*Disclaimer: Always talk to a healthcare provider before starting a new health and fitness regimen to make sure it is right for you. I am not a nutritionist or dietician and this is not a prescription of what each individual should do. Once again, always talk to your healthcare provider to make the best choice for you.*
When it comes to healthy eating, there are so many options and cookbooks and Pinterest finds and blogs and (deep breath in)…. So why read this blog? At the core, what I am trying to do is give you a tool; just a few tidbits that have made cooking and eating less stressful and more enjoyable. I may share recipes or emphasize something specific but that is a lot of my personal preference coming out. For example, I will almost always recommend something be made with Greek Yogurt. Why? Because I believe that Greek Yogurt is an amazing source of protein and the sourness can be masked or enhanced as you see fit. So, if you have a hat,you should hold onto it.🎩 And now...We're going into my top 5 tools to make healthy and balanced eating more enjoyable.
Tip Number 1: Eating to feel your best and striving for health doesn't mean you can never have sweet things again.Sweetness can come from many places. Artificial Sweeteners are not the enemy. I use stevia to sweeten my Greek Yogurt and will put it in my coffee or whatever the case may be. This is not to say that sugar is the enemy either… but everything in moderation and when trying to be in a calorie deficit, zero-calorie sweeteners allow for that sweet tooth to be hit without hundreds of calories going with it. I also enjoy a little honey in my tea and if I make a fruit crisp of some sort, I am partial to coconut sugar.
* This is also to say that going overboard with the zero-calorie sweeteners is not something to do either. As I said, moderation is key.
Tip Number 2: Just because it says all-natural or made with REAL _______, doesn’t mean that it will take you to your goals. I am not saying it isn’t delicious or healthy. What I am saying is to be mindful. Granola is awesome. It’s crunchy, sweet, and has all the good nuts and oats your heart desires. BUT a handful of that is going to be something close to 200 calories. And if you’re anything like me, one handful is just not enough. This is not just about weight loss but it also applies to maintaining or gaining weight. Being mindful is helpful no matter what the circumstance.
*My tip for this is to use granola as a topping… insert Greek Yogurt here. You can have a small bit and get the flavor and crunch but with a filling and high protein base.
Tip Number 3: Are you usually hungry?!? Find foods that you can eat more of to help you feel full if you are usually hungry. Whole eggs are not bad but egg whites let you eat more. Perhaps you found that one roll isn’t enough for you with a good stew; try getting lower calorie bread so you can have 4 slices may serve you better. And one of the best ways to get volume so as to feel full would be to get yourself a salad. I’m partial to Romaine lettuce; top with some cooked up peppers, and onions, and a serving of chicken thighs. *chef’s kiss* I use different sauces and things for dressing. My favorite lately has been a dipping sauce from Trader Joe’s Sweet Chili sauce. Another standby is Bolthouse Farm ranch (they have other flavors but the classic ranch is my go-to), finally… stick with me here… mustard. Mustard has the kick of a lot of dressings and comes in a lot of varieties. If I use ground beef or turkey on my salad, I like mustard because then it is like a burger salad.
Salad kits: not bad at all… just watch the dressing and yummy add ons if you are trying to be in a calorie deficit. I actually get a salad kit when I go grocery shopping each week to have over the weekend. It’s like a treat and is quick to assemble.
Currently one of my favorite kits
Tip Number 4: When veggies taste bad to you, try adding a little sweet, or sour, and fat to them. Why are brussel sprouts, honey, and bacon so good? They have the main components of what I just discussed. The sweetness from the honey and the fat from the bacon help make those baby cabbages not as bitter and more enjoyable.
*Bonus tip: roast or saute your veggies. Steaming does not always lead to the most deliciousness from a texture standpoint especially. Give them some crunch by putting them in the oven or saute them in a frying pan (I like to use Avocado oil or some Cooking Spray)
Tip Number 5: Take the time to make your proteins taste delicious. For most people, I recommend emphasizing protein at every meal for different reasons. For weight loss, it helps you feel fuller. For strength, it aids recovery. I usually have 2 palm-size pieces for myself because of lifting weights and my activity at my main meals. But we could hone in on what will work best for you if you’re interested in it.
The best way I have found to make my meals enjoyable is to play with the seasoning. Taco flavored, Italian flavored, or Greek flavored. They all allow for the protein to pack a flavor punch. There are pre-mixed packs to find at most grocery stores or you could play with your own mixtures. The spices are yours to mix and see what you like!
One of my favorite ways to cook chicken is to flavor the chicken thighs (personal preference here) and put them in a glass dish and pop them into the oven for 45 minutes at 350. I found this coffee bbq seasoning at Trader Joe’s and it has been one of my go-tos but I also will do salt, pepper, garlic, paprika. That combo pairs well with whatever else I want to eat (rice, potatoes, mac 'n cheese, really whatever).
Try some, all, one of these out, and let me know how it goes! As a busy person, I try to keep that in mind when it comes to what is feasible. If something has resistance to it, I wouldn’t try that tip. There is no one path to a healthy and balanced life. My path will be different from someone’s path that did something very similar to mine. That’s the name of the game. Make it work for you and for help with that, I’m here to provide support. Reach out and we’ll work to make it work!