Product Review: Blue Apron Meal Delivery Service

Members of the Jerd-Herd should already know that I believe diet is 80% of the fitness battle.

Not only does eating a clean and healthy diet help keep the pounds off, it helps you feel great and gives you the energy you need to smash super-heroic workouts on a regular basis.

But sometimes finding the time to cook a good meal is hard!

Even when you know it is the “right” thing to do…

This is where meal planning and delivery services come in! I have already championed the eMeals planning service, which sends you weekly shopping lists and recipes based on your dietary requirements, but Blue Apron takes things a step farther!

So how does this service work? Glad you asked!

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Iron Rations: Healthy Popsicles

Healthy Popsicles - Emeals - The Jerd 1

I get emails weekly from companies and websites that want to buy ad space, get endorsed via an article, or write guest posts to promote their own content/agenda…

I turn 99.9% of them down.

Why? Because I want only the best for my readers!

While the extra $$$ would be nice, and it would definitely help me out when it comes to bringing all of you fine, upstanding people (and you hooligans too) all the regular content you have grown to love and expect, I feel my reputation is more important.

So when I do find something I feel is worth-while I make sure to let everyone know about it… and this is one of those times!

And that something is, a meal planning service designed to take the guess-work out of your menu.

They create budget friendly menus for you, tailored to your eating style (I highly recommend their Clean Eating, Paleo & Portion Control options), family size, and favorite grocery store. Each week your meal plan is emailed to you, complete with simple and creative recipes for entrees and a side dish.

Along with your meal plan, you receive a detailed grocery list, organized by section and coordinated with the weekly sales at your selected stores (oh, and they also have Vegetarian & Gluten-Free options as well.)

It’s freaking awesome!

Hold on… I can hear you saying “That’s nice Jerd, and I promise to check it out, but what does any of this have to do with delicious popsicles?

Well since I am already talking about one thing I almost never do, I figure I ought to go ahead and add another rarity into the mix…

Desserts you can cram into your face-holes guilt free.

See, the fine folks at Emeals sent me these great recipes! All I needed to do was figure out the caloric and nutritional breakdowns and then pass them on to all you denizens of the Inter-Google-Tubes… so since I am all about having to do less work than normal, here you go – 3 great popsicle ideas that take almost no time to whip up!

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Iron Rations: Mango Chia Seed Pudding

Mango Chia Seed Pudding - Healthy Recipe 1

I realized the other day, that while we have tons of recipes available here on the site, we don’t have any healthy desserts!

So it’s time to fix that!

The problem with desserts is that we expect them to be super sweet, and as any loyal reader of this site knows, sugar is the enemy!

So what can we put in our face-holes that will satisfy the craving for a sugary treat, but won’t sabotage your diet?

The simple answer to that question – fruit.

Even though fruits have natural sugar, they also are packed with vitamins and fiber. That’s why they are a major part of our clean-eating plan!

Sometimes you might want to be fancier than just plain fruit though. Maybe you have a child you want to trick, maybe you’re having company and you don’t want to just throw and apple at their head after dinner, or maybe you just want to mix things up a little.

Whatever the case, this homemade “pudding” will hit the spot while giving you a nice dose of vitamin A, C and fiber!

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Iron Rations: Healthy Pancakes

Healthy Pancake Recipe - Booster GoldI saw this recipe for “healthy pancakes” a couple of months back and I thought I would give them a shot!

If you want an exact substitute for the yummy goodness a stack of pancakes brings to your mouth, you might be a little disappointed. I won’t lie to you my loyal Jerdlings, I love pancakes and these are pancakes only in shape and in the fact you cook them in a pan.

But they are ridiculously easy to make (seriously, even a total kitchen n00b can whip these up no problem!) and they will definitely break up any breakfast-time monotony you might be feeling if you are trying to eat healthy.

Even better than that? This inexpensive and tasty, healthy pancake recipe provides you with a near perfect blend of nutrients to start your day off!

Healthy Banana & Egg Pancakes

So this recipe hits the trifecta for what I want in a recipe:

  • Easy to prepare
  • Full of Nutrients
  • Delicious!

It clocks in at about 255 calories and provides approx 13 grams of protein/3 grams of fiber/28 grams of carbs.

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Iron Rations: Sausage and Peppers

Not every meal has to take copious amounts of prep time nor be 100% clean.

You don’t even always have to be a whiz in the kitchen.

That’s right. You can make a healthy, delicious, low-calorie meal even if you suck at cooking! Who woulda thunk it?!?

Sausage w/ Peppers and Onions

There are so many great things about a meal like this!

  • It works for breakfast, lunch or dinner
  • Easy to cook
  • Almost zero prep time is required
  • Is relatively inexpensive

Not to mention it scales easily if you want to make enough for left-overs!

It clocks in at about 385 calories and provides approx 30 grams of protein/4 grams of fiber/30 grams of carbs. What more can you ask for?

Prep Time = 5 Mins Cook Time = 10 Mins Total Time = 15 Mins

Ingredients (Serves 2):

Healthy Sausage and Peppers Recipe

  • 1 package (4 count) of Sweet Italian Style Chicken Sausage
  • 1 package of pre-cut peppers/onions*


  • 1 tbsp BBQ sauce


* Note – Most stores have started catering to the lazy busy and sell pre-cut veggies… so if you aren’t keen on slicing onions and de-seeding peppers this is definitely the way to go. If your store sucks and doesn’t sell pre-packaged kitchen salvation then grab a green pepper, a yellow pepper, a red pepper and an onion and get to slicing!

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Iron Rations: Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I’ve been getting requests for more healthy recipes, so in today’s installment of Iron Rations we are going to look at an exceptionally tasty (and simple) recipe that works great as an appetizer or light lunch.

As I continue to say, eating clean and healthy is the most important aspect of any fitness regimen!

No matter how hard you are working out, if you are eating crap then you are probably never going to see the results you want! So many people think eating clean and healthy means nothing but grilled chicken and steamed broccoli though, and while that is a solid meal it gets downright boring after awhile.

You can’t outrun your fork!

So what can we add to your clean and healthy menu to spice things up a little?

Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This light (paleo friendly) meal tastes great, takes minimal ingredients, it clocks in at about 460 calories, provides approx 40 grams of protein/7 grams of fiber/18 grams of carbs and only takes a half an hour to prepare.

Not to mention if presented right can make you look like you are a better cook than you actually might be… score!

Prep Time = 20 Mins Cook Time = 10 Mins Total Time = 30 Mins

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Iron Rations: Healthy Pasta with Tomatoes and Zucchini

In today’s installment of Iron Rations we are going to look at a surprisingly easy, yet tasty, recipe that can will satisfy your carb cravings while still being good for you. Score!

As I have said repeatedly in the past, eating clean and healthy is the most important aspect of any fitness regimen. No matter how hard you are working out, if you are fueling yourself with tons of sugar and processed foods you are not going to see the progress you want! So when you get that craving for carbs, instead of going to the Olive Garden and feeling lethargic and (hopefully) guilty after shoveling a giant plate of cheese covered death chicken carbonara into your maw, try this fresh and healthy pasta dish instead.

Pasta w/ Tomatoes, Zucchini and Shrimp

This great dinner tastes great, takes minimal ingredients and reheats easily! It clocks in at about 485 calories, provides approx 19 grams of protein/10 grams of fiber/60 grams of carbs and only takes a half an hour to whip up. What more can you ask for? (And don’t say “For you to come make it for me…” because it’s not going to happen slapnuts!)

Prep Time = 20 Mins Cook Time = 10 Mins Total Time = 30 Mins

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Reader Mail Bag #1

I think it is high time to introduce a new series of articles to the site.

*cue drumroll please*

*dramatic pause*

Reader MailThe Reader Mail Bag!

That whole lead-up, drumroll, dramatic pause thing really doesn’t work when you write it out does it? Oh well, let us not allow that fizzled intro to detract from the point of this post; answering some reader mail!

Today we have two great questions from some loyal readers, so let’s see what they want to know and if I have any advice for them.

“So, some girl friends of mine at work are all talking about eating healthier and being more active. We are each making small adjustments in our lifestyles. One of the topics we were debating on were supplements, is there a need to take supplements? If so which kinds? With all of the fads going on…I think the latest I heard was raspberry ketone???…is it something I should look into?

I love reading your articles, I find them very helpful and have recommended your page to my friends.” – Tammy

Thanks so much for the feedback Tammy! I’m both glad that you are trying to get healthier and that you are finding the advice here helpful!

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Iron Rations: 3 Quick and Healthy Chicken Dishes

Look! A quick chicken. Get it?

Look! A quick chicken. Get it?

One thing I commonly hear when talking to people who say they want to eat better is this:

“I would eat healthier but it takes too long to cook!”


It just takes a little forethought and kitchen know-how.

The first step to eating healthy is making sure your kitchen is well stocked (here are some kitchen essentials that are always present in my larder). It is very easy to let the temptation of convenience over-ride your desire to be healthier. Don’t fall in the trap of ordering take-out because you let your refrigerator’s contents dwindle!

As I have noted before, I am a big fan of the chicken bird and almost always have some in the house ready to supply me with lean protein goodness. Now, just like everyone, I am often busy and on the go; so the routine of thawing chicken and then preparing it just doesn’t work for me. Instead, once a week I will prepare my chicken ahead of time so that it is ready for me when my stomach starts grumbling!

Depending on how many people you are cooking for this obviously is going to change, but since these quick and healthy chicken dishes generally act as my lunch  this is all based on servings for one person.

I will cube 3 whole chicken breasts (skinless of course) and throw them in a big frying pan or stainless steel wok with 2 tbsp of olive oil, then I season them to taste (I generally add 2 tsps of minced garlic, sprinkle liberally with italian seasoning and grind some black pepper over it all) and cook it all up. Then I toss it all in a Tupperware container in my refrigerator. Voila, chicken to last the entire week in about 15 minutes!

Here are 3 healthy and tasty dishes using that chicken as a base, ranging from a light 275 calorie salad to a hearty 500 calorie meal, that you can whip up in under 10 minutes.

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Iron Rations: A Simple and Healthy Breakfast

Healthy breakfast eggs and spinachEggs. The staple of so many people’s morning ritual.

Unfortunately these miraculous packages of protein and amino acids are often partnered up with stacks of pancakes slathered in butter and sugar sauce, southern biscuits soaked in heart-attack inducing gravy, covered in tons of cheese, etc…

Since everyone knows that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” (Thanks non-stop 1980s TV advertising), and we all should be aware that shoveling piles of empty carbs and buckets of cholesterol into our faces is not the way to treat our bodies, then it is a simple conclusion that we want to partake in a healthy meal to start our day. Right?

So rather than waking up and immediately punching your metabolism in the throat with a maple syrup covered fist, how about you start the day off right and eat one of my personal favorite 5 minute healthy breakfasts instead?

Eggs w/ Sautéed Spinach

I know the phrases “5 minute” and “healthy” probably seem to be in conflict with each other; in a lot of people’s minds, Fast Ave. does not intersect with Healthy Blvd. When people think of a fast breakfast they think Poptarts (I shudder at the thought) or a bowl of cereal, not a hot filling meal that starts the day off with a healthy dose of protein and an assortment of vitamins and minerals.

Trust me, it is quick and easy; here is how you whip this up!

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Iron Rations: Top Kitchen Essentials

Kitchen Essentials Healthy Grocery ShoppingI fondly remember shopping with my mother when I was growing up; wandering the aisles of the grocery store watching her toss endless boxes and bags into the cart, always hoping that if I was good that I would get to pick a comic book from the spinning rack near the checkout. It’s a very simple, and pleasant, memory for me.

My mother did her best to make sure our family ate well. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination (she refered to corn as a vegetable, we lived on white as snow bread, and there was a lot of super sugary canned fruits in the pantry at all times) but she did what I like to think was her best.

I distinctly remember:

  • We never had soda in the house
  • She would never buy my brother or I any cereal with chocolate anything or bits of marshmallow
  • If we wanted something sweet she always preferred we had fruit or a granola bar instead of a cookie.

Sounds good, right? In a very limited capacity it was, but not really…

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Iron Rations: Healthy Meal on the Go

So back in the first installment of Iron Rations we discussed the basics of how to improve your diet and to start properly fueling your body; I am sure that came as a surprise to no-one, and I am pretty positive we all know the general benefits that eating healthy have on us. Another thing I am pretty positive of is that most people, when trying to make a change in themselves, make some bad choices when it comes to planning out their meals!

Life is hectic for all of us, and more often than not we rush from one obligation to another throughout our day and week. So what tends to happen is that people, once they start making healthier diet choices for themselves and working out regularly (Which you all are, right?!? If not, get the over to Nerd-Core Fitness and get with the program!), will start skipping meals if they don’t have a “healthy” option in front of them that they can grab and cram in their face-hole in under 3.67 seconds.

While this is definitely better than nom-nom-noming on a candy bar or stopping at a crappy fast food drive-in, it is certainly not the best thing for you; especially if you make it a common occurrence. I will post up an article on exactly how your body metabolizes food and why skipping meals can actually cause you gain weight, not lose it (counter intuitive, I know…), but for now I want to provide you loyal readers with a quick and healthy meal on the go option in this installment of Iron Rations!

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Iron Rations – Turkey with Roasted Potatoes

So in the first Iron Rations article I gave you the basics of how to improve your diet to start properly fueling your body. The benefits of healthy eating cannot be stressed enough, especially when you are working out on a regular basis (which I know you are… right? If not, get the over to Nerd-Core Fitness and get with the program!) More importantly we all know how we feel after we cram something horrible for us into our faces; guilty and lethargic are two words that come directly to mind.

Before I bore you to death with how to cook one of my favorite recipes, I will let comedian Jim Gaffigan bring the funny with an amusing look at poor eating habits:

There, now that you got your daily dose of laughter, let us get to today’s daily dose of nutritious goodness in this installment of Iron Rations!

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Iron Rations – The Basics of Healthy Eating

The Basics of Healthy Eating

I have sat down in front of my keyboard no less than 10 times trying to write this post, and each time I find myself paralyzed by the enormity of the subject.

Healthy eating is a monster topic (one which I tackle in Clean Eating 101 in much more depth) but once I reminded myself that (just like with my awesomesauce fitness tips) eating better is an iterative process that slowly refines itself over time, I decided that the only way to do this was to start with the basics and go from there.

Eating right, and enjoying the food as you do it, becomes increasingly more and more difficult as the years go by… it is hard, and I sympathize with each and every one of you but we will get through it! Read more