Why are Systems so Important?
Before I get to the Thai Lettuce Wraps recipe, I want to share my “why” for healthy recipes.
It’s not about eating perfectly – it’s about setting yourself up for success, so that you can be more flexible, not less.
A few days ago, I was talking with a newer client about eating out.
She was concerned that her dining out could affect her weight loss results – in the past, she’s felt restricted on diets when she feels forced to make “healthy” or “light” orders at restaurants.
There are 21 main meals a week. If you snack once or twice a day, it could be as many as 28-35 “feedings” a week. A few meals out are not going to make a significant difference when you consider that ratio…
… As long as your daily meals and snacks are well-planned.
And honestly, that’s usually the problem.
Yes, restaurant meals can be incredibly high in calories. Yes, there are strategies you can use to eat out wisely.
But when it comes down to it, a fun meal out with friends usually isn’t the problem – it’s the daily systems that account for the vast majority of the person’s food intake that are struggling.
For example, if someone’s calorie goal for weight loss is 1500 calories, that’s 10,500 calories per week. That means it’s totally fine if some days are 1300 calories and other days are 1700 calories, because the weekly total is still the same. It’s also totally fine if the weekly total is something like 12,000 due to a heavier restaurant meal – the person’s weight loss may slow down for a few days, but it will work itself out.
But the problem happens when someone is not terribly consistent on their regular days, and then also has a few big splurges on the weekend.
Having daily systems that promote a fairly regular caloric intake without investing too much mental bandwidth is the key to success, because it prevents:
- Thinking you’re staying in your calorie goal when you’re actually not (this happens to literally everyone, even trainers and dietitians and nutritionists and health coaches!)
- Using willpower all. the. time.
- Impulse decisions when you’re tired/stressed
- Having to figure out what to eat at weird times (the end of the day, weekend mornings, etc.)
- Resorting to bad habits / comfort behaviors when you don’t have time to make healthy food
- Relying on feeling “motivated”
Putting autopilot systems in place takes pressure off of willpower, freeing up mental and emotional fortitude to focus on other areas of life. It also gives you room to be more flexible when the moment feels right.
“Set it and forget it” nutrition systems can include:
- Grocery shopping on weekends
- Meal prepping on weekends
- Using a meal prep kit or service
- Packing lunch for work
- Buying tons of ingredients that mix and match well and using them as the week goes on
When someone’s systems are excellent, a few meals out don’t hurt much. Maybe there’s a spike on the scale because of sodium, but that water weight always comes back down almost as quickly as it came.
But if the daily systems are non-existent or messy… you will feel like you’re starting over every. single. week.
My 28-Day Meal Prep Guide (use code MEALPREP28 to get it for just $28) gives you tons of recipes for healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners – my goal was to take all the guesswork out of nutrition, so that you could truly “set it and forget it,” and just watch the scale move downward.
So today, I’m sharing a free recipe from the Meal Prep Guide, which is what I’m having for lunch this week – Thai Lettuce Wraps. I’m also giving you ideas for how to modify the recipe and make it even more interesting/adaptable.
Thai Lettuce Wraps Recipe
341 calories / 34 g protein / 12 g carbs / 18 g fat
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 package shredded carrots (about 10 oz.)
- 1⁄4 cup peanut butter
- Juice of 4 limes
- 1⁄2 cup crushed peanuts
Instructions: Cook the chicken until it’s fully done – it can be baked at 400 F for 20-30 minutes, or it can be done in a slow-cooker (on high for four hours or low for eight hours). Then, cube the chicken into bite- sized pieces. In a saucepan on the stovetop, combine the peanut butter, lime juice, and chicken over medium-high heat, and salt to taste. Turn off the heat and stir in the shredded carrots and crushed peanuts. Separate into four individual serving containers. Serve over a salad or in a wrap. Serve cold.
I made this for lunch this week (I made 8 servings so that Michael and I could both have it). It is delicious. I forgot how much I liked it!
I just want to add a note that I also bought spring roll wraps (the clear rice kind) and I’m eating it that way, with extra shredded red cabbage for more body. I also added garlic, ginger, dried cilantro, and green onion. You can make it as simple or as complex as you want! Either way, it’s a tasty, satisfying lunch.