Meal Guide and Suggestions:

In order to make a lifestyle change, you must be willing and happy to exercise and eat a certain way for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.  All too often, I hear, “I was on Weight Watchers and I lost 30 pounds but gained it all back and more.” It is not about starting a “diet” or “weight loss program” but truly about changing habits and adopting a lifestyle change so you can keep the weight off for life. If it is not a realistic approach to keeping you at a healthy weight, you will turn to old ways and in turn, go back to the way things were when you first wanted to make changes. It is a seriously VICIOUS cycle! Start small, and incorporate new clean foods and healthy meals into your diet gradually. Soon you will be eating clean and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and be HAPPY you did.

Healthy habits for eating clean:

Eat 5-6 smaller meals a day:

For women, right around 200-300 calories per meal and for men, right around 300-400 calories per meal. These should be balanced meals, consisting of protein, starch, veggie, fruit, and a healthy fat. If your goal is to gain muscle, calories will need to be increased.

Eat every 2-3 hours:

Eating every few hours will help keep blood sugar stable, avoid energy crashes, and keep you from getting so hungry that you binge. Think a higher, faster metabolism!

Prepare for the week:

Success means being prepared with healthy foods on hand. Baggy up cut up veggies and fruit. Cook larger portions of chicken, turkey, or other lean meats to put in containers for a few days at a time. Tupperware a serving of rice, broccoli, and chicken and store in the fridge to have on hand for a quick, healthy lunch. Plan ahead and be prepared!

When going out to a restaurant, know the menu:

Look ahead at the restaurant’s menu so that you are prepared on what the healthy options are so you can make a health-conscious decision when the time comes for you to order. No breadsticks, bread, chips, or other unhealthy appetizers before your meal. Ask for a side salad if you are hungry with low-fat dressing, no croutons, and no cheese.

Eat more protein!

Fuel your muscles and ward off hunger with more protein. People eat way too many carbohydrates which can lead to excess calories and weight gain.

Eat more veggies!

Choose a veggie for each meal of the day and choose a variety of color. Think more greens! Opt for a large salad a day with a variety of color – greens, reds, orange, and yellow – again, hold the croutons, cheese, bacon bits, and all the extras that add fat and unnecessary calories. Choose a low-fat, low-sugar dressing. My favorite is balsamic vinaigrette with a touch of olive oil.

Choose a couple of fruits a day:

Fruits are a terrific source of antioxidants and are a healthy sugar but sugar none-the-less, so only have a couple servings a day. Berries, apples, grapefruit, and oranges, etc. – yum!

Careful with your starchy carbohydrates:

Steer clear of breads and pastas unless you are carefully monitoring your portions. Ezekial bread is an excellent choice for bread. Choose whole wheat pasta over white pasta, sweet potatoes or yams, brown rice, and oatmeal as better complex carb options.

Have a couple healthy fats a day:

Shy away from the once popular fat-free foods, they have more added sugar to make up for the taste. A couple tablespoons of olive oil, natural nut butter, flax oil, or snacking on an avocado, almonds, or nuts are perfect for your skin, hair, and nails to glow and get in your needed fats.

Drink more water!

Chug, chug, chug! Aim for half of your body weight in ounces if not more!

Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep per night:

Some people need more or less but a great goal to shoot for is getting around 8 hours per night. You will feel refreshed, function better, you are less likely to binge on high carbohydrate foods to keep you going if your energy drops, and you will handle stress like a pro!

Never pick a fad diet that cuts out a food group:

Depriving yourself of certain foods never lasts long. You are much more likely to binge and feel guilty for doing so. If you are hungry for something, have a little so you don’t drive yourself crazy.

Do not rely on caffeine to get you through the day:

Your energy should be coming from the foods you eat. Limit yourself to one cup of coffee or caffeinated beverage a day.

Beware of restaurant meals:

Always ask for your meal to be prepared clean and without the added butters, dressings, and sauces.

Think grilled, baked or broiled chicken or fish – never deep-fried.

Pay a little extra if needed to replace the french fries and opt for a side salad, veggies, side of fruit, or baked potato with nothing on it.

Drink more water with your meal.

Avoid bread baskets, chips, or other unhealthy appetizers before the meal – ask for a side salad to curb your appetite before your entrée arrives.

Many restaurants have their healthy options flagged or under a healthy or light menu – so choose from these when available.

If having a cocktail be mindful of the empty calories and careful not to drink too much – it usually leads to indulging in unhealthy foods as well. Opt for a light beer such as Mich Ultra or a light rum mixed with diet 7-up. Keep wine to a glass. Another refreshing mix is a wine spritzer – white wine with club soda.

Go out to eat with friends and family that have your best intentions in mind – not someone who would sabotage your healthy eating efforts.

Salads can do just as much damage as pizza or burgers. Careful what your “healthy” salads consist of. All the extras that chefs put in the salads on the menu are loaded with fat and calories and can easily be your whole days’ worth of calories! Example: Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad has 1,310 calories. With the dressing, nearly 65 percent of the calories, 840, come from fat. The salad has 93 g fat, 34 g protein and 88 g carbohydrates, including 11 g dietary fiber.

Save money and prepare your own healthy dishes at home where you know what and how much you are putting in the meal.