When we focus on eating clean, often we start with eliminating all the foods we love that we know are unhealthy for us! And this is not only challenging to start, but it's also impossible to maintain because we begin feeling deprived. And if we aren't getting the results we desire, we then become frustrated and resentful, which can lead us off track and right back to our old habits.
So how do we learn to eat clean AND enjoy it?
Here are my top 3 tips to help you get started and continue training to honor God:
2. UNDERSTAND why these foods are unhealthy for you.
The better you understand the effects of unhealthy foods on your body, the more your perspective of this food will change. For example, knowing that foods with more than 5-7 ingredients indicates it is highly processed. And highly processed foods cause and increase inflammation in your body, which inhibits your body's ability to burn fat as energy. This understanding will empower you to say 'no' to these unhealthy foods and opt for a more natural and less processed food choice.
3. REPLACE unhealthy foods with more natural & healthier options.
We can't just eliminate the unhealthy foods from our eating plan; we must also learn to REPLACE those with better alternatives to help us transition to a better and healthier lifestyle!
Try these simple yet satisfying swaps to help you eat clean & enjoy it!
Need some FIT & CLEAN RECIPES?
Check these out or visit dashingdish.com for some of my favorites recipes for meals, snacks & desserts!
We are traveling today, and just wanted to share my top 5 healthy tips for traveling.
1. Do buy a cooler. It doesn't have to be expensive, just functional.
2. Do measure out your snacks into portions. This will help you be mindful of how much you are eating.
3. Do time your eating. Sitting for long periods of time can become boring, which may trigger you to want to eat. Plan to eat every 3-4 hours and only in those intervals to help keep you from over-snacking.
4. Do drink lots of water. I know this may cause you to need to stop more frequently, but it's worth the effort to keep your body hydrated.
5. Do pack a variety of colorful foods & include protein, carbs & healthy fats.
Here's an example of what I packed today for our 8-9 hour drive:
-string cheese (p/f)
-black bean hummus dip (c/f)
-pork jerky (p/c/f)
-homemade granola bars (p/c/f)
This was all stuff I had on hand. Other items to consider:
-pistachios, almonds or cashews
-packets of nut butter
-homemade trail mix
To stay alert while driving, opt to eat ice instead of eating seeds.
What is your favorite tip to staying on track when you travel?
You've heard it over and over again, drink more water! Why is water so important??
Here are my 3 top reasons:
1. Weight loss
-often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with
-is a great appetite suppressant bc hunger may actually be the first sign that you need more water, not food
-has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar
-water enhances the body's ability to metabolize fat
2. Prevent Dehydration
If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated which leads to:
3. Healthy for You
Drinking adequate amounts of water reduces risk of some cancers and diseases, such as bladder & colon cancer and heart disease.
You should aim for 1/2 your body weight in oz of water. Try this To get started:
-wake up: 16 oz
-breakfast/lunch/dinner: 8 oz before and after
-snacks: 8 oz before or after
-before bed: 16 oz
-add more as needed to reach daily goal
What reason inspires you to drink more water for your health & fitness goals?
The goal when you are grocery shopping is to shop the perimeter...meaning, you are shopping more fresh foods and choosing less processed foods.
For the few things you may need to shop the aisles for (including freezer & refrigerated), take time to read food labels! Know what you are putting into your body...here are a few tips:
1. Avoid food items with
-hydrogenated anything (even partially)
-high fructose corn syrup
-brown rice syrup
-honey, molasses, sucrose, fructose, and fruit juice concentrate as one of the first four ingredients
-anything that you cannot pronounce or know what it is
2. Limit food items with
-sugar alcohols (maltitol, glycerol, anything ending in -ol)
-more than 4g of sugar per serving
-"enriched" flour because this means it's been stripped of nutrients, then processed to add them back in
3. When choosing whole grains, make sure
-the word "whole " is the first word in the ingredients
-there are at least 3-4g of fiber per serving
-fiber grams are greater than sugar grams
4. When choosing yogurt,
-choose plain over flavored and add fruit, fruit preserves or 1 tsp honey to sweeten.
-choose brands with max of 9g of sugar per serving
-plain Greek is best for you
-avoid those with use of artificial sweeteners (aspartame, Splenda,
Take time to Your read the labels of the food items you have on hand.
Note any items that you find that are not healthy for you.
Then take take time to find foods that are healthier alternatives of the foods you shouldn't be eating.
It is very important to make sure you EAT when you are Exercising! It is important that you fuel your body to WORKOUT and also to RECOVER.
So the questions become: what to eat & when to eat? While there is not a one-size-fits all answer, there are a few guidelines you can use to personalize your own program.
#1. Always fuel your workouts!
Even if you workout early in the morning, you need energy to last through your workout and maximize your efforts. Pre-workout snacks help reduce the depletion of muscle glycogen (energy stored in your muscles) and reduce protein breakdown. Try a simple snack 30-60 minutes before you get started, regardless of WHEN you workout. Or you may like eating a full meal 2 hours before you workout.
#2. Include Protein & Carbs!
Two key ingredients to include in your snack are lean proteins & carbs for the reasons stated above. Fat is negligible at this point. The easiest option is drinking a protein shake. But you can also try:
*half an apple and 1/4 cup nuts
*1/4 cup Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup berries
*1 hard boiled egg white and 1 slice toast
*Protein pancakes: From the kitchen of Greatist contributor Laura Skladzinski, mix 4 egg whites, ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup low fat cottage cheese, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
Find more options at http://greatist.com/fitness/50-awesome-pre-and-post-workout-snacks.
#3. Listen to Your Body!
Everyone responds differently to eating, and it's no different when eating before a workout. So, make sure you listen to your body and determine what works for you. Maybe a liquid is better than eating whole foods before a workout. Maybe you do better if you have a full meal 2 hours prior to a workout instead of too close to your sweat time. Experiment with your timing and options, and then determine what helps you workout harder and feel better!
#1. Always RE-FUEL your workouts!
You have about 1 hour after your workout to supply your muscles and tissues with the fuel to repair and recover optimally. This can be a snack or a full meal, but a liquid protein shake is usually the simplest and most convenient option.
#2. Include Protein & Carbs!
So, just like your pre-workout, protein and carbs are key! But to take it a step further, you want at least 20 grams of protein to refuel and simple carbs (from fruit and simple sugars) to replenish your muscles for recovery and repair. You may try:
*1/2 apple and 1 string cheese
*carrots & hummus
*Greek yogurt mixed with protein powder & 1/2 cup banana slices
Make sure you are drinking an extra 8-12 oz per 15 minute of exercise to your daily water intake. Your body needs the hydration to function and recover effectively and efficiently, as well as to burn fat!
Adding FIBER to your healthy eating plan.
1. Fiber is the part of a plant that humans are not able to digest.
2. Fiber is important because it signals satiety genes, which tell you when you’re full and has no calories by itself. Fiber makes it possible to lose weight without feeling hungry.
3. Recommended intakes are 25 g/day for women, and 35 g/day for men.
*Divide up your grams throughout, aiming for at least 5-7 grams per meal and 2-3 grams per snack.
*Introduce fiber into your plan slowly to avoid GI distress.
*Make sure to drink at LEAST 1/2 your bodyweight in oz of water to avoid constipation.
4. At least 25-30% of your fiber intake should be soluble fiber.
*Soluble fiber: dissolves in water
oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apples.
*Insoluble fiber: does not dissolve in water
whole grains, cabbage, beets, carrots, brussel sprouts and cauliflower.
5. It’s okay to get 15-20% (4-5 grams) of fiber from supplements as needed, but whole foods are ideal.
*Read food labels to determine how many grams of fiber per serving. Fiber is found underneath Carbohydrates. Your Net Carbs are equal to total carbs minus Fiber grams (see below).
EXAMPLES OF HIGH-FIBER FOOD CHOICES
1. Omega-3 fatty acids are fats found primarily in fish and fish oils (mono- and polyunsaturated).
Here's an example of what eating in the zone may look like (on a typical day for me). The key is to eat protein, carbs & fat in a 1:1:1 ratio, meaning for every serving of protein, there is an equal (or almost equal) number of servings of carbs & fat. You can play with the portions though to customize your plan to your needs.
I've included a downloadable file for your convenience that includes a FOOD GUIDE, SAMPLE MENU & NUTRITION LOG. Feel free to print and make copies as desired.
Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray (or you can use coconut oil).
Add spinach and tomatoes to pan. Cook until spinach is wilted.
Add egg beaters and scramble until cooked completely.
Split bagel (toast if desired) and spread 1.5 tbsp avocado on each bagel slice.
Place egg mixture on top of avocado. Sprinkle cheese on top of egg mixture.
Serve & enjoy!
285 calories/8 g fiber
24 g carbs (3 blocks/servings)
23 g protein (3 blocks/servings)
9 g fat (3 blocks/servings)
LUNCH: CHICKEN TACOS
3.5 oz chicken breast, diced/shredded (cooked) [protein]
1/4 tsp coconut oil (fat)
Salt, pepper for taste
Taco seasoning/spice of choice (more or less based on preference)
1 tbsp salsa (Pace Chunky) (carb)
1 tbsp ranch dressing (Bolthouse/Litehouse Yogurt Dressing) [fat]
1/4 cup black beans (no salt added) [carb]
3 tbsp avocado, cubed or sliced (fat)
3 corn tortillas [carb]
Add coconut oil to skillet & cook chicken.
Add beans and spices and simmer until heated through.
Put chicken mixture in bowl and toss with avocado, ranch dressing & salsa.
Top chips with chicken mixture.
Serve & enjoy!
8.8 g fiber
26 g protein (3.5 blocks/servings)
32 g carbs (4 blocks/servings)
12 g fat (4 blocks/servings)
(I make large portions separately and measure out my own servings.)
1-2 lbs lean ground turkey
2 cups chopped spinach
1/2 tsp coconut oil
Italian seasoning or spices of choice
3/4 cup whole wheat spaghetti (or 2 CUPS spaghetti squash)
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (Dave's Gourmet or Muir Glen Tomato Basil)--choose one with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving
2 tbsp shredded cheese
1/2 tbsp natural butter
Bring water to boil and cook pasta as directed.
Add coconut oil to heated skillet.
Add ground turkey and spices and cook thoroughly.
Add chopped spinach.
Measure out 3/4 cup pasta into a bowl and toss butter.
Add 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce & 3 oz of ground meat.
Top with 2 tbsp cheese and enjoy!
412 calories (with pasta)
9 g fiber
33 g protein (~5 blocks/servings)
36 g carbs (~4 blocks/servings)
12.6 g fat (~4 blocks/servings)
One important element of maintaining a healthy eating plan is to cultivate healthy habits daily.
Here are some very basic, but useful tips to introduce into your daily lifestyle. I suggest starting with one at a time, and progressively adding more as these habits become part of your lifestyl
1. Eat every 3-4 hours to keep your body energized and metabolizing efficiently.
2. Eat your first meal within one hour of waking up. If you are not accustomed to eating breakfast, make it more like a snack, such as a protein shake or apple & string cheese.
3. Pick one day of the week to prepare your snacks (cut fruits and veggies) for the week in ziploc bags or containers.
4. Try to make one healthy substitution a week. For example, using avocado instead of mayo in your sandwiches, replacing white bread with whole grain bread, or drinking iced tea instead of soda.
5. Choose fresh foods over packaged foods, such as fruits and veggies instead of chips or crackers.
6. If someone else is cooking for you and you cannot control the ingredients, control your portion sizes. Eat half of what you would normally eat. If you're eating out, choose the healthier options (grilled vs fried, steamed vs sauteed, veggies vs pasta/rice).
7. Eat your last meal/snack 2 hours before you go to bed. If you are still awake 3+ hours after your last meal, you may get hungry again and be tempted to snack.
8. Drink WATER--1/2 your body weight in fluid ounces is optimal for health.
9. Get your rest. Sleeping 7-8 hours every evening is ideal for health and weight loss. Studies show that lack of sleep increases the body's resistance to burning fat.
10. Plan your meals at least 3 days of the week. For healthy ideas to great tasting meals, visit www.dashingdish.com.
There are 3 main macro nutrients we will focus on in the ZONE: CARBS, PROTEIN & FAT.
When eaten in the right proportions (in the zone), your body is able to operate efficiently and optimally as it was intended. Calories are important, but what is more important is the type of calories you consume, because not all calories are created equal. Ideally, you want each meal/snack to be composed of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. To make it simple, the Zone counts calories in blocks, which equals one serving of each macronutrient:
1 block (serving) of carbs = 9 grams
1 block (serving) of protein = 7 grams
1 block (serving) of fat = 3 grams
So, it becomes necessary to read nutrition labels, which is important for whatever healthy eating plan you cultivate. I have included a chart with a more extensive list of foods and their serving sizes below for your convenience.
*Please note that in the Zone, the average woman needs 3 blocks each of carbs, protein and fat per meal and 1-2 blocks of each per snack. The average male needs 4 blocks of each per meal and 2-3 blocks per snack.
CARBS: (carbohydrates) include grains, vegetables and fruits.
*Always choose whole grains/wheat WITHOUT ENRICHED ingredients.
*Choose foods whose labels contain more FIBER GRAMS than SUGAR GRAMS.
*Incorporate many colors of vegetables and fruits for more nutrients.
*Have vegetables steamed, not sauteed.
*Limit fruit juices, which usually are high in sugar and not as filling as fruit because they don't contain fiber.
Healthy Options & Serving Sizes:
*Whole grain/multi-grain pasta (1/4 cup cooked = 1 serving)
I use Barilla Plus varieties.
*Oatmeal (1/3 cup cooked = 1 serving)
*Whole grain bread (1/2 slice = 1 serving)
I use Orowheat Whole Wheat.
*Corn Tortillas (1 slice = 1 serving)
*Quinoa (1/4 cup cooked = 1 serving)
*Leafy (romaine) 3 cups
*Raw (cucumber, broccoli) 2 cups
*Cooked (zucchini, squash) 1 cup
*Apple/orange 1/2 each
*Berries 3/4 cup
*Banana 1/4 each
*Grapes 1/4 cup
PROTEIN: includes meats, legumes/beans, and eggs.
*Choose lean meats as often as possible.
*Limit beef to 1-2 times per week. It takes 7 days for your body to begin to break down beef for digestion.
*Eliminate fried meats as much as possible. Choose baked meats instead.
*Choose deli meats over processed meats to avoid high levels of sodium; avoid meats with nitrates & nitrites.
*Salmon, baked fish, albacore tuna
(avoid tilapia and catfish) 1 oz = 1 serving
*Chicken, turkey 1 0z = 1 serving
*Legumes, beans 1/4 cup = 1 serving
*Eggs (also contains 2 servings of fat) 1 each = 1 serving
*Egg substitute/whites 1/4 cup = 1 serving
FATS/SUGARS: include nut butters, nuts, avocados, oils and sugars.
*Limit saturated fats and added sugars.
*Use coconut oil or cooking spray as much as possible.
*Avoid fried foods as much as possible (or completely).
*Natural almond butter (read the label) 1/2 tbsp = serving
*Almonds, pistachios, macademia 3 each = 1 serving
*Avocado 1 tbsp = 1 serving
*Olive Oil (for cold dressings) 1/3 tsp = 1 serving
*Coconut Oil (for high heat) 1/4 tsp = 1 serving
*Truvia Sweetener 2 tsp = 1 serving
*Eliminate or limit carbonated and high-calorie drinks, which have little or no nutritional value.
*Drink 1/2 your body weight in fluid ounces each day.
*Add 12-16 oz of water for every 15 minutes of activity.
*Black/Green tea: add a tsp of honey or packet of truvia to sweeten if necessary.
*Infused water: Add lemon, lime, cucumber, fresh mint, or sliced orange to a pitcher/glass of ice cold water.
*2% Milk or Almond/Coconut Milk