The New Year is upon us. We all love the notion of a fresh start. A new beginning, new chances, new choices, new way of looking at things. I get it. It’s energizing and pulls us out of our holiday haze. I’m not huge on New Years Resolutions. Especially when it comes to fitness. I like to make changes when it feels right in my life rather than what a calendar tells me. Also, it’s helpful to look at change as a lifestyle change, rather than a resolution. However, if you feel like its a good time to jump into a new you, lets take a look at what might help you get there!
First off we all know (and I’ve said it before in my “the other 80%” post) that its all about what you eat. Let me show you what’s in my kitchen!
Aside from butter, flour, sugar and eggs…..I do have plenty of healthy eats in the house as well.
First off, all my major protein sources; ground turkey, turkey burgers, chicken breast and salmon are the mainstay of diet. Then some of my favorite veggies are asparagus, spinach, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
Most of these protein sources are really high in protein per ounce while being low in fat and sodium. These help make reaching my protein macro goals for the day really easy! They can also be used many ways. Chicken tacos, chicken salads, chicken sandwiches. Turkey meatballs, turkey for tacos, on salads, mixed in with veggies. It’s endless with all the varieties!! The frozen turkey burgers are must have staple. Any time you have your grill going, just grab a couple and put them on the grill ready to have for the next day! Meal prep done!
Vans waffles are a great grab and go breakfast item (or snack, or meal, or late night snack for that matter. I’ve been known to eat chicken and waffles at 10pm to meet my macros for the day) with plenty of carbs and protein to keep you satisfied. Top them with almond butter and some banana….SO GOOD!
Some other great protein sources are Greek yogurts, almond milk, almond butter, peanut butter, eggs and egg whites. Egg whites and Greek yogurt are probably some of the most versatile protein sources because you can mix them into anything. You can add egg whites into your oats for added protein. Add egg whites to scrambled eggs for added protein that doesn’t add fat. They’re virtually tasteless, so they take on whatever flavor you add to them.
Greek yogurt is amazing!! Again, you can take this and make it into so many different meals. You can add it plain on your tacos as a sour cream. You can mix in avocado with it to make it like a mayonnaise spread on sandwiches. My favorite late night snack is Greek yogurt mixed with chocolate protein powder, almond milk and peanut butter topped with Lilly’s chocolate chips. If you haven’t ever tried Lilly’s chocolate chips I highly recommend them. They have no added sugar to them and they are the perfect little topping to special treats. Another staple item!
The only tricky thing about Greek Yogurt is you have to be careful of the sugar content. It can get high. Every brand seems to vary, so look carefully at labels and find the one that works for your needs. You can find Greek yogurts in varying percentages of fat as well. I like to keep both in the fridge. It helps to give yourself options. If I feel like I want something creamier, I’ll pick the Greek yogurt higher in fat. If at the end of my day I’ve consumed all my fat macros, but I still need carbs and protein, I’ll pick the fat free Greek yogurt. The more options you can give yourself, the more likely you are to succeed!
Next up are some pantry items. Most of your bulk carbs will come from breads, grains, rice, and cereals. Veggies provide carbs as well, and given a choice, veggie are always a great option. However, when you’re trying to reach well over 200g of carbs a day (yes I eat that many carbs) and stay within a certain sugar limit, you’ll need to eat rice, (some) bread, and cereals. Some vegetables and fruits that are high in carbs are also high in sugars. Sure they’re “natural” sugars, but its sugar just the same. So if you’re watching your sugar intake, you’ll need to be aware of the sugars in veggies and especially fruits.
All rice products are just straight up pure carbs!! They can go with anything. You can cook rice in bulk to have on the ready in the fridge. Portion it out and you are good to go!! Rice cakes are perfect on the go snack. My favorite afternoon pick me up is a rice cake (or two) topped with creamy almond butter and Lilly’s Chocolate Chips with an iced coffee with almond milk. OMG…..the best.
Don’t forget to season your food! Mrs. Dash makes great seasonings that are all salt free. I know that there are a lot of other salt free products out on the market that are really awesome. Healthy food does not have to equal bland. If I do add salt, I will use sea salt, has more flavor and you don’t need to add as much to your foods. A little goes a long way! I also add cinnamon to nearly everything. Cereals, yogurt, egg whites, pancakes. I’ll sprinkle it on my almond butter slathered rice cakes. I love it. And its good for you. So there’s that.
Coconut oil cooking spray helps me to cook without added fats. However, if I want the added fat or need the added fat I’ll use coconut oil or olive oil. Also good for you. Lots of healthy fats here! I may go through 4lbs of butter in a month for baking, but that certainly isn’t consumed by me!
The brown rice farina cereal is like a cream of rice cereal. Super high in carbs, gluten free (if you’re sensitive to gluten), no sugars and low in fiber. I use this as part of my pre-workout meal. Low in fats, low in sugars, low in fiber, high in carbs and high in protein. Why? It’s immediate fuel to my body. All those carbs are delivered straight to my system for energy to have a strong efficient workout. The protein is there to help protect and build my muscles. Its science. Your body must have the proper fuel to build proper muscle mass.
Which leads me to supplements. There are a million different kinds of supplements out there. Are they a requirement to becoming fit and strong? Absolutely not!! That’s why they’re called supplements. They can help supplement your fitness goals, but they definitely don’t make or break it. Protein powders are the most helpful in that they can help you reach your daily protein macros. It can get tiresome to eat chicken, turkey, fish, beef, bison, eggs, yogurt all day every day. Protein powders can help you reach your protein goals and they come in a variety of flavors. For all you out there with a sweet tooth, these will get you through those cravings!!
The next most popular is a pre-workout energizer (or if you’re like me, drink it the entire workout). This gives you that added bit of energy to get you moving through your workout. I will say that this definitely helps in the gym. With three kids (and now a puppy) my nights can be less than restful, so on the days I’m dragging my butt to the gym, my pre-workout is there to save me. As for the fat burners, I can’t say if they help or not. I’m sure I drink enough caffeine in the day that far surpasses what any fat burner has in it. The protein bars are great as well with a good balance of carbs and protein. I always like to keep them on hand or have one in my bag in case I get stuck doing something and I need to eat. It happens. And the people around me probably don’t wanna see me overly hungry either.
My biggest piece of advice is this: keep a well stocked kitchen. The more options you can give yourself, the more likely you are to be successful. The other biggest piece of advice is to track our food BEFORE you eat. Right?? You don’t want to be mindlessly eating. The next thing you know, while you’re cooking your healthy meal, you’ve had a few bites of the cake on the counter, a spoonful of peanut butter, couple of crackers, and a glass of wine. Now you know what else is in my kitchen.
Lastly is try not to catch yourself hungry with no food around. Or at Costco shopping. Or at an In-N-Out. Starbucks either. Trader Joes can be a tough call on that as well. I’d only recommend a Whole Foods when extremely hungry. You see the point, set yourself up for success, not failure.
The deal is, food is THE most important part of your health and fitness goals. You could bust your butt in the gym for hours, but it’ll never show if your nutrition isn’t on point the majority of the time. The saying, “abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym” is SO true! Speaking from personal experience!
Make this year the year you turn this into a lifestyle, not just another resolution!