Shop Once, EAT for a Week – Travis Girard

You might not use the terms “pizza box” and “serving dish” interchangeably, but if you’re like most guys, you probably could. That’s because 64 percent of men spend little or no time on meal planning . Their excuse? Time and money constraints. Unfortunately — and perhaps not coincidentally — that number parallels the 64 percent who are overweight. It’s no wonder: The inexpensive, time-saving foods that guys choose most often are also the ones that are the highest in sugar, fat, and calories, according to a recent study from the University of Washington.

Thankfully, we have a culinary solution that’ll perfectly fit your budget, schedule, and diet. The plan: Set aside 20 minutes on Sunday to fulfill our 16-item shopping list, then forget about your wallet — and collection of takeout menus — for the rest of the workweek. By following our 5-day meal plan, you’ll have the precise number of ingredients to create 10 fast, flavorful meals, all of which are designed to help you build muscle and melt fat while saving you money. (The average price of 10 meals eaten out: $85; the total price of our meals: $47.96.) Each night, you’ll simply prepare a quick and easy dinner, and then creatively use the leftovers to assemble the next day’s lunch. Call it the mixologist’s guide to eating. The best part? While the other guys are stuck on hold in drive-thrus, you’ll be rolling through the express line with your next 10 meals in tow.

THE GROCERY LIST:

  • Frozen Shrimp 1 lb uncooked, medium size
  • Rotisserie Chicken 1 cooked
  • Pork Tenderloin 1 herb-flavored or lemon-garlic marinated (about 3/4 lb)
  • Bell Peppers 1 tray tricolor (or pick out 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 orange)
  • Yellow Onions 2 lb
  • Baby Mixed Greens 4 oz bag, washed
  • Portobello Mushrooms 2 large caps
  • Asparagus 1 bunch
  • Garlic 1 head
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto 8 oz jar
  • Avocado 1 ripe
  • Mozzarella 8 oz bag, shredded
  • Instant Brown Rice 1 lb box
  • Black Beans 12 oz can
  • 100% Whole-Wheat Fettuccine 16 oz box
  • 10″ 100% Whole-Wheat Tortillas 1 package

THE PANTRY LIST

Buy these crucial building blocks every couple of months and you’ll always have them on hand to construct meals around the clock.

  • Reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • Dijon mustard
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salsa
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce

SUNDAY NIGHT’S DINNER // ROTISSERIE CHICKEN WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES

  • 3/4 bunch asparagus (about 8 medium spears)
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1 medium onion, cut in 1/4″-thick rings
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 rotisserie chicken breast or leg

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Remove the woody ends of the asparagus by gently bending each stalk until it breaks — it’ll naturally snap off at the right spot. In a baking dish, toss the vegetables with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables have developed a light brown crust. Serve half the vegetables with the chicken and a simple mixed-greens salad tossed with olive oil and vinegar. Reserve the other half of the vegetables for other meals this week.

430 calories, 36 grams (g) protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 25 g fat (7 g saturated), 5 g fiber

 The next day’s lunch

CHICKEN PORTOBELLO WRAP WITH BALSAMIC AIOLI

  • 1 c chopped rotisserie chicken (left over from Sunday’s dinner)
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 whole-wheat tortilla
  • 2 Tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 small handful mixed greens
  • 1 c leftover asparagus, mushrooms, and onions

To chop the chicken, remove the skin and use a fork to pull the meat from the bones. Then place the meat on your cutting board and cut it into bite-size pieces — it should yield about 3 cups’ worth. Use 1 cup for the wrap and save the other 2 cups for later in the week. Chop the peppers into 1/2″ pieces. They should yield about 4 cups; use 1/2 cup today and save the rest in a plastic bag for dinner.

Mix the garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar together to make the aioli. Brush the tortilla with the aioli, then put the cheese down the middle, followed by the greens, chicken, and vegetables. To make a tight wrap, fold the bottom of the tortilla up first, then roll it from the side.

400 calories, 43 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 15 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 5 g fiber

MONDAY NIGHT’S DINNER // SHRIMP FAJITAS

  • 1/4 c instant brown rice (measured dry)
  • 1/2 can black beans, drained and heated
  • 1/2 Tbsp canola or other cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • Bell peppers, chopped into 1/2″ pieces (left over from Sunday’s lunch)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 oz shrimp, defrosted
  • Cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, or Tabasco to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 whole-wheat tortilla, warmed

Cook the brown rice according to the directions on the box, then add the black beans. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or wok over high heat. Add the onion slices, the bell- pepper pieces saved from lunch, and the chopped garlic, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the vegetables begin to brown. Mix in the shrimp and spices, and cook for another 3 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and firm. Serve half of the shrimp fajita mix with a small scoop of the rice and beans, the avocado slices, and the warm tortilla.

Reserve the rest of the rice and beans in a microwavable bowl or plastic container along with the leftover fajita mix, and use it for tomorrow’s lunch.

602 calories, 42 g protein, 71 g carbohydrates, 22.5 g fat (3 g saturated), 15 g fiber

The next day’s lunch

FIESTA RICE BOWL

  • Leftover rice, beans, and fajita mix (from Monday’s dinner)
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
  • Salsa (optional)

Heat the leftovers in a plastic container or a microwavable bowl for 60 seconds. Top with the avocado and salsa to taste, if desired.

650 calories, 37 g protein, 85 g carbohydrates, 20 g fat (3 g saturated), 16 g fiber

TUESDAY NIGHT’S DINNER //  FETTUCCINE WITH CHICKEN, ROASTED VEGETABLES, AND SUN-DRIED-TOMATO PESTO

  • 6 oz 100% whole-wheat fettuccine
  • 1 c chopped rotisserie chicken (left over from Sunday’s dinner)
  • 1 c roasted vegetables (left over from Sunday’s dinner)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sun-dried-tomato pesto
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese

Cook the fettuccine in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, about 10 minutes. Toss half the pasta with some canola oil and reserve in a container for Thursday’s lunch. Combine the chicken, vegetables, and sun-dried-tomato pesto with the remaining pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Grate some Parmesan and sprinkle on top. Serve with 1 cup of mixed greens, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

490 calories, 46 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 20 g fat (5 g saturated), 6 g fiber

The next day’s lunch

ITALIAN QUESADILLA

  • 1 Tbsp sun-dried-tomato pesto
  • 1 whole-wheat tortilla
  • 1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 c chopped rotisserie chicken (left over from Sunday)
  • 1 c roasted vegetables (left over from Sunday)

Spread the pesto on the tortilla. Top with the cheese, chicken, and vegetables, and microwave open-faced for 1 minute, or until the cheese has fully melted. Fold over and slice into quarters. If you have time, try cooking it over low heat in a skillet or sauté pan for a crispier result.

440 calories, 38 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 19 g fat (8 g saturated), 4 g fiber

WEDNESDAY NIGHT’S DINNER // SPICY SHRIMP-AND-ASPARAGUS STIR-FRY

  • 1/2 c instant brown rice (measured dry)
  • 1 tsp canola or other cooking oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 c mixed chopped peppers (left over from Monday night)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 c chopped raw asparagus
  • 8 oz shrimp, defrosted
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Hot sauce to taste (We like Sriracha.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the brown rice according to the package directions. Add the oil to a large sauté pan or wok and place over high heat. When the oil is smoking, add the onions, peppers, garlic, and asparagus, then stir-fry for 5 minutes, until the vegetables have browned slightly. Stir in the shrimp, soy sauce, and hot sauce and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve half of it over the brown rice, reserving the remaining stir-fry for lunch tomorrow.

592 calories, 36 g protein, 88 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat (2 g saturated), 9 g fiber

The next day’s lunch

THAI PEANUT NOODLES

  • 1 c shrimp stir-fry (left over from Wednesday’s dinner)
  • 3 oz cooked whole-wheat fettuccine (left over from Tuesday’s dinner)
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • Splash of vinegar or orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 1 Tbsp chopped peanuts (optional)

Toss the shrimp stir-fry with the leftover pasta. In a separate bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, vinegar or OJ, and pepper. Add the peanut-butter mixture and hot sauce to the stir-fry and pasta, and mix thoroughly. Top with peanuts, if desired. Eat cold or at room temperature.

530 calories, 43 g protein, 63 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat (2 g saturated), 7 g fiber

THURSDAY NIGHT’S DINNER // ROASTED PORK LOIN WITH PEPPERS AND BALSAMIC ONIONS

  • 1 pork tenderloin, about 3/4 pound (herb or lemon-garlic marinated, if available; check the meat section of your grocery store)
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 1/2 c mixed chopped peppers (from Monday’s lunch)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450˚F. In a baking dish, toss together the pork, onion, peppers, garlic, oil, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the tenderloin (to an internal temperature of 150˚F, if using a thermometer). Enjoy half the pork and vegetables tonight, and save the rest — storing both together in a sealed container — for lunch tomorrow. (If you want a bigger, meal, prepare 1/4 cup of instant brown rice, measured dry. It’ll add 170 calories, 4 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, and 2 g fiber to the nutrition information below.)

350 calories, 37 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 2 g fiber

The next day’s lunch

ROASTED PORK WRAP

  • 1/2 Tbsp sun-dried-tomato pesto
  • 1/2 Tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 whole-wheat tortilla
  • 2 Tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Vegetables and pork tenderloin, thinly sliced (from Thursday’s dinner)

Combine the pesto and mayonnaise, mixing them together in a small bowl, and spread over the tortilla. Layer the cheese, pork slices, and leftover vegetables on top, and wrap it up.

480 calories, 48 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat (5 g saturated), 3 g fiber

Travis Girard-CPT, NSCA, TRX, PNF, LM