If you're a sports fan, chances are you'll be frequenting your local bar this season to catch the next game. Many of our clients have asked us "What should I eat?" at their favorite sports bar. Though a bar menu isn't typically geared towards a healthy lifestyle, I scanned my neighborhood hangout menu for the healthiest options I could find.
Instead of fried buffalo wings or tenders, try grilled chicken tenders with a side of buffalo sauce (for light dipping) and carrots and celery sticks on the side
A garden salad with grilled chicken or lean steak tips and low fat dressing on the side
Instead of a high fat hamburger,a grilled chicken sandwich on a wheat bun (if they have wheat) with lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles
A roast turkey and cheese sandwich- skip the mayo, add plenty of veggies and aim for wheat bread if they have it
If you see the menu offers fried seafood like scallops or fish, ask for a grilled version with a side salad
Grilled BBQ chicken plate with a side salad and veggies or a small side of coleslaw
If your a pizza fan, add grilled chicken and vegetables on top and ask your server for the chef to go "light on the cheese". If the pizza arrives greasy, it doesn't hurt to blot away some of the excess grease with a napkin
If you like to have a few brews with your game, aim for light beer and drink a glass of water in-between to stay hydrated and prevent bloating. Happy game day!
As a fitness buff and health nut since the age of 15, working out and eating right has always been a big part of my life. So big in fact, that I became a nutrition coach and head chef for Venice Nutrition, and even was a partner in two Venice Nutrition centers for years. I loved helping others feel and look their best and coached hundreds of clients throughout my career. I was at the top of my game and making gains in the industry. Then in January of 2008, I suffered from a major back and hip injury and my whole world turned upside down.
If you've ever suffered from a traumatic injury or struggled with a disease, then you can probably relate to how scary it is when your body stops working the way it's supposed to. Throughout my years as a nutrition coach, I've worked with hundreds of clients that have struggled with illness and injury far worse than I ever have; from cancer to lengthy and debilitating surgeries. Until I lost my health, I never understood what my clients went through. I could sympathize, just never empathize until it happened to me. I look back now and it amazes me how strong some of my clients were to overcome all that they have.
A serious injury or illness changes you. It's scary, humbling and painful all at once. I went from a healthy, fit 26 year old to someone that had a hard time getting out of bed each morning. The pain was so bad it was nauseating and I stopped enjoying the little things I used to take for granted. Every day tasks like grocery shopping, clearing the dishwasher and feeding the cat became impossible. The other part of dealing with a disease or injury that's challenging? The endless visits to the doctors, the mri's, the x-rays and the fact that not even the best doctors could really tell me what was wrong. My body was atrophying and the stress was slowly killing my spirit. Add on the fact that month after month I still felt horrible, even though on paper there wasn't all that much wrong with me. I remember asking myself, "Will I ever be "me" again?"
This blog isn't all negative though. I just described the horrible part and the good news is, there's a happier ending. I'm sharing this part of my life in hopes of helping someone else get through a rough time. Whether you have a serious injury, a loss in life, a disease,hopefully somehow, someway you can learn something from my experience. Keep reading for the good part.....
Well, it's almost a year later and I can honestly say that I am getting better. I have less pain than I have for years which is nice to say the least. This experience has changed my attitude as well. I no longer take life for granted. I'm grateful everyday for the wonderful people in my life. I realize I no longer have to be the fittest person in the room in order to be happy. I'm more accepting of my flaws; there's worse things in the world than a little cellulite. I've learned not to sweat the small stuff. Even now, I'll hear a friend complain that they had a long day at work or got stuck in traffic and they're in an awful mood. Not me. If that's the hardest part of my day then I consider myself lucky. It was a year long road to get here but I am grateful for the experience. I took the long road to get here but in alot of ways it was worth it.
Like I mentioned I've learned alot along the way, some things that I believe can really help someone out there who is struggling. Here's some of the ways, the thoughts, the things I've done or learned that helped me get to my happier ending.
1. Find the right experts to deal with your condition. For me, a regular physical therapist provided no relief and only made me worse. After careful research and the recommendation of a great orthopedic, I found a physical therapist who specializes in myofascial release. The weekly therapy working on my fascia and the muscular and postural imbalances have made all the difference. I learned that even severe skeletal issues may be helped by myofascial release and surgery can often times be avoided. If your suffering, I recommend doing a google search on a myofascial release specialist in your area- they truly are miracle workers.
2. Take other's suggestions with a grain of salt. Alot of people would say careless things to me without meaning to like, "take some tylenol and get some rest. You'll be better in no time." Or my personal favorite; "just don't think about it". I know that these people mean well and care about me and until your in a situation like this it's impossible to know the right thing to say to someone who is struggling. So when someone I love says something so thoughtless, I no longer get angry. I smile and say, "that's a great suggestion, thanks" (even if it's the worst piece of advice I've ever heard!).
3. You have to believe you'll get through it. If you've ever struggled with a serious loss, injury or illness you think you'll never get out of the blackhole. And if you keep thinking this way, you won't. I realized six months into my injury that I had to believe I was going to get better. And after a while, day by day, I slowly did.
4. Record your successes. I have days even now when I am so frustrated because I can only walk for 35 minutes versus the hour long intense cardio workouts I used to do. I've learned that by recording the good stuff like, "I have less pain today than 3 months ago." or "I can walk 35 minutes now instead of 10 minutes like before" or "I am getting stronger", I have something to look at as a measure. So when I'm feeling sorry for myself, I'll break out my little notebook with my successes in it and remind myself of the progress I've made. These little successes keep me going!
5. Accept where you are at this very minute. This advice was given to me by my physical therapist and I value and respect what she has to say. Not only has she seen the worst injuries, she's also struggled with a major injury herself. She's taught me that accepting where I am and how I feel at this very minute is healthier than asking myself, "Why aren't I 100% yet?" or "When will I be 100%?".
6. Find activities you enjoy that don't cause you pain. When I'm in pain and everyone else is out and about pain free, I have found that I need something to keep busy that I truly enjoy. For me that's reading a great book, playing with my new kitten, or watching a re-run of Sex and the City or Sopranos. Sometimes it's as simple as having a cup of tea. By having some go-to activities that I can do even in pain, it helps to take my mind off of my injury.
7. Don't let the fear rule your life. Prior to my injury, I drove too fast, I lifted weights too heavy and I thought nothing bad could happen to me. Clearly I was wrong! After I got hurt, I went in the other direction; I became fearful of getting hurt so much that I avoided living my life. This obviously was not the answer either. Balance has always been a struggle for me in day to day life; I'm usually all or nothing, but this experience has taught me to find the balance. No, I should not try to squat in the gym right now, but yes, adding an extra 5 minutes on to my cardio routine might be something I can handle (and a new success to record!).
So I've walked down a long, long road and I've come out a stronger, kinder, lighter person on the other end. I hope my experience can help someone out there to get through their pain a better person as well.
Nutrition Coach and Head Chef
You know how busy your mornings can be. You eat a fast breakfast, get in a sweat busting workout, shower, dress and just barely get to work on time. And if you have a family to get out the door, your mornings are probably twice as challenging. When you finally get to work you realize you don’t have any healthy meals packed for the day. “Oh well”, you think. I’ll get a salad at lunch and eat when I get home. But what happens when you skip your mid morning and mid-afternoon snack? What happens if you don’t get a balanced lunch? Skipping meals and snacks can only lead to one thing……a ride on the very unpleasant blood sugar roller coaster. Which means a energy crashes, sugar cravings and fat storage; not exactly what your looking for to get you through a busy work day. The good news is it’s easy to eat well at work with a little know-how and preparation. Whether your in meetings all day or are a travelling road warrior, anyone can do it! Here’s how.
Tip #1- Prepare the night before for the next day. Every night, my most successful clients take just 5 minutes to pack a lunch and two quick snacks (one for mid-morning, one for mid-afternoon) for the next day. Some of my clients make it their ritual to pack their lunch the minute they get home from work, others prep after dinner. Either way, packing the night before is one of the best habits you can make. This way in the morning, there’s no worries. You just grab and go!
Tip#2- Have the right food on hand. The next time your at the market, ask yourself what lunch and snack items would work for your busy day. Do you sit at a cubicle and have the liberty to enjoy a more filling snack mid-morning and afternoon, or do you need something that you can munch on discreetly and finish within minutes? Do you have access to a fridge at work or would purchasing a small cooler to store under your desk work for you? Is there a microwave you can use for lunch? Asking yourself these important questions can help you to prepare successfully for your day.
Some easy snack ideas:
-Protein bars (can be eaten very quickly and discreetly!)
-protein powder in a shake cup with some water, a side of fruit and nuts
-string cheese and fruit
-cottage cheese, fruit and nuts (pre-mixed the night before)
-Fage Greek Yogurt Parfait (see your Recipe tab, pre-mixed the night before)
-a quick turkey and avocado or turkey and cheese wrap
Quick tip: For creative lunch ideas, purchase containers with lids such as gladware so you can pack leftovers from dinner or even salads with chicken for example. This way, the options are endless. If you made turkey meatballs with sauce for the week, they would make a great lunch. Just pack in your gladware the night before and go! And of course a sandwich or wrap is always an excellent choice.
Tip #3- Fit proof your work environment, just in case! Even if you are always in the habit of packing the right stuff the night before, life can get in the way. If you ever forget to pack or run out of food at home, it’s a good idea to keep a few items on hand at work.
Protein bars are easy to store and don’t require refrigeration. Keep a few at your desk and in your purse or briefcase. If you do have a fridge at work, keep fruit and string cheese there for last minute snacks. Also, protein powder, fruit and nuts are easy and can be stored at your desk at work.
With the right preparation and mind set, it’s simple to get in your balanced meals and snacks even at work. Just use the 3 tips above and I guarantee your eating habits at work will improve!
One of our members recently wrote into us for help regarding her snacking and giving into cravings at night. Read on to learn how we helped Stacey to get back on track.
"I have been eating well and following my plan, but I find myself snacking on things I shouldn’t at night. I do so well during the day and then night time comes around and I start reaching for cookies, icecream, whatever is around! I included what a typical day of eating looks like for me for your review. Please help!" - Stacey
Wake up - 6:30 am
Meal 1 - 9:00 am - protein smoothie with fruit, pro-complete protein powder and peanut butter
Meal 2 - 1:30 - Lunch at work- typically a turkey sandwich on wheat with lettuce, tomato, onion and fat free mustard
Meal 3 - 4:30 - ½ protein bar before the gym
Workout – 5:30-6:30
Meal 4 - 7:30-8:00 - Dinner with the family- Chicken or fish cooked in a little olive oil with veggies and brown rice or sweet potato
9:30 pm and on - ...whatever I can get my hands on!
11:00 pm - Bed!
First off, congratulations on eating well and working your personal plan into your busy lifestyle. Between work, the gym and your family, we know it can be a challenge at times! After reviewing your typical day worth of meals , I have found a few reasons as to why you are extra hungry and craving sweets at night! The good news is, you already have a great game plan that works for you and the minor adjustments I would like for you to make will be very simple for you to do. Oh yeah… and I want you to eat more, not less!
Before we get into that- let’s talk a little bit about “cravings”. In my experience, there are two different types of cravings: Mental/Emotional and Physical. Let me give you an example. Mental/ Emotional cravings are like when you go out to eat and you’ve already had your dinner and you honestly don’t think you could eat another bite of food. But then the dessert cart rolls out and you see a beautiful piece of cheesecake, and think, “Why not?”. Physical cravings are different. This is when you are physically hungry, maybe tired or a little dizzy, and physically feel as though you need carbohydrates or sugar to get your energy back up. I think your struggling with physical cravings and here’s why.
First, I notice that you wake at 6:30 in the am, and don’t eat your first meal until 9:00 am. When you wake, your blood sugar is naturally low because you have been fasting all night, so it’s critical to fuel your metabolism with a balanced meal one hour within waking. So the first step for you is having your protein smoothie around 7:30 in the morning. Next step? Aim for a quick, balanced snack around 10-10:30 so your blood sugar doesn’t drop before lunch time and cause you to overeat. Something as simple as a string cheese and fruit or the other ½ of your protein bar would be perfect here. Next, your lunch sounds very healthy, and it sounds like your missing the fat in the meal. Remember, fat slows the rate of digestion and keeps you satisfied to your next meal. Without it, your blood sugar will drop and you will find yourself extra hungry at night. My recommendation is to add a few unsalted nuts with your lunch or even sliced avocado for heart healthy fat.
Next, though a ½ protein bar is balanced, you may find that you need something more substantial before the gym. A more filling snack like cottage cheese and fruit and nuts or even another ½ a sandwich will fuel you much better than the ½ protein bar. The key here is to experiment. If you find that you like the ½ bar here, go for it. You may find that just by making the adjustments you made earlier in the day, ½ bar works just fine.
Your dinner sounds fantastic- very balanced and high quality. The lesson here is what you do (or don’t do) early in the day, greatly affects how you feel (and what you eat!) later in the night. When your blood sugar is on a roller coaster, you will crave carbohydrates (sweet or savory depending on your taste buds) and feel like you “just can’t get enough”. By fixing your earlier meals, whether its by adding fat or adjusting the time schedule just a bit, you’ll find that you no longer physically crave the snacks late night. By the way, don’t forget to follow dinner with a balanced snack before bed- I like to do the greek yogurt parfait (see your Recipe tab) for a sweet treat to end the night. Good luck!
Head Chef and Nutrition Coach
Whether your reading a fitness magazine, talking to a friend, or hearing about a celebrity’s latest workout, fitness myths are everywhere! Aside from an overload of information, we risk injuring ourselves if we listen to the wrong advice. Our team of fitness experts decided to explore the most popular myths and clear the air so you can train the right way. Here’s what the experts have to say:
True or False? Muscle weighs more than fat.
Answer: False. One pound of muscle weighs the same as one pound of fat! So why do people always insist that muscle is heavier? They’re confusing the density of muscle compared to the density of fat. One pound of muscle literally takes up 3 X LESS space in your body than 1 pound of body fat. The other great thing about building muscle? Every pound of lean muscle mass you build, your body burns an extra 50 fat calories a day, thus boosting your metabolism and turning your body into a fat burning machine!
True or False? I should work out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to burn more fat.
Answer: False. Though there’s nothing wrong with working out in the morning, it’s critical to eat something first to stabilize your blood sugar and prevent your body from becoming hypoglycemic and burning lean muscle mass during your workout. Remember while you are sleeping at night, your body is in fasting mode and so it’s critical to re-fuel first thing in the morning. Not a breakfast eater? Even a ½ of a balanced protein bar or protein smoothie is better than not eating at all. Having a balanced meal or snack complete with protein, carbohydrate and fat prior to your meal sets your body up to burn fat only during your workout and will protect your lean muscle mass (which in turn increases your metabolism!).
True or False? I only need to eat right and do cardio to get lean
Answer: False. It’s true that the foundation of any healthy lifestyle is great nutrition, and the right cardio can protect lean muscle and burn body fat. You also need to strength train to build lean muscle mass and increase your metabolism. Remember lean muscle mass burns body fat, builds bone density and will help you to create the lean toned physique your after. We recommend that you work with a personal trainer or physical therapist to create a full body strength training routine for best results.
True or False? I need to train my abdominals every day for best results.
Answer: False. Your abdominals are like any other muscle group; they need adequate rest and recovery in order to develop and to prevent injury. Toned and strong abs stem from proper nutrition and consistent cardiovascular exercise (both of which burn the fat covering the abdominal muscles). The last piece of the puzzle is proper training. Aim to train your abs every other day or 2-3 times per week with a variety of exercises to strengthen and build your core.
True or False? I don’t need to strength train if I’m doing yoga regularly.
Answer: False. Though yoga is incredibly beneficial for strength, toning, stretching and peace of mind, a regular weight training routine is critical for great results. Weight bearing exercises help to build lean muscle and bone mass and will help you to burn more body fat. Adding strength training into your routine, along with yoga is ideal.
True or False? If I’m out of breath during cardio, I’m getting an effective workout
Answer: Not necessarily. There is a time and place for an intense cardio routine. This type of intense, out of breath cardio is called interval training and does require a lack of oxygen in order to be most effective. What most people don’t know is interval training should only be performed a few times a week (and only if you are physically fit). The challenge most people have is they over-exert themselves during EVERY cardio session and are always out of breath. These same people can’t achieve the fat burning results they are looking for. Red fiber or fat burning training is critical and the base of a great cardiovascular routine. To burn fat most effectively you should never be out of breath . In fact a good rule of thumb is you should be breaking a great sweat and also be able to hold a conversation. It is critical to work both red fiber (fat burning) and white fiber (sugar burning, interval ) training into your routine. Please see your online member handbook for complete details on how to perform both types of cardio correctly and get ready for the best results of your life!
If you've ever passed a strange reddish piece of fruit at your local market and asked yourself, "What is that?", chances are you may have just encountered a pomegranate. Despite it's funny look, the pomegranate is loaded with powerful health benefits, and is quickly earning it's place as a new "buzz" food in the nutrition community.
So what is the pomegranate? The pomegranate is a deliciously sweet fruit that is said to have been around as early as 3000 B.C.E. It is widely used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking and is now making it's way to chef's kitchens in the West. As it's popularity has increased, so has the research on the fruit's many health benefits. As you probably know by now, the toxins in our environment and even our own bodies are responsible for producing free-radicals; harmful, unstable molecules that research proves to be directly linked to disease. Pomegranates contain polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that neutralize free-radicals and prevent them from causing damage, which may aid in the prevention of disease such as cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants, such as polyphenols are even given credit for slowing the aging process. In addition to polyphenols, pomegranates also contain Vitmain C, which may help us to reduce the severity of colds this time of year and Vitamin K, which is necessary for healthy blood coagulation.
So how can you include pomegranates into your meal plan? Simple. Pomegranates are a natural source of carbohydrates and can easily replace any carbohydrate in your meal plan. Approximately 1 ounce of the edible portion (the "arils" or seeds) of a pomegranate has only 5 grams of carbohydrates. Just pair with a complete protien and some fat for a balanced meal or snack. Pomegranates are incredibly versatile if you think "outside the box" and get a little creative. The seeds can be tossed in oatmeal, baked goods and cereal. They are delicious on a salad or even as a creative garnish for your next chicken or pork dish. Toss pomegranates in a protein smoothie for a sweet, antioxidant packed treat.
Lastly, if you've ever seen a pomegranate up close and personal, you may have wondered, "How do I open and eat this?" Here are a few easy instructions for you to enjoy your pomegranate.
1. Cut off the top of the pomegranate with a sharp knife, about 1/2 " from the "crown" (looks like a stem)
2. Once you have removed the top of the pomegranate you will see several sections of the fruit. Score the skin with your knife at each section, like you would with a grapefruit.
3. Separate each section from the fruit with your hands
4. Loosen the "arils" or seeds with your hands into a bowl of water (this is the edible portion of the fruit and these delicious arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl)
5. Remove the membrane that float to the top with your hands or a spoon
6. Strain the arils and enjoy!
Information adapted from POM Wonderful
As always, the Venice Nutrition team has been listening to our members! You asked for a "one-stop" place for additional education, tools and tips and we've delivered. The new Education Tab, (previously the Forum Tab), located inside your personal plan, contains a wealth of health info. Our goal was to provide you with the education, motivation and pointers that can't be found inside your VN online handbook. This tab is a compilation of the tips and tricks we share with our one- on-one clients in our offices, now available to you online!
Of course the Education Tab still includes the community forum where you can ask questions and share tips for success with nationwide coaches and members. In addition to the forum, we've added a few more exciting highlights to the Education Tab.
Check out Mark MacDonald's Corner. As you probably know by now, Mark MacDonald is the creator of the Venice Nutrition system, and he is resposible for coaching thousands of clients to success with his knowledge and motivational techniques. Here you'll learn from Mark how to make your plan really work for you, and move past any tough challenges you may be facing. His inspirational messages section is incredibly powerful and really explores ways to combat the emotional road blocks like stress, depression and trying to fit nutrition and fitness into your lifestyle. After reading Mark's history in the Welcome Message, you'll see how Mark has struggled with his physique, goals and emotions and how his inspirational messages that he shares come from his own experiences.
The Nutrition and Fitness section digs deep into all of the aspects of creating a healthier lifestyle including such topics as eating well while traveling or dining out and how to stay on track when life gets hectic.
We invite you to explore this inspirational and educational tab today to learn more about how to make your plan work for you and how to achieve all of your personal goals.
Thanksgiving is one of my all time favorite holidays. I love getting the family together, catching up, and of course... the food. At my home on Thanksgiving we make enough food to feed an army and I always worry about packing on a few extra pounds. Lucky for me (and for you) I've always been able to prevent weight gain on thanksgiving (and you will too) because I have a few tricks up my sleeve! Read on to learn my tips for having fun and staying on the nutrition and fitness track this year at your Thanksgiving day meal.
1. You know thanksgiving is coming, so prepare a little. Be extra careful with your nutrition the entire week leading up to your thanksgiving day meal. Make sure to eat balanced meals and go "clean" with your foods (to learn more about eating clean, see the blog, "What does it mean to eat clean?"). Try not to have any "off" meals for the entire 7 days or so leading up to the meal. This way your blood sugar is stable all week, breaking down fat and protecting your metabolism leading up to your meal. Another way to prepare? Add a little extra cardio the week leading up to Thanksgiving.
2. Help with the cooking. I help my family prepare the thanksgiving day meal year after year. After hours of cooking, I'm always alot less hungry by the time we sit down to eat. I'm not sure why this happens, but every year without fail, it does! So help out in the kitchen, and you may just eat less at dinner. Another idea is to bring a healthy dish to the meal. Volunteer to prepare the sweet potatoes or the green beans. Instead of covering the sweet potatoes with marshmallow, mash them with cinnamon, nutmeg and a small amount of butter. Then season to taste with salt and pepper. Prepare a green bean casserole with fresh green beans, and low fat milk and low fat mushroom soup. Go light on the fried onions. Make mashed potatoes with low fat milk in place of whole milk or cream and jazz them up with roasted garlic and herbs. Get creative and choose lower fat options when possible. Offer to bring whole grain rolls in place of white rolls. You can even find healthier versions of your favorite dishes online ahead of time and share with the "chef" in advance to see if you can work together to create a healthier meal.
3. Remember to balance your plate. Choose a protein, carb and fat at dinner. Load up on white meat turkey (protein) and healthier sides like sweet potatoes and veggies. If you must indulge, take small amounts of the carbohydrates to keep blood sugar from spiking too high, and fill up on the lean turkey.
4. Eat slowly and enjoy. Focus on your family and friends, not just the food. Before going for seconds, ask yourself if you're really -hungry. If so, wait 15- 20 minutes and see if the feeling passes.
5. If you want dessert, have it, just have a smaller portion than what you would normally choose. If dessert if your favorite part of the meal, go lighter on your carbohydrates with dinnner.
6. If you have alcohol, choose a small glass of wine or light beer. Drink a glass of water inbetween to keep from bloating.
7. If your hosting the meal, try to give away the not-so healthy leftovers by making to-go plates for your guests. Save the healthier stuff like the turkey and vegetables to have on hand for meals later in the week. If your a guest, take a to-go plate of the turkey and vegetables and skip the heavier sides.
Generally the least healthy options at thanksgiving are: Gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and desserts.
The healthier options are typically: White meat turkey, vegetables and cranberry sauce.
Lastly, most of us do overindulge a bit on Thanksgiving. The key is to get right back on track 3-4 hours later with a balanced meal to stabilize your blood sugar. Make an effor to just "let it go". Focusing on the fact that you overindulged is never a good idea. Just pick back up where you left off and get your cardio in the next day. Happy Thanksgiving!
Head Chef and Nutrition Coach
What does it mean to eat "clean"? If you've ever read a fitness magazine or had a friend who takes their nutrition very seriously, chances are you've heard this term before. Basically eating clean means choosing high quality, un-processed foods as often as possible. People eat "clean" for a lot of reasons, mainly to get in the best shape of their life!
As a nutrition coach whose worked with hundreds of clients including the fittest of the fit (like athletes and fitness competitors), I've taught many people how to go from eating well (balancing their blood sugar with frequent meals consisting of the right ratio of protein,carbohydrates and fat ) to eating clean, if they are up for the challenge. In reality, eating clean isn't very difficult at all and the benefits far outweigh any of the costs. For instance, when you eat clean, you lose body fat faster and your lean muscle mass is exposed, leaving you with that toned sculpted physique that so many of us crave. How? Clean, natural foods stabilize your blood sugar better and longer than processed foods. Not only will you look better, you'll feel alot better too. Eliminating processed foods really brings out your energy levels and reduces cravings to nothing!
So how can you eat clean? First you have to know which foods are clean and which aren't (and remember, there are no "bad" foods. All foods, even the unhealthy ones have a place in our diets from time to time.). A good rule of thumb to help you remember which foods are "clean" are to think of food items that are natural, not man made. For example, whole natural chicken breasts or eggs are cleaner for you than deli turkey breast or cottage cheese. Sweet potatoes are a higher quality choice than bread, even whole wheat. Why? Because bread is processed and sweet potatoes are natural. For an entire list on the Highest Quality Foods, please log in to your program and see your Quality of Food Chart located in your 15 tips for success.
Is eating clean just for "athletes"? No way! I've had plenty of clients that just want to get their body to a level they never thought possible. Eating clean is healthy and safe, so why not? Which brings me to my next point. If you do choose to eat "clean" it doesn't have to be forever. I myself have periods where I will eat cleaner for a few months, typically before and during the summertime. Once winter rolls around, I still stabilize my blood sugar by eating frequent, balanced meals. I just don't always eat the "cleanest", highest quality foods on the list.
Here are some tips to eating clean that will help you take your body to the next level.
1. Ease your way into it. If you give up all processed foods overnight, chances are you'll just end up wanting them back the next day! Try going clean with just one meal a day until or try aiming for all clean proteins to start. And remember, eating completely clean may not be practical for your time schedule or lifestyle or even your tastes. You may want to slowly incorporate cleaner foods here and there into your diet. You will still get great results that way.
2. Switch it up and be creative. Clean food can be exciting if you get creative (and boring if you don't!). Instead of just a plain apple, chop it up and add cinnamon and stevia. Instead of plain sweet potatoes, make sweet potato fries.
3. Remember to indulge here and there. After a whole week of eating clean, if you have an occasional craving for something not-so-clean, go for it. Unless your competing in a fitness competition, there's no reason not to indulge here and there. Bonus- you'll notice that when you eat very clean, the occasional cheat meal doesn't make a dent in your results!
If you're ready to look and feel your best, give eating clean a try.
Head Chef and Nutrition Coach
These days we're all on the go, and trying to add healthy eating into the mix can be a challenge. I've researched a few of my favorite fast food places in search of the healthiest choices. Of course, making your own food and packing it to go is the optimal choice, but it's great to have options!
Subway- 6 inch whole wheat sub with turkey or ham, lettuce, tomato, onion, banana peppers, pickles, oregano and tiny splash of olive oil and vinegar or a salad with above (no bread) and low fat dressing
Chick fil-A- Aim for the grilled chicke sandwich. It's served on a whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato and pickle. Skip the honey mustard on the side- it's loaded with sugar and the sandwich has plenty of flavor without it.
Dunkin Donuts- Now offers an egg white flatbread sandwich, which beats any of their other sandwiches nutrition wise
Wendy's- I usually go for the grilled chicken sandwich or the Chicken Cesar salad. I go very lite on the cesar dressing and skip the crutons. Their salad is surprisingly delicious!
Boston Market- Try the White meat chicken with green beans and a small amount of roasted dill new potatoes for a satisfying meal
Chipotles (or any casual mexican restaurant)- Go for greens with chicken, guacamole, salsa, tomatoes, onions to create your own salad (skip the crunchy tortilla shell)
Head Chef and Nutrition Coach