Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Healthy Hacks

Let me preface this by saying I am no expert in healthy living and I do not claim to be. Umm, have you seen me get down with a Starbucks breakfast sandwich and watch 3 consecutive hours of Fuller House? (#honest)  But I will say I have learned a lot in the 6 months that AJ and I have worked hard to be healthier and stronger and better feeling. Notice I didn't say skinnier. Yes, weight loss is a major goal, but I have discovered so many benefits in addition to that one.

 We began loosely basing our diets on the "20/20" Plan from Dr. Phil in August. It's all about 20 foods that keep you fuller longer and when combined in certain ways, can boost your metabolism. I have discovered tons of great recipes and tips from the program and while we are not on the strict 20 day plan any longer, our eating habits are still based heavily on this program. Some of the 20 foods are chickpeas, apples, berries, peanut butter, oats, seafood, quinoa, Greek yogurt, green tea, spinach...

Here's some tips/random info/products that I have really liked. Here's to a healthy and happy 2017:

1. Don't you dare skip breakfast. I am a big breakfast eater, but I know many are simply not hungry at that hour, but do your body and mind a favor and start it right with some quality fuel. A bowl of oatmeal with berries, a Greek yogurt, scrambled eggs, or an apple with peanut butter are some of my go-tos. 

2. We cheat on the weekends. I know this method is debated, but honestly, I would have fallen off the wagon long ago if I didn't have the weekends on my horizon, complete with cooking rich recipes and going out to dinner. And I enjoy those foods so much more than I used to. I also cheat if I do a dinner out with friends, usually 2 or 3 times a month. 

3. Salads don't have to be boring. Some of my new fave toppings include: all kinds of nuts, apples, oranges, shrimp, steak, grilled peppers, feta cheese, cranberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, flavored oils and vinegars, buffalo chicken, peas, carrots.....

4. 100 calorie packs of nuts are my fave! 

5. Hummus (roasted red pepper is my jam) and 3 Wasa sourdough or rye crisps makes up my after school snack most days.

6. Make sweet drinks a special treat (a non-skinny Starbucks or a soda from a place like Fiiz). I have become obsessed with La Croix sparkling water (don't knock sparkling water till you try it, it's an acquired taste) and I challenge myself to drink 6 refills of my water tumbler each day at school. 

7. EGGS! I love eggs in any form (I know some of you "texture" people can be weird about them) and have discovered the protein punch of a hard boiled egg, 2 scrambled with spinach in the morning, or have you guys tried the Sous Vide egg bites from Starbucks? I am ob.sess.ed. 

8. Plan, Plan, Plan. I make our menus usually on Tuesday or Wednesday for the following week and grocery shop on Fridays or Saturdays for the week. Do we cheat sometimes and cave to the craving of a Cafe Rio burrito? Of course. Do we get right back on our scheduled plan the next day? Of course. 

9. Prepare meat/chop on Sundays: On Sundays we try and prepare our lunches for the week, grill or bake any meat needed for the week, and chop veggies and/or make rice. The "hey babe, let's order a pizza" thing becomes few and far between when dinner is right the fridge ready to go in the evening.

10. Save $ by buying certain items at Costco: Costco is our go-to for chicken breasts, apples, nuts, hummus, frozen berries, Greek yogurt, and dried fruit. 

11. Give yourself grace: This is a FOREVER thing, NOT a DIET. That means restriction is not reality. Try and adopt healthy changes that work for you that you will be more likely to stick with. A treat now and then is necessary (for me at least).

12: "You can't out train poor nutrition"" This quote is on the wall at bootcamp and  I love looking at it in the midst of endless burpees or bicycle crunches. They say "abs are made in the kitchen," and I believe that. Working out is not a free pass to junk food land. You don't "deserve" it because you moved your booty that day. Tough love, sister! 

13. Don't under-estimate small changes: Our regular ground beef/flour tortilla taco night is now grilled chicken tacos on corn tortillas. Small changes add up. 

14. If it all seems overwhelming, pick one meal of the day and really pour your energy into that. Plan and implement healthy lunches one week and try that out for a while, then you can ease into making changes in other meals or snacks. 

15. I can't do plain yogurt, but regular yogurt is loaded with sugar, so I buy plain Greek yogurt and dress it up with honey, berries, and nuts. It'll give more calories than a Yoplait, but it'll be heartier and full of good for you nutrients. 

16. Leave the food area: I've been trying harder to get up to bed earlier (always a goal), and even if I'm still up watching something, blogging, or reading, I try and do it in bed because the kitchen is all the way downstairs and I'm less likely to get up for a handful of something I probably don't need.

17. Savor every bite: Enjoy your food, savor the flavors, texture, and think how it is fueling your body. When I lived alone, I tried to eat one dinner a week alone, at the table, with no book, no TV on, no music, just enjoying my meal. It was a great exercise in the art of savoring. 

18, One of my absolute faves: Saute apples in coconut oil and cinnamon. Serve on oatmeal, on a salad, or with Greek yogurt. All the yumminess of apple pie with guilt free ingredients (I even like to saute until they are slightly crispy. YUM) 

That's all I've  got for you! What "Healthy Hacks" do you like??? I want to hear your ideas! 

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