Hello and happy Spring Break! At least it is for us. Our Spring break is really early but we’re enjoying some sunshine and the no packing lunches part. I’ve been thinking of ways I’ve learned over the years to add good nutrition into my routine, especially as Summer and shorts/swim suit season approaches. I need to get my butt back in gear with my nutrition. To be honest, I have a bit of a sweet tooth and I LOVE a good burger and fries. I’d be a big fake if I wrote this blog from the perspective of someone who didn’t enjoy a good splurge now and then. But, it’s not something I can do every day, especially as I get older. I’m finding with age comes even more emphasis on healthy nutrition, because I’m much more aware of how my body responds to poor nutrition. I’m more in tune I guess. With age comes wisdom right?
I’m a personal trainer and a runner, but that doesn’t mean I’m not human ya’ll. I have to work at getting good nutrition into my day just like anyone else, but it’s worth it. Because when I do, I feel so much better. Whole foods, fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins and good healthy fats should be part of our days to keep us at optimal health. Does that mean we can’t enjoy a good burger now and then? Nope. But, there are some tips to putting healthy foods into our daily routine. It’s really not as hard as it seems. Once you learn how to eat, it will just become a habit and it won’t be something that makes your brain hurt. But you have to make a choice to start somewhere. You don’t have to clean out your entire fridge and pantry. That’s overwhelming. Just start with these simple tips…..
This may seem like a daunting thought, but it’s really pretty simple. Plan ahead. Go to the store on Sunday and plan your meals for the week, starting with Sunday night. Throw a double batch of chicken on the grill, use some for dinner that night then dice up the rest and put it in the fridge. Now you have grilled chicken to use in salads and mixed with veggies for several days. You can also throw a whole chicken in the crock pot early in the week. It makes a ton of meat and allows you to use it in just about any dish.
My favorite crock pot chicken recipe is found here. It’s divine. I keep the bones in the pot, add celery and carrot and cook it overnight for homemade chicken stock. Yum.
Purchase pre-sliced/prepared veggies
This has been a lifesaver for me when it comes to prepping. I purchase some items pre-sliced, spiraled or chopped from the produce section which cuts down on time spent prepping. It’s ready to toss in a skillet with a little ghee or Olive oil, salt and pepper and chopped fresh garlic. I’ll make a huge batch of veggies and throw them in my fridge for the week. Pair it with some brown rice and that leftover chicken and voila, lunch!
Smoothies and Supplements
Here’s the deal. I’m not a huge advocate of smoothies as meal replacements, as I just don’t think you can really replace whole foods. I need to chew food ya’ll. If I drink it, I don’t feel like I’ve given myself what I need. I feel like I’ve skipped a meal which makes me more prone to indulge later. So, I use smoothies for breakfast when I know I can go a little lighter or as a post workout/run recovery. After a workout I’m thirsty, so for me, it’s the perfect time to add a little protein, fruits and veggies into my day. It’s easy to throw it all in a blender as opposed to making a whole meal, but just make sure you get enough bang for your buck. Add carrots, avocado, spinach, fresh fruits and a good natural protein powder. I love my Shakeo, but I don’t use it in every smoothie. Sometimes, almond milk, ice, strawberries, carrot, spinach, avocado and some berries is just right. I’m not much of a fruit eater so smoothies help me get a fruit serving into my day.
If you are needing a smoothie splurge, this is one of my favorite combo’s, especially in the fall. Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter, shakeology(I’m a Beachbody coach so if you ever want to order some Shakeology, give me a shout), almond milk(unsweetened), and a little dash of cinnamon. Hello. It’s dreamy.
Another option is to add some healthy supplements into your routine. I’m not a huge supplement person, but I know they have their place. I have tried Advocare, Beachbody, and currently Hanah One. The advantage to Hanah One is that it is an all natural herbal supplement, so everything in it comes from nature. I tend to veer away from the other stuff mainly because my body doesn’t tend to react well to performance enhancing supplements or others that provide sustained energy etc. I can’t even take Claritin without feeling side effects. Crazy right? So, Hanah One is a product that I’ve been testing that has not had any negative effects on my system. Only positive. I’m extremely sensitive to taste and smell(shocking I know) so it took some time to adjust to the Hanah One supplement. It has a very herbal and strong flavor, so I have to mix it with peanut butter or blend it into tea. It’s also tasty in oatmeal and used as a glaze for pork or chicken(this one I have not tried but it’s on my list!). Honestly, mixed in tea, as simple as that sounds, is the best way I have found to use it. I add a drizzle of local honey to help with my allergies. I enjoy hot tea at night, so you just have to play around with it to find the best way to fit it into your day. It has provided energy and a definite boost to my day and best of all, I can do it before or after a workout without feeling an ill effects in my stomach, which is important for runners!! Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Oh, and I also love their ghee. It’s such great quality and so much better than anything I have purchased at the grocery store. I use it regularly to saute vegetables, make omelets or brown meats. I’m a huge fan. I started using ghee the last time I did Whole 30 as it’s on the list of pre-approved fats to cook with. It has a high smoke content so it works really well with veggies or meats in the saute pan. Ghee is butter, but in a clarified form. Meaning it’s heated until the milk solids fall to the bottom of the pan and the clear liquid is skimmed off the top. It results in a buttery oil called ghee. You can make it yourself or purchase it in the store, or, from Hanah One for a high quality product. It’s a bit higher in fat and cholesterol, so I use it sparingly as I would any other cooking fat. However, it has a great flavor and is high in vitamins A, D, and E.
*zucchini and sausage omelette with a drop of sour cream and green salsa verde served with sweet potato fries drizzled with some hot sauce. Delish!!!!!!
Apples and Water Baby
This is seriously one of the simplest changes I’ve made to my days. I eat an apple or two. Sometimes, if I’m feeling really crazy, I dip it in almond butter or peanut butter. I know right?! That’s living on the edge, or is it just getting old? Apples are rich in antioxidants, flavanoids(they give them their color and add extra antioxidants and anti inflammatory and immune system benefits…don’t worry. I had to google that), and fiber. Plus, they’re crunchy and sweet and filling. They reduce the risk of cancer and the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Lots of reasons to love apples, but these are a few of the scientific ones. They are rich in fiber which helps your digestive system. It’s so easy to dice up an apple and take it with you to carpool when mid afternoon munchies can get the best of you. Or is it just me?
And please, for the love, drink water. I survive on water and coffee. I have a condition called syncope which means I dehydrate rapidly, then I pass out. It’s awesome really. So, I have to drink lots of water. Drinking water is so beneficial to your health. It helps you feel full longer and it also flushes out toxins in your system, aids in digestion, weight loss, curbs cravings, and keeps you feeling satisfied because you are quenching your thirst with the thing your body needs the most. So, DRINK!!!! Water is your friend. And it’s so so easy to do! I love to add a drop or two of lemon essential oil to give it some flavor and get a boost of vitamin C.
Plan a good breakfast
I know this is one of those easy to ignore rules of thumb, but for real. Eat breakfast ya’ll. It sets up your metabolism for success. Skipping this meal will only make you hungrier mid morning or at lunch. It’ll be easier to grab a pice of candy or a bag of chips. Anything really that’s easy to grab will get the best of you, and usually those quick snacks aren’t the healthiest.
I also love these Kodiak cakes, which I’ve posted about before. They are really high in protein and make a great pre-run or workout snack. You can change the recipe up a bit to increase the protein. I drizzle local honey(heated up a bit) on them and sometimes throw in some almond butter if I am craving something sweet. Yum!! These are quick and easy and can be thrown in the freezer if you make a double batch, because we all know making an omelette for breakfast isn’t always feasible.
So there you have it. Some super simple and easy ways to add some good nutrition into your day. I know how good I feel when I make the right choices with nutrition, and it really isn’t as hard as your mind will tell you it’s going to be. Start with some simple swaps and go from there. You can do it!!!!
What healthy habits do you have?
What are some ways you add some good nutrition to your day?