Zuchini Noodles with Meat Sauce (247 calories per serving)

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Book an appointment using SetMoreElevation Medical Weight Loss of Pittsburgh & Weirton
2350 Noblestown Rd. Pittsburgh, PA 15205 (412) 304-2016 
241 Three Springs Dr. Weirton, WV 26062 (304) 914-3112

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It’s been awhile since we had a recipe posting, but we’ve been saving this savory low-carb, recipe for Spring.  We use a vegetable spiralizer (found in local home goods store or on Amazon). A vegetable spiralizer is definitely a safer alternative for your fingers to a mandolin slicer.  If you don’t have the tools, you can chop the zucchini into thin slices with a knife and still serve a great meal.

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Zucchini Noodles with Meat Sauce (247 calories per serving, 23 g of carbs)
*prep time 10 min, cook time 20 minutes*
Serves 10

Ingredient Calories Carbs
93% lean beef, 2 lb 1379 calories
Zucchini, 12 large, washed 648 calories 80 grams
Tomato sauce, canned, 28 oz 227 calories 52 grams
Tomato paste, canned, 6 oz 139  calories 32 grams
Onion, 1 medium, minced 46 calories 11 grams
Parmesan cheese, grated, 1 tsp (optional) 10 calories per serving
Water, 3/4 cup
Garlic, minced, 2 tsp
Oregano, 2 tsp 
Sugar, 2 tsp 32 calories 8 grams
Salt, 1 tsp
Basil, 2 tsp (fresh or dried)
Black pepper, ½ tsp
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Sugar, spice, and everything nice.. MaiLan thinks it would be nicer if we can put 2 lb of sugar instead of 2 tsp

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Combine ground beef, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, sugar, salt, black pepper, and 1/4 cup of water in a large saucepan on medium heat.

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2. Stir to crumble and brown the meat.

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3. Stir crushed tomato, tomato paste, and 1/2 cup of water into the pan until a rolling boil. Simmer on low and stir occasionally for another 5-10 minutes.

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We had every intention to use fresh tomatoes, but someone else claimed them.

4. While the meat sauce is simmering, use a vegetable spiralizer to turn the zucchini into noodles.

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5.  One zucchini (33 calories, 6 g carbs) will yield about 2 cups of zucchini noodles. A serving is 3 cups of zucchini noodles.  Spiralize the zucchini into desired thinness.  You may want to request for help from an experienced taste tester.

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4. In a large microwave-safe bowl or plate, microwave the zucchini for 2-3 minutes on high for every 3 cups you plan to serve.

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5. Combine zuchinni noodles with 8 oz of meat sauce. Add on a tsp of grated Parmesan cheese if desired.  Serve and enjoy!

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Each serving is under 300 calories, which works with both the HCG and phentermine diet plan.

600 Calorie Meal Plan

Typically the lowest calorie diets we prescribe on the HCG rapid weight loss program is 600 calories/day.  This very low calorie diet is usually reserved for individuals with less active lifestyles who are targeting 0.5-2 lbs of weight loss a day.  We also recommend trying to eat very few carbohydrates, ideally we would have you consume less than 30 grams of carbs daily to maximize your results.

While it is possible to eat 600 calories a day on phentermine alone, we find that with few exceptions such a low calorie diet has too many negative side effects to be done without the help of HCG.  By practice, the HCG shots encourages lipolysis (fat loss) without compromising muscle mass.  Also, HCG is generally better tolerated by clients who are sensitive to stimulants such as phentermine or who are otherwise disqualified from the use of stimulant medication.

As seen below, our suggested plan allows for 2 meals a day.  You may start each day with breakfast, skip lunch, then have dinner; or however you prefer to arrange your 2 meals.  The majority of our clients have busy schedules, so we find that skipping a meal makes it much easier for a busy person to plan out their meals; not to mention how difficult it can be to find good meals options when away from the kitchen.  Do be sure to include 32 oz of water with each of your meals to target at least a gallon of water a day.

600 Calories Per Day Meal Plan for HCG program: click here to download PDF

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Before going on any diet or meal plan, please consult with us or with your personal physician for a general health clearance.  To make an appointment with us, click here.

Grilled Chuck Steak

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We love to cook on the grill because it is both a quick and easy way to prepare a tasty meal that any family can enjoy. You can make grilling a part of your healthier lifestyle by trying out new recipes from common food items that you like, such as the one below:

Grilled Chuck Steak

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Prep Time: 5 minutes                               Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredient

Calories Protein

Carb

Chuck steak, 8 oz 293 calories 48 g
Romaine lettuce, ½ head 53 calories 4 g 10 g
Strawberries, 4 large 23 calories 5 g
Montreal Steak Seasoning
TOTAL 369 calories 52 g protein 15 g carb
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We managed to keep her away today!!

Directions:

  1. Turn on the grill to pre-heat.
  2. Rub a generous amount of steak seasoning on the chuck steak. We prepared 2 large cuts of chuck steak, roughly 5 lbs total as meal prep for the week.
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  3. Grill on medium for roughly 7-10 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness.DSC_2972.jpg
  4. Transfer chuck steak to a cutting board to allow to cool.DSC_2975.jpg
  5. Use a fork to hold on to the steak and use a serrated knife to slice into thin cross-sectional pieces for serving.DSC_2998.jpg
  6. Serve with half a head of romaine lettuce and strawberries for a low-carb, high protein meal.

Grilled Salmon with Zucchini: 314 calories

Here is a quick and easy grilled salmon recipe you can have prepared and serve in about half an hour.  Lemon or lime has to be one of our favorite addition to seafood because it reduces the amine compound that is responsible for the “fishy” smell in seafood.

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Ingredient

Calories

Carb

Salmon, skinless 6 oz  (or 4 oz w/ skin) 241 calories  
Zucchini, sliced, 2 cups 38 calories 7 g carb
Strawberries, 4 medium 15 calories 3 g carb
½ tsp oil for zucchini 20 calories  
TOTAL 314 calories 10 g carb

The ingredients are friendly for a gluten-free diet or just when you are trying to live healthier.

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The seasonings are quite flexible.  We used Montreal seasoning found in the pantry, but you can make your own by combining 2 tsp paprika, 2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp onion, 1 tsp red pepper flakes.

Seasoning

Lemon, 1 slice
Montreal seasoning, generous amount
Rosemary, a couple of sprigs
Thyme, a couple of sprigs
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Try to keep the baby away from your ingredients

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Turn on the grill for preheating.
  2. Generously rub Montreal seasoning into all sides of the salmon.  Transfer the salmon to a large piece of foil paper.  Squeeze a slice of lemon on top of the salmon.  Put the squeezed lemon on top of the salmon. Crush the thyme and rosemary with your fingers and put the sprigs on top.  Wrap up the salmon, lemon, thyme and rosemary inside the foil to prepare for grilling.  This will allow the salmon soak up the seasoning for a moist, tasty meal.
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  3. For the zucchini, drizzle 1/2 tsp of oil on top. We used canola oil, but you can use whichever oil you have in the pantry.  Transfer the zucchini onto a big sheet of aluminum foil and wrap it up for grilling.

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    Transfer the wrapped packages to the grill.
  4. Grill the salmon on medium heat with the lid closed for about 6-8 minutes on each side. The zucchini only needs roughly half of the time on the grill, so 2-5 minutes on each side.
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  5. Open the foil.  Transfer the contents to a plate.  Serve with strawberries.  We hope this recipe gives you a couple of ideas for your next meal 🙂
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5 Potential Causes for Your Diet Related Cramps and What You Can Do About Them

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When you are starting a new diet and exercise program you may find yourself having leg cramps during the first few days or weeks of your new routine.  To understand why you experience this and what you can do to prevent recurrence, we have to examine the cause of muscle spasms.  

Most oftenly, leg cramps are caused by some combination of the following 5 reasons:

  1. Dehydration
  2. Electrolyte deficiency
    1. Low potassium, magnesium deficiency, calcium deficiency, and/or low sodium
  3. Vitamin deficiency
    1. Low thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5), and pyridoxine (B6)
  4. Lack of muscle flexibility
  5. Overexertion

Let’s address each problem individually:

Dehydration

Drinking plenty of water (by plenty, we mean a gallon or more of water a day) is an important factor in keeping you feeling your best.  Water is critical at the microcellular level in the Krebs Cycle to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which your body uses to do pretty much everything.  Ensuring that you meet your daily water intake goals will improve your energy level, as well as provide your muscles with the resources they need to function properly.  Without adequate water intake, our muscles begin to accumulate waste byproducts, commonly referred to as “toxins”, that may cause spasms or cramping.  

Electrolyte deficiency

Ingesting plenty of dark green, leafy vegetables will go a long way in keeping you out of trouble and cramp-free. Even if you are limited to low-carb foods, you can still find good sources of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium.  Frequently, the two main electrolytes of concern that are responsible for leg cramps are potassium and magnesium.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommend a dietary amount of at least 320 mg of magnesium for women and 420 mg of magnesium for men, and 4.7 grams (or 4700 mg) of potassium for both men and women. You could be experiencing muscle cramps due to a deficiency in these minerals and if so adjusting your diet could be all that you need.

The chart below illustrate how much certain food contain in potassium and magnesium.  If you were to eat 8 oz chicken breast with 1 head of romaine lettuce and 1 cup of beets green for lunch (497 calories, 2581 mg potassium, and 192 mg magnesium), then eat 6 oz of 90% lean beef with 1 cup of spinach, 1 cup of broccoli, 1 cup of zucchini for dinner (437 calories, 3214 mg potassium, and 237 mg magnesium, you will then consume in a total of: 934 calories, 5795 mg potassium, and 429 mg magnesium, which will exceed your requirements for the two electrolytes.   

Meat/Fish Potassium Content Magnesium Content
8 oz chicken breast (230 calories) 359 mg 66 mg
6 oz 90% lean beef (344 calories) 618 mg 40 mg
6 oz salmon (354 calories) 618 mg 46 mg
8 oz tilapia (292 calories) 863 mg 78 mg
8 oz center cut pork chops (260 calories) 960 mg 46 mg
8 oz cooked chicken liver (263 calories) 526 mg 23 mg
Fruits & Vegetables Potassium Content Magnesium Content
Romaine lettuce, 1 head (108 calories) 1546 mg 88 mg
Beets green, cooked, 1 cup (30 calories) 1309 mg 38 mg
Spinach, cooked, 1 cup (44 calories) 839 mg 157 mg
Avocado, 1 cup (234 calories) 708 mg 42 mg
Edamame (soy beans), 1 cup (189 calories) 676 mg 99 mg
Zucchini, cooked, 1 cup (18 calories) 325 mg 21 mg
Cauliflower, 1 cup (27 calories) 320 mg 16 mg
Kale, cooked, 1 cup (69 calories) 296 mg 23 mg
Tomato, 1 medium ( 22 calories) 292 mg 14 mg
Broccoli, 1 cup (31 calories) 288 mg 19 mg
Strawberries, 1 cup (47 calories) 220 mg 19 mg

If you feel that you are unable to ingest the required amount of vegetables and have leg cramps that won’t go away, you may benefit from short-term supplementation with a daily magnesium and potassium tablets.   

Vitamin Deficiency

Deficiencies in Vitamins B1, B5, and/or B6 may be causing you cramps.  The mechanism behind this is not currently well understood, however evidence suggests that supplementing these vitamins may help treat and avoid cramps.

Thiamin (Vitamin B1) is necessary for the proper functioning of the muscles, nervous system and heart. Thiamin deficiency has been known to cause insomnia, fatigue, depression, constipation, irritability, heart problems and stomach problems.  Thiamin is abundant in organ meats, soybeans, egg yolks, poultry, broccoli, and asparagus.  The recommended intake is 1.5 mg of Vitamin B1 daily. 

Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) is responsible for the production of coenzyme A that is associated with the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates as energy sources.  Pantothenic acid is found in organ meats, egg yolk, and broccoli, fish, shellfish, chicken, milk, yogurt, mushrooms, and avocado. Deficiencies are rare, but pantothenic acid deficiency may result in fatigue, insomnia, depression, irritability, vomiting, abdominal and leg muscle cramps.  The recommended intake is 3-7 mg of Vitamin B5 daily.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) assists in the degradation and production of amino acids and in the process that converts amino acids into fats or carbohydrates. Vitamin B6 is involved in fat/carbohydrate metabolism, the removal of fluids during premenstruation, and healthy skin. It can reduce symptoms of hand numbness, leg cramps, muscle spasms. Deficiencies have been known to cause anemia, dermatitis, hair loss, anxiety, leg cramps, water retention, anemia. The recommended intake is 1.3 to 1.7 mg of Vitamin B6 daily.

Lack of muscle flexibility

Exercise consisting of particularly intense physical activity can cause your muscles to fatigue, become sore, and spasm.  Take every effort to stretch the muscle to cool down shortly after you exercise, and make an effort to incorporate stretching into your routine wherever limitations appear. Post exercise stretching of the muscles helps the fibers relax, reset, and promotes good circulation for recovery after exercise.  

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Overexertion

Your body needs adequate rest after a difficult workout.  Any time you put yourself through high stress episodes such as exercise, you will need time to recover so you can improve your performance for next time and give your body time to catch up with all the good you’ve done.  If the muscles are overworked and tired, you may get painful spasms that can in turn hinder your ability to stick with your gym routine.

Unfortunately as with any drastic lifestyle change, there will be unwanted side effects accompanying your new diet and exercise routines. However with a little planning and preparation you should be able to prevent muscle cramps from negatively impacting your progress. So eat right, rest well, exercise smart, and stay hydrated and keep up the good work.

Low-Carb Beef Kabobs

Happy 4th of July.  It’s a day on which we gather and celebrate the founding of this great nation, and the many freedoms we enjoy as a result.  At Elevation Medical Weight Loss, we know that you probably aren’t feeling very “free” with so many traditional July 4th foods not fitting your diet goals. So in order to help you stay on track, here is one of our favorite healthy grill-out recipes:  Low-Carb Beef Kabobs.

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This is one of our favorite beef kabob recipes.  The ingredients call for cherry tomatoes, but you can omit the tomatoes for an ultra low-carb meal, which is perfect for those who are on the HCG diet plan or who were instructed to eat low-carb for the next few weeks or months.

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Ingredients for Low-Carb Beef Kabobs

Recipe serves 6 (274 calories each, 10 g carb per serving)
Prep time: 30 minutes         Marinade time: 2 hours       Cook time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS CALORIES CARB
2 lb lean beef, cut into 1-in. cubes  1352 calories
6 oz mushroom caps  44 calories 8 g carb
1 green bell pepper, cut into large chunks  33 calories 4 g carb
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into large chunks 25  calories 6 carb
1 large onion, cut into large squares 60 calories 14 g carb
30 cherry tomatoes 92 calories 20 g carb
2 cup eggplant, cubed 40 calories 9 g carb
30 Skewers
TOTAL 1646 calories 61 g carb
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Don’t let the baby steal your ingredients

 

For the marinade: mix everything below in a bowl
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

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Have marinade in a large bowl or gallon ziploc bag.  Mix the cubed beef, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and eggplant in the marinade.  Stir or flip every 30 minutes.  Let sit for 2 hours.

Soak the skewers in a shallow pan of water for 10-15 minutes.  This is to prevent the skewers from breaking upon grilling.

Turn on the grill.

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Place beef kabobs on grill.  Grill for 7-10 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness.

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Recipe serves 6. Enjoy this tasty meal with your family on this wonderful 4th of July holiday!

 

9-Day Diet Meal Plan: 400 calories each meal

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Brazilian Steakhouse Grilled Chicken Breasts

When you are planning to eat healthier to lose weight, just exactly how do you do that if you don’t know where to start? The first step is to make a commitment. The second step is to set up a plan.  The third step is to take action and follow through.  It’s all or nothing from here on out.

First think about calories, once you have a goal number you get to decide how you prefer to reach that number. If you were instructed to eat 800 calories a day, you can have two 400 calories meal from the plan.  Alternatively, you can have one meal daily by eating two meals at once. If you were given a 1000 calories diet, you can have 2 meals plus something else that is 200 calories, and so on with 1,200 calories diet or 1,500 calories diet.

You will find that after 5-6 days of being on a low-calorie, low-carb diet that you will have significantly reduced carbohydrate or sweets cravings.  The most difficult step is getting started and making through those first few days. This is why we will present you with a sample 9 day meal plan, 2 meals a day, consisting of 400 calories per meal.  The daily carb intake is less than 30 grams of total carb (or 15-20 grams of net carbs, if you choose to count net carbs).  Why a 9 day meal plan? Mostly because it will take you roughly 9 days to plan out the rest of your 30 days commitment, or 6 months commitment.  Also, it fits nicely on this PDF here.

 

Day 1st  Meal 2nd Meal
1 ·         6 oz cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast (276 cal)

·         6 oz broccoli (60 cal, 12 g carb)

·         4 oz carrots (25 cal, 6 g carb)

·         1 tsp canola or olive oil (40 cal)

·         32 oz of water

·         6 oz cooked and drained 90% lean ground beef (346 cal)

·         ½  head of lettuce (26 cal, 5 g carb)

·         1 tbsp sour cream (31 cal)

·         32 oz of water

2 ·         4 large eggs (312 cal)

·         ½ lime or ½ lemon (5 cal, 1 g carb)

·         ¼ avocado (80 cal, 5 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

·         6 oz cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts (276 cal)

·         1 large tomato (35 cal, 7 g carb)

·         ¼ avocado (80 cal, 5 g carb)

·         1 tbsp sour cream (31 cal)

·         32 oz of water

3 ·        6 oz skinless salmon or 4.5 oz salmon with skin on (241 cal)

·       ½ lime or ½ lemon (5 cal, 1 g carb)

·       6 oz boiled kale (48 cal, 10 g carb)

·       3 oz blackberries (35 cal, 8 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

·         4 large eggs (312 cal), scrambled

·         1 large tomato (35 cal, 7 g carb)

·         ½ tsp canola oil (20 cal)

·         8 strawberries (31 cal, 7 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

4 ·         8 oz sirloin tip Steak ( 320 cal)

·         8 oz asparagus (42 cal, 8 g carb)

·         8 strawberries (31 cal, 7 g carb)

·         ½ lime or ½ lemon (5 cal, 1 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

·         8 oz tilapia (292 cal)

·         8 oz asparagus (42 cal, 8 g carb)

·         4 oz carrots (25 cal, 6 g carb)

·         4 oz blackberries (32 cal, 7 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

5 ·         6 oz ground turkey for burger (253 cal)

·         1 large tomato (35 cal, 7 g carb)

·         ½ head of lettuce (26 cal, 5 g carb)

·         ¼ avocado (80 cal, 5 g carb)

·         ½ lime or ½ lemon (5 cal, 1 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

·         8oz beef eye of round, lean, trimmed to 1/8″ fat (281 cal)

·         ½ head of lettuce (26 cal, 5 g

·         32 oz of water

·         8 oz spinach (53 cal, 8 g carb)

·         ½ lime or ½ lemon (5 cal, 1 g carb)

·         8 strawberries (31 cal, 7 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

6 ·         6 oz cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts (276 cal)

·         4 oz edamame soy beans (138 cal, 11 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

·         4 large eggs (312 cal), scrambled

·         1 large tomato (35 cal, 7 g carb)

·         4 oz spinach (26 cal, 4 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

7 ·         3 baked skinless chicken thigh (323 cal)

·         8 oz mushrooms (50 cal, 8 g carb)

·         4 stalks celery (24 cal, 5 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

·         8 Oz Pork Chops, Top Loin, Boneless (327 cal)

·         1 medium onion (22 cal, 5 g carb)

·         6 oz turnip greens (54 cal, 12 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

8 ·         6 oz ground turkey, crumbled, for salad (253 cal)

·         ½ tomato (18 calories, 3 g carb)

·         ½ head of lettuce (26 cal, 5 g carb)

·         ¼ avocado (80 cal, 5 g carb)

·         ½ lime or ½ lemon (5 cal, 1 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

·         3 large eggs, hard-boiled for deviled eggs (234 cal)

·         3 tsp real mayo (94 calories)

·         ½ head of lettuce for a side salad (26 cal, 5 g carb)

·         1 tbsp sour cream (31 cal)

·         ½ lime or ½ lemon (5 cal, 1 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

9 ·         8 Oz Pork Chops, Top Loin, Boneless (327 cal)

·         2 cups zucchini (38 cal, 7 g carb)

·         ½ head of lettuce (26 cal, 5 g carb)

·         ¼ avocado (80 cal, 5 g carb)

·         ½ lime or ½ lemon (5 cal, 1 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

·         3 baked skinless chicken thigh (323 cal)

·         8 oz mushrooms (50 cal, 8 g carb)

·         4 stalks celery (24 cal, 5 g carb)

·         32 oz of water

Begin each day by drinking 32-0z of water.  Drink 32-oz water with each of your 2 meals. Then, drink another 32-oz in the afternoon to early evening to get your daily water intake of 1 gallon a day. Water helps reduce the dry-mouth side effect associated with the use of an appetite suppressant (such as phentermine) or complying to a low-calorie, low-carb diet plan. Most individuals are chronically dehydrated, and water will help you feel your best while you’re working hard to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

If you have a chance to stop by our clinic, we have the tools you need for proper hydration, such as double-insulated water bottles to make your visit more convenient. These comes in a range of 24-oz to 64-oz sweat free bottles that will withhold years of abuse.

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Elevation Medical Weight Loss: Double-Insulated Water Canisters

Now that we’ve briefly covered water intake, we will discuss how to prep meals when you have an extremely busy schedule.  Most individuals can find roughly 4 hours of free time a week. During this time, you may want to go out to get groceries, prepare meals, and package them for the week.

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Meal planning tip: Prepare large portions of vegetables (such as steamed kale) for the week.

Sample weekly grocery items for 2-3 person

  • 5-6 lbs of skinless, boneless chicken breasts for grilling all at once or baking
  • 1 Brazilian steakhouse seasoning (great for chicken, beef, or fish)
  • 2 lbs of 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 1 lb of salmon or other fish
  • 2 dozen eggs
  • 1 lb of broccoli
  • 1 lb of kale
  • 2 lbs of zucchinni
  • 1 lb of asparagus
  • 1 package of mushrooms
  • 1 bundle of celery
  • 1 small bundle of carrots
  • 2 head of lettuce
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 4 limes or lemon
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 package of strawberries
  • 1 package of blackberries

What to do with the 6 lbs of chicken breasts you brought home? Rub some seasoning on and grill them to have meals ready for the week.

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We used McCormick Brazilian Steakhouse Seasoning to rub in the chicken breasts.  You can grill it right away.

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No oil needed. Grill on medium high heat and close to lid for 10-12 minutes depending on your grill.  Flip the chicken over .

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Now you can package your meals into containers to take to work and to eat during the week.

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We hope this post gives you a bit of guidance on how to begin your weight loss journey. Once you get started, you may find that the whole process will become more intuitive and that you can stick with it as long as you choose to.