“You aren’t stuck because you can’t. You are stuck because you won’t.” -Anonymous
One of the largest obstacles for those embarking on a health and fitness goal is nutrition choices. Most people assume that in order to make any kind of progress, your plate must be filled with peanut sized portions of white fish and asparagus. They will follow their “diet” for a small string of days and be so tired of the tasteless food that they throw in the towel and head out to their favorite neighborhood restaurant. Sound familiar? My biggest piece of advice to those ready and hopeful to start a successful chapter of healthier choices: (drumroll, please)… Prepare better tasting food!
There are endless ways to spice up the healthiest of meals so that you are eating flavor packed treats, not tasteless cardboard that only leads to frustration and failure. Enjoying the food you eat and being free from feeling restricted is the key to any successful health and fitness journey. Here are a few tricks to get you started!
- Don’t drink your calories: Keeping low or calorie free beverages at home can help you stay the course. Swap out soda, beer, and calorie filled drinks with La Croix, sparkling water, or tea. You will stay more hydrated and have more calories to put toward your food, rather than wasting it on choices that have no nutritional value.
- Think herbs and spices, not sauce: Most first time health pursuers make the same common mistake. You can fill your plate with the cleanest of choices. But, as soon as you cover it with your favorite sauce or dressing, it’s game over. There are better alternatives that add just as much flavor! Food seasoned with fresh herbs, spices, lemon juice or anything from a regular spice rack packs more punch than you’d think! Cilantro, cinnamon, garlic, mint, thyme, ginger, lemongrass are all ways to add endless flavor to even the most bland chicken breast. Put that spice rack front and center in your kitchen, and shake away. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to throw away your old favorites!
- Sauce Swaps: When it comes to dressing, the real version is best. Go for the good stuff filled with what your body needs like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut butter, honey, molasses, liquid aminos, salsa, apple cider vinegar, mustards and more. Hummus or greek yogurt products make fantastic dips. You can add more flavor by adding spices and herbs as well. These choices are superior in taste and better for your health.
- Bake Smarter: Love to bake? No problem! Making small adjustments in your ingredients of choice will improve your recipe collection. Coconut flour and almond meal are excellent alternatives to traditional baking flour and are much better for you. Applesauce and greek yogurts make for great “fillers” for certain recipes and adding raw honey or molasses will not only make the recipe taste better, but also keep you alive much longer than other processed sugars. Experiment with cacao powder, unsweetened coconut, extra dark chocolate and nut milks to take your recipes (and health) to the next level.
- Be Carb Smart: Swap out white, enriched carbs with something more nutrient dense like quinoa, brown rice, millet, or whole grains. In addition to fruit and veggies, these options will be packed with fiber to help keep you satiated, aid in proper digestion and provide you with far more essential nutrients than your previously processed go-to.
- Don’t Deprive Yourself: A successful nutrition plan doesn’t require restriction or deprivation. Enjoy ice cream, milkshakes, and other tasty treats within moderation! There are plenty of options that will satisfy your sweet tooth and benefit your body at the same time, sans guilt. Look for organic popsicles with real fruit, yogurt based ice cream or get creative with your toppings! Cacao nibs, 70% or darker chocolate chips or even all natural gummy bears will give you the best of both worlds. Check the bulk food section for tasty treats and enjoy real chocolate instead of the fake, processed stuff. You will reach your goals with happy tastebuds and food freedom.
- Check Your Plate: You should have a combination of protein, carbs and fats in every meal. When serving yourself, aim to fill your plate with 50% fresh produce, vegetables & bright colors. 25% of the plate should include a quality protein source (about the size of your palm) and the remaining 25% is for complex carbohydrates and whole grains. No need to restrict an entire food group, just be mindful of your portions and choices.
For more information on nutrition, healthy recipes and meal planning please visit www.CarsonLaineFitness.com