I wanted to throw out some more health tips for you guys before the new year, in case you’re looking to make changes after gorging yourself during the holidays (like I did). This is kind of how I stay on track for the long run.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is plan. It makes healthy eating so much easier in the long run. I’m the type of person who is always on the go, so a lot of times I ended up getting hungry while I was out and about and that’s when I would make the worst choices when it came to food. Now when I’m running out the door, I automatically pack some unsalted raw almonds and water in my bag. That way if I’m stuck somewhere without easy access to healthy food, at least I have a snack I won’t feel guilty about. It’s just a bonus that nuts have vitamins to give your skin a healthy glow and lower the risk of heart disease! For meal prep, I only cook a couple times a week, so I try to get enough ingredients for 2 meals. Then we eat leftovers or “stock dinners” in between.
OUR STOCK DINNERS
We always keep the ingredients for these on hand. Makes for quick, easy and healthy meals:
- black bean burritos made on whole wheat tortillas
- sandwiches on whole grain bread with no-nitrate deli meat
- a mix of canned black beans, canned corn and rotel heated on the stove and eaten with a little hot sauce
- quinoa with any number of added ingredients for flavor
It’s a huge part of our social scene. In fact, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do with friends and family than go out to eat. To stay on track with my diet, I try to research the restaurant ahead of time and find which options will work the best for my eating plan. If it really is a place with few healthy options, have them box up 1/2 your meal before they bring it to you, so you won’t be tempted to eat the entire plate. We don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying an evening out with friends.
When I first started eating healthier and we had plans to go out, I would typically order a salad. But salads can be very misleading, so order with caution. Definitely get spinach if it’s available. Add grilled chicken. Get your dressing on the side, or not at all. I usually ask for olive oil, vinegar and lots of lemons for mine. (Or skip the salad all together and get a nice chicken or fish dish!)
Believe it or not, fast food doesn’t have to be completely taken off the table. But you need to identify the problem chains and try to stay away. Of course you shouldn’t eat it frequently, but in a pinch, you have options!
- In ‘N’ Out –They use fresh ingredients, so it isn’t all bad. Think protein! Try a double, unsalted, protein style. Customize your options from there.
- Farmer Boys – I was pleasantly surprised by this chain. Try the grilled chicken sandwich on wheat, no cheese/mayo and add a fried egg. Yum!
- Fatburger – They have gluten-free bread, if that’s important to you.
- Chipotle – Their salads and burrito bowls are great. But stay away from the carnitas (too fatty). Barbacoa is where it’s at. Get the shredded beef with black beans and veggies, brown rice, and guac. To keep calories low, skip the cheese and sour cream. To keep your sugar intake low, skip the dressing. Trust me, you won’t even miss it. (That much).
- Starbucks – Iced green tea! I get it unsweetened and add a couple drops of Stevia. It’s my replacement Diet Coke. They also have these great protein bistro boxes that are a perfect on-the-go snack. Since Starbucks are practically everywhere, it’s a reliable go-to.
- Other chains – When all else fails, see if they can make you a grilled chicken sandwich on wheat. It might not be the freshest, organic ingredients, but in a pinch you can at least keep your calories low and get some protein. No, no on the fries and soda!
When you attend a party or get together at someone’s house, you will most certainly be met with unhealthy options and sweets. So you can either bring your own food or – here’s a crazy thought – enjoy yourself! If you are working hard 80-90% of the time to stay on track, you can let go a little bit for special occasions. I guess if you’re going to parties every weekend, you’ll need to rethink this strategy, but otherwise, I think your safe to enjoy yourself this one time. Back on track tomorrow!
MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS
Make these lifestyle changes work for you! If you absolutely can’t give up coffee creamer, then don’t! You should try, but if you find you can’t live without it, then find other things in your diet that you can live without and get rid of those. (For the record, I use almond milk and stevia to sweeten mine.) Need an evening glass of wine? OK, but cut some sugar and calories somewhere else. Watch your portions. Read your labels. Make little changes here and there and see how you feel. We all have to start somewhere and I think making small changes is better than making none at all. Don’t give up before you have tried.
DISCLAIMER: all these articles are written based solely on my personal experiences. I am not endorsing any diet plan or sponsored by anyone. If you couldn’t tell, I’m also NOT a professional nutritionist, athlete, or trainer, so I can only tell you what worked for me. But you can’t like turn around and sue me if it doesn’t work for you. Do your research. K thanks.