Many of us see the new year as a time to refresh and recommit to our fitness and health goals. For example, 40% of people recently polled by Insider made a new year’s resolution revolved around dieting or eating healthier. Unfortunately, only 8% of New Year resolutions are actually seen through to completion, according to research done by the University of Scranton. That statistic may be daunting, but here are some things that can be done to improve your chances of sticking to your goals this year.
2. The link says to avoid snack foods like chips and such, but what I would say is that if you really want something along these lines, just try to choose wisely. Just like I’d recommend with holidays (or any day really) – try to choose one splurge like a small dessert, alcoholic beverage, or snack food like chips if you have a limited amount of calories to work with and make sure you log it for accountability
3. This link is helpful when figuring out portion sizes on the go: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/serving_sizes/serving_sizes.htm
Remember – we are practicing moderation, not restriction! The longer you restrict, the more you may crave something and that could lead to binging. You also don’t want to fear being out in public because you “can’t” have something. Instead we can think of it as “I can have this, but I only want the amount that won’t prevent me from reaching my goals”.
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I can definitely relate to being busy. I’m usually up before 5 AM, out the door by 6:30 AM, do a full day of work, then train or prepare coaching information for clients after work. Add on family duties and what little time there is left for working out, and a full day has gone by with very little free time.
Since nutrition is key in making or maintaining progress, it’s very important to still find time to make that a priority. Here are some tips that help me manage nutrition.
Meal prep on off day
- It would probably make it easier to cook large batches of meat/poultry/fish/etc in advance, as well as fruit/veggies, and simple sides like rice, whole wheat pasta/sauce, etc. enough servings for at least the time that you’ll be at work.
- Some easy/quick meal ideas: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating/
- Egg muffins (can add your choice of meat): http://hurrythefoodup.com/low-carb-egg-breakfast-muffins/
- Meal prep ideas: http://www.popsugar.com/food/Meal-Prep-Inspiration-37146137?stream_view=1#photo-37151725
- Snack ideas: Quick snacks like fruit, raw veggies and hummus, yogurt and granola (try to keep the granola to a small serving size and keep the yogurt low in added sugar, but adding fruit is fine), air popped popcorn. Here are other snack ideas (high in protein to help keep you full longer): http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20855303,00.html
- Quick Meals without prepping
- If you can’t meal prep ahead of time, then here are some other quick meals:12 minute or less meal ideas: http://greatist.com/health/52-healthy-meals-12-minutes-or-less (you can add protein powder to any of the smoothie or oatmeal recipes for extra protein)
- Fast Food Options
- Breakfast ideas:
- Power sandwich from Panera (350-400 cal) https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/menu-categories/breakfast-.html
- Oatmeal from starbucks (depends on what toppings you add) + scoop of protein powder you could mix in. Also some breakfast sandwiches are great options – check out this under 350 cal menu http://www.starbucks.com/menu/nutrition/35-under-350
- Dunkin Donuts has some good options on the DD Smart options http://www.dunkindonuts.com/dunkindonuts/en/menu/nutrition/nutrition_catalog.html?nutrition_catalog_needType=DDSmartLessThan400
- Snacks: Can also pack fruit and protein bars for easy nutrition on the go
- Chipotle is actually pretty macro friendly if you get a bowl with either a light amount of brown rice or just with the meat (1 scoop) and veggies. To save calories you can top it with salsa and no sour cream or cheese (or ask for light cheese on the side and you can sprinkle your own). http://www.chipotle.com/ – you can design your bowl ahead of time to see how to calories/macros add up
- Panera – a few of their sandwiches can be good (when you eat half – which is around the size of a normal sandwich), especially if made with whole grain (could even have an “open faced” sandwich with one slice of bread. Almost all sandwich options are protein packed for under 400 calories for half a sandwich. The power bowls are great. Of course the salads can be good choices, just go light on the dressing! Check out the nutrition facts for more info: https://www.panerabread.com/content/dam/panerabread/documents/nutrition/Panera-Nutrition.pdf
- If you don’t have time at home but have time to order from a sit down restaurant, here are some of the healthier options : http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2011/01/19/healthiest-restaurant-meals.html#viewAll
- Breakfast ideas:
I hope this helps! If you know some more, please contact me or mention them in the comments below!
Below are some tips for meal planning. This would be helpful for those who struggle with hitting macros/calories or just want to save time and not have to log food every day.
Remember, in order of importance: calories (eat less than you burn to lose weight, more than you burn to gain weight), then at least get the minimum amount of protein you need, and at least the minimum amount of fiber you need. Where your carbs and fat end up are less important as long as you’re comfortable with your food choices.
Meal Planning Tips
Before you put your meals together in real life, I recommend logging them into your calorie tracker using the following ideas – after each step you can go back and see what room you have left in your calories, and keep adding until you reach your goal (or adjust the servings of what you’ve already logged if you go over on calories).
It’s good to do this at least a day in advance so you don’t really have to think about it the day of.
Optionally: if you are craving something – a certain dish or some type of snack food that might be lower in nutrition, you can choose to log just a small serving of it first. For example, I randomly crave pizza so I will go and add a serving of it before I log anything else. If I can fit it in after hitting my protein and fiber, then I keep it in my plan.
2. Protein sources
Pick a main protein source for each meal – see “Macro Cheat Sheet” for ideas and also, see below for some leaner protein source ideas (it’s fine if you want something outside of this list also).
- Egg whites – can be added to oatmeal, used in different recipes (I’ll forward some), used in place of eggs or even added to eggs to add more volume
- Greek yogurt and cottage cheese (2% or low fat)
- Lean cuts of meat: http://www.livestrong.com/article/444843-what-is-the-leanest-meat-to-eat/
- Whey, egg protein, or vegetarian protein – though real food might be more satisfying, this is an easy way to get more protein. Can be added to things like oatmeal, baked goods, smoothies/shakes, etc. Also protein bars can be used to satisfy a sweet tooth and still pack protein. One of my favorites is Combat Crunch. Also protein pancakes such as Power Cakes come with whey powder added.
- Shellfish such as shrimp and crab, and white fish such as cod, tuna, trout, etc.
3. High fiber sources
Pick 1-2 servings of fruit and veggies per meal (aim for a total of 5-10 servings per day to try to get enough fiber)
- 1/2 cup cooked, 2 cups leafy raw salad, 1/2 cup cooked greens, 1 small-medium fruit/veggie are examples of a serving
Optionally, pick a high fiber grain or starch for most meals
- Oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown or white rice, whole grain pasta, sweet potato, regular or red potatoes, etc.
By now you will likely have met most of your nutritional needs – for the fats, fill in with additions like dressing/sauces, cheese, butter, nut butters, nuts, whole eggs – see more ideas in Macro Cheat Sheet
5. Anything else you’d like!
At this point, if you still have calories left over you could add really anything that you’d like. If you’ve gone over on calories, it’s ok to remove partial servings instead of taking out whole servings of food. For example, you really wanted a 1/2 cup of ice cream but don’t have the room in your intake, try 1/4 cup instead added to your whole grain waffle.
Note that you can have recipes that fit in multiple categories – you might find that something like lasagna is already high in protein from meat used in it and has whole grain pasta if you use it, and has cheese as a fat source. You wouldn’t need to add an additional high protein food for that meal.
Planning for the week:
Once you’ve logged your plan for the day you can then go and cook the food needed for as many days as you want.
As you go through the week, feel free to switch things up. Generally sub a fat source for another fat source, a veggie or fruit for another veggie or fruit, a protein source for another protein source, and a “splurge” for another splurge that’s around the same calories to make it easier.
Using these steps, you can start to eat with a pattern that can make it easier to maintain your results even if you’re not tracking macros!
For binging I would like to recommend a few things that help me:
1. Whatever you’re craving, fit it into your calories/macros – try planning ahead the day before and start by adding a serving of it to your calorie log for the next day. Then go in and add healthier food to make up the calories/macros. It won’t help you to suppress the urge to eat it. If you plan for at least one “splurge” per day it might reduce your cravings, since it’s not “off limits” and you know you can always have it the next day.
With that if portion size is the struggle, sometimes it helps to split the big container into small portions ahead of time, or to even buy single serving sizes. I had to do that for a while with things like pistachios (it’s weird the things you don’t think are triggers for binges, but pistachios were for a while for me lol).
2. Try keeping a journal of what you’re feeling when you want to binge. Is it usually in high stress situations? Is it when you’re bored, angry, sad, happy, etc.? Identify those feelings. Sometimes just writing it out will prevent you from binging (especially if you allow yourself the splurges and they’re not off limits, but try to keep it to a serving). No matter what I suggest, we will have to identify what the root cause of your binges are, or we can’t effectively manage them.
3. If you’ve already had your splurge for the day, and want more, do what we call “ride the wave”. Since you know you’ll be allowed more the next day, you can remind yourself that. Feel the urge to binge but don’t react to it. Usually that urge is intense but it goes away after a few minutes if you let it. The important thing is you really can have more the next day since this food is not off limits, so just keeping that in mind will make it easier to ride the wave of those cravings for more.