I have to make a confession. When I started out as a nutrition coach, I thought everyone should be GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, SUGAR FREE. I have another confession….my clients saw phenomenal success eating this way. I have another confession…..I think they all secretly hated me.
All kidding aside, what I saw was a very strict SHORT TERM success with eating and living this way. What happened over time was the obvious holidays, vacations, grad parties and the Minnesota State Fair type splurges. 5, 10, 15 lbs crept back onto their bodies and I felt totally responsible.
Fast forward five years and I have adopted a much more open minded approach to coaching, especially nutrition coaching. I have spent years reading different books and articles, educating myself on different eating approaches and mindsets, added national accredited certifications, and even once set out on a mission to make my own food to sell. (If you were around for my muffins, pancakes and protein balls…you know what I am talking about).
Although I do not agree that EVERYONE can adopt a mindset of “everything in moderation”, I do think the majority can find a balance with food. After all, food is meant to be enjoyed! We gather around food, we break bread, we celebrate milestones with it, and I for one really love the process of it all.
Here are 5 simply “EAT THIS INSTEAD OF THAT” foods and recipes that I hope you enjoy.
Instead of starting your day with sugary cereals, bagels, bread, juice and empty calories, try adding in protein. But what if you are sick of eggs?
Check out Kodiak pancakes. I have seen these at Target, Hyvee and even Cotsco.
If you are short on time, you can purchase these in the frozen section. Simply heat or toast and get out the door!
You can add extra protein a few different ways. This morning I added in collagen protein, an egg, and Ripple milk substitute. You can also had in SFH protein powder for even more protein and flavor. Top these with your favorite nut butter, greek yogurt, fresh fruit, or a touch of real maple syrup or add in dark chocolate chips. I recommend Lily’s or Luv’s brands for no added sugar.
#2 and 3 Appetizers
Okay football fans. You are hosting the big game. You have your plate of veggies, hummus and guacamole. What about some savory appetizers?
Here are two of my favorites:
Dry Rub Chicken wings (bone IN)
*Pre heat oven to 425.
*Toss wings thoroughly in a high heat oil. I like avocado oil. (*do not use olive oil to cook with. It has a very low smoking point). I found great organic Coleman chicken wings at Cotsco. They were a great size, not a lot of skin, and baked up nicely. Covering the wings in oil helped from sticking and made them extra crisp.
*Bake for 45 minutes in glass or cookie sheet.
*Remove from oven and add in dry rub seasoning (I recommend Simply Organic Chicken Seasonings)
*Bake for an additional 15 minutes and BOOM. You have crispy, savory, delicious wings.
Buffalo Chicken dip
*17.6 oz. container of FAGE Total, FAGE Total 2% greek yogurt. If you are truly lactose intolerant, you can use goat yogurt and goat cheese for this recipe.
*1 tbsp coconut or avocado oil
*2 chicken breasts, cubed in ½-inch cubes
*1 small onion, diced
*½ small red bell pepper, diced (Hyvee sells pre cut veggies if you are short on time)
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1 cup AGED sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (*Aged cheese is easier to digest and lower in lactose)
*3 tbsp cayenne pepper hot sauce or more, to taste (*less for me because I am a spice baby)
*1 tbsp paprika, sweet or smoked
*2 scallions, thinly sliced (or just use kitchen shears and cut)
*½ cup blue cheese, crumbled (*if you prefer feta or even goat cheese, those are great alternatives)
*Celtic salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Carrot sticks, celery sticks, or organic tortilla chips
#4 Liquid calories
Contrary to what we might think….liquid calories do add up. I am not here to say always avoid your favorite adult beverages, but be smart about what you are mixing with it, drinking before, after and in between, and just be mindful.
But what if I am sick of just plain water?
Here are a few favorites that ACTUALLY have flavor for you to try:
Spindrift actually has some flavor, no added sugars, and is my favorite of all sparkling/flavored waters.
Still stuck on soda or diet soda? (If it were up to me, I would have put Coke here. Did you know in the south everything is referred to as Coke?
“What kind of Coke do you want?”
Anyways….Zevia is a great soda alternative. My favorite is the cherry coke.
#5 Sweet Treats
Okay, you’ve got a breakfast, appetizer and beverage ideas. Here are a few simple easy sweet swaps!
Dark Chocolate instead of milk chocolate.
Lily’s has no sugar added, tons of flavors, and actually still taste like chocolate.
I know everyone knows about Halo top ice cream, but here are a few different varieties.
If you are dairy free, Luv's is my favorite brand! Luv’s ice cream has dozens of flavors made locally, and taste great!
So Delicious no sugar added desert bars are also a great option.
We work too hard INSIDE the gym not to compliment it with quality nutrition that actually tastes good. Enjoy your time with family, friends and hope you can enjoy some new food ideas and recipes.
The view of meal proportions has changed drastically in the last 15-20 years. Remember the Food Pyramid of the 90s? YIKES. Highly processed carbohydrates were the base of what we were supposed to be eating, at 6-11 servings per day. Fruits and vegetables, for the most part, were to be consumed in equal amounts, dairy and meat products were towards the top of the triangle, with fat, oils and sweets finishing out the tip of the pyramid. (Photo courtesy of www.dvo.com)
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has changed the format of how meals should be built through the use of MyPlate. The largest section of the plate goes to vegetables, second largest to grains, with protein and fruit finishing out the plate. This is a much better approach to nutrition than the previous 20-30 years, but there is still improvement to make.
While each individual’s dietary needs will vary based on weight, activity level, gender, etc., we have seen great success in both weight management AND health with individuals following a primarily vegetable and protein-based diet. Another easy way to consider each meal is that you incorporate a protein, a fat, and a carbohydrate source. It’s important to note that carbohydrates are not just the “bad” carbohydrates that we try and avoid; fruit and vegetables are carbohydrates, too! For a deeper look into the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates, check this out: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-carbohydrates
I’ve included a sample meal of what this type of eating would look like. The vegetables make up the majority of the meal, with the chicken being a “side dish.”
-1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-BBQ sauce of your choice (choose one that does not include high fructose corn syrup as one of its ingredients!)
-1 head broccoli
-4 medium sized sweet potatoes
-Oil of choice (I used EVOO for the broccoli and coconut oil for the sweet potatoes)
Makes approximately 4 meals
This is merely an example of how to set up a meal, there are no hard and fast rules! If we’re taking the protein-fat-carbohydrate approach, I’ve got my chicken as protein, my coconut and olive oil as my fats, and my broccoli and sweet potatoes as my carbohydrates. The only processed carbohydrate that I’ve got in this meal is the BBQ sauce, which I simply used to cover, not drown!, the shredded chicken.
Hopefully this sheds a little bit of light on how to plan meals; it doesn’t have to be complicated and we don’t have to follow crazy recipes. Ask yourself two things: 1. Is my meal primarily plants and protein? 2. Do I have a protein, a fat, and a carbohydrate? If you said yes to both, you’ve got a great meal!
Reach out with any questions, comments, or suggestions on what you’d like to see in regards to nutrition going forward!
Nutrition is integral to success, whether your goals are weight loss, general muscular toning, fat loss, performance, weight gain, or just maintaining a HEALTHY lifestyle. Mi5 nutrition coaching provides customized support for all people and all goals. Sign up today: