portion-sized containers for quick and easy protein for meals. Just add brown rice, beans or a sweet potato and you’re all set.

And don’t forget cottage cheese, one of my favorite super frugal proteins. I like to whip mine in the blender so it has a creamy mouth feel.

See this post about my Fuel Cycle E day and also this one where I describe doing a Fuel Cycle. Those were the two days I ate only E meals.

3) Curate a list of your favorite Trim Healthy Mama E meals and snacks

I have some of my favorite E meals and snacks on a dedicated Pinterest board. Try making one for yours.  Some of my favorite Trim Healthy Mama E meals and snacks include:

  • *Sweeties on Steroids (I make mine different every time, depending on what I have on hand.)
  • Baked sweet potato fries
  • *Apple-cinnamon muffin
  • Oats, prepared as Banana Cream Oatmeal, Chocolate Oatmeal, or topped with *Cottage Berry Whip
  • Brown rice (don’t forget this tip to cook brown rice in half the time, I always cook extra to reheat for the next day) with dinner, with a low-fat meat (pork chops, pork tenderloin, shrimp, chicken breast)
  • *Quinoa Goes Cajun
  • *Egg Roll in a Bowl (made with ground turkey, cooked and rinsed, served atop brown rice)
  • White Chicken Chili with beans
  • *Orange Creamsicle Shake (I loved this in summer especially, so refreshing!)
  • Apple slices dipped in *peanut junky butter
  • An orange for dessert (or a *Creamsicle shake)
  • Tacos with low-fat ground turkey and beans
  • Chili prepared with low-fat ground turkey
  • Vegetable soup with chicken breast and garbanzo beans or other white beans (such as a Minestrone soup)
  • Popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast
  • Stir-fried shrimp and veggies on brown rice
  • Brown rice for breakfast: warm it and add vanilla, stevia, almond milk, and egg whites for protein. It’s a THM-safe rice pudding.
  • Cowboy Grub

chicken-artichoke-casserole

(Recipes with an asterisk * come from the TrimHealthyMama cookbook. More E recipes can be found here.)

4) Don’t forget your non-starchies when you eat E meals!

Eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables with your Trim Healthy Mama E meals is also key to filling your belly and not getting hungry again before 3 hours is up.

To make things easier, I keep frozen bags of veggies on hand. I often can’t take the time to wash and chop veggies, and I find that the convenience of pre-chopped frozen produce means I eat far more vegetables, which is a good thing!

Stocking “seasoning blend”, which is onion/bell pepper/celery, as well as “fajita blend” (onion and bell peppers) makes things easier and faster. I also like Asian mix (for stir fries), and Cali mix (carrots, cauli, broccoli) and Normandy mix (cauli, broccoli, carrots, squash). Bagged, pre-washed salads are also super easy and convenient.

With lunch, I often chop up cucumbers and tomatoes to eat with tuna (tuna is an E fuel as long as it’s not packed in oil, and I mix it with Tabasco instead of mayo). Bubbie’s pickles are my favorite to have with tuna or low-fat turkey (on a *Swiss bread sandwich), and they are probiotic foods. I love them, as they’re real pickles, made with a natural fermentation process instead of with vinegar.

What are your favorite E meals and snacks? How do you make sure you get enough E meals on THM?

Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks

What’s on plan a la Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks? Does being on Trim Healthy Mama mean you can’t enjoy your favorite Starbucks beverage? Maybe. Read on…

18 years ago, I was an employee of Starbucks, so I know a thing or two about their drinks. If you love plain old, ordinary drip coffee, you’re in luck. Drip coffee has less than 5 calories. If you drink it black, you’re golden. If you like cream, you’re in S mode (whether you use half and half or heavy cream). Drip coffee drinkers have it easy on THM.

Where it gets complicated with Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks?  For those who love the fancy espresso-based drinks.

First let me explain a bit about the differences between various espresso-based drinks.

  • A latte has a little espresso and a lot of steamed and foamed milk.
  • A cappuccino has a little espresso and a lot of foamed milk. This is why the cup feels so light in your hand – it’s mostly air!
  • A flat white is inbetween – it has more milk than cappuccino, less than a latte.
  • A macchiato has a little espresso and a lot of steamed milk with a dash of foamed milk – macchiato is Italian for “marked”, so the drink is “marked” with a bit of foam. If you order espresso macchiato at Starbucks, you get a shot of espresso marked with a little steamed/foamed milk on top. It’s a very small drink.
  • An Americano is a little espresso with hot water added – similar to a brewed coffee.

All of the above drinks CAN be on plan if ordered black or with half-and-half or heavy cream. Unfortunately, the coconut milk AND the almond milk at Starbucks contain sugar!

Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks

Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks

A mocha is basically a latte with chocolate syrup added. A caramel macchiato is also basically a latte with caramel and vanilla added. Both of those you need to avoid on THM, as they have a ton of sugar.

Whole milk is a Crossover, and all the espresso-based drinks are made with whole milk unless you ask. So if you ask for a tall latte, for instance, you’re getting a whole lot of whole milk. Keep that in mind if you’re still in weight loss mode. In maintenance, this would be okay occasionally.

Keeping in mind the definitions above, a cappuccino would have less milk than a latte, so might be a safer choice if you’re still losing weight.

Frappuccinos would also be off plan due to their high sugar content, as would all the sweet fancy drinks: Pumpkin Spice Latte, White Mocha, Mocha, Caramel Macchiato, etc.

Starbucks lovers who are on THM were excited to hear about them offering a stevia-based sweetener, but alas, it contains fructose and is therefore not on plan. My advice?

Keep your stevia in your purse! I carry a few packets of an on-plan stevia sweetener with me all the time.

Your best bet to stay on plan with Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks is to order one of the following:

  • Regular drip coffee or Americano, either black or with half and half or heavy whipping cream. (They don’t keep heavy cream at the condiment bar, you’ll have to ask for it.)
  • Iced coffee and iced Americano are also safe (just not the “shaken” ones, those have sweetener added). Add half and half or heavy cream for an S. If you use just a little half and half, you can stay in E parameters. 2 tablespoons of half and half contain 3.5 grams fat, so pour carefully.
  • Most of the brewed Teavana teas are THM-safe. The English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Jade Citrus Mint green tea, and Mint Majesty are all safe because they’re 100% tea leaves. The Passion, Youthberry and Peach, however, contain a small amount of sugar, but probably not enough to make any difference. The shaken iced teas all contain sugar, so avoid those. The Oprah Chai tea has small bits of apple, but it’s sugar count is still 0 grams, so it’s safe. The Oprah Cinnamon Chai has no fruit pieces.
  • If you love black tea, you could also order a Tea Latte – this is a drink made from brewed, hot black tea with steamed milk. With whole milk it’s a crossover, with half and half, it’s an S fuel.
  • A latte or cappuccino made with half and half. This is called ‘breve’, so you would order a Breve Latte or a Breve Cappuccino, depending. Since a cappuccino has less milk, it has fewer calories.
  • Keep in mind that any drink ordered breve will have a TON of fat and calories! You might want to make your next meal a Fuel Pull to compensate for that.
  • The sugar-free flavor syrups at Starbucks are not on plan. They contain maltodextrin AND sucralose (splenda) – yuck! Carry your own flavored stevia and use those instead. SweetLeaf makes a ton of flavors (including chocolate, caramel, vanilla and coconut) that you might like in your coffee.
  • Flavor your coffee yourself with regular old spices instead of syrups. Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla are sugar free and on plan! You can easily carry a tiny little container of these in your purse, and they’re available also at the condiment bar at Starbucks (although the vanilla and chocolate have sugar).
  • Another option to stay on plan is to mix up all the ingredients for a Trimmy in your own travel mug, then when you get to Starbucks, order a coffee and pour that in. You could even mix up a Hot Chocolate Trimmy, leaving out the water, and ask for a cup of hot water at Starbucks.
  • Or, bring your own mug with almond milk (and stevia, or whatever else you like) added, and ask them to put hot coffee on top of it! This way you can stay in E fuel easily. Also, Starbucks gives you a .10 discount when you use your own mug.
  • Almost all of the food and snacks at Starbucks are off plan. If you find yourself starving at a Starbucks, order a Sausage, Egg and Cheese breakfast sandwich and ditch the bread for an “S” fuel. They also have packets of plain almonds and cashews. The snacks differ from location to location, so check out what your local store offers. Most of the beef jerky snacks I’ve seen also contain sugar.

What do you order that’s safe for Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks?

p.s. If you love the mouth feel and flavor of steamed milk, why not buy a milk frothing pitcher or a foaming wand and make your own mock Starbucks coffees at home? I have this foaming wand and use it every day to make cappuccino or Trimmy drinks. I first warm the milk to the desired temperature, then I use the wand to make a beautiful head of foam on it. So delicious, and so much cheaper. I even prefer the flavor of my coffees made at home. 🙂

THM-Starbucks-TrimHealthyMama

If you’re having a hard time staying on plan a la Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks, be sure to check out the follow-up to this post, THM-Safe Starbucks Copycat Recipes!

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THM Hack: How to clean your muffin in a mugs quickly and easily

If you’ve been doing THM for a while and have ever made a muffin-in-a-mug recipe, you will probably encounter a common problem: the mug or baking dish you use to bake it is so difficult to clean!

I have tried putting mine in the dishwasher, on the bottom rack, face down. They still don’t get clean. I’ve tried soaking them (for a day or two, even!) before washing. They’re still hard to clean.

Eventually I would just break down and scrub them hard with baking soda for a few minutes. It was frustrating to spend so much time on one dish, especially since I eat muffins in a mug nearly every morning for breakfast.

I decided there had to be a better way to keep muffin-in-a-mug batter from sticking so badly.

I grabbed a coffee filter, placed it in the baking dish, then poured the batter in.

I didn’t use anything to grease the coffee filter or bowl.

I microwaved the muffin and when it cooled a bit, took it out of the bowl. Then I peeled off the coffee filter… it came off cleanly and left no muffin sticking to it! The coffee filter is basically acting as a large cupcake liner.

And the best part, the bowl I baked it in was almost CLEAN. 

Wow.

I don’t consider myself a genius, but when I posted this tip on the THM Facebook group, dozens of ladies declared me such. 🙂

Since the muffin recipes in the TrimHealthyMama cookbook are large (enough to fit into two standard-sized muffin cups), the coffee filter is just the right size. This is a standard size coffee filter, but a 4-cup size filter would probably be even better.

THM hack: clean muffin in a mug container
Sick of cleaning your baking dish or mug for THM muffin-in-a-mug? Try this easy hack!

The muffin shown is the Skinny Chocolate Chip muffin from the THM cookbook.

I make my muffin-in-a-mugs in the microwave or my toaster oven so I don’t have to warm up the oven. A standard muffin tin doesn’t fit in either appliance, so I use a Pyrex baking dish or bowl.

I hope this little THM hack helps you spend a little less time cleaning!

How to Stay on Plan with TrimHealthyMama: On Vacation!

This week my family is at the beach for a much-needed rest. I’m feeling thankful for TrimHealthyMama because I feel confident wearing a bathing suit and have more energy. Also, my digestion is better. I always, always got out of kilter while traveling pre-THM, which robbed me of some of the joy of vacationing. No longer!

Of course, it’s not always easy to stay on plan with TrimHealthyMama while on vacation. Here are a few tips that work for me.

How to stay on plan with TrimHealthyMama on Vacation
My baby’s first time seeing the ocean… poor little guy needs some sunglasses! 

Plan ahead

Since we’re staying at a beach house, we can do our own cooking. I was able to plan a menu that’s THM-friendly. Even if you’re vacationing somewhere without a kitchen, think ahead about what might be available to eat or what restaurants you’ll be visiting. If there is a microwave in your hotel room, you can make Hot Chocolate Trimmy, oatmeal and Muffin-in-a-Mug recipes.

With a little advance planning, you could mix up most of the ingredients beforehand in baggies or small food containers. Or, bake on-plan cookies and bars or make THM-safe candy and stash it in your bag when temptation hits. I find that as long as I have something yummy that’s on plan, I don’t feel deprived when people around me are eating any and everything.

Thinking ahead always makes it easier to stay on plan, because you won’t be making decisions while hungry – never a good idea!

At the very least, bring THM-friendly snacks like 0% Greek yogurt, fruit, nuts, cheese sticks and such in a cooler for snacking on while you travel. You might also want to make a trip to the local grocery store once at your destination. You can pick up Oikos 000 yogurt, dark chocolate and even stevia if you didn’t bring your own (mine comes with me in my purse!).

You might also want to plan at least one off-plan meal so you don’t feel bad when it inevitably happens! Give yourself some grace. My husband and I went out alone for one meal and I wasn’t about to worry about my diet.

It’s what we do everyday that matters, not at one meal. 

Don’t forget your Good Girl Moonshine

Drinking your GGMS will help kill those cravings and give your mouth something to do. It is just me, or do you want to do nothing but eat when you’re on vacation? Jim Gaffigan nails it when he riffs about food and vacation! GGMS will keep you from drinking soda or sweet tea when everyone around you is doing it. And if you forget your ingredients or can’t bring them with you, nearly any grocery store these days has apple cider vinegar and ginger.

Lighten it up

When you eat a meal, try to lighten things up by filling up first with non-starchy green veggies. Have a lot of sauteed veggies with your eggs and bacon with breakfast, for example. Or order steamed veggies or a side salad with your dinner and eat it first, with dressing or butter served on the side.

While on vacation may also be the time to “lighten up” on your THM food rules too. If you’re a Purist, go ahead and enjoy some of those convenience foods that Drive-Thru Sues regularly eat.

Think like a French woman

A French woman would never deny herself the pleasure of exotic, delicious foods anytime, much less while on vacation! Eating, like vacation, is a way to celebrate life, loved ones and the pleasures that make life worthwhile.

A French woman would, however, be mindful of portion sizes. If you’re eating out, ask for the to-go box as soon as your food arrives, and place half of it in there (unless you’re vacationing in France, they don’t have to-go boxes!) immediately.

Thinking like a French woman also means staying active. Ride your bike around town, walk on the beach (or hike in the mountains), swim, enjoy healthy, natural movement. It burns calories!

How do you stay on plan with TrimHealthyMama on vacation? I would love to hear your tips.