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P90X Dinner Ideas- Week One!

I’ll admit, this first week of the P90X Cycle,  it’s not the workouts that have been eating up the time, it’s the mealprep and planning.  We’ll cover the workouts we did this past week in another post, but I figured I couldn’t be the only one struggling with meal ideas on this plan- especially since we didn’t want to follow the “menu plan” included in the Nutrition Guide and opted instead for the portion approach.

Ps. I’ve been Twittering the food photos as-they-happen on my @smurfcore account and, whenever I get around to it, on @FitLifeSF as well.  Please, do follow us and tell a friend!  (Also, this is why the photos are more utilitarian than food porn.)

First, let’s address the issue of Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks.  We’ve been keeping these mostly the same for ease of preparation. Besides, when you are eating this much and this often, it really feels more like Human Kibble (TM) than it does like an actual MEAL.  If you are following along on portions, Rob is doing Fat Blaster Level II, or about 2400 calories per day.  I am eating about half of that, shooting for about 1300-1500/day.

Breakfast: Rob’s been having the egg white scrambles consisting of about 8 egg whites, 2 oz ham, once slice of Jarlsberg light swiss cheese or 1 oz light cheddar and veggies.  I’ve been having a protein shake: 1 scoop Wellements Protein Powder (got this from Costco- it is super inexpensive and really tasty!), 1 cup nonfat  milk and some frozen berries, plus two tsp of Benefiber.

Snacks: We’ve been having theP90X Wildberry Bar (a full one for Rob, a half one for me), partskim string cheese and an orange as our main snackfoods.  Yesterday, we splurged a little and had a nonfat tart frozen yogurt with fresh fruit.

Lunch: Salad has been the go-to item for lunches.  Since Rob needs 8 oz of lean protein in his lunch, I bought a whole turkey breast and baked it up in a turkey bag on Tuesday and it’s lasted most of the week.  WAY cheaper than turkey lunchmeat and WAY lower in sodium (plus, tastier!)  He gets a “bucket” of mixed greens and fresh veggies topped with 8 oz of a mix of turkey and ham, plus 1.5 oz of lite cheese and lowfat dressing.  I get half that- and I’ll admit to making mine into “Turkey Salad” like chicken salad with lemon juice and lowfat mayo, celery, etc.  It’s pretty tasty!  Today, I made chicken veggie soup, which was nice for a change of pace.  Used up a chicken carcass from last week to make a simple stock, then added LOADS of veggies- carrots, zucchini, kale, etc.- and then portioned the appropriate amount of roasted turkey into the bowl and topped with soup.  Great with a bunch of Tabasco or Tony Chachere’s on top!

Dinner: This has been the biggest challenge, since we do love to eat great food, so here’s the dinner rundown for the week:



Grilled Flank Steak and Green Beans with Roasted Red Pepper and Celery Root Soup

Flank steak is a great lean meat choice.  I rubbed it up with some salt, pepper, garlic and Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy.  The green beans were doused with salt, pepper and some lemon juice and grilled alongside the steaks.

For the soup: Put some red, orange and yellow peppers on the grill as it was heating up.  Waited for them to get charred and then peeled the skin and discarded the seeds.  Added this to some cubed celery root that I had boiling in a carton of chicken stock with a few carrots and some onion.  When the celery root was soft, I pureed it with an immersion blender and added some lemon juice, a few dashes of Tabasco and salt and pepper to taste.  I put mine through a mesh strainer, which gave it great mouthfeel, but you certainly don’t have to.

Rob got 10 oz of flank steak and as much soup and green beans as he wanted.



Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Onion/Fennel Quinoa and Green Beans

Just soaked the tenderloin in unsweetened apple sauce, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper for an hour or so, then seared it and roasted over top of some partially-cooked quinoa, sweet onions and sliced fennel.  Added a splash of extra chicken stock mixed with some applesauce to make sure the quinoa cooked up right.  Once it was done, took everything out of the pan and added some more chicken stock and lemon juice to make a sauce.  To drink?  Crystal Light Grapefruit Sunrise (since it has added calcium and I’m trying to get as much as possible these days) with fresh bubble water.



Chicken Fajita Tostadas

Easy, just some chicken breast, onion and peppers and fajita seasoning (I get the kind in the small packet with the spices, so it doesn’t have salt or sugar added.  I add my own salt and loads of lime juice.)  Rob gets 3 tortillas, sprayed with some olive oil spray and baked till crispy.  I got one.  Plus loads of lettuce and some lowfat cheese and sour cream.  Yum!


Chicken Parmesan and Grilled Artichokes

chxparmI used the same light chicken parm recipe that I’ve posted before.  It works out to about half a serving of whole wheat panko per serving, so this was served with 2/3 cup whole wheat spaghetti vs. the one full cup pasta allowed on the P90X plan.  Also, I used Classico Roasted Garlic sauce- no sugar added and nothing you can’t pronounce in the jar.  A nice trade-off for as much time as I’m already putting into cooking these days!  The Chokes were steamed then tossed with salt, pepper and balsamic and grilled.


We went out to eat with friends to Catch, a great fish restaurant in the Castro.  I had some kind of a white ocean fish with shaved brussels sprouts and grilled asparagus, which I had prepared without any butter.  You can tell they intended butter to pretty much carry the dish, so it was a little bland, but the fish was good and it was nice to not have to cook!  Rob had the black cod in miso with boy choy and some udon noodles (his starch for the day.)


We ate out again, this time at Moki, another fish place.  One of these days we are going to see if Rob can handle 10 oz of sashimi.  I bet he can!



BBQ Pork with Grilled Corn, Coleslaw and Heirloom Tomato Caprese

About a month before Rob left for Kiev (he still needs to update you on that, doesn’t he?), we got in the pleasant habit of Sunday afternoon’s at Baby Blues BBQ.  This meal was my attempt to scratch the BBQ itch.  Pork Tenderloin painted with the lowest-sugar BBQ sauce I could find, and rubbed with chili powder, garlic and spices, then grilled.  Plus, grilled corn, a caprese salad easy-on-the-olive-oil and the P90X coleslaw recipe.  This was OK- didn’t quite scratch the itch, since we’ve spoiled ourselves with some awesome BBQ, but, as Rob would say, “Good enough for government work.”

I’ll keep on posting our meals as we go through this cycle… Who knew EATING could be so tough?

21 thoughts on “P90X Dinner Ideas- Week One!

  1. Thanks so much! My husband and I are about to start p90x , and I was scared that we wouldn’t have that many food choices, but you have given me hope.

  2. Wow! Where do you find the recipes for all these tasty meals? I’ve been trying to mix it up in the portion approach and love your ideas. do you use an outside grill?

  3. Starting P90X and looking for some tasty recipes as the ones in the nutrition guide don’t really get me too excited. This looks great though and I can’t wait to try some of them. Thanks for posting.

  4. My husband and I are in our second week of p90x and I was so happy to stumble upon your posting. I had no idea the prep and meal planning would require so much work. Great job on pictures and being realistic about the amount of work this new program can be. Keep up the great work!

  5. I’ve had a problem staying on P90x mostly because I can’t seem to figure out the diet. and I realized what my problem is. And thought you’d be able to help.

    Shopping guide for each phase. Since the nutrition and menu require a lot of pre planning and I’m a single guy that works long hours I have to prepare and take snacks, lunch and sometimes dinner with me so it’s rough. I’ve seen that others have put out shopping guides but they are laid out as just a food shopping list and leave it to me to figure out what and how to put it all together. I have a spreadsheet shopping list of the actual P90X shopping guide but it’s not laid out, it’s just a shopping list and besides the P90x menu isn’t that good and has alot of food that most people just wouldn’t eat and you menu is so much better.

    Here is where your expertise comes in. Since you’ve got the phases & levels worked out as well as some really good meals maybe you can put it all in a spreadsheet or DOC format put the two together along with the calorie counts and how many proteins, dairy, fruits, vegetables, fats, carbs and snacks for each meal plan.

    Example Phase I or Phase II or Phase III

    Day 1:
    Breakfast 400 calories – 2 proteins, 1 dairy, 1 vegetable & 1 carb

    Egg omelet, 8 egg whites, 2 oz ham, light cheese, etc.

    Prep/cooking info

    Turkey Salad 500 calories – 2 proteins, 2 fruits, 1 fat

    8 oz protein (lean turkey), light mayo, etc…

    Prep/cooking info

    Dinner …

    Day 2:
    Day 3:
    Day 4:
    Day 5:
    Day 6:
    Day 7:

    Weekly Shopping list…
    Lean Turkey
    Light Mayo
    2 DZ Eggs or Egg sub
    12 Carrots
    4 Apples
    Clove Garlic
    Soy Sauce
    Crystal Light
    1 lg Sweet Onion
    10 oz Slices Fennel
    fajita seasoning
    whole wheat spaghetti

    Something like that. I figured since you’ve got all the information, know the plan and all the meals, calories counts and proteins you’d be able to make this useful tool that I am sure so many others could use.

    Thanks for what you’ve posted and great work…

  6. Your portions are way to big. 8-10 oz of meat to much healthy = just as bad, you might as well be eating that big mac and fries. P90x is a life style change remeber 70% diet 25% program 5% willpower.

    Go X!

  7. Will- Do you have the P90X Nutrition Guide? For Rob’s level, that is how much lean protein is called for. I don’t like eating high protein, which is essentially what the P90X Fat Blaster nutrition program is… but those portion sizes are not “way *too* big” if you are following the P90X Nutrition Guide Level 3 to a T.

    Personally. I believe the P90X nutrition guide is set way to high in calories in the for your “average person” looking to lose weight. Rob, on the other hand, is a lifelong athlete and heavy lifter looking to maximize muscle gain not lose weight, so he can eat at that Level 3.

    And, I would argue that there is a VAST difference nutritionally between 8 oz of flank steak or 8 oz of chicken breast and a Big Mac and Fries. Not the least of which is about 550 calories, boatloads of fat and hours of satiety.

  8. Did anyone ever respond to Joe or come up with his requested list? I am just getting started, day one, and think if this has already been created for someone I could really use it! My husband and I are both doing it, and he’s not much help in the kitchen area, so any help is greatly appreciated. OH- and we’re huge coffee addicts (for now) what is the healthiest option to get out of this habit but not suffer caffeine headaches? tea maybe? is tea allowed, and later is decaf iced tea allowed?

    1. Karri, has a number of great tools. The diet plan tool will let you select the meals you want fo rth eweek, and generate a shopping list for you. There are downloadable worksheets online for you to print out so you can track each workout. And the Excel P90X tracker is a great tool as well.

      As for coffee, you are find drinking it. Black. It is the milk and sugar that are the calories there. The caffine would be good to get off of, and you will have to wean yourself off. But, better black coffee than soda. (Except for that aweful coffee breath! YUCK!) Even diet soda is a no-no. We drink a LOT of water and herbal teas. (You get the right tea, and you don’t need sweetener) We also have a Soda Club (Soda Stream) CO2 injector. We make all the soda water we want! Great for making teas and such “sparlking.” [And it is CHEAP and fantastic for cocktails. You never run out of soda water!]

      When you sign up on TeamBeachBody.Com, make sure you add me as your coach. FitLifeSFRob. Then add me as a buddy there!

  9. Karri- We haven’t heard back from Joe, and I am nowhere near the level of Excel Ninja required to put something like that together. 🙂 I do, however, find that I get into a flow where my meals are all sort of “mix and match,” which makes it easy. I have 4-5 go-to proteins, 2-3 go-to grains and 5 or so go-to veggies and use the components to make most of my meals. I’m also a big fan of making a big pot of soup or chili on Sundays so I have it on hand all week. After the first couple weeks, it get a lot easier. And, frankly, it gets easier if you get into a habit with a few meals to just totally take any guesswork out of them– My dinner is the only meal of the day that really ever changes. It makes things easier.

    As for kicking the coffee habit– so long as you aren’t putting cream or sugar in there, coffee is calorie-free and allowed on the program, and caffeine has been shown to increase endurance and actually have a positive impact on workouts. If you want to kick the habit for personal reasons (or because you simply can’t have your coffee without cream and sugar), then you can try something like diluting it with decaf to wean yourself, or drinking tea instead, which has a slightly lower caffeine level. Unsweetened tea, hot or iced, caffeinated or not, are all fine. And, frankly, thinking in terms of “allowed” or “not allowed” is not really the best way to approach any food choice– even if you drank a double-shot caramel machiatto mochachino with whipped cream every morning, and if that was really something you loved and needed to continue, there are ways to work around it. It’s not the most efficient use of calories, sure, but it could be a part of your diet if it was really that important to you.

  10. Hi there! Wonderful post… it’s quite helpful. We are starting the program this week. I just went to the grocery store and spent far too long shopping, looking for everything we need. I’m level 1, and my husband is level 3. We also have three young children to feed too- so this is going to be challenging. Besides your site, are there any others you can suggest that have recipes and menu ideas broken down according to levels and phases? I just don’t have the time (what with my busy brood) to spend hours pouring over the portions and trying to figure out recipes to fulfill our needs.

  11. My boyfriend, Shawn, and I are starting the P90X today. I have always planned out our meals ahead but I’m finding it more difficult with the P90X. It says that we are both in the same 1800 calories a day. When I plan out our meals, I don’t get it anywhere close to that. And then the whole trying to get 5 protien, 1 fruit, 2 vegs, etc. Any ideas? Please help!

    1. As you have read, for a guy, 1800 calories is not to bad a number to start at to drop weight. For women, we feel the P90X meal plan is a bit high. So be careful there.

      If you a looking for meal ideas try:
      For more on women and P90X:
      One more with good stuff:
      And finally:


  12. I noticed that you said coffee is ok for P90Xers. I do not like coffee and have gotten into the habit of drinking a diet coke instead. Since starting, well actually about 3 weeks before, P90X I cut back my diet coke intake to about one can a day. I used to drink it almost non stop. It has no calories and the caffine withdrawl is giving me headache at times. Is diet coke a good sub for coffee? There are many schools of thought out there about the ill-effects of diet coke and I was wondering about your thoughts on it.

  13. I am not one of those people who thinks a diet coke ever now and again if you enjoy it is is something that is going to kill you– though, you do want to be sure the artificial sweeteners don’t spike cravings and thingst like that (they don’t for me unless I *really* overdo artificially-sweetened stuff for a day.)

    But, the larger question here– you seem to be saying that you ADDED the diet coke because you don’t like coffee? Or asking whether “if you don’t like coffee, should you start drinking diet coke?” If that’s the question, the answer would be: There is no need for you to drink a caffeine-containing beverage at all while doing P90X, but if you have to decide between diet coke and coffee, coffee is the far better choice:

    Coffee- 100% natural, has antioxidants, has been shown (even aside from the caffeine) to benefit athletic endurance and performance, add a little milk and you get some calcium in there…

    Diet Coke: 100% artificial, has been shown to be detrimental to bone health. No known benefits.

    Now, I was once a Diet Coke fiend myself, and the thing I got addicted to the most were the bubbles, so I have swapped out nearly all of my Diet Coke with iced tea and bubble water. (We have a club soda machine at home, search this blog for our review of the Soda Club soda maker.)

    Caffeine withdrawal won’t physically last longer than a week (on the really far end), so if you are still having problems after 3, know that a large part of it is psychological dependence. If the caffeine is solving the problem, though, I’d WAY rather see you drink a tea than a Diet Coke– again, you’ll be getting some good stuff instead of bad stuff with your caffeine then. (Ounce for ounce, tea has comparable caffeine content to Diet Coke, sometimes a little more, so if the tea doesn’t solve the “caffeine withdrawl” you’ll know it’s not really the caffeine that’s got you.)

    So, in a nutshell: Is Diet Coke comparable with coffee from a nutrition standpoint? No, not at all. Is one diet coke every now and again going to kill you? No, not at all. Should you consider swapping out some of your Diet Cokes? For the sake of getting the monkey off your back, I’d say it sounds like a good thing to do. It won’t be the deciding factor in your P90X success, by any means, but isn’t part of the goal here to get as healthy as possible, too?

  14. Thanks Smurf, You were helpful. Its not that I switched from coffee to diet coke. I have just never drank coffee. My mom and dad drank hot tea while I was growing up and when I got older the smell of coffee just never did anything for me. In fact I cant stand the smell so I have never even tried it. I was a big coke drinker and about 10 years ago switched to diet coke mainly because of the sugar. From then on i was hooked. Since preparing for my start date of P90X I decided to change up everything. Even my diet coke consumption. i now limit it to about one a day and have sometimes forget to drink the one. I realize this once a headache starts. I will try the tea. I do like the neste with lemon but still think there is to much sugar.

    Any suggested tea or should I just stick to water which has become the staple of my drinking habits since limiting the coke?

  15. An instant (powdered or bottled) tea product is going to be crazy-high in sugar, you are right about that! It’s pretty much Coke without the bubbles (in fact, Nestea is owned and bottled by Coca-Cola, so there you go…)

    When I mentioned tea, I meant fresh-brewed from a bag. I put warm water in a 32OZ Nalgene bottle with two tea bags every night so it’s ready to go int he morning, and then I drink it throughout the day. I switch it up between Black Tea and Green Tea (I just use the cheapo Safeway brand tea. You can also get both for cheap at Costco), and sometimes spice it up with Constant Comment by Bigelow (awesome! orange spicy and a little sweet without any sugar) or Good Earth tea (this stuff is awesome and really sweet and super spicy tasting without any sugar added, as well. Costco only sells this in a decaf version, but Safeway has it caffeinated.) I’ll sometimes add a squeeze of lemon. Sometimes I’ll add a pack of Splenda or Stevia– Stevia is the “natural low calorie sweetener” but, frankly, I don’t hold out any hope that it’s any better than just using Splenda and I don’t much care for the taste of Stevia. Just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s all that great for you (see also: Arsenic, Hemlock and Cocaine.) Another option is to brew your tea fresh and add just a little bit of something like Crystal Light mix to it. That would taste a lot like your Nestea with less sugar, but I don’t believe that chugging Crystal Light all day long like the adverts would tell you to do is any better for you than just drinking the Diet Coke. So, I’d be careful of replacing one artificiality with another.

    All that being said… Water is great! You can’t do better than water. Really, you can’t. Replacing some water with tea is not a bad idea, just because you’ll get some non-caloric antioxidants, and Green Tea has been shown to be positively correlated to lower body fat. I like to get my tea in, but, again…I’m probably as addicted to my tea as I ever was to Diet Coke, so it’s not a nuisance and I would never mean to imply that it’s a necessity. You just can’t beat good ol’ water!

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