EATING

In a typical day, I like to eat 6x, or about every 2-3 hours. This includes 3 main meals and 3 snacks. I try to eat as “clean” as possible, this means little processed foods and more whole foods.  Below are some good tips I always follow:

1. Drink PLENTY of water throughout the day.  You are often dehydrated when you feel hungry.  If I’m wanting something else to drink, I opt for green/herbal tea.

2. Lunch and dinner should include at least a palm-sized portion of protein, generous portion of veggies (2 fists size), and a little grain if necessary. When eating grain, always go for whole grain. Personally, I steer away from most breads and rice because they are high on the glycemic index.

3. If you lead an active lifestyle, aim for 1 gram of protein per pound you weigh each day. This will help keep you full and to build/retain muscle mass.  You will need 1.5 g or more protein p/lb each day if you want to gain muscle.

4. Eat the recommended amount of daily fiber. This not only keeps you full, but keeps things moving in the digestive tract. Best sources are from fruits, vegetables, beans. I would suggest staying away from fiber bars and fiber cereals (they normally have lots of sugar and additives).  My favorite sources are from flaxseed meal, oatmeal, fruits, and veggies.

5. Always start off your morning with breakfast!  Most people make the mistake of skipping breakfast to cut calories or simply because they have no time.  This is normally my biggest and most important meal of the day and with the most carbohydrates.   I highly recommend starting your day with eggs or/and oatmeal (with lots of healthy mix-ins like flaxseed meal, banana, and nut butters).

6. My favorite sources of healthy fats other than olive oil are avocados, almonds, and salmon. I always make sure I get these in throughout my day.

7. For snacks, protein (eg. almonds, cheese stick, healthier beef jerkies, hardboiled egg) and fruit are always a good mix.

8. Pay attention to sodium intakes. The max recommended amount is 1000 mg for every 1000 calories consumed in one day. I prefer to keep them even lower to avoid high blood pressure and water retention. A good way to combat sodium levels is through potassium intake (eg. bananas and avocados).

9.  Drinking calories.  This mainly concerns alcohol. This is something I am slowly trying to eliminate.  Personally, it makes me feel less productive and my workouts less effective.  In addition, there are no nutrients and they are very calorie dense with lots of carbs and sugar. Drinking in moderation and staying away from mixed drinks have really helped with weight maintenance.  In addition to alcohol, I have cut out all sodas and fruit beverages.  Personally, I rather eat than drink my calories.

10.  Do not be fooled by “low-fat” or “healthier” labels on products. Many times, these items are not as healthy.  For example low-fat yogurt often is high in sugar and sodium.  “Healthier” energy/power bars are high in corn fructose or other poor ingredients.  Cereal is probably a good example of poor, “healthy” food choices.   Often they are full of sugar with little nutrients.  These “healthier” items may be lower in calories, but often cut nutrients as an expense.

11.  Eating local vs. organic foods.  There are some items that I buy as organic (apples as one of them), but lately I have been striving to buy more local foods for several reasons.  First, they normally taste better.  In addition, they are fresher.  Most times they are cheaper, and buying local foods supports your community.

and MOST IMPORTANTLY:

Stay away from processed foods as much as possible. You seriously have no idea what you’re putting in to your body…….. !!! LEARN TO LOOK AT INGREDIENTS.

Some items that I always have in my kitchen:

1. Lean protein (wild-caught salmon, lean ground turkey, chicken breasts, frozen peeled shrimps)

2. Fresh vegetables (spinach!!! kale, carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, asparagus and eggplant are my favorites)

3. Fresh fruit: (apples and bananas + whatever fruit is in season; also i’ll buy frozen fruit like blueberries for its antioxidants to use as oatmeal mix-ins)

4. Dry, unenriched, unsweetened PLAIN oatmeal (mix your stuff in yourself without all the sugar/additives! i love steel-cut oats)

5. Dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao; an everlasting addiction for my huge sweet tooth and high in antioxidants)

6. Eggwhites and whole eggs (good for other meals/snacks aside from breaskfast)

7. Almonds (dry, unsalted whole or sliced for snacking and as mix-ins)

8. Salsa (my favorite condiment, and it’s much healthier; fresh is even better)

9. Spices (my favorites include crushed peppercorns, chili, basil, cumin, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon; plus many of these have been proven to increase your metabolism)

10. Stevia (a great sweetener alternative, better than splenda because it’s natural.  Refer to this link for its benefits and bacteria/fungi fighting properties: http://www.rain-tree.com/stevia.htm)

11. Assorted teas (I’m trying to wean myself off of my usual 3 cups of coffee p/day by drinking more tea. Green teas and herbal teas are my favorite. Dandelion tea is great for pms/water retention.  Ginger is good for aid in digestion.)

12. “Ezekiel” sprouted bread (this is the least-processed bread and the only bread that agrees with my body. It’s 100% sprouted and and found in frozen aisle, but it is probably the best bread out there)

13. Unsweetened Almond Breeze milk (being semi-lactose intolerant, it is really hard for me to drink milk or use dairy products in my morning milk. I normally splash a little bit of this in my morning oatmeal, coffee, and protein shake.  It’s lower in calories than soy milk too)

14. Almond butter (I prefer this over peanut butter; a great source of healthy fats and protein)

15. Canned tuna or salmon (no sodium added when possible; for quick source of protein for snacks and meals)

16. Frozen vegetables (this is for quick, easy meals mixed with lean protein. I normally get broccoli/cauliflower mixes or asian stirfry mixes and stay away from corn)

17. Canned staple items (I always have diced tomatoes. I also love the ones with green chilies added. This stuff is so easy to throw in on the stove with other vegetables and meats for moisture, or to make your own salsa with. Also, black beans and chickpeas are good options too to to throw in dishes or on top of salads as good sources of protein/fiber.)

18. 0% fat greek yogurt or low fat cottage cheese (There are a variety of greek yogurt brands, but the least expensive one that I’ve found is the Trader Joe’s brand (about half the price of Oikos or Fage). Very few additives, low-cal, HIGH in protein, and far less sodium than cottage cheese.  Cottage cheese is more economical and also high in protein, but higher in sodium levels.)

19. Flaxseed meal (In addition to regularly eating wild-caught salmon, I always eat 1-2 tbsp of flaxseed meal with my breakfast…normally in my oatmeal.  This is a great source of omega-3’s, fiber, and other nutrients.  In addition, it lowers blood pressure, decreases inflammation, and lowers cholesterol.  My personal favorite is Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed meal.)

20. Jay Robb Whey Protein Powder (I’ve tried only chocolate, but it is my favorite protein powder because it’s much more natural than most protein powders.  Also, it’s sweetened with stevia! 1 scoop has 25 g of protein and only 110 calories.)

21. Fish oil capsules (This provides the same benefits as flaxseed meal, but provides omega-3 nutrients more readily to your body.  Basically, flaxseed provides the precursors for your body to convert.  These are just easier to take if you don’t like flaxseed meal sprinkled into your food.  I take both!  I recommend Nature’s Bounty 1000 mg odorless fish oil capsules; 2 capsules per day with food.)

22. Women’s one-a-day vitamins (just to make sure I get all my vitamin/mineral requirements of the day, particularly B12)

REFER TO LINKS PAGE FOR MORE GREAT REFERENCES


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