Fresh Meal Plan – How’d it go?

Last Thursday I started my Fresh Meal Plan 3 day trial. I woke up Thursday morning to a cooler bag full of food by the front door. But don’t worry, the cooler bag had ice packs to keep the food cold. You can schedule your deliveries for home and they will show up between 12 – 7 am, or at work where they will arrive between 8 am – 1 pm. I chose to have my food delivered at home because I was off this past Thursday and Friday. I was sent 2 meals and 1 snack per day, along with a dessert box and a yogurt parfait. It was a LOT of food!

So what did I get? A little bit of everything. In order to start my trial last week I let them pick my meals for me. Usually you order what you want off the menu, but this worked fine for me. I let them know to leave out red meat, but otherwise I eat pretty much anything. This is what they sent me:

  • Breakfast
    • Southwest Breakfast Burrito
    • Pancake Breakfast Sandwich
    • Creme Brule french toast with turkey sausage
  • Lunch/Dinner
    • Seafood Mac n Cheese
    • Pomegranate Nectarine Chicken
    • Basil Marsala Turkey Breast
  • Snacks
    • Crab, artichoke, & spinach dip
    • White Bean turkey chili with corn bread
    • BBQ Bacon Pulled Pork wrap (1/2)
  • Others:
    • Dessert box – peach cobbler tart, chocolate walnut cookies, jelly doughnut cupcake, chocolate haystack
    • Peanut Butter & Chocolate yogurt parfait with granola

I was really impressed with the food choices. Even without being able to pick what I wanted for this trial I was able to get a good idea of what they offer. Each meal is completely cooked and packaged for cooking. You can reheat your meals in the microwave OR the oven without moving the food to another container. I loved that because it meant one less dish to wash.

Fresh Meal Plan - 3 day trial

Overall I was really impressed with the quality and the taste of the food. There were only two meals that I just didn’t like. There wasn’t anything wrong with the food, it just wasn’t right for me. Considering they sent me 11 items that I didn’t pick, it is pretty impressive that I only had 2 items I didn’t like.

Since everything is fresh there aren’t preservatives – this is good and bad. I love it because the list of ingredients is short and not full of things your can’t pronounce. But at the same time it means that everything has a fairly short shelf life. One helpful hint? If your delivery includes any sort of wraps, try to eat those first. I waited until the third day to eat my Southwest Breakfast Burrito and the tortilla had gotten a little soggy. Thankfully it was still very tasty, just not that pretty to look at.

Fresh Meal Plan - 3 day trial

All of their meals/snacks/desserts are between 350 and 450 calories. I think the highest calorie meal I got was 401 calories and that was the Seafood Mac N Cheese. I felt full (but not stuffed) after every meal. It was more than enough to hold me over until the next time I ate. The snacks were a lot bigger than I thought and I actually ended up eating two of them for lunches because I wasn’t hungry for a full meal.

The dessert box was one of my favorite things. It contains 4 desserts and they are always paleo and gluten-free. Each dessert is just enough to get me through a sugar craving without completely undoing all the good work I did with my healthy meals throughout the day. My favorite dessert was the Peach Cobbler Tart. I would have been happy with a box just filled with those :)

Fresh Meal Plan has a national renowned chef/owner that is always bringing in new, innovative items to the menu. With a database of over 5000 meals, you will rarely repeat a meal (unless of course you want to). FMP allows members to have access to a weekly menu choosing exactly what you want, with the ability to add “a la carte͟” items if you see an item that they would like to try without committing to a larger program.

Pros and Cons:

Pros

  • Fresh, health, pre-made meals that you only have to reheat
  • They bring them to you (at home or work)
  • You can pick what you want from their large menu (paleo and vegetarian options available)
  • They are REALLY yummy :)

Cons

  • You get a couple days worth of food at a time, so some things may sit for a couple days before you eat them
  • Breads and wraps tend to got soggy if you don’t eat those first

Overall Fresh Meal Plan seems pretty awesome. Meals come to under $8 each, which compared to eating out is pretty good. And since its not like a “diet” plan it doesn’t require you to supplement with other foods. This means that this is all you would need – no grocery shopping to go with it. I think this would work out really well for folks that are constantly on the go or single folks like me. Most of the reason I don’t cook is because cooking for one is just a pain. It means I end up eating a LOT of salad or eating out to much. This would definitely help me keep my diet a bit more varied. If you are someone who cooks a lot or doesn’t eat much this may end up being expensive for you. Like anything you have to look it over and see if its the right thing for you.

*Disclosure: Fresh Meal Plan provided me with a complimentary 3 day trial. All opinions regarding Fresh Meal Plan are my own.

 

Yelp Elite Event: VIP Chef’s Dinner at Mingos

I lucked out in that July’s Yelp Elite event was on my 35th birthday! I got to spend the evening with a small group of fellow Yelp Elite at Mingos and it was a blast.

Not all of my normal Yelp crew (#yelpsisterhood) got into this event because of the small size, but it was still a great time. A few of us met up at Mucho Tequilla (which was across the street) from Mingos for a little birthday/happy hour tequila. $5.50 for a margarita AND a shot of tequila! It was a fun way to start off what turned out to be an amazing night.

It is hard to even know where to start with this event. We were seated at a long table off to one side of the restaurant. It wasn’t a private room, but it pretty much felt like it. Mingos is all about 5 star service and that is exactly what they delivered! After being greeted by the manager and head chef, their head server AJ took over and guided us through a 6 course meal that lasted over 2 hours. Each course was explained and detailed to us before being beautifully presented. The portions were reasonable so that you were able to try all 6 courses and not feel like you were going to explode by the end of the night.

We were told about the menu ahead of time and our Yelp Community Manager asked if anyone had any dietary restrictions. One of the entrees was steak so I sent her a short email explaining that I don’t eat steak. When it came time for that course I asked if she’d gotten my email and she said the restaurant knew about my request. As they were bring everyone their steak I noticed that they weren’t placing one in front of me. I totally expected just to be skipping this dish and I was completely okay with that. But our head waiter AJ came over with a special plate just for me. The chef had prepared a fresh seared scallop in the same way as the filet so that I too could experience what everyone else was. How cool is that?

Which we were waiting for dessert to be served they started bringing our champagne. I assumed it was just part of our Yelp Elite special treatment… until they set down a special dessert plate in front of me that said Happy Birthday.  Our community manager Andi had told the restaurant it was my birthday and they treated me like they would any guest that came their on their birthday – a special dessert and champagne for the entire table. They decided to thoroughly embarrass me and everyone sang happy birthday. I must admit that it was one of the best birthday dinners I have ever had.

Mingos did a great job of treating us ALL like VIPS. The service was stellar, the food was AMAZING, and the restaurant was beautiful. I rarely go downtown (or anywhere near it) to eat, but I will definitely be coming back. We had the opportunity to check out their regular menu before we left and the prices were pretty reasonable for a high-end seafood restaurant. Also, they have Happy Hour Monday through Saturday from 4-6 pm and Friday and Saturday from 10 pm – 12 am.

Thank you to Andi, Yelp, and Mingos for an amazing Elite event and a FABULOUS birthday :)

6 Goals in 6 Weeks – The End! #6in6

6goalsin6weeks #6in6

 

 

 

 

We have finally made it to the end of my 6 goals in 6 weeks adventure! Sometimes it felt like it was flying by, and other times it felt like it was dragging on forever. So how did my last week of 6 goals in 6 weeks go? Did I do any better?

1. Less soda – Still stuck with 48 oz or less during the week and even less on the weekend which is great.

2. Exercise/Run at least 3 times per week – Unfortunately I took a nasty fall on Saturday and I wasn’t able to run this week. I went to the doctor Friday and he told me to hold off at least another week. Not the way I wanted to end my #6in6, but I guess that’s life.

3. Lose 6 pounds -Even Steven! I haven’t lost any and I haven’t gained any. I guess that is better than nothing! I wish I had misplaced those 6 pounds, but I guess they are sticking around for the time being.

4. Go to yoga once a week – Iwasn’t able to make it to yoga this week :( My pain from my fall relocated and I just didn’t want to push it. I was bummed, but I also didn’t want to cause anymore problems.

5. Only eat out twice a week – I only ate out twice this week! Hooray! My 3 day trial from Fresh Meal Plan definitely helped me stay on track at the end of the week. Two of the meals that were delivered weren’t used on their delivery day because I ate out, so I was able to get another day out of my 3 day plan. Awesome huh?

6. Drink at least 72 oz of water a day – I drank at least 100 oz of water everyday again this week.

Overall I feel like I did pretty well with my 6 goals in 6 weeks. I was able to totally crush three of the goals – less soda, yoga once a week, and drink at least 72 oz of water a day. I kept my soda intake below 48 oz EVERY day, I went to yoga 5 out of 6 weeks, and I drank 100 oz or more of water EVERY day.

The running was hit or miss, but I still ran more over the last 6 weeks than I did the previous 6 weeks. Or even the previous 12 weeks for that matter. I didn’t lose any weight but at least I didn’t gain any either. The better I do with running (and eating out) the better I will do with the weight as well. Only eating out twice a week went better than I expected. Even on the weeks that I ate out more than twice it was only 1 more meal. So that is still pretty great.

I am really glad I did this 6 goals in 6 weeks feature. I am definitely going to do it again in the near future. I have my first half marathon of the season at the end of October and I’m thinking about doing my next #6in6 the 6 weeks before that race. Any suggestions on what my 6 new goals should be?

Wish You Were Here – A hotel that is SO pet friendly! #FloridaWish

The theme of my trip for the Marriott Wish You Were Here promotion was “Traveling with Pets.” Mom and I were both excited to plan a trip around our furry friends.

Since we had two pets with us the Residence Inn Miami Airport gave us a room on the first floor that was also near a side entrance. It was great because we didn’t have to bring the dogs through the lobby every time we took them outside. But the dogs loved going through the lobby to visit with the staff and hotel guests, so we still went that way a lot. Our room was perfect for two people and two dogs! It was a 1 bedroom suite (with a king bed) that had a full kitchen, living area, and a huge bathroom. There was even a hook by the front door that you could hang leashes on. I’m sure it was actually for coats or something, but we immediately decided it was a leash hook.

As I mentioned before, after our first night there we wondered how things would work with housekeeping since we had two dogs in the room. I decided to just go ask for clean towels at the front desk and be done with it. But instead we were told to just let them know when we’d be leaving with the dogs and they would send housekeeping to freshen up the room and drop off clean towels while we were gone. The hotel even gave us a special magnet to put on the door to let the housekeeping staff know about the pets in the room. It said “Four-legged guests. There is a pet inside!” How cute is that? The magnet MAY have made its way into my bag and home with me :)

The entire property was pet friendly, so we could take the dogs everywhere with us. There were a couple areas with pet stations that included trash cans and bags to pick up your poop, but as long as you cleaned up after your animal they could go (ha ha) anywhere. Each morning we would take them on a walk through the lobby (so they could say hi to their new friends) and around the property. It was great being able to take them out whenever.

After staying here I would definitely consider taking my dog along on future vacations, especially if there was a Residence Inn that I could stay at. I originally thought it was going to be a pain traveling with a large animal but it ended up being really enjoyable. Plus, my dog has been sleeping since we got home :)

Thanks again to Marriott for including me in this campaign!

 

*Disclosure: Marriott provided me with a weekend stay at the Residence Inn Miami Airport and a travel stipend as part of this program. What I did during my trip was entirely up to me. All opinions regarding Marriott and Residence Inn are my own.

 

Wish You Were Here – Hotel Experience & Amenities #FloridaWish

The Residence Inn Miami Airport really did have everything you needed for a weekend stay or a month long business trip. In addition to the great rooms they had a complimentary breakfast buffet, business center, fitness room, a laundry room, complimentary wireless internet access, airport shuttle, a meeting room, and a little store to buy food & drinks. The campus also includes a restaurant, bar, Starbucks, and a pool.  And of course, the hotel is pet friendly :)

The complimentary breakfast buffet was a great deal more than we expected. Of course they had the regular “free breakfast” fare which included pastries, toast, bagels, yogurt, cereal, coffee, and juice. But they also had eggs, potatoes, sausage, make your own waffles, oatmeal (with toppings), cottage cheese, and fruit. They did switch things up a little bit so that you wouldn’t get bored day after day. Our first morning they had pancakes and the next morning they had biscuits and gravy. There was plenty of food and it was refreshed often. The staff also did a great job of clearing off tables as soon as people got up since there was a lot of people eating each morning.

Wish You Were Here - Residence Inn Miami Airport

They staff was amazing! When we were telling my grandfather about the great staff he asked if they all knew why we were there. Some of the staff did and some didn’t, but they are all so friendly and helpful. The staff at the front desk makes you feel welcome from the minute you walk in. One of the best things is that they KNOW their guests. We were waiting to ask a question and there was a gentleman checking in for a 4 week stay that stays there often. The woman checking him in asked him all about his last trip, his wife, and even one of his coworkers. Another woman that works at the front desk keeps one of their frequent guests’ dog with her during the day so it isn’t alone. How cool is that?

After our first night there we wondered how things would work with housekeeping since we had two dogs in the room. I decided to just go ask for clean towels at the front desk and be done with it. But instead we were told to just let them know when we’d be leaving with the dogs and they would send housekeeping to freshen up the room and drop off clean towels while we were gone. The housekeeper made the bed, brought us new towels, cleaned up the kitchen, vacuumed, and even left us a note saying that she hoped we had a great day. It was so nice not having to worry about someone coming into the room while the dogs were there and we were not.

The only problem we had while we were there was not being able to open the side door closest to our room. Normally it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but since our room was right next to the door and the pet potty area was right outside the door we kinda needed to be able to get in and out. We informed the desk of the issue and they said they had someone working on it. When we came back that problem was corrected, but then our keys wouldnt open our room door. After having them reset the key and it not working a 2nd time, the maintenance manager walked us back to our room to make sure it worked and then told us he would take care of going back to the front if the keys needed reset again. The keys worked and we were all set. Both (small) problems were taken care of that same day and within a couple of hours. The staff was also very apologetic about the issues. But these were the only problems that we had during our entire stay.

Next Up: Just how pet friendly is the Residence Inn Miami Airport?

 

*Disclosure: Marriott provided me with a weekend stay at the Residence Inn Miami Airport and a travel stipend as part of this program. What I did during my trip was entirely up to me. All opinions regarding Marriott and Residence Inn are my own.

 

Fresh Meal Plan – 3 day trial

When I found out about the opportunity to try out Fresh Meal Plan for 3 days I was super excited! I was heading into my last week of my 6 goals in 6 weeks and knew this would help out a lot. One of the hardest things for me has been eating. I’m fine with eating at home, but cooking for one (and making sure its healthy) can be hard sometimes. So when I was given the opportunity to let Fresh Meal Plan help me out for a couple of days I was super excited.

Fresh Meal Plan is a meal delivery plan available in South Florida and Orlando. They know that healthy food is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Their mission is to provide delicious, freshly prepared meals to enhance and sustain a more wholesome existence. Fresh Meal Plan is the solution to relying on protein shakes, energy bars, “quick weight loss” programs, and fad diets. Sounds great right?

Getting started is easy! You sign up, choose your desired meal plan, pick your meals,  it gets delivered (to your home or office), and then you just heat and eat! Plans include meals and snacks, but you can also add juices and desserts. In addition to their Traditional meal plans they also offer Paleo and Vegetarian plans.

I have decided to go with the Traditional plan which is “a perfect balance and most variety of lean proteins, grains, fibrous vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and essential fats to help your body burn fat more efficiently. The calorie content ranges from 350-450 calories per meal.” I was looking at their Instagram feed and the food looks amazing! The Fresh culinary team is comprised of the highest level five star chefs led by world renowned Culinary Institute of America (CIA, the Harvard of food) graduate Patrick Delaney.

All your meals are delivered in coolers with ice packs, so you don’t have to worry if you aren’t right there when it gets delivered. Most home deliveries are done between 12 am and 7 am, so your food will be there when you wake up in the morning. If you choose office delivery it arrives between 8 am and 1 pm. I decided to go with home delivery so that my food was there and ready before I head to work each day.

So how does ordering work? Orders placed before 6:00pm on Friday will begin receiving meals the following Monday. Orders placed after 6PM on Friday and up to 5:00pm on Monday, will begin receiving meals on Wednesday. If you are ordering a 6 or 7 day meal plan and you register anytime between 5:01pm Monday – 5:00pm Wednesday, you have the option to begin receiving meals on Friday or the following Monday.

My first day is tomorrow and I can’t wait to see what yumminess awaits!

*Disclosure: Fresh Meal Plan provided me with a complimentary 3 day trial. All opinions regarding Fresh Meal Plan are my own.

 

6 Goals in 6 Weeks – Week 5 #6in6

How am I 5 weeks into this already? I’ve only got 1 week left! So how did my fifth week of 6 goals in 6 weeks go? Did I do any better? Well… why I thought to plan this over my birthday I will never know!

1. Less soda – I’m still sticking with 48 oz or less during the week and even less on the weekend which is great. I thought I was going to go over at the beginning of the week (do to severe sleepiness), but I kept it under 48 oz.

2. Exercise/Run at least 3 times per week – I ran twice this week. I had every intention of busting our day #3 but then I fell on Saturday while roller skating and that kinda killed that. Hopefully I will start feeling better soon so that week #6 isn’t a bust.

3. Lose 6 pounds -Even Steven! I haven’t lost any and I haven’t gained any. I guess that is better than nothing!

4. Go to yoga once a week – I went to yoga this week and my friend joined me again! I was sore from our adventures in Miami last weekend so my body REALLY needed the yoga.

5. Only eat out twice a week – It was my birthday week so I ate out 3 times, but that is still pretty good right?

6. Drink at least 72 oz of water a day – I drank at least 100 oz of water everyday again this week.

I probably shouldn’t have planned my 6 goals in 6 weeks over my birthday, but life just gets in the way sometimes right? Hopefully this last week won’t go too horribly. I’m already starting to feel a little better since my fall, so we shall see.

Bring on week #6!!