Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Meal Prep: Set Yourself Up For Success

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Eating clean, whole foods can sometimes be challenging with our busy lifestyles. We have errands, jobs, kids, work, social events, family dinners etc., and sometimes life is chaotic! However, there are a few tricks and tips that will help you stay on track with nutrition no matter where you are.

  • Find a system that works for you. Investing in a small, portable and convenient way to transport snacks will help leave you with plenty of options during your long day. I found a bag at Staples that folds up flat so you can put it in the freezer! The bag unfolds and acts like a cooler for about 8 hours – brilliant!
  • Prepare 3 or 4 containers at a time with meals that are easy to grab and go. Try making a larger dinner than usual, and packaging up the extra for the next 2 days lunch. Make a big batch of something versatile in the beginning of the week like turkey or black bean burger patties, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, quinoa, sliced veggies or scrambled egg & veggie muffins so you can save time later on in the week. Pre-measure portions of yogurt, trail mix, jerky, dried fruit, veggie sticks, hummus, peanut butter, rice cakes, protein pancakes, etc. in advance so you have healthy options at your fingertips.
  • Stock up on healthy ‘easy’ foods like apples, carrots, sugar snap peas, rice cakes or raw almonds. These are a great quick snack that requires no thinking and you can call on instead of chips or cookies when you need something to eat quick.
  • Keep healthy snacks everywhere. Stash a fruit and nut bar, apple, jerky, dried fruit, trail mix, rice cake, honey stick, etc. in your backpack or purse to always have in case of a hunger strike. You will be far less likely to over indulge if you keep yourself satiated with quality, whole foods throughout the day.
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Pre-portioned containers of salmon & steamed broccoli.
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Leftover spaghetti squash, turkey meatballs & marinara sauce.

 

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Preparing for a work day: Asian style chicken lettuce wraps, cottage cheese & pineapple, baby carrots, super seed crackers & peanut butter.

30 Day “Spring CleanEATing Challenge”

30 DAY SPRING CLEANEATING CHALLENGE: April 1st – April 30th

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Welcome to my 30 Day Spring CleanEATing Challenge! I am so thrilled that you are joining me for the beautiful month of April, and taking a step toward a healthier, leaner, stronger, more efficient lifestyle.

The idea of this challenge is to get us eating whole foods which are full of nutrition, and dumping salty, fatty, sugary crap foods which are lacking in any real nutrition, yet high in calories. Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, feel more energetic, speed up your metabolism, boost your immune system, be happier, or just to try something new, this is the perfect challenge for you. In addition to experiencing the physical effects of this wholesome diet, you will also learn a new formula for your diet, establish new habits, and learn delicious recipes.

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People ask me all the time why they are not losing weight, even though they are exercising.  My answer is simple: change your diet! Diet is absolutely imperative to any regimen, and I will preach this until the day I die! You can NOT out train a bad diet. Wouldn’t you love to see the results you are training so hard for with half the effort?! Who wouldn’t, really! Eating a balanced diet that is rich in whole foods will also change your vulnerability to illness, lethargic behavior, depression, anxiety, and weakened immune system. I have said it before, and I will say it again: Diet is KEY!

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For the duration of the challenge, I will be sharing everything I eat on a daily basis, complete with recipes and photos to help you plan your meals. I will also be posting regular workouts and exercise challenges to help you boost your metabolism and speed up fat loss, getting you the results you want, FAST.

I hope you will feel free to ask all kinds of questions, and share your comments/concerns/tips with me whenever you want.

Thanks for joining, and have FUN!

-Crystal

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Here are the rules for the 30 Day CleanEATing Challenge:

  • No Sweets or Refined Sugars
  • No Processed Foods
  • No Fried Foods
  • No Alcohol
  • Eat 4-6 Small Meals Per Day

As a general rule for this challenge, you may only eat foods that are in their simplest (whole) form. If you are looking at a label and see more than 3 ingredients, it is most likely NOT allowed. Here are some examples of foods that fit the plan:

PROTEINS:

  • Lean meats (Chicken Breast, lean Turkey, pork or beef)
  • Eggs and Egg Whites
  • Yogurt (unsweetened)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Fish (Salmon, Cod, Tuna, Tilapia)
  • Shellfish
  • Plant Protein (Tempeh, Tofu, Beans, Hemp Protein, Pea Protein)
  • Cheese (2 Tablespoons per day max) – Try to stick to these options: Parmesan, Mozzarella, Feta, Goat, Ricotta or Blue Cheese
  • Protein Powders or Shakeology/Herbalife Meal replacement powders (these are technically processed foods but are allowed for the sake of this challenge)

CARBS:

  • Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal, Old Fashioned or Steel Cut (NOT the instant, pre-packaged kind)
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Quinoa
  • Cous Cous
  • Ezekial Bread or any bread that has WHOLE grains
  • Amaranth
  • Lentils
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Rice Cakes
  • Farro
  • Beans (Black, Garbanzo, Mung, Azuki, Kidney etc.)
  • ANY Fruits
  • Any Vegetables
  • Any Leafy Greens (Spinach is a freebie – eat as MUCH as you want)
  • Fresh Salsa

FATS: (Don’t go crazy here, these foods are good for you, but not by the pound.)

  • Avocado
  • Coconut Oil and Shredded UNSWEETENED Coconut
  • Olive Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Flax (in any form)
  • Nuts (raw)
  • Nut Butters (unprocessed only – no added oils or sugar)
  • Fish Oil
  • Seeds (Chia, Pumpkin, Poppy, Sesame)
  • Almond Milk (Unsweetened)

MISC:

  • Spices
  • Herbs (Freebies, eat as much as you want!)
  • Extracts
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Vinegar
  • Honey or Agave (Raw only, no more than 1 tablespoon daily)

Cultivating Willpower, Promoting Growth

Green smoothie instead of frozen garbage? Yes, please!
Green smoothie instead of frozen garbage? Yes, please!

Let’s talk about growth. I do not believe that stagnation is a healthy practice in life – nor is it conducive whatsoever to a solid health and fitness plan. It is absolutely true that we will not change if we are not changing what we do! “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Sound familiar? We simply cannot make room for growth until we set aside our old bad habits, and step into the uncomfortable unknown. Failing to have the self control to make necessary changes to our body and mind will ultimately destroy us! Willpower is a very powerful issue, and something so many of us struggle with, whether it be with daily chores, work motivation, or diet and exercise. Your choices each day are what shape you into the person you want to be, and eventually help you reach your goals in life. Fitness is no different. When faced with difficult choices it is not always easy to say no, and many times, this lack of willpower will halt your progress.

This concept of self control is something that is talked about time and time again when it comes to making healthy food choices. It is no secret that nutrition is the bigger piece of the fitness puzzle. No matter how hard you train, you simply cannot out train a bad diet. Period. We spend so much energy and hard work training ourselves to be physically strong, so why not apply some of this discipline to your mental health and well being by training your self control? Statistically, people with higher willpower have better lives, careers, marriages, success, and make better leaders. If you could easily say no to the crappy foods that are holding you back from reaching your dream self, would that make you happy? Would you like to get better at not putting off your training, and better at planning for healthy meals every day? I can show you how.

In Kelly McGonigal’s book, The Willpower Instinct, she covers topics discussed in a Stanford class about identifying and training your willpower. She offers many great training exercises to help you identify the issues that are causing you to give in to your lack of willpower, and train yourself to have stronger self control. The best way to have better self control is to first recognize and understand why you are losing control.

Here is an exercise that will help you connect with the forces that are causing you to lose control, and furthermore ease your mind out of troublesome and difficult decisions involving willpower.

  • Task 1: Track Willpower Choices

Track every single one of your WP choices for a day. Be sure to look for the subtle ones as well! This tracking will prevent you from becoming distracted. Make a note of those decisions which helped or undermined your goals. This is important because the first step is to track what are causing the impulses that undermine your goals. Learn the cues and where they come from!

The brain physically changes based on experiences, and the best way to train your willpower is meditation.

  • Task 2: Meditate

Breath focus is a simple and powerful meditation technique. Here is how to do it in a nutshell:

  1. Sit still and stay put

    1. Sit in a chair with your feet on the ground or with crossed legs on a cushion. Don’t fidget, don’t scratch itches, don’t move! Staying still is a huge part of why it helps WP, as you learn not to follow every impulse your brain throws out.

  2. Turn your attention to your breath

    1. Close your eyes or focus on a single spot (like a blank wall). Begin to notice your breath. Silently in your mind say “inhale” as you breathe in and “exhale” as you breathe out. When your mind wanders (and it will) just bring it calmly back to the breadth. Coming back to the breath again and again is what really stimulates the prefrontal cortex.

  3. Notice how it feels to breathe, and notice how the mind wanders

    1. After a few minutes, drop the inhale/exhale thoughts. Try just to focus on the sensation of breathing. You may sense the breath flowing in your mouth, maybe the rhythmic inflation/deflation of your chest, whatever. Your mind will still wander, just always calmly bring it back to the breath. If you need help refocusing, bring the inhale/exhale thoughts back.

Start with 5 minutes a day, and once that is a habit bump it up to 15 a day. If that feels like a burden, drop it back to 5. A short practice every day is much better than a long practice every once in awhile.

I suggest practicing this short 5 minute meditation each time you are faced with the urge to break your willpower. Practice this for 1 week , and track your progress. Keep writing down all of your triggers and your WP choices, and the next challenges will involve some other exercised to further strengthen and train your self control. If this is something you are struggling with, please stay tuned for my follow up entries on this topic. 🙂

Enjoy your day, and here’s to the stronger inner you!

-Crystal

Muscles are Made in the Kitchen – A Guide to Healthy Food Substitutions

Hi All!

There are many common misconceptions about diet, weight loss, and what constitutes a well balanced meal plan. The general idea behind eating “right” is to maximize and balance nutrition, healthy fats, complex carbohydrate, protein, and fiber content, while maintaining a ratio of healthy caloric intake vs calories burned. Food is fuel, and most of the time, people who are exercising regularly and not seeing the results they want, are not eating right. I would say diet accounts for at least 80% of your results. I want to show you a few popular food substitutions that will make HUGE improvements in your health. These substitutions are easy to start incorporating into your diet right now – and I promise you will begin to appreciate the many health benefits of properly fueling your body.

My favorite post-workout snack: Plain Greek yogurt, peanut butter marshmallow whey protein, shredded coconut and chopped walnuts.
My favorite post-workout snack: Plain Greek yogurt, peanut butter marshmallow whey protein, shredded coconut and chopped walnuts.
  1. CHEESE: It is full of animal fat, sodium, and we generally eat WAY more than what is considered a ‘healthy’ amount. Try using a sprinkle of feta or parmesan instead of your usual choice. Cut the calories, fat, and sodium drastically.
  2. BUTTER: Another animal fat that really has zero redeeming qualities. While animal fats are totally fine to consume in moderation, there are several more nutritious and healthier options that can actually burn fat! Ditch the butter and try swapping for a small amount of olive oil, coconut oil, or grape seed oil. Nut butters, apple sauce, and yogurt are also an awesome substitution.
  3. POTATOES: Regular potatoes, while not the worst thing you can eat, are high in calories and starchy carbs, and aren’t the best nutritionally. Indulging in too much of this starchy guy can thwart your diet plan. Swap for a nutritious sweet potato, celery root, radish, or a turnip instead. Cauliflower is a great substitution for mashed potatoes, too!
  4. PASTA: Another high calorie, high simple carbohydrate food – Try substituting cabbage, zucchini pappardelle, garbanzo beans, or spaghetti squash instead.
  5. SUGAR: Refined sugars have no place in the healthy diet. Eating food high in refined sugar actually triggers a number of adverse chemical reactions in the brain – actually hard wiring you to want nothing else but more sugar! Numerous studies suggest that high levels of sugar in the diet contribute to depression, diabetes, weight gain, headaches, skin disorders, cellulite, and even cancer. Of course, everything in moderation is okay, and indulgences are part of a healthy lifestyle – but removing this danger food from your daily menu will do wonders. Try using a small amount of honey, or agave nectar in it’s place. Fruit is always a wonderful choice to satisfy your sweet tooth, and it’s natural sugars will go a long way to sweeten any dish you would typically add sugar to. Other ways to naturally sweeten dishes include: flavored protein powders, flavored extracts, fresh fruit juice, and cinnamon.
  6. WHITE RICE: High calorie, empty carbohydrate: Liven up your dish with wild rice, quinoa, cous-cous, barley, lentils, or amaranth for carbs your body can use properly, more fiber, protein, and more flavor!
  7. FLAVORED YOGURT: Yogurt is consistently marketed as a health food – and it very well can be. However, watch out for the sugar content here! Flavored yogurt, and yogurt that boasts “low fat,” or “non fat,” are almost always packed with nearly 20-40 grams of sugar per serving. Be careful – replace your flavored yogurts with a regular, Greek plain yogurt, and add fresh fruit for that sweet flavor. Adding a touch of flavored protein powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, or flavored extracts really livens it up as well.
  8. SOUR CREAM/MAYONNAISE: High fat, high calorie = no good. Try substituting plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, which are high in protein and can contain live cultures which aid in digestion!
  9. BREAD PRODUCTS: While I am not suggesting that you remove bread from your diet completely, I merely want to suggest you really start reading the labels here, and trying to limit your overall consumption of all things processed! If your bread is not loaded with whole grains and seeds, it is probably not going to help you achieve your goals. I would suggest trading your usual bread for brands like Ezekiel, Alvarado Street Bakery, Bavarian, or make your own with quality ingredients. Eating wheat products is a very controversial topic, but I am of the strong opinion that there are opiate like effects related to eating standardized wheat products – very similar to eating sugar! These foods actually trigger a dopamine release in the brain, resulting in a euphoric feeling, which produces an almost immediate desire to chase the euphoria with – MORE sugar/starch/wheat! Again, I am not suggesting you dump the bread all together, but try saving the bread for your breakfast, or with your after workout meal. Many nutrition experts say that eating these forms of carbohydrate are best digested and not stored as fat cells when eaten in the earlier hours of the day, and directly after your workout when your body can use it and not save it in glycogen stores. I suggest lowering your daily intake, and try swapping the breads for lettuce or leafy greens as a wrap, or a corn, quinoa, or brown rice tortilla. I am of the opinion that you should be getting the majority of your carbohydrate intake from vegetables, fruits, and WHOLE grains/nuts/seeds.
  10. CEREAL/GRANOLA: Most cereals are packed with sugar, and have very little to no nutritional value whatsoever. I would suggest replacing your sugary cereals with old fashioned rolled oats, sweetened with a half scoop of protein powder, flavored extracts, fruits and nuts.
  11. SALAD DRESSING/SAUCES: BBQ sauce, terriyaki, salad dressings, and most marinades are chock full of sugar, fat, and salt: empty calorie, pure diet destruction foods. I would suggest using different olive oil/vinegar combinations. Dijon mustard, lemon juice, basil or cilantro and olive oil is one of my favorite combinations. Herbs, healthy fats, spices, citrus, greek yogurt, garlic, low sodium stock, ginger, and vinegar are excellent ways to season dishes without the unnecessary calories. Also, adding fruit to your salad, and a sprinkle of feta cheese can offer enough flavor that you don’t need any or much dressing at all. Give it a try, and eliminate tons of unnecessary calories.
  12. CRACKERS/CHIPS: Go for a few celery sticks, carrots, bell peppers, or broccoli instead of the usual high calorie, low reward snack foods you usually reach for. Choose something that isn’t fried, like a rice cake, dried seaweed, jerky, or popped corn for a healthier take on salty snacks.
  13. BREAD CRUMBS/FLOUR: A lot of recipes that require a starch to hold the dish together, or flour to thicken a sauce end up being so high in empty calories that they are just not worth eating! However, try throwing some rolled oats, quinoa, or flax seeds etc. in the food processor for a more nutritious and just as effective starch. Nutritional yeast acts as an amazing thickening agent to replace corn starch and flour. Get creative! Most of the time, the dish ends up being much more flavorful because of the substitution! Coconut flour is an awesome addition to baked goods – it is high in fiber, low in calories, and full of healthy fats.

Cooking meals that taste great is easy for anyone to learn. Most people default to adding sugar, butter and salt to make anything and everything taste good – but the real challenge is learning to be creative with your ingredients to create stunning dishes with half the fat and calories. While it requires a little more creativity, I firmly believe anyone can do it. Try stocking your refrigerator with more fresh herbs, your cabinets with a variety of spices, and your fruit bowl with lots of fresh fruits, veggies, garlic, onion and ginger. Splurge on some delicious vinegar or oil infusions and watch your meals come alive with clean flavor. The more processed, sugary, salty, fatty crap you remove from your diet, the more you will not only feel amazing, but also look amazing.

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Happy cooking, all! I hope you will feel inspired to get creative in the kitchen, and share your delicious recipes with me. 🙂

-Crystal

Simplicity In Food: A Guide To Maximizing Your Diet’s Potential

Hi All!

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Learning the truth about what our bodies need to work as a well oiled machine can be painful, and yes, might piss us off at first! This is only because we have been taught all the wrong things over time. Sifting through the plethora of diet and nutrition advice that exists can be a daunting and discouraging task. For many people, including myself, simplicity is best! There are a few basic rules to follow in any diet and exercise plan, that will yield the biggest reward.

  1. Eat clean, and do not overeat.
  2. Get enough sleep.
  3. Drink lots of water.
  4. Exercise daily.

Yes, that is really it, folks! Unfortunately, our food and drug industry has other ideas for our health and so called, “well being.” Just about every known advertisement in existence is related to food and medication! Most of the time, the foods being marketed to us as “healthy,” “natural,” “low-fat” etc., are actually harming us more than they are helping. Most pre-packaged foods are riddled with a laundry list of ingredients that your average Joe would have a hard time even trying to pronounce. If you can’t even read it, should you really be eating it? In my experience, the fewer ingredients on the list, the better.

Fortunately for us, there is simplicity. “Keep it simple, stupid!” In my own personal fitness journey, I have narrowed down my daily nutritional needs to a simple formula. I have come up with these numbers through trial and error, and with the help of online food journals such as my favorite: Loseit.comThese calorie counters/food journals are an excellent tool for getting a grasp on your approximate needs, whether you are looking to lose, gain or maintain your current weight.

Calories: **These numbers will differ on an individual basis. No two people are alike!

  • In order to maintain my current weight, I can eat approximately 1,900-2,100 calories every day, providing I get some exercise. (On heavy exercise days, I may need to eat more.)
  • On days that I do not exercise, I adjust my intake to approximately 1,500-1,700 calories.

Within these numbers, I further break down my nutrition into categories:

  1. Fat: 25-30% **(Healthy fats, guys! No tater chips! Some examples include avocado, salmon, olive oil, coconut oil, flax seed, nuts and nut butters, etc.)
  2. Carbohydrate: 30-40% **(Good carbohydrates come in many forms: Vegetables, whole grains, rice, beans, seeds, etc.)
  3. Protein: 30-40% **(Good sources include fish, poultry, eggs, tofu, tempeh, yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powders, vegetables, nuts, quinoa, and wild rice)
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Healthy and Delicious Whole Foods

Here is an example of a typical day for me, broken down into nutrients:

Fat 64.1g 31%
Saturated Fat 20.8g
Sodium 1,915.9mg
Carbohydrates 161.5g 34.7%
Fiber 23.4g
Sugars 52.8g
Protein 159.6g 34.3%
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A few examples of healthy fats.

Another great piece of advice which I can offer you, is to really try and eliminate refined sugars, excess salt and processed foods from your diet altogether. Sugars and processed foods contribute to weight gain, depression, anxiety, cellulite, unhealthy cravings, overeating, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc., etc., etc.! This can be a learning process, but with time, creativity, and effort, you will create a brand new palate which is customized to like the foods which benefit and support your healthy lifestyle, instead of destroy it. It is entirely possible, and highly effective to re-set your taste buds by eating more whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and wholesome  low fat proteins.

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Eat More Veggies!

Remember, in a society that is constantly trying to sell you the next “easy fix” in a shake, pill, surgery, etc., there is actually a much cheaper, SIMPLER and, get this, effective fix in the form of 4 easy steps. Eat clean and do not over eat, get plenty of sleep, exercise daily, and drink lots of water. That is truly the magic formula!

Here is to health and happiness! 🙂

-Crystal

Diet is Key – 30 Days of Nutritious Meals

Hi Guys!

For those of you who are interested in peeking at my diet, I want to share each day of my 30 day challenge, “Fit for the Holidays!” For tracking each of my meals, I use an awesome calorie counter at Loseit.com – My user name is crastymcnasty – if you decide to use Lose It, let’s connect and motivate one another!

Before and after: 30 days of clean eating, and at home workouts 5 times a week.
Before and after: 30 days of clean eating, and at home workouts 5 times a week.

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WEEK 1

Day 1: Total – 1,309 calories

Breakfast:

  • 2 eggs, 2 egg whites, scrambled with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons salsa, topped with 1/4 avocado
  • Coffee w/ unsweetened soy milk
  • Fish Oil Supplement (If I forget to post on future entries, I take a fish oil tablet every morning, and sometimes with dinner as well.)

Pre-Workout Snack:

Lunch:

  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • green salad with spinach, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, celery, balsamic vineger and feta cheese

Dinner:

  • Roasted spaghetti squash with homemade tomato sauce and parmesan cheese
  • Ground chicken meatballs
  • green salad with mixed veggies

DAY 2: Total 1,596 calories

Breakfast:

Snack (pre-run):

  • Leftover protein pancakes 🙂
  • Red seedless grapes

Lunch (post run, pre-workout):

  • Leftover spaghetti squash, homemade marinera, chicken meatballs and parmesan cheese

Snack:

  • 1.5% Cottage cheese

Dinner:

  • Taco Salad: Lettuce, bell peppers, avocado, green onion, black olives, crumbled tortilla chips, pinto beans w/feta cheese, shrimp, and a dollup of greek yogurt

DAY 3: 1,621 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Old fashioned oatmeal, with half scoop protein powder, walnuts, almond extract, and unsweetened almond milk
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack (pre-workout):

  • 2 egg whites, scrambled with half teaspoon olive oil
  • 100 calorie sandwich thin
  • 1 tablespoon roasted red pepper hummus
  • 1 cup spinach leaves

Lunch:

Snack:

  • Cottage cheese (1.5% fat)
  • Trader Joe’s whole grain rye crisps (about 4 pieces)
  • Fresh home made salsa

Dinner:

DAY 4: 1,533 Calories

Breakfast:

Protein pancakes with pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and Greek yogurt mixed with almond extract and cinnamon. Yum.
Protein pancakes with pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and Greek yogurt mixed with almond extract and cinnamon. Yum.
  • Pumpkin Pancakes
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk
  • Greek yogurt with cinnamon

Snack:

  • Pumpkin Pancake
  • Green salad w/mixed veggies

Lunch:

  • Leftover pumpkin curry
  • 4 oz. chicken breast

Dinner:

  • Shrimp taco salad

DAY 5: 1,597 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal with strawberry protein powder, walnuts, and almond milk
  • Coffee with almond milk
  • 1 slice turkey bacon

Snack (pre-workout/run):

  • Green Smoothie with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cups red grapes

Lunch:

  • Smoked Salmon
  • Kashi Hummus Crisps
  • Green salad w/mixed veggies and balsamic vinegar

Dinner:

  • Chicken Enchiladas w/fresh salsa, pinto beans, and greek yogurt

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Day 6: 1,652 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal with half scoop vanilla protein powder, walnuts, vanilla and almond extract, and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack:

  • 1 cup red grapes
  • 1/2 cup 1.5% cottage cheese

Lunch:

  • Leftover chicken enchiladas with pinto beans
  • Chai tea with 1/4 cup 2% milk

Dinner (post-workout):

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  • Mediterranean Chicken (Marinated in plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, chives, thyme and basil – then baked. Yum!)
  • Wild rice with wild mushrooms, garlic, chives, and olive oil
  • Salad with spinach, beet greens, zucchini, carrot, cabbage, feta cheese and grape tomatoes (drizzle of balsamic and 1 teaspoon ranch dressing)
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Cody, enjoying his beet greens!

DAY 7: 1,711 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal with sliced banana, walnuts, vanilla extract and half scoop vanilla protein powder with a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack:

  • 1/2 cup 1.5 % cottage cheese
  • 1 cup red grapes
  • less than 1/2 cup chex mix ( I don’t need to be eating this!)

Lunch:

  • Leftover Mediterranean chicken with wild rice and mushrooms

Snack (post-run):

  • Green Smoothie with peanut butter
  • 2 cups organic popcorn (from costco – only 39 calories per cup!)

Dinner:

  • Stir-fry with green cabbage, edamame, carrots, zucchini, celery, garlic, ginger, and scrambled eggs

WEEK 2

DAY 8: 1,685 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Chocolate macadamia nut protein pancakes
  • Coffee with almond milk

Snack:

  • Greek yogurt with 1/4 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 cup grapes

Lunch:

  • Leftover chicken enchiladas with Greek yogurt
  • Shrimp cocktail

Snack:

  • Leftover pancakes from breakfast
  • 1 cup potato chips (bad!)

Dinner:

cflower

DAY 9: 1,981 Calories

Breakfast:

applecinnamoncakes

  • Apple cinnamon protein pancakes, with greek yogurt sauce (plain yogurt, 1/4 scoop vanilla protein powder, ground cinnamon)
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack (pre-workout):

  • Chocolate banana smoothie w/spinach
  • 2 cups organic popcorn

Lunch:

  • Shrimp cocktail (1/2 cup)
  • Smoked salmon with Kashi hummus crisps

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Snack:

  • Leftover pancakes from breakfast
  • 100 calorie sandwich thin with 1 tablespoon peanut butter, half a banana, and 2 teaspoons hemp seeds

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Dinner:

  • Chicken sausage with pineapple
  • Steamed cauliflower (instead of the raviolis Cody enjoyed!)
  • 1/4 cup Alfredo sauce

Snack:

  • 1 cup grapes (yes, I broke my rule of no snack after dinner 😦 – however, in all fairness, my stomach was growling, and we stayed up until 4 AM dancing. I don’t ever want to ignore my body’s hunger signals.)

DAY 10: 1,856 Calories

Breakfast:

  • 1 egg, 1 egg white cooked with olive oil, served on a 100 calorie whole wheat sandwich thin
  • small fuji apple

Snack:

  • 1 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • chopped walnuts and fresh raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons hemp hearts

Lunch:

  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Steamed cauliflower with Parmesan cheese

Snack:

  • Chex mix
  • 1 banana with 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • Wheat thins

Dinner:

  • Half of a lamb gyro with Greek fries from our local Mediterranean restaurant (bad girl!)
  • 1 cup Kashi blackberry hills cereal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

DAY 11: 1,569 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Multigrain oatmeal with sliced apples, walnuts, cinnamon, and vanilla protein powder
  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Coffee

Snack:

  • Low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • scoop chocolate protein powder
  • fresh raspberries

Lunch:

  • 4 oz grilled chicken breast
  • sauteed mushrooms
  • Swiss cheese
  • baby carrots w/ranch dressing

Dinner:

tortilla soup 004

DAY 12: 1,814 Calories

Breakfast:

  • 1 egg, 3 egg whites scrambled with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons salsa, zucchini and onion/ topped with 1/4 avocado
  • coffee with unsweetened almond milk
  • fresh home made juice: beet, carrot, apple, cucumber, celery, grape

Snack:

  • Nonfat Greek yogurt with vanilla protein powder, walnuts, hemp seeds, and half a banana (sliced)
  • 1/2 Kombucha

Lunch (pre-run/workout):

  • Leftover chicken tortilla soup

Snack:

  • Cottage cheese with red grapes
  • lentil snap crisps

Dinner:

  • Roasted spaghetti squash with mushrooms, zucchini, onion, edamame, Alfredo sauce and Parmesan cheese
  • Green salad with mixed veggies and Shitake mushroom dressing
  • Heirloom tomato salad with mozzarella cheese, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar

DAY 13: 1,740 Calories

Breakfast (pre-run):

  • Apple cinnamon protein pancakes with walnuts and Greek yogurt sauce
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack:

  • Leftover pancakes from breakfast 🙂
  • 1/2 Kombucha

Lunch:

  • Leftover spaghetti squash with vegetables and Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pretzels

Snack:

  • Celery sticks and baby carrots with 2 tablespoons red pepper hummus
  • Chai tea with 1/4 cup 2% milk (we only have regular milk at the bar where I work…not my fave!)

Dinner (pre-yoga):

  • Ground turkey taco salad topped with home made guacamole and plain Greek yogurt

DAY 14: 1,689 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Multigrain oatmeal with sliced apples, cinnamon, vanilla protein powder, almond milk and walnuts
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack:

  • 1.5 % Cottage cheese with red grapes

Lunch:

  • Leftover chicken tortilla soup with avocado, cilantro, green onion, and blue corn tortilla chips

Snack:

  • Banana with 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/2 cup snack mix

Dinner (post-workout):

  • Mango apple sausage with kidney beans and brown rice, cilantro, swiss chard, green onion and a scoop Greek yogurt – served with half of a multi-grain tortilla
  • Spinach salad with cucumber, walnuts, and feta cheese

WEEK 3

DAY 15: 1,663 Calories

Breakfast: 

  • Multigrain oatmeal with banana, cinnamon, vanilla whey (1/2 scoop), walnuts, and vanilla extract
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack:

  • Sweet and salty 120 calorie snack bar

Lunch (post-run):

  • Smoothie with spinach, blueberries, Greek yogurt, and 1/2 scoop vanilla whey
  • 1/2 cup pistachios (measured in shell)

Snack (post- workout):

  • 1.5% cottage cheese
  • Veggie chips

Dinner:

chix parm

  • Baked Chicken Parmesan, with home made tomato eggplant marinera, served over spaghetti squash with Parmesan cheese. (I coated the chicken with egg whites, then a mixture of almond meal and corn meal before baking)
  • Spinach salad with cucumber, carrot, cabbage, and Shitake mushroom dressing

DAY 16: 2,123 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Lemon poppy seed protein pancakes
  • Coffee with light soy milk

Snack (pre-run):

  • Greek yogurt with half scoop vanilla whey, half a banana, blueberries and 1/4 cup shelled pistachios

Lunch:

  • Leftover chicken parmesan with spaghetti squash

Snack (pre-yoga):

  • Leftover pancakes from breakfast

Dinner

  • Home made Hake fish tacos with a side of multi grain chips, fresh guacamole, and re-fried black beans
fishtacos 001
Hake tacos on corn tortillas with cabbage and cilantro-lime yogurt sauce

DAY 17: 1,773 Calories

Breakfast:

  • 1 Egg and 2 egg whites scrambled with 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 Whole wheat sandwich thin
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • Coffee with light soy milk
Eggs and almond butter - who'd have thunk?!
Eggs and almond butter – who’d have thunk?!

**My mom turned me on to this flavor combination. The toast, with almond butter, topped with plain scrambled eggs is SO delicious! Sounds weird, tastes amazing!

Snack (pre-workout):

  • Greek yogurt with vanilla whey, blueberries, bananas, walnuts and hemp seeds

fishtacos 003

Lunch:

  • Leftover chicken parm with spaghetti squash

Snack:

  • Cottage cheese with red grapes
  • 1/4 cup raw unsalted almonds

Dinner (I worked, so I snacked throughout my shift):

  • Celery sticks and carrots with 2 tablespoons red pepper hummus
  • Spinach salad with cucumber, carrot, and cabbage
  • 100 Calorie chocolate graham Nutrisystem bar
  • Chai tea with light soy milk

DAY 18: 1,506 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Muti-grain oatmeal with vanilla whey, almonds, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and sliced apples, with 1/2 cup almond milk
  • Coffee with almond milk

Snack (pre-workout):

  • 1 egg and 2 egg whites scrambled, served on half a 100 calorie whole wheat sandwich thin, spread with 1 tablespoon almond butter

Lunch:

  • Non fat Greek yogurt with chocolate whey and Kashi blackberry hills cereal

Snack:

  • Vegetable chip mix
  • Smoked salmon with whole grain chips

Dinner:

  • Spaghetti squash with chicken sausage, edamame, and Alfredo sauce, topped with Parmesan cheese
  • Spinach salad with carrots and tomatoes
  • 1/2 Kombucha

DAY 19: 1,762 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Chocolate protein pancakes with 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Lunch(pre-workout):

  • Blueberry banana smoothie with spinach and vanilla whey
  • Chocolate protein pancake

Snack (post-run):

  • 1 Egg, 2 egg whites scrambled
  • 100 Calorie whole wheat sandwich thin with 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • Vegetable chips
  • Protein pancake

Dinner: 

sqush dinner
Chicken, butternut squash, and salad
  • Baked chicken marinated in Greek yogurt, lemon juice and black pepper
  • Butternut squash with cranberries, walnuts and cinnamon
  • Green salad with lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and carrots

DAY 20: 1,608 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Multigrain oatmeal with apples, cinnamon, walnuts, and vanilla whey with unsweetened almond milk
  • Coffee with almond milk
  • Fish oil

Snack:

  • Sweet and salty 120 calorie Nutrisystem bar
  • 1 Cup almond milk with strawberry whey

Lunch:

  • Leftover chicken with butternut squash, walnuts, cranberries, and cinnamon

Snack:

  • Celery sticks and baby carrots with 2 tablespoons hummus
  • Kashi hummus crisps (90 calorie snack pack)
  • Dried mango

Dinner:

  • Chicken salad with green onion, grapes, almonds, Greek yogurt, and grapes – served with mutigrain chips
  • Leftover spaghetti squash with Parmesan cheese

DAY 21: 1,547 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal with vanilla whey, apples, cinnamon, walnuts, and almond milk
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack:

  • Double chocolate 130 calorie Nutrisystem bar
  • 1 cup pretzels

Lunch:

  • Leftover cranberry walnut butternut squash
  • Celery sticks and baby carrots with 2 tablespoons hummus

Snack:

  • Greek yogurt with vanilla whey and macadamia nuts

Dinner:

  • Blueberry banana smoothie with 3 cups spinach, almond milk, and vanilla whey
  • Cottage cheese with grapes (lazy dinner!)

DAY 22: 1,789 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Lemon poppy seed protein pancakes with macadamia nuts
  • Coffee with almond milk

Lunch (pre-workout/run):

  • Chicken salad with Greek yogurt, green onion, grapes, celery and almonds
  • Protein pancake

Snack:

  • 1/2 cup chicken soup
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt with a scoop of white chocolate protein powder
  • Less than a handful of potato chips

Dinner:

  • Hake fish tacos with cabbage and cilantro lime yogurt sauce served on corn tortillas
  • Multigrain chips with black beans
  • 1/2 Kombucha

DAY 23: 1,883 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal with vanilla whey, walnuts, banana, cinnamon and almond milk
  • Coffee with almond milk

sqush 003

Snack (pre-workout/run):

  • Omelette with 1 egg, 2 egg whites, spinach, salsa, and Greek yogurt
  • Half of a banana with 1 tablespoon almond butter
1 egg, 2 egg whites, spinach, salsa, and Greek yogurt
1 egg, 2 egg whites, spinach, salsa, and Greek yogurt

Lunch:

  • Leftover poppy seed pancakes
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt with white chocolate whey

Dinner:

  • Spaghetti squash with home made sauce, chicken meatballs, and Parmesan cheese
  • Salad with beet greens, spinach, Swiss chard, cabbage, almonds, mandarin oranges and carrots
  • 1/2 Kombucha

sqush 007

 

 

DAY 24: 1,729 Calories

Breakfast:

carrot cake oats 008

  • Carrot cake oatmeal: oats, pumpkin puree, grated carrots, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, walnuts, vanilla whey and almond milk
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack:

  • 1/3 Chocolate cliff builders bar

Lunch:

  • Leftover spaghetti squash with chicken meatballs, tomato sauce, and Parmesan cheese

Snack:

  • Greek yogurt with white chocolate whey, hemp seeds, and muesli

carrot cake oats 003

 

Dinner:

  • Salad with spinach, cabbage, bell peppers, almonds, mandarin oranges, and smoked salmon with shitake sesame dressing
  • Sweet potato baked with cinnamon

DAY 25: 1,622 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Carrot cake oatmeal
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack:

  • Smoothie with banana, blueberries, almond milk, and spinach

Lunch:

  • Pumpkin protein pancakes
  • Spinach salad with  mixed veggies

Snack:

  • Greek yogurt with white chocolate whey

Dinner:

  • Chicken salad with greek yogurt, grapes, almonds, and scallions
  • Smoked salmon
  • Sweet potato baked with cinnamon

DAY 26: 2,203 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Carrot cake oatmeal
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack:

  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • Banana with 2 tablespoons almond butter

Lunch:

  • Pumpkin protein pancakes
  • Chicken salad
  • Dried mango

Snack:

  • Greek Yogurt with white chocolate whey
  • Pumpkin pancakes

Dinner:

bend 003

  • Home made lettuce wraps with chicken, pine nuts, scallions, cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, thai peanut sauce, and chili paste
  • Brie cheese with water crackers

DAY 27: 2,003 Calories

Breakfast:

  • 1 Egg and 2 egg whites, scrambled with bell peppers
  • 2 pieces of bacon
  • Coffee

Snack (pre-workout/run):

  • Chocolate macadamia nut protein pancakes
  • Celery, carrots, and broccoli with 2 tablespoons hummus

Lunch:

  • Chicken salad lettuce wraps
  • Banana with 2 tablespoons almond butter

Snack:

  • Artichoke dip with hummus chips
  • Rye bread with hummus
  • Spinach salad with walnuts, feta, and cucumber

Dinner:

  • Roasted asparagus with garlic and coconut oil
  • Leftover chicken salad
  • Fig bar

DAY 28: 2,232 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Greek yogurt with white chocolate whey
  • 2 poached eggs on whole grain rye toast
  • 1 piece of bacon

Snack:

  • Pumpkin protein pancakes
  • Snap pea crisps

Lunch:

  • Brie and apple sandwich with balsamic glaze
  • Chili
  • Soft pretzel with stone ground mustard (yes, we ate out!)

Snack:

  • Grapes and dried mango
  • Carrots, broccoli, and celery with 2 tablespoons hummus
  • Rye toast with almond butter

Dinner:

  • Chicken salad and rye toast

Snack:

  • Jalapeno potato chips (yikes!)

DAY 29: 1,966 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Breakfast crepe with eggs and cheese
  • Chilequiles
  • Coffee

Snack:

  • Leftover breakfast crepes and Chilequiles
  • Dried mango

Lunch:

  • Salmon sandwich on ciabatta with cucumber slaw and green salad
  • Calamari with tartar sauce (eating out again!)

Snack:

  • Celery, carrots and broccoli with hummus
  • Fig bar
  • 1/2 Cliff builders bar

Dinner:

  • Leftover veggies
  • French fries
  • Fig bar (yes, traveling is hard!!!)

DAY 30: 1,461 Calories

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal with walnuts, vanilla whey, almond milk and vanilla extract
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

Snack (pre-workout/run):

  • Plain lowfat yogurt with peanut butter marshmallow whey

Lunch:

  • Spinach salad with grilled chicken, feta cheese, and walnuts
  • Hummus crisps (90 calorie pack)

Snack:

  • Carrots, celery, and broccoli with hummus

Dinner:

  • Turkey taco salad
Ground lean turkey, black beans, feta cheese, bell peppers, olives, scallions, crumbled taco shell, and greek yogurt
Ground lean turkey, black beans, feta cheese, bell peppers, olives, scallions, crumbled taco shell, and greek yogurt

 

 

 

 

Easy Meal Ideas

Hi everyone!

I can’t stress enough how important it is to watch what we put into our bodies. The foods we eat have more to do with our overall health than anything else we do.  If we eat crap, we will feel like crap! If we eat nutritious whole foods, we will feel energized and, well, whole! There are SO many studies which prove a direct connection to poor diet and exercise with life threatening illnesses such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Erectile Dysfunction, Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Cancer, Osteoporosis, and Stress.

It is proven that eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day will increase your metabolism. Drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep will also do wonders to boost your natural fat burning furnace!  Here are a few easy meal ideas, and an example of what my daily menu looks like. Your personal needs may vary depending on your age, height, activity level, etc. I recommend visiting some websites such as My Fitness Pal or Calorie Count, to help you get a general idea of your suggested calorie intake. My Fitness Pal is a GREAT way to actually monitor the foods you eat (and drink) every day. Just using this tool for one week will completely open your eyes to where all of your calories are going.

Breakfast Options:

pancakes

  • Protein Pancakes
  • Oatmeal with almonds, walnuts or pecans, a scoop of protein powder, cinnamon, and a splash of almond milk
  • Smoothie (low sugar, some protein and some greens like spinach or kale)
  • Eggs:

blog 003

1 egg and 2 egg whites (scrambled with a tsp of olive oil), spinach leaves, sun dried tomato chicken sausage (about 1/2), and salsa

omelette

Omelette with 1 egg and 3 egg whites, 1 cup spinach leaves, 2 tablespoons Mediterranean herb feta cheese, 2 tablespoons salsa, and 1/4 avocado.

***try to avoid cooking with butter, and replace with a small serving of healthy fats such as olive oil, grape seed oil, or coconut oil

Snack Options:

  • Sliced celery and carrot sticks with 2 tablespoons hummus
  • Low fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit or salsa

september2013 092

  • 1 egg over spinach leaves  with a spread of hummus on top of a whole grain slice of bread, a corn tortilla, or half of a 100 calorie sandwich thin
  • Sliced apple with peanut butter
  • Smoked salmon with whole grain crackers, bread, or served with a low calorie cheese wedge on a corn tortilla

blog 001

  • Plain Greek yogurt with hemp seeds, sliced almonds, fresh berries, and a sprinkle of whole grain cereal flakes (Kashi makes a few that are low in sugar) OR shaved coconut

protein pancakes

  • Chocolate protein pancakes (just use chocolate protein powder, and a tablespoon of cocoa powder in my recipe) with peanut butter, sliced almonds, and whole flax seeds

coleslaw

20130826_152743

Lunch Options:

  • Chicken, egg, or tuna salad (I use plain yogurt in place of the mayonnaise) served on whole grain bread, served as a dip for celery sticks, or atop a lettuce bed
  • Green salad with chopped fresh veggies, raw seeds, and a drizzle of balsamic/olive oil (dressing optional – if you are using store bought, use sparingly) **top with chicken breast or smoked salmon for extra protein

blog 005

  • Leftovers! I usually have some kind of food prepped for the week, or leftovers from dinner the night before.
  • Steamed vegetables with marinara sauce, salsa, or parmesan cheese
  • Turkey and veggie wrap served on whole grain tortilla or lettuce (look for turkey with low sodium)
  • Chicken sausage with sliced avocado, tomato, lettuce, and mustard
  • Quinoa with veggies, scrambled eggs, or fruit/nuts

Dinner Options:

  • Fish or shrimp tacos served with cabbage, cilantro, lime, and Greek yogurt sauce on a corn tortilla, served with black beans

tacos

  • Ground turkey tacos with lettuce and diced veggies/w sprinkle of feta cheese and salsa

blog 004

  • Baked Salmon or Chicken with steamed veggies and/or green salad
  • Sauteed zucchini, sweet potato, onion, and garbanzo beans with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and fresh basil (sprinkle parmesan cheese)
  • Stir fry with sesame oil, garlic, ginger, tofu, and veggies (wild rice or quinoa optional)

squash

blog 006

These are just a few ideas – I will continue to share my recipes and meal ideas with you over time! Tell me about your meals/snacks…do you have a favorite?

-C