How To Eat Clean

Clean EatingThis is the question I get asked all the time. I think people assume it’s really difficult and time-consuming. It’s really just a matter of planning all meals and snacks ahead of time. Here are some basic principles of clean eating that you’ll need to keep in mind:

Eat primarily non processed foods. If it comes out of a box, don’t eat it. If it comes from the earth, eat it.
Eat six times a day. This is to keep your metabolism fired up and it keeps you from getting too hungry.
No alcohol or sodas. Drink lots of water and/or herbal unsweetened tea.
Never miss a meal.
Combine lean protein and complex carbs at every meal.
Avoid all saturated and trans fats.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ideas for breakfast would be:

  • Steel cut oatmeal (not flakes) with berries and 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 4-5 scrambled egg whites  with 4 oz. potatoes mixed with red peppers and onions
  • 1 c. yogurt with 1 c. fresh berries, 1 slice whole wheat toast
  • whole wheat pancakes with fruit
  • banana chocolate smoothie

NEVER, EVER skip breakfast!!!! Think about it. You’ve just been sleeping for 7-8 hrs. (hopefully). Your body needs some fuel after not eating for that length of time. Your mother was right. It IS the most important meal of the day!

Lunch:

Okay, here’s where things get a bit more challenging. Most people are home at breakfast time. Not so for lunch. My suggestion would be to pack a small cooler the night before and just grab it when you leave for work in the morning. (This is where the planning comes in.) Anyway, here are some lunch ideas:

  • 4 oz. chicken on whole wheat bread with mustard and avocado slice; green salad with olive oil and vinegar.
  • 4 oz. chicken, 1/2 c. brown rice, 1 c. low sodium lentil soup.
  • 1 c. whole wheat pasta, 1/2 c. low sodium marinara sauce, 4 oz. grilled chicken breast, 1/2 c. broccoli
  • Mexican Chicken Wrap
  • Easy Chicken Salad

Dinner:

  • 4 oz. salmon, 1 medium  baked sweet potato and 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 turkey burger patty, 1 baked potato cubed and roasted with 2 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. chopped rosemary
  • pizza made with 1 whole grain English muffin, 1/4 c. part skim mozzarella cheese; salad made with 1/4 c. chickpeas, 2 tsp. cilantro, 2 tsp. minced garlic and 1 Tbsp. honey-mustard vinaigrette

Snacks:

Snacks are NOT optional!!! You will need to eat 3 snacks a day, one after breakfast, one after lunch, and one after dinner. In the beginning you’re going to feel like you’re eating ALL THE TIME but soon you will get used to eating this way. Believe me, it beats walking around hungry all day. Here are some tasty snack ideas. All snacks should be around 200 calories.

  • Larabars
  • 1 English muffin with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 6 whole wheat crackers and 1 oz. cheese
  • 1 c. plain nonfat yogurt with 1 c. berries
  • 1 small baked sweet potato mixed with 1 c. plain nonfat yogurt

Great Post-Exercise Snacks

Almonds
After a hard workout, you’ve probably used up all or a lot of your body’s stored carbohydrates. To replenish them quickly, so that your body can recover in time for your next workout, it’s important to enjoy a recovery snack within 30 minutes of your workout. Your ideal recovery snack should contain 1/2 gram of carbohydrates per pound of your body weight, and at least 10 grams of protein.

A few great recovery snacks:

Tips to Break the Sugar Habit and Prevent Cravings

Sugar
People who eat sugar on a daily basis typically crave even more sugar. It can correctly be called an addiction. Blood sugar levels spike after eating sugar and then plummet, resulting in a craving for more after a couple of hours. Some people eat sugar in response to stress or depression, relying on the emotional comfort of say, cookies or cake to feel better. Eating balanced, healthy meals and controlling blood sugar are pivotal when trying to stop cravings.

Stop Sugar Cravings with Balanced Meals

Craving sugary foods can be an indication of a lack of certain nutrients in the body, such as chromium (found in broccoli, grapes and dried beans), phosphorus (found in nuts, legumes, grains, fish and eggs), carbon (found in fresh organic fruit) and tryphtophan (found in cheese, liver, raisins, sweet potato and spinach).

Combining protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy oils at mealtimes reduces the risk of triggering sugar cravings. Both healthy fats and protein leave the body feeling full longer than sugary foods and complex carbohydrates contain many of the essential vitamins and nutrients the body needs. Protein slows down digestion so that even when consuming complex carbohydrates, there is no rapid rise in blood sugar.

How to Control Blood Sugar to Prevent Cravings

Not eating regularly or going for long stretches between meals can cause a person’s blood sugar levels to drop. When blood sugar levels drop too low, cravings kick in because the body craves food that can quickly be converted to energy. Typically, this is when people reach for a chocolate bar or quick “pick me up”. Since the boost of energy is not sustained, another craving will take place a couple of hours later. The key to controlling blood sugar levels from dipping is to eat small meals and snacks frequently.

Excellent choices for snacking in between meals would be nuts (such as almonds, walnuts or Brazil nuts), seeds, fruit, dried fruit (such as raisins, dried cranberries, dried peaches) or vegetables (such as carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices). These foods will provide fiber, vitamins and nutrients and at the same time will keep blood sugar levels from plummeting.

The easiest and quickest way to stop the sugar habit? This would be to go cold turkey. Gradually trying to cut down is not likely to work as well. Coming off sugar may be hard, but cravings will subside after the first few days and the individual concerned will likely be astounded at the increase in energy levels he or she experiences.

If stress is given as the reason for turning to sugar, alleviate stress in other ways. Find the route cause and change the situation if possible. Exercise is an excellent stress-buster and will improve overall health.

8 Great Fibrous Foods

High Fiber Foods
How much fiber should we be eating? If you believe the television commercials that run during the nightly news, we’re not even coming close to getting what we need.
First off, let’s look at why fiber is such a big deal. I used to think of fiber as stringy, ropy stuff, like the threads in celery or cabbage. But fiber has actually become a catchall term for any indigestible material that we consume, not all of which is actually fibrous. Cellulose, the building block of much of the fleshy part of fruits and veggies, is an example of non-fibrous fiber. There is soluble fiber, which dissolves in water and helps stabilize blood sugar by slowing the rate of digestion. There is also insoluble fiber, which, as its name would suggest, does not dissolve in water—although it does attract water in the intestinal tract and, well, without getting too graphic, is responsible for the trains running on time, keeping the mail moving, releasing the payload, etc. Most importantly, more and more studies are linking a high-fiber diet to a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

For optimal health, nutritionists recommend 30 to 38 grams of fiber every day for men and 21 to 25 grams of fiber every day for women. You can find the fiber content of labeled food as a subcategory under carbohydrates. If you’re counting carbs, you can always subtract the amount of fiber from the total number of carbs, because the fiber will only be visiting your body for a little while, unlike the sugars, which, if not burned for fuel, will likely end up stored as fat.

Most studies indicate that Americans don’t get nearly enough fiber, especially with the proliferation of processed foods filled with white flour, which is made only from the fiber-less endosperm of the grain and none of the bran and germ parts that provide the fiber. In fact, if you read labels, it’s pretty rare to find any prepared food that has more than a gram or two of fiber. It can make you despair if you think about having to get to the 21 to 38 grams you need every day. So how can you get your daily dose of fiber without eating yourself into a coma? There are some fiber-rich superfoods that can help get you to your daily recommended allowance, without the coma.

1. Legumes
The humble bean (and also chickpea, lentil, and pea) is chock-full of nutritious fiber. A cup of black beans or lentils contains a whopping 15 grams of fiber—half the daily minimum supply required for a man and more than half the minimum required for a woman. Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, have 13 grams of fiber. A cup of peas has 9 grams of fiber. The big winner is the cranberry bean with 18 grams of fiber and 17 grams of protein. Cranberry beans have a creamy texture and a chestnut-like flavor.

2. Bran
While not as great a source of fiber as beans, they’re still pretty fiber rich, and may not have the unpleasant auditory and olfactory effects associated with excessive bean consumption. A cup of bran flakes has about 7 grams of fiber, and a cup of oatmeal has 4 grams of fiber. Substituting whole-wheat products for their traditional white-flour counterparts is an easy way to work some fiber into your diet without much hassle. A cup of whole-wheat spaghetti has over 6 grams of fiber, and whole-wheat bread has about 2 grams of fiber per slice.

3. Prunes
Not just for old people anymore. Grandpa and Grandma knew what they were doing when they were suffering from constipation. A cup of prunes contains 8 grams of fiber, and the prune’s hydrated counterpart, the plum, is also an excellent source of fiber—prunes/plums contain insoluble fiber in the skin and soluble fiber in the pulp. That’s a two-for-one special!

4. Artichokes
One medium artichoke contains 6.5 grams of fiber. One cup of artichoke hearts contains 14 grams of fiber and only 90 calories. I like to get one of those little jars of marinated artichokes (in vinegar, not oil) and treat myself to eating the whole jar as an afternoon snack or hors d’oeuvre before dinner. Tasty and filling, you’ll eat less at dinner and put a serious dent in your daily fiber tally.

5. Brussels sprouts
Yes, they look like the alien heads from Mars Attacks!, but these little powerhouses pack almost 7 grams of fiber into a 1-cup serving and only about 60 calories. Not everyone is enamored with their slightly chalky taste. I recommend a generous spritz of lemon juice and maybe a dash of soy sauce or Tabasco to enhance the flavor. A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese is delicious too.

6. Asian pear
According to the Micronutrient Center of theLinus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, the Asian pear is one of their five fiber-rich superfoods (legumes, bran, prunes, and quinoa are the others). One Asian pear, about 3 inches in diameter, contains a whopping 10 grams of fiber, the most of any similarly sized fruit. And because it has a higher water content than its European brethren, it only contains around 100 calories. So you can crunch your way to a cleaner colon.

7. Quinoa
Relatively new to the U.S., quinoa has been a South American staple for over 6,000 years. In a 1-cup serving, the edible seeds of the quinoa plant have 10 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein—in fact, quinoa seeds contain many essential amino acids that are missing from rice, proving to be a good substitute for rice. If you check your local health food store, and even some supermarkets, you can find quinoa plain and as a main ingredient in many cereals, breads, and salads.

8. Nuts
Not just filling, heart-healthy snacks, nuts are great sources of fiber (but highly caloric, so nosh carefully). A quarter-cup of almonds has 4 grams of fiber and about 200 calories. It’s another great snack for between meals. Watch out for the salt content in the hickory-smoked varieties. Also, it’s a good idea to portion out a serving size beforehand, so you don’t absentmindedly munch a thousand or so calories from a big bag.

Christmas Health Tips for Eating Right at the Dinner Table

Christmas Health Tips for Eating Right on the Dinner TableYou often find the urge to kill the diet routines as the holiday season brings feasting and festivities – Oh the desserts! Hence, health eating is often at par and fitness is a long forgotten thing.

Like Thanksgiving, you forget all about your health before sitting down at the Christmas table. However, you can control many factors to avoid losing the willpower in front of the treats galore.

Saying that, how can you smartly manage eating healthy during the Christmas season, without starving yourself of all the delights?

Here are some simple tips for you to control yourself from going crazy over the Christmas dinner table:

Healthy Christmas dinner Eating Tip #1: Dump the Junk!

Christmas foods are usually high in calorie count and therefore you need to avoid taking the extra. Junk food is a health and fitness killer. Try to avoid taking junk food items like sweets, frizzy drinks, or other snacks while you are sitting down in front of the TV with your family and friends.

Healthy Christmas Dinner Eating Tip #2: Take Plenty of Liquids

Generally, hydration is never a bad thing and you can take liquids to reduce hunger. If you feel the urge to eat something off hours, try to overcome the feeling by taking some healthy beverage or just plain water. You can also take Shakeology shake to avoid the off-hour hunger pangs.

Healthy Christmas Eating Tip #3: Carry Healthy, Nutritious Snacks!

This is a good idea especially if you are spending hours on Christmas shopping. Just when you are about to go to the food courts, take a Beachbody snack bar (P90X Peak Performance Bars) and munch on it. It will help to keep you light and healthy and prevent you from choosing other unhealthy options.

Healthy Christmas Dinner Eating Tip #4: Pace Yourself on the Table!

We tend to eat when delicious food sits in front of us on the table. It is hard to say No! Well, you do not really have to say that unless you can pace your food intake.

Do not take food in huge portions as this may end up in overeating. Take the best food items from the table and put them in smaller portion sizes. Avoid taking the dips, the creamy stuffing’s, and the crackers.

Healthy Christmas Dinner Eating Tip #5: Be a Role Model!

Try to be a role model for your kids. Set as example as an adult by consuming more vegetables in your meals and cutting on the desserts. This will not only help you with eating healthy, but will also send out a positive note for them.

Making A Healthy Christmas Dinner Table:

Now that you know smart tips to eat healthy on the Christmas Dinner and Parties, you should also know how you can make your Christmas Dinner Healthy for everyone.

Add plenty of veggies with the Christmas feasts. If you do not want to keep with the traditional Christmas feasts, add healthier side dishes and snacks to keep goodness as well as health together.

Lastly, Make sure you remember that healthy eating is not just for Christmas, it is for life!