Green Leafy Lettuce (Green Leaf, Red, Leaf, Romaine)/Bagged Salad
Green or Red Pepper
Spaghetti Squash (my fav)
Berries (blueberries and raspberries)
Lemons or Limes
Melons (not watermelon)
Eat bananas, strawberries, peaches or plums sparingly (lots of natural sugar)
No dried fruits, including raisins (loaded with sugar)
Natural Style or Organic Peanut Butter, even better, Peanut Wonder (Whole Foods Market)
Olive Oil or Safflower Oil
Nuts (peanuts, almonds)
Dairy & Eggs
Low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese
Low or Non-Fat Milk (eat dairy only occasionally)
Non-fat yogurt (look for low sugar only)
Fat-free String Cheese
Fat-free Cream Cheese
Iced Tea (decaf)
Condiments & Misc.
Fat-free Mayonnaise (on occasion)
Ketchup (Heinz One Carb brand only)
Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
Reduced Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
Balsamic or Raspberry Vinaigrette (Farm Grove)
Salsa or Fresh Pico De Gallo
Sugar-free or low-carb Ketchup
Sugar Free Maple Syrup
Sugar Free Jelly (Polaner or Smuckers)
Tomato Paste (low sugar)
Mustard (yellow or Dijon)
Extracts (vanilla, almond, etc)
Low Sodium fat-free beef or fat-free chicken broth
Plain or reduced sodium tomatoes sauce, puree, paste (look for low sugar)
Fat-free cooking spray
Sugar-free applesauce for baking
Herbs & Spices
Mrs. Dash (all varieties)
McCormick’s (all varieties)
Pumpkin Pie Spice
A BIG key to success is having a PLAN! Think about it….you wouldn’t start your day, go on vacation or show up to a job interview without a plan, right? I used to eat on the go and grab food on the fly…guess where that got me? 20 lbs heavier and feeling pretty crappy about my body.
So think of meal prep and packing your cooler as your PLAN for a HEALTHY BODY! Your biggest obstacle is going to be managing your time so that getting fit and healthy doesn’t compete with the rest of your commitments, like taking care of the kids, hubby or spending time with friends! Believe it or not, prioritizing and planning ahead with actually make life….dun dun dun…EASIER! Not to mention, it will set you up for success in the long term! It may seem trivial but I promise that its worth it! Having everything ready and packed will be less stressful than leaving your meal choices up to chance and heading to whatever take out joint is near by at mealtime! Helllooo muffin top! TIPS: Schedule in time on the weekends to buy and prepare your food for the week! SO WORTH IT! A little time in the store and kitchen on Sunday means for the rest of the week you can JUST GRAB AND GO! ***This took me a good 2-3 months to really get a routine down. I actually HATED it at first- I was really resistant to change but once I saw the results…I was hooked! If you are on the go a lot, pack Cook Free Snacks: raw almonds, protein powder, low-fat string cheese, chopped veggies, fruit, ezekiel bread, hummus etc. You can keep little ziplock baggies of almonds in your car so you ALWAYS have something to grab.
GET YOURSELF A COOLER: 31 sells these amazing coolers that fit your snacks perfectly. I always take them with me! Always pack 1 extra snack than you really need! Pack it the night before and grab and go!! Sometimes people will give me excuses about the cost of eating healthy. The fact of the matter is…I spend less money now than I did before when I was buying processed crap. I know it’s not just in my head because I track my finances on Mint.com (the most amazing site ever). But even if it did cost more, aren’t you worth the investment? NO EXCUSES!
Now to the nitty gritty…what should you eat? That’s the key right there….EAT! If you starve yourself or even if you unknowingly are not consuming enough, you body will go into starvation mode and hang onto fat for dear life. It might sound counter-intuitive but you need to eat to lose!
Calories are not all created equally. You cannot consume 1900 calories of ice cream and 1900 calories of chicken/rice/veggies and expect to get the same result. Your body needs all of the essential building blocks to keep you body functioning properly and give you energy!
This meal plan is by far one of my absolute favorites. It’s about 1900 calories, 210g of carbs, 216 g of protein.
For me, it’s a lot of food! Keeps me full, energized and actually satisfied!
Meal 1 8 eggs whites 1 cup of oatmeal OR 2 slices of whole wheat toast 1 banana or small apple Glass of Lemon Water (cleanses you naturally) Meal 2 6 oz chicken 1 cup brown rice Meal 3 6 oz chicken 1 sweet potato Unlimited Green beans or spinach
Meal 4 Shakeology
Meal 5 6 oz chicken 1/2 cup brown rice Unlimited Greens Meal 6 Casein Protein Shake
Soooo I think I’m one of those weridos that can eat the same thing everyday for weeks on end and be perfectly happy. I like the consistency of it and being able to have something I look forward to (I’m counting down until I get to have my Shakeology right now lol) but I get the desire for variety!
I wanted to show ya’ll that just because you are following a meal plan, it doesn’t mean you can’t spice it up!
The most important thing to remember is to customize it to YOU! Your level of activity, tastes, and how your body reacts to certain foods might be totally different. LISTEN to your body and make adjustments as needed! And another side note: just because Im saying it’s ok to change up the meal plan…does NOT mean you should start adding craziness like m&ms to your oatmeal. You know who you are!
Go shopping! Stick to the outer edges of the store! Buy REAL food!
What I love most about being in a Beachbody Challenge group because it’s a great way to stay accountable AND share ideas. Some of these pictures are from my friends in the group- but I just want to illustrate the variety and options you have!
MEAL 1 Varieties!
Cherries, Egg Whites & Spinach and Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Toast
2 Slices Whole Wheat Toast, 1 Banana with cinnamon, Egg whites with Black Pepper
MEAL 2, 3, 5 Varieties
Chicken, Brown Rice and Brocolli, Mushrooms, Red Peppers
Salmon with Lemon pepper Aparagus & Brocolli
Meal 3- Unlimited Veggies! Mix a little Balsamic, Oil and lemon for your own dressing!
From my girl Nikki, Baked Cajun Chicken with roasted garlic quinoa and zucchini and asparagus!!
Amber Gross’ Chicken, spinach and sweet potato fries
Salmon, asparagus, & vegan gluten-free couscous!
Baked Garlic & Herb Tilapia, Brown Rice, Steamed Broccoli & Carrots
Blackened Salmon with Veggies
Rice Cakes with Natural Peanut Butter!
Shakeology blended with Strawberries Mmmm!
Shakeology with PB2
Grocery shopping can be daunting if you are trying to eat healthy but don’t know what you should be looking for. When I made the decision to get in shape and eat healthy, I wanted someone to take me by the hand and show me EXACTLY what to buy, what to eat and how to make it. A lot of labels are misleading and if you aren’t careful, you could end up buying foods that are working against your goals. Hopefully, this will guide you to choose foods that help you to attain that strong and sexy body you want.
Pre-Grocery Shopping Preparation
You want to step yourself up for success. There are certain situations that dramatically increase your chances of ending up with a shopping cart full of the type of foods that end up stored in your butt and thighs.
1. Eat A Nutritious Meal Before You Go Grocery Shopping When you go to the store on an empty stomach and hungry, you will be very likely to subconsciously grab the worst foods for you. Typically these are the foods full of sugar that spike your insulin levels fast, or the ones that are laden with fats (and/or transfats) that fill you up quickly but wreak havoc with your health.
Make sure you have eaten properly before going to the store. Have low glycemic index carbs like brown rice, yams or oatmeal combined with a lean protein like chicken, turkey or lean fish, and then some vegetables.
2. Do Not Go Grocery Shopping When You Are Feeling Down
Don’t go grocery shopping when you are sad or emotional. If you do, you will be very likely to grab “comfort foods” Leave it to another day, when you are feeling better, or give someone else a grocery list and have them shop for you.
Beware Of Food Labels!
One of the biggest reasons people gain weight in fat when they are trying to lose weight is because they are being mislead by labels . How often do you hear that someone is trying to lose fat, but instead she gained fat and doesn’t have a clue why that happened as she was “eating healthy”?
The companies producing the foods are misleading you to think a food product is healthy, when it is really (absolutely) not. The food production companies realized people are trying harder and harder to lose that stubborn fat. Because people are trying to buy more health conscious foods, companies market their products as “healthy” to increase sales. They use clever manipulation of words, and words only. They use words which are not lies, but that are absolutely misleading, to make their food products LOOK healthy, or healthier than before. Don’t believe me? Not a problem, I will give you a few examples:
Example #1: Fat Free, Preservative Free Cookies
Did you see the boxes of cookies (even chocolate ones) lately? They will read: “Fat free, gluten free, no preservatives or artificial flavours”. Is this true? Yes, it is. But, if we look on the back side of the package to read the ingredients ourselves, what does it say? Most probably the first word you’ll find will be SUGAR, or high glucose-fructose corn syrup. So it’s pretty much all sugar! Is this healthy? absolutely not.
Example #2: Low Carb Cookies Or Candy Bars
This is the reverse of the first example. Here what they do is that there are fats in the cookies, but glycerine and maltitol are used to sweeten them. Though these two ingredients do not have an impact in blood sugar levels, they do have calories! However, the FDA allows such products to claim they are “low carb”. In addition, if you look at the fats contained in these foods, they are typically partially hydrogenated oils (transfats)! This is neither healthy nor will it help you attain your fitness goals.
Tips To Making Sure That What You Are Buying Is Good
1. Look At The Ingredients!
The first ingredient on an ingredient list is the one which is most present in the food product; the last on the list is the one with the lowest percentage of all ingredients of the food products. This is the only way you can see exactly what is inside everything!
Even if the package reads “Transfats free” if you read on the ingredients list that there is some “partially hydrogenated oil” then that means that each serving may have up to 0.4 grams of trans fats.
By law, companies can get away with that. The unfortunate situation is that if you have more than one serving then those transfats can start adding up quickly and these fats wreak havoc on your health and your physique!
A good rule is to stick to foods with only 1-5 ingredients in them- the less the better!
2. Focus On Choosing Natural Foods
Always try to use natural foods. Canned or pre-prepared foods usually contain too much fats, sodium and sugars. For example your typical deli meats are too high in fats (as we learned in the examples above), are way too high in sodium, and even are added with sugar to sweeten them!
How To Cook Your Food
You can have chicken breast, rice and vegetable as a meal, all in the right proportion, and still have a non-nutritious, unhealthy and even fattening meal. How is this possible? If you don’t prepare foods the right way you can inadvertently add too many fats, sodium and sugars to what should be a healthy meal and this will have a counter effect on your body, instead of achieving the physique you would like to achieve for yourself.
The right way to cook your food is by grilling or steaming it, or by baking it in fat free Pam spray.
1. Grilling Your Food
By grilling your food, you don’t need oil or butter to prevent the food from sticking to the pan, since in or on a grill, food doesn’t stick.
2. Steaming Your Food By steaming your food (think of vegetables), you are keeping as much nutrients in the food as you can. For example, after boiling broccoli in a pan with water, have you seen how the water turns green? Those are the nutrients that got lost in the water.
3. Baking Your Food
By baking food in a pan with fat free Pam spray, you can bake your food without the added calories and bad fats from heated oil or butter. This is also a great way to prepare your food.
How & When To Eat Which Foods & Why
It is very important, to know what kind of food is great or not good in the morning, before or after a workout or before going to bed. The time of the day does matter when it comes to eating.
Pre-Workout Meal Foods
A pre-workout meal for example can be very different than a post-workout meal. For example, it’s ok to have good fats before a workout, but absolutely not immediately after a workout. Good fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, fish oils or flax seed oil are good as they slow down the digestion and nutrient uptake in addition to providing you with Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) that not only provide multiple health benefits but also help you lose fat and gain muscle tone.
Post-Workout Meal Foods
However, immediately after a workout, you need to replenish your body with protein and some higher glycemic (fast released) carbs. So you don’t need good fats to slow down the uptake of the nutrients as your body needs carbohydrates and proteins as fast as possible!
Morning And Evening Time Meal Foods
It’s good to have medium carbs and medium-high protein in the morning, while it’s better to have medium-high protein and none-very low simple carbs in the evening before going to bed. Low good fats can be ok before going to bed, but absolutely not for breakfast. This is because, at night you don’t need energy, since you’ll be going to bed soon. The energy you don’t burn gets stored as fat! Carbohydrates and good fats give you energy but because at night you don’t need them, it is best to reserve them for the morning time and the other times I just described above.
You are What You Eat
You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” There is a good point being made there. Imagine eating a little something in the morning, grab a snack later, have a sandwich at lunch, whatever you can find nearby in your lunch break, to snack a little until dinner, after which a few bites here and there won’t be left out before going to bed. This way, there is no thought about the right food at the right time, the right preparation, quantities, etc.
There is no real plan about what to eat when. It is not under control. If you follow such a haphazard plan, then I guarantee you that your body will not be under your control.
Apply This Knowledge!
It always takes some knowledge, willpower and discipline to know what you want and actually do it too. Now that you know some of the important knowledge to achieve the body of your dreams, it’s up to you to add willpower and discipline in the mix, to have those results you desire. But you’re still thinking…ok what the heck do I buy?! See the sample shopping list above!
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
Tuna (water packed)
Fish (flounder, tilapia, halibut)
Extra Lean Ground Beef or Ground Round (92-96%)
Egg Whites or Eggs
Top Round Steaks or Roast (aka Stew Meat, London Broil, Stir Fry)
Natural Style Peanut Butter (Yes, Stir the oil into the peanut butter) or PB2
Olive Oil or Safflower Oil
Nuts (peanuts, almonds)
Dairy & Eggs
Low-fat cottage cheese
Low or Non-Fat Milk
Condiments & Misc.
Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
Reduced Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
Salsa (I put this on EVERYTHING!)
Extracts (vanilla, almond, etc)
Low Sodium beef or chicken broth
Plain or reduced sodium tomatoes sauce, puree, paste
And of course Shakeology! It has become a staple in my house!
MY FRIDGE CIRCA 2011 ****I wrote this post back in 2011 when I was JUST starting my healthy/fitness journey. I have learned SOOO much since then! This is not a "eat clean" fridge. While I do have some good options, there are still some processed foods in here. Example: Deli meat
Use this is a tool, but keep that in mind =) *****
One of the questions I am asked most frequently is “What do you eat?”
I somehow missed out on the cooking gene in my family. Seriously I would rather do just about anything else, than have to slave away in the kitchen. Give me a toilet bowl brush over a spatula any day!! But I FINALLY found a system that works for me and keeps me on track, but it’s all about PLANNING. I spend a couple hours in the kitchen on Sunday so I can have my whole week’s worth of meals cooked & planned out…not to mention I don’t have to spend even more time in that dreaded place cooking each individual meal! One day and done for the week!
For most people trying to lose weight or live healthier, knowing what to eat is the hardest thing to tackle. And with most people’s schedules, they need something quick they can grab. So in case you are sitting around wondering what’s in my fridge…..let’s take a look at my fridge cribs’ style……
1. Hummus- I ALWAYS get the cracked red pepper. Big on flavor, low in calories. For 1 Tbsp it’s about 25 calories. But I usually just need a light spread of it on a whole wheat tortilla with egg whites. Or if you love Deviled Eggs, I take the yolks out and put in a little hummus. Yum!
2. Sliced Deli Turkey- Since it’s high in sodium and it’s processed, I only ever have this as a special treat. It tastes good just rolled up by itself. Or of course on some bread with tomato and mustard.
3. Egg Whites! I could not live without these!
4. Frank’s Red Hot- a staple in your fridge if you want to spice things up for 0 calories! Awesome on Egg whites!
5. Salsa- I put this on EVERYTHING. Egg whites, turkey burgers, everything…and its only 10 calories for 2 Tbsp.
6.My special Oatmeal Mix- oatmeal with sliced almonds, flax seed, wheat germ and a few raisins. Just add water, pop in the microwave- done.
7. Ground Turkey cooked with Chili powder, red peppers and mushroom, Heat up, put in tortilla, done.
8. Mini Salads- Mixed greens with cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. In the morning, I add sliced hard boiled eggs, (sometimes I’ll add a couple walnuts or almonds) and a little balsamic vinaigrette and I’m out the door. This is usually my 10:30am snack.
9. Shakeology Mix! 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology, 1 tsp PB2, and a small handful of ground walnuts. I always have extra shaker cups at work and in my car with bottled water, so I can grab this and go without having to worry about not having a meal. It’s made best in the blender!! I couldn’t live without my Magic Bullet! But there are days you just don’t have time for the blender…..
10. Mini packets of flax seed- I grab these and throw it on my salad, in my rice, in my shakes. Super convenient!
11. Cooked brown rice- I love having it in indivdual containers, so I can heat up one serving at a time. Plus this way, I can switch it up so I don’t get bored. I can mix it up everything. I LOVE those frozen steamed veggies!! Throw them in the microwave and spoon some out over my rice!
12. Hard boiled Eggs- again, I LOVE my eggs! I put these on the salads, and I am a big fan of just eating them plain. Take out the yolk and you’re good to go. Perfect little snack. Make it even better with a little salt and pepper or hummus
13. Baked Chicken- I am not good at cooking, BUT I can bake some chicken! I usually bake 5 chicken tenderloins at a time, and then cut them up into small pieces so I can add them to my rice or salads.
14. Whole Wheat Tortillas- What would I do without them?! You can put anything in them….steamed veggies, eggs whites , spinach and salsa, ground turkey…..the sky is the limit!
15. Spinach- another must have in my fridge! I add spinach to anything I can!!
16. Sliced almonds and walnuts- I add these to my salads, Shakeology, eat them by themselves. So delicious! I heard that keeping them in the fridge helps preserve the healthy fats in them longer…so that’s where they live now.
17. My snack packs! I LOVE LOVE LOVE fruit! So I have to be able to grab it quickly. I wash everything on my Sunday prep day- then I made little baggies with a serving. This week red grapes were only $1 a lb! Score!!
18. Naval Oranges- I Love fruit! Enough said
19- Granny Smith Apples- I don’t think I could live without these. They are perfect by themselves, on salads or with Peanut Butter (one of my favorite snacks)!!
20. Frozen Steamed Veggies!! You can never have too many!! I have just about every variety that Giant Eagle makes! You have to switch it up so you don’t get bored!
21. Frozen Fruit- I have strawberries, blue berries, peaches and mixed tropical to add to my shakes in the morning! Variety is the spice of life
22. My Morning Star Chicken Nuggets- a guilty pleasure when I am having a bad day. They make me feel like a little kid again lol
23. Healthy Choice Frozen Meals- This is what I USED to eat everyday for lunch. Now, I still have some left from that era and they are nice to have around just in case….Not every week can go as seemless as the last, and if you are in a pinch….it’s a lot better than some of the alternatives out there…
24. Frozen Chicken- You can’t see it, but there is a bag of frozen chicken in there. I used to buy it fresh, but I could never make it in time…I’d get bored and eat other things. The frozen stuff is cheaper and lasts longer…can’t go wrong there.
Since it is Sunday, the fridge is fully stocked and ready to go! Dishes are all done and counters all cleaned up! I only spend about2- 2 1/2 hours in the kitchen preparing everything. Time well spent!!
By the end of the week, it’s usually looking pretty sad. As much as a pain it can be sometimes, my weekly grocery trip has become a relaxation ritual for me. It must be the girl in me, but I enjoy going up and down the aisles comparing products and pricing. Omg! What’s this? A coupon! AND it’s on sale?! I can die happy…it doesn’t get any better than that.
Fridge accountability! This is what I’m eating this week!