Avoiding the takeout monster

Hi friends 😀 How was your day? I’m so glad you’re enjoying the Focus On: Zumba post! Of course I’m a little biased since I teach, but I really love it so much 🙂

So I have a confession to make…

I smile, but

photo (86)

I’ve turned into a TAKEOUT MONSTER.

From Mexican,


to gluten-free pizza


(that was today’s lunch.. the same pizza and salad for the third time.. this week)

pizza (2)

to Indian


to salads

photo (2)

It’s just getting a little out of hand.

#1. It’s a HUGE money waster. I don’t even want to think about how much we’ve spent on food this week since I haven’t been cooking for myself or the Pilot. {Think of the DESIGNER JEANS cloth diapers I could be buying instead!}

#2. While I’m an ordering ninja, I still like to make the food at home so I know exactly what goes into it.

To be real, it’s been REALLY hard for me to put meals together since the gluten-free bun was put in the proverbial oven. Everything makes me gag (even packing lunch), but once the food is prepared, I’m fine to eat it. Smoothies have been a godsend since all I have to do is throw everything in the Vitamix, and I’ll get protein, healthy fats, fruits and veggies in one fell swoop.


Like with any predicament, I tried to think of how I would give someone else advice in a similar situation:

-Find some healthy pre-packaged foods that are easy to combine as a meal. Trader Joe’s, Amy’s and Whole Paycheck have a ton of options.

Something that has worked really well has been gluten-free wraps with Sunshine burgers inside:


Find things you can eat as they are, such as fresh organic fruit, Larabars, nuts, dried fruit and veggies. [This one I’ve actually been doing, so it’s been a great snack option]


-Soups, pre-made salads (like from Trader Joe’s), bean and grain dishes (like the quinoa confetti casserole from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan) that are easy to prepare are also good options

Things that WON’T work:

Having the Pilot make all of my meals for me. I eat at least 5 times a day, and while he’s been absolutely amazing and has prepped salads and eggs for me, I can’t depend on him to cook every meal for me. He’s so busy it’s a wonder he’s been feeding himself this entire time.

So I thought I’d ask you guys for advice….

How can I avoid the takeout monster? What are some super fast meals I can put together to minimize gag time? Or should I just keep doing what I’ve been doing hoping that since the first trimester is over my cooking ninja skillz will soon be back?



See ya in the morning <3



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  1. Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn on June 29, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    What I do is I prep all of my quinoa, beans, hummus, etc. on Sundays, and then I have it for the rest of the week! Either make them fancy shmancy right away, or you can just throw them together with some raisins, seeds, and marinara and it is SOOO good! With a salad on the side, obvs.

    • breakingsilence @ Freshman -15 on June 29, 2011 at 11:34 pm

      I second this idea!! Try preparing some/most meals ahead of time!

      • Liz on June 30, 2011 at 7:27 am

        Yup, a medium pot of quinoa early in the week and daily I can add fish, goat cheese, asparagus, tomatoes, poached eggs, etc, You could also try making a big pot of quinoa kedgeree and eat that for a few days.

    • Mac on June 30, 2011 at 9:33 am

      Ditto! Prepping veggies and fruit and all that other good stuff on Sunday is the best way!

  2. Rachel on June 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    You could always try the whole slow cooker thing… Similar to making smoothies. Just throw everything in and walk away.

    • Hannah on June 30, 2011 at 8:03 am

      Exactly what I was going to suggest. I highly recommend The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla. It’s SO easy and SO delish.

  3. suzi on June 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    I wish I could help but I honestly feel like I can’t give good advice since I’ve never been pregnant and have no experience with the gaginess effect.

    Could you at least buy the pre-packaged salads at the grocery store so you have that all ready to go you just throw it in a bowl and eat? That coupled with a good quality pre-made meal that can just be thrown in the oven or microwave should cover all your basis without you actually having to prepare anything? And even though packaged food at the store costs more than making it yourself, it’ll still be cheaper than takeout!

  4. kaila @ healthy helper! on June 29, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Maybe so its not to over whelming at meal times and so you and the pilot don’t feel too burdened, you could set aside one day to prep a bunch of staples for the week! Easy proteins, grains, and veggies that can be easily combined into a meal later on in the week. Oh and focus on super simple stuff…..think stir fries, one pot wonders (like soup or stews), and “lunchy” type meals (like sandwiches and salads!). Hope this helps!!

  5. BethT on June 29, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I also try to prep stuff on Sundays….but I also feel you should do what you have to in order to get through the first tri. Once I hit 18 or 19 weeks I finally felt like myself enough to make and eat food the way I did pre-pregnancy. Don’t worry if you’re spending on takeout now….if it helps you eat well, it’s important.

  6. jc on June 29, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    What I do is depend on slow cooker or rice cooker. Just throw in pre-chopped veggies (from tj’s), broth, grain. voila, you get awesome meal. you can also throw in chopped protein in too!

    or how about your awesome 2min microwaveable protein bake? the one with egg whites? this could be awesome snack~

  7. Shaina on June 29, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    I could have a huge smoothie for all 3 meals every day because its so easy and you really can get everything you need…not to mention its a nice cold treat on those hot Tucson summer days.

    I’d say that or stick with the prepackaged salads, frozen Amy’s stuff, etc until the nausea passes…hopefully soon!!!

  8. Laura (On the Threshold of Greatness) on June 29, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Girl, I know how tempting the takeout can be! It is such a money suck! Try not to be hard on yourself, first of all. I think we all naturally go through different phases and you’re undergoing a lot of physical changes right now! If it takes some pressure (and sickness) off for someone else to chop your veggies, no worries. 🙂

    I wanted to stop for Chinese bean curd tonight SO BAD. I basically had to bitch-slap myself and say, “Laura! Is you crazy?! You have plenty of nutritious, quick options at home. Just drive home and put something quick together.” I know that’s not really specific advice, but sometimes forcing yourself is the best option… Like putting your shoes on to work out is the hardest part. Once you’ve started, you usually keep going!

  9. Lynn~The Learning Curves Blogger on June 29, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Depending on your personal financial situation you may just want to drop the guilt and ride this one out. Most women get over the nausea within a few weeks. Do what you can (the soups, wraps, pre-packaged but healthy meals) for now, and takeout IF your budget allows and soon you will be ready to cook again.

    As much as I LOVE the slow-cooker, depending on how much time you spend at home and how sensitive you are, it may backfire on you. The smells from the cooking food linger ALL day…and sometimes hours later.

    Good luck!! =)

  10. TanyaS on June 29, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    I’m with Lynn, you just do what you can to get by until its over and you return to your normal self ~ then at the end of the pregnancy you’ll be looking for advice on how to control consuming every single food item in the house!

    When I was pregnant with my 3rd, I lived on nothing but smoothies until I could stand the sight/smell of food again. With my first two I was ~lucky?~ enough to have peculiar cravings (cottage cheese, lots & lots of cottage cheese) and these cravings were healthy enough that I didn’t feel too badly about not eating regular meals.

  11. Gloria C on June 29, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Here’s a quick meal that I do in the beginning of the week, I make a whole batch and they are yummy . It’s are from recipes that Jamie Eason (fitness model) posted on her facebook, but a staple in my diet.

    1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
    2 tsp. dry yellow mustard
    2 tsp. black pepper
    2 tsp. McCormick’s Chipotle Pepper Spice (spicy, but key to the recipe)
    1 tsp. salt1 cup quick cooking oats
    2 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tbsp of garlic powder)
    1 small onion, finely chopped (I get the pre chopped version or even the frozen – thawed)
    2 stalks celery, finely chopped (bell peppers will work too)
    3 egg whites
    1 1/2 – 2 lbs. ground extra lean chicken or turkey breast (I use 3 packages)
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    In a large bowl, add cumin, thyme, yellow mustard, black pepper, McCormick’s Chipotle Pepper Spice, salt, oats, garlic, onions and celery.Mix until well combined. Next add the ground chicken and egg whites and mix with your hands until evenly distributed. Make racquetball size portionsand place in muffin tins, sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 40 minutes.
    Yields about18 muffins
    Nutrition: 1 muffin
    78 calories
    2 g fat
    4 g carbs11 g protein
    Servings are usually 2 for women and 4 for men.

  12. alicia on June 30, 2011 at 12:05 am

    You should sooo do cloth diapers!!! I was finally able to afford it with my third son. I love it! I recommened flip @ cottonbabies.com or gdiapers from diapers.com (great coupon codes available). Right now, I use the flip covers and the gdiaper inserts (flushable and biodegradable) Although, my husband won’t change a cloth diaper! lol. It’s still worth it to me.

  13. Heather (Heather's Dish) on June 30, 2011 at 12:26 am

    girl i know exactly what you mean, and the biggest thing for me was setting a budget. it allowed me to eat out and get those little takeout treats in but then the rest of the time i had to make my own food!

  14. Amber on June 30, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Oh sweetness!! I just found your blog and I soooo feel ya! I too am in my first trimester and the take out monster has struck in our home as well. Preparing anything, makes me sick. I’d say spare yourself the grief…and make the healthiest take out choices you can. You will be back in the the kitchen soon enough =] Until then, enjoy it!

  15. Ashley on June 30, 2011 at 1:01 am

    I am someone who can not stand wasting food so I buy a bunch of stuff that needs to be prepared asap or else it will go bad. Lots of veggies and preservative free foods. If I get lots of frozen dinners, I just think “Oh, it’s frozen so I don’t have to eat that now since I really want to go out to eat”.

  16. mi-an on June 30, 2011 at 1:59 am

    I make casserole meals once a week and that usually makes for 3 meals for me and my boyfriend. last week i made mexican veggie lasagna, week before that was italian veggie lasagna, this week i’m making chana masala. other nites would be something easy like omelette, veggie stiry fry, or a huge salad. greens are usually cut beginning of the week. it has worked out great for us bc we are on a budget. hope that helps a bit. 🙂

  17. Ali @ urbanfruitbat on June 30, 2011 at 2:55 am

    I think it is just a phase! Don’t worry about it. Soon you will be in second trimester, feeling fine and all will go back to normal. Just let this be what it is, and soon it will all be in the past.

  18. Katheryn on June 30, 2011 at 3:08 am

    A slow cooker works great, but only if you’ll be gone for most of the day. If you’re going to be home all day you’ll still be smelling everything as it cooks. Good luck!

  19. Casey Thomas on June 30, 2011 at 3:44 am

    Hey Gina,

    I’d love to help with some ideas. I can totally imagine being in the situation you’re in and commend you for still trying so hard to eat healthy food.

    You can make giant batches of millet and quinoa (cook with organic veg broth for flavour) and freeze them in individual portions. They reheat really well as you need them. Also, I think I remember from ages back that you used to love Natalia Rose’s Pumpkin Pie in a bowl soup. It’s one of my faves and a good combo of veggies and healthy fats and sweet. It lasts in the fridge 2-3 days so you could prep that easily and eat over a couple of days.

    Also berry avocado sorbet and ice cream is amazing. These are two of my faves:

    I also love them without the cacao or carob and with lime juice. SO freakin good!!

    Hope this helps 🙂

  20. emily on June 30, 2011 at 4:12 am

    we all turn into take out monsters from time to time i think. when i’m having what i call lazy weeks i just buy in a whole lot of simple foods that are good in their natural form that can just be tossed together. i also let go of what a meal should be and just be happy eating a bowl of baked broccoli topped with chilli flakes, lemon zest and some pine nuts etc etc. i tend to find that after eating take out for any period of time, my body starts shouting pretty loudly about what it wants and that just seems to be the ebb and flow of it. your take outs look pretty decent at least!

  21. Brett Marie Zima on June 30, 2011 at 4:24 am

    I say give yourself a break sistah! For the first time, you are sharing your body with another human, and that my friend, is no small feat. Try not to feel guilty treating yourself buuuuut in the meantime, here are a few ideas.
    I like to do lots of my chopping, grain cooking, and other prep work Sunday afternoon, which means meals come together with a quickness. Also, try things that cook super fast- seared scallops, seared tuna, shrimp, veggie protein crumbles all cook supah-dupah fast. Another great one is baked casseroles that can be made ahead, refrigerated, then popped in the oven later. My fave is vegetarian Shepard’s Pie- layer sauteed veggies, seasoned sauteed veggie crumbles, and then mashed taters. Top with a little cheese and some panko on top. When you & the Pilot are ready pop in the oven til warm, browned, and delish. I serve it with some plain greens tossed with white balsamic.
    Hope this helped a tad 🙂

  22. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on June 30, 2011 at 5:24 am

    “Or should I just keep doing what I’ve been doing hoping that since the first trimester is over my cooking ninja skillz will soon be back?”

    I would say try to curtail the takeout as much as possible and you will probably feel better about cooking sooner rather than later. Unless you are like me, who puked 10x a day, every day, for oh, about 35 weeks. It was not fun. I never really cooked. Unless “cooking” can be called grapes, fresh fruit, grilled cheese sammies, and pizza (which are foods, i.e. bread and cheese that I NEVER eat when not pregnant but then, it was all I could keep down) and oh unwrapping a package of saltines + PB schmear was also considered “cooking” for me.

    Girl just do the best you can. Obvi you know you ARE throwing lots of money away but kids cost money. Think of this as one expense of being parents…one of many to come! I am cheap and frugal to the core but sometimes you just have to spend to make life EASIER!

    The other thing to think about is that new motherhood is HARDER to find time to cook than now..you will be nursing round the clock and sleep deprived so whatever you end up doing now, will probably continue…for awhile. My .02 only of course 🙂

  23. Laura on June 30, 2011 at 6:05 am

    Hello and good morning,

    It’s unfortunate that the Whole Foods hot and salad bar are so delicious, but it is of course overall pretty expensive, and I feel guilty about spending so much money. Similar to the comments above, I recommend cooking on Sundays for the week. I make a sandwich/wrap filler such as tuna or egg salad that I can grab and stuff in a sandwich each day. I also make 2-3 side dishes that I just scoop out and throw into my bento box tupperware. I like sweet potato chips/fries, quinoa salads, jicama slaw salads with veganese, and cucumbers with vidalia onions and red wine vinegar with olive oil. I’ll also keep apples and fruit on hand in case I’m feeling snacky at my desk. This makes me feel organized and less frazzled when I’m starving and just desperate for takeout or WF buffet.
    Hope this helps!

    • Fitnessista on June 30, 2011 at 10:07 am

      everything you suggested sounds delicious- thank you!

  24. Katie on June 30, 2011 at 6:34 am

    I ate a lot of pizza, mac and cheese and soup during the first half of my pregnancy. Until about week 12, I couldn’t even walk by the prepackaged salads in the grocery store without my gag reflex kicking in, but even once I could look at greens without gagging it still took awhile for me to actually want a salad again. It pretty much totally subsided by week 17 or so. Except for my dog’s food…I’m 23 weeks now and my husband still needs to feed the dog because it still makes me want to hurl. 🙂

  25. Sam on June 30, 2011 at 6:34 am

    I definitely have this problem a bit too. My issue is buying my lunch at work!! They have a salad bar and it is just so much easier than making my own and cutting all the different things I want…but also MUCH more pricey! I’m going to try prepping things all on one day like many people suggested!

  26. cathy on June 30, 2011 at 6:56 am

    i’m going to say just roll with it. you’re only going to pregnant (a couple??!) times in your life, and enjoy this time as much as you can – and do whatever it takes to avoid feeling nauseous. being pregnant is a time of celebration as you await the arrival of the little one!

  27. Jessica @ Jessica Balances on June 30, 2011 at 7:12 am

    This may not be quite what you’re looking for but… be kind to yourself and just enjoy this time! No one can be “perfect” all the time — if you eat a little extra takeout when you’re pregnant, does it reaalllly matter? Probably not. 🙂 you are already doing so much while pregnant, which is uber inspiring, so maybe keep taking it easy in the kitchen and give yourself permission to enjoy more takeout than you typically would. xoxo

  28. Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg on June 30, 2011 at 7:16 am

    We never get takeout, but only because there aren’t good restaurants in our area. We’re moving to a city with many more options in August, so I think it will be much more of a challenge then!

  29. Nicole on June 30, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I would try slow-cooker meals. Throw a bunch of veggies and chicken into a crock pot, cover with broth of choice and let it slow cook all day. To make it easier you can by pre-cut veggies, so all you have to do is sit around or run errands while it does it’s magic!

  30. Cait @ Beyond Bananas on June 30, 2011 at 7:30 am

    I like to get a lot of things prepped BEFORE it is actual cooking time.. maybe on Sunday – or an evening where I’ve got nothing going on. Chop up the veggies – cook anything that can be stored in the fridge for a while.

    It takes the leg work out of everything.

    BUT.. you DO have a bun in your oven.. and you need to do right by the little nugget. If the only think you can stomach right now is some take-out – then so be it! Hopefully, it will pass.. and if it doesn’t – then you can reevaluate a couple weeks down the road 🙂

  31. OntarioGirl on June 30, 2011 at 7:40 am

    The way I avoid take-out is just planning ahead and thinking of how much better I’ll feel if I make/bring food from home BUT I don’t have the pregnancy gag factor going on so not sure how to overcome that!
    Maybe once you’re in your new house, in your brand new kitchen, your cooking-at-home mojo will return?! lol I know I love cooking at home because I love my kitchen as well 🙂

  32. Laura (Cookies vs. Carrots) on June 30, 2011 at 7:45 am

    It seems to me that you have a pretty good idea on how to minimize the takeout monster. Your tips were great. Follow them, and also give yourself a break! You’re pregnant for the first time ever, a once in a lifetime experience. Who cares if you want takeout all the time? You have a baby in there!

  33. Shelly on June 30, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Can you get the pilot to pre-chop and pre-cook stuff for you on Sunday so you can throw it all together? If you did that you could have barley or rice bowls- just reheat your grain then toss on some toppers- I like avocado, tomato, black beans and hot sauce on brown rice for example, but you can also use leftover cooked veggies too- like barley with brocolli, parmesan and walnuts topped with olive oil and lemon juice.
    I also made an awesome slaw that held up for days this week- I bought a pack of angel hair cut cabbage slaw and mixed in the juice of 1/2 a lime (which I think helps to keep everything crunchy and fresh for a few days), 3 T olive oil, 1 chopped garlic clove, and lots of black pepper and cilantro. I like to top it right before I eat it with avocado, chopped shallot, and tomatillo salsa before I eat it. (I will say unless it’s a snack, you should prolly pair it with a protein- I neglected to do this the other day at lunch and was starving later.)
    Another idea- can you quickly throw stuff in a crock pot and then just walk away?
    You could do red beans and rice- (brown rice, dried or canned red beans, water, veggies, spices and soy sauce, basically)….

  34. Amy (purewellnessamy) on June 30, 2011 at 8:09 am

    I say embrace the take out monster while it’s here. My cooking skills are on hiatus now, and I’m not even pregnant! summer’s here, we’re out and about, and I just don’t feel like prepping and cooking meals. Maybe take more advantage of pre-prepped foods/veggies a la Trader Joe’s (the frozen cooked organic brown rice is super convenient) to save on crazy restaurant take out prices. This too shall pass!

  35. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine on June 30, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Whenever I fall prey to buying too much pre-prepared food, I go out and buy a ton of perishable foods like fruits, veggies and good bread. Knowing that I have stuff I NEED to eat and already paid for always gives me a kick in the pants to prep things myself!!

  36. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat on June 30, 2011 at 8:24 am

    It’s good that you still have smoothies as a backup!

  37. fran hlavacek on June 30, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Hrumph. I thought I was so smart with my slow cooker/rice cooker reply, but it seems your legion of readers beat me to it! Ah, well.

  38. Leanne (Bride to Mrs.) on June 30, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Try to make dishes that you can freeze & take out 😉 from your freezer when you’re in a pinch. Like that lasagna… & then you have a dinner as well as leftovers for lunch the next day!

  39. Silvia @ skinny jeans food on June 30, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Well, you are having a BABY! so, go with it and make it easier on yourself, if it is take-out it’s take-out. Once you have the baby and are sleep-deprived it is also a great option to make life easier on yourself. I am sure once the gag reflex is gone you’ll return to the kitchen.

  40. michele on June 30, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I been in your shoes twice already. Nothing I say or any advice I give will make this easier. I had cravings and many aversions. I never know from minute to minute what I was in the mood for therefore making prepping and planning difficult. Go with the flow, stay as healthy as you can till this passes!

    • Fitnessista on June 30, 2011 at 10:04 am

      exactly- i never know what i want to eat until right before i eat

  41. Kimberly @ Healthy Strides on June 30, 2011 at 8:50 am

    I had the same problem early on in my pregnancy. There were times when I’d plan a meal and then the idea of actually making it – much less eating it – made me gag. My husband’s not much of a cook so I didn’t have help there. We have an entertainment budget so that helped keep things under control and the crock pot helped. You just dump a bunch of stuff in and leave. I also ate a lot of canned soup and things that I didn’t have to do much with. Good luck!

  42. Kari on June 30, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I have to agree with a few of the commenters that you might as well just ride this takeout monster train out. I know all too well the nausea, gagging, and not wanting to step inside the kitchen feeling of the 1st trimester. My 1st trimester was filled with takeout galore. I’m happy to report that the 2nd trimester gets much better. I’m currently 22 weeks and have takeout maybe once per week (which was about what we were consuming pre-pregnancy). Regular foods (well, most at least) taste and sound good again. Hang in there–soon you’ll be feeling back to normal, well as normal as one can feel when pregnant!

  43. Food for Todd on June 30, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Speaking of little buns, have you seen the Little Bird Nesting Company on 4th? I believe they offer cloth diaper info sessions every month. Plus, all their baby clothes are supa cute and either made locally or gently used…

    • Fitnessista on June 30, 2011 at 10:04 am

      no i haven’t! will have to check it out 🙂

  44. Gina @ Running to the kitchen on June 30, 2011 at 9:07 am

    I think prep is key. Would it help the gag effect if you prepped it a day or two before you actually had to eat it? That way if it does make you gag, you don’t have to eat it right then and there 🙂

    • Fitnessista on June 30, 2011 at 10:03 am

      that’s a good idea!

  45. nysoonergirl on June 30, 2011 at 9:07 am

    I had a stomach bug last week but found that chewing spearmint gum helped relieve the nausea even while I prepped my smoothies or meals. Good luck!

  46. fittingbackin on June 30, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Sounds like you’re all over it! You’ve already seen it as a problem and found other ideas for fixing it! I like your idea of eating food as it is. And have you thought about the slowcooker? That’s something you could maybe ask pilot to put in (since the prepping part isn’t sitting well) and then you could take it out when it’s done, divide it up, etc.!

  47. Hillary on June 30, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I agree completely with the advice you gave yourself—TJ’s prepared foods/frozen foods sections are a Godsend!

  48. Chelsa on June 30, 2011 at 9:19 am

    It is so difficult to avoid the take-out monster. I think most importantly I have to have a refrigerator full of options. It’s hard too when you have a restaurant near by that makes what you want just as good as you make it for yourself. It’s like why spend the time grocery shopping and prepping when you can just order out.

  49. Stephanie on June 30, 2011 at 9:25 am

    You are still eating healthfully, so I would just do what you can. I mean like you said it is tempory and you’ll be back cooking in no time. Don’t feel guilty! Feeling like gagging doesn’t make anyone want to chow down. I say, just continue to healthy smart choices while eating out, and soon you will be to normal…dont’ sweat it =)

  50. Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) on June 30, 2011 at 9:31 am

    It may just be pregnancy! During my first trimester, I lost ALL desire to cook and we ate a lot of takeout. I was scared, but eventually my love for the kitchen returned 🙂

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