This post may make your life seem more complicated. If it does, I’m sorry.
Ok, I’m kind of sorry.
But I promise you’ll feel healthier, save money, have better hair, skin, and nails, be more energized, and never feel sick after a meal again.
I talked about fast food a while ago, and most of you probably agreed with me on limiting it from your diet. It’s no surprise eating fast food does you no favors when you’re trying to lose weight, maintain your weight, or just be a healthy person!
What’s the next step towards health?
Getting rid of packaged food.
I go to the grocery store 1-2 x per week. Here is what the cart in front of me usually looks like:
Frozen dinners, diet coke, hot dogs, chips, milk, crackers, frozen pizzas, Pillsbury biscuits, margarine, bacon, high fat ground meat, mayo, candy, hostess/lil Debbie products, limited produce, packaged white bread.
Here is my cart:
Bananas, apples, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, tomatoes, avocados, peppers, raw spinach, sweet potatoes, brown rice, natural peanut butter(oil separated), raw almonds, ezekial bread, oatmeal, chicken breast, extra lean ground turkey, H2O, coffee, tea, truvia, unsweetened almond milk, eggs, egg whites, plain greek yogurt, cottage cheese.
Take a look at the two carts- where would you find the majority of items for each?
#1. Inside the middle of the store (not along the walls).
#2. In the periphery (along the walls) of the store.
This is a good guideline for grocery shopping. Try to shop in the periphery of the grocery store.
But packaged food is SO convenient! I can’t give it up..
Yes, you can. I guarantee I eat much more food than most people- and for a lot less calories. Packaged food is not filling to me. Think about it- 100 calorie packaged snack vs. 100 calories of red pepper slices (about 2 whole peppers)…those pepper slices take up a LOT more space in your stomach than a few crackers for 100 calories. We want to eat foods that take up more space because this helps us feel more full for the same (or less) amount of calories.
Prepare your snacks:
1. Make your own trailmix (raw nuts, dried fruit (not candied fruit, look for ones with limited to no added sugar), 60% cacao ghirardelli chocolate chips or other dark chocolate),and kashi cereal. Put into sandwich bags, you can make 10-20 bags at a time and keep in one gallon size ziplock.
2. Chop up celery, carrots, peppers. Put in a Ziploc with a little water and keep it in the fridge.
(I’m going to make a ranch recipe and put it on here so you guys can have a healthier substitute for dipping!)
What can I snack on when I’m at home?
Low-fat cottage cheese+ fruit, or with truvia and cinnamon, truvia and cocoa
Greek yogurt+ fruit(if plain yogurt)+ raw nuts
½ sandwich with lean meat and multigrain or wheat bread
Proscuitto+ mozzarella(it’s lower in fat than most cheese)/ricotta on a toasted baguette
Protein shake + ½ -1 banana
1 slice toasted bread+ PB, top w/1/2 mashed banana
1 rice cake + PB+ 1/2 mashed banana and cinnamon
Lo-carb wrap with lean meat or PB
I don’t like to cook! What can I eat for meals?
You can cook! I’ll post a recipe about baking chicken in the oven. It is very easy and only takes 5 minutes of prep work.
You can steam most vegetables in the microwave. Put them in a bowl, add about ¼ cup water, cover with saran wrap, and let it steam for 5 minutes in the microwave. Potatoes also can be cooked in the microwave. Make an entire box of whole wheat pasta on the stove and put it the fridge for the upcoming week.
I don’t have time to cook!
Find time on the weekends to cook. When I cook chicken breasts, I cook a lot at one time so I’m free from cooking for a few days. I’ll also make a big batch of my broccoli and cauliflower soup so I don’t have to worry about chopping or steaming vegetables, especially when I know I have a busy week of school ahead of me. Theme here: cook in bulk.
Is processed, packaged food really that bad for me? What if it’s low in calories?
Calorie control is not the concern I have with packaged food. There are plenty of low calorie options among packaged food. Be motivated to eat produce, lean meat, and complex carbs because they are the BEST fuel for your body. Many health experts believe the preservatives and sweeteners found in packaged foods cause us to eat MORE food throughout the day. WHAT? The signal (from our stomachs to our brains) that tells us to stop eating is not as efficient (or is more or less ignored). Portion control can be really difficult when it comes to eating. I don’t want to eat anything that makes it more challenging! Whether or not it’s true- I’d rather not run the risk of having something negatively influence my eating habits.
For more on the effect of packaged foods I recommend reading Jillian Michaels’ Master Your Metabolism. Xmas gift? :)
What about organic snacks?
Whether it’s an oreo or an organic oreo- It’s a cookie! I’m sure organic companies bank on people who buy their snacks because they are organic.
Organic does not = healthy.
Are they better than their non-organic counterpart? Yes. But they are still packaged snacks! Try not to buy them.
I’m not telling you to go into your pantry and throw out all of your packaged food like they do on “The Biggest Loser.” But let your supply dwindle a little. Next time you go to the grocery store, try not to pick up as many of these items.
Now for the most important question:
If calories out are greater than calories in(=calorie deficit), I can still lose weight. Why does it really matter how I get my calories? Plus, I can take vitamins instead of getting them from food.
Your body will look different on a 1500 calorie diet from packaged foods vs. a 1500 diet from “clean” foods! (I refer to the word diet as your daily intake, not a “diet” as in a calorie restriction for a short period of time).
The ratio of fats:carbohydrates:protein is very different in a diet full of packaged foods vs. the ratios you can attain through eating a diet comprised of whole foods.Without teaching you how to crunch this numbers(though one day I will!) just know this-
Eating whole foods allows me to up the protein, reduce the simple carbohydrates (sugars), and eat less (but healthier and higher quality) fats.
Every item of food that goes into your mouth should have a PURPOSE. Your body will take that food and use it for various functions:
Produce-vitamins, minerals, better hair, skin, and nails, quick sugar from fruit aids in restoring glycogen into the cells.
Lean Meat, high protein dairy- supports building and maintenance of lean muscle, calcium supports bones, teeth.
Complex carbs- longer, sustained energy as opposed to refined carbohydrates (as found in most packaged snacks).
Yes, we can all take vitamins. But our bodies prefer vitamins and proteins from real food vs. supplements from a lab!
Eat with a purpose. Eat for health.
Support your body with the highest grade fuel you can possibly give it!