Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lettuce Leaves & Rice Cakes Aren't Enough...

Hello dear readers!

I have had a lot of women come to me in the past week requesting diet ideas and healthy eating ideas so this post is so you can get an idea of what that looks like, at least for me. Everyone is so different, and God didn't make everyone the same, so these are just ideas! NOT a nutrition plan, just ideas. I hope this helps everyone. This is the type of eating plan I have adopted during off-season when I am not training for a competition. I have learned many secrets and tricks to healthy eating in the past year. The jolly rancher idea in water came from my friend Tara, who is a fellow competitor and wonderful mom!

Meats: Lean protein like 90% lean ground turkey, turkey burger patties, chicken burgers, Boca Bugers or other veggie burgers (just be aware sometimes these are higher in sodium, try to keep under 300mg per patty) fish is great like tilapia, flounder, shrimp, crab meat without the butter, catfish, tuna (no mayo), mahi mahi. Also chicken breast of course. Eggs are great. Especially like 1 or two eggs and then a few egg whites. That's about it. I never eat any other types of meat unless I get an occasional craving for a buffalo burger which is fine because it's the leanest of all beef if you just have to have beef. Sometimes I get a weird craving for's rare, but it's better than ground beef that is for sure!

Other protein options: Protein shakes and bars. I love protein shakes from EAS products. They have chocolate and vanilla carb control shakes in purple boxes at Walgreens and I think they sell them at Wal-mart too. Very delicious. If you want to buy protein powder, I would recommend going to Complete Nutrition and asking for some low-calorie, low-carb, low-sugar protein. :) You can mix it with almond milk or non-fat, ice, blend it, DELICIOUS! As far as protein/snack bars: Go for Larabar, Balance Bar, Pure Protein brand, or if you're gonna do a REALLY tough workout, the Cliff brand builder bars. Those are high carb, higher sugar, but a lot of protein. So those are perfect for days where you are gonna lift legs or do a really tough cardio session.

Veggies: Think GREEN! The best veggies for you are the green ones, but all the veggies are great! I eat a ton of spinach, green beans, brussell sprouts, cabbage, romaine lettuce, sprouts, carrots, (not when competing because they are higher in sugar) mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber. Basically 3 servings a day, a cup each time and you are SET for your daily veggie intake.

Happy Carbs: So we all love carbs...and there are happy carbs that won't murder your waistline. Stick to 100% whole wheat breads and tortillas, ALWAYS check the label on breads and tortillas to make sure it doesn't say "enriched wheat flour." When anything says "enriched" you can count on it to stick to your body like glue. Which is no fun. :( Also brown rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, (no dried fruit & brown sugar, add cinnamon & blueberries to your oats instead) the occasional baked potato minus the butter. Rice cakes are great for carbs! Put almond butter and some cinnamon on top and they are delicious! I like topping mine with cottage cheese for a good protein fix. Cottage cheese is an EXCELLENT form of protein and you can get it non-fat or low fat. Protein bars are happy carbs too. I also make protein pancakes which I will get you a recipe for.

Dairy: Whenever I am not competing, I drink nonfat milk and nonfat milk alone. I won't touch % milk if I can help it. I also adore almondmilk. The unsweetened kind or a low calorie vanilla one. I don't do rice milk anymore because I think the sugars in it are outrageous. Greek yogurt is an excellent form of protein and very good for you. Yogurt can be VERY high in sugars and fat, so beware of that. They have a brand of yogurt at Smith's called "Carb Control" and they come in the best flavors ever, I'm talking "Vanilla Chai" and "Carrot Cake." I love these! If you have a craving for cheese, get some goat cheese, or lowfat/% cheese. The best cheeses to stick to are mozzarella and a bit of parmesean. Both are better for you as opposed to cheddar and more of those fatty cheeses. Frozen yogurt is not bad for you if you stick to just some chocolate chips and a little fruit on top. It is far better than ice cream any day. Skinny Cow ice cream is good if you have a mega craving for sweet. They are lower in sugar and fat. I also like Jello sugar-free pudding snacks. Those really help get me through dessert cravings.

Fruit: Any fruit is great for you so long as you don't overdo it. Bananas are the highest in carbs and sugar. I try to stick to the berries, those are a lot better. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. Add the blueberries to oatmeal, delicious!

Healthy fats: Avocado, unsalted nuts like peanuts/almonds, dark chocolate, fish oil pills, (good for your heart, hair, nails, and also a source of healthy fat) peanut butter, (I like reduced-fat JIF) almond butter, flaxseed is just something you can pick up at Wal-Mart and sprinkle into your oatmeal. It is great for your health!

Drinks: Water, water water!!!! At least 8 glasses a day. If you have a water bottle, fill it up every hour. Try to keep drinking all day long. Other things are unsweetened iced teas and coffee. Diet soda isn't the greatest for you, but if it'll keep you from having a regular soda, go for it. If you get sick of water, try Crystal Light mixes to jazz things up, or try sparkling water. Another thing that is great is to buy some Jolly Ranchers. Add one to the bottom of your water bottle. It is delicious and helps curb a sweet tooth. I will have 1 glass of wine per week, MAYBE. I usually stick to 1-2 glasses per month. Alcohol is a waste of calories in my opinion. I would rather have a piece of cheesecake instead. :)

Dressings & Condiments: Low-calorie things such as salsa, pico de gallo, balsalmic, vinagrette dessings, seasonings like lemon pepper or Tony Chachere's seasoning, BBQ sauce (within reason), mustard. All things I love. No Mayo, ranch, guacamole...all no-no's due to high fat content and calories.

You should try to be eating 6 mini-meals a day: Breakfast (always!!!) a snack, lunch, a snack, dinner, and one snack before bed which should be a rice cake type treat with a protein shake or something to tie you over until the morning. Stay ahead of your body and keep it fueled all day. It will help your metabolism. Don't let yourself get so hungry you crash, because when you do that, it's harder to build muscle and your body stores fat more.

I hope all this helps. Please let me know if I left anything out. Happy eating!!! :)


Cara S. said...

I love this post so informative! I recently lost 50 pounds and whenever people ask how I did it I tell them my staples were Greek yogurt, lots of berries, oatmeal, water, chicken...pretty much all the things you mentioned! It really works. I like this post though because you gave SO many options! And I tend to get bored sometimes of the same ol' stuff!!

Meggers said...

Cara, YAY! I'm so glad this was informative. It really does get boring sometimes huh? You gotta mix things up! :) And ps- Congrats on your weight loss. That is WONDERFUL! Go you! :)