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My Daily Grub Diary #1

I am only one person in a sea of people on a quest to live a healthy lifestyle. If you would have told me ten years ago that I would own my own nutritional coaching business I would have thought you were CRAZY! But somehow all the planets aligned and have led me to this place. It is an awesome place to be to have the opportunity to sincerely change lives. Not just by helping people lose weight or to set a personal record in the gym. But to be able to shift a person’s food mindset into a healthy place is the greatest gratification.

A frequent question I get from clients is “What do you eat each day?”. I am an open book when it comes to what I eat, although I do have hesitations about sharing because I don’t want someone to judge their current place in their own nutritional journey against the one I’ve been leading for years. The piece that I really do think is valuable is the logic, the timing, and the meal combinations that go into a day’s worth of meals. I am simple, nothing overly gourmet. I love to make and eat just plain, simple, real food.

So these requests inspired me to share “My Daily Grub Diary”, or a what I eat daily, to help people better understand that planning, preparing, and being what I call “food aware” is completely doable. Whether you have been on a health journey for years or are just looking for ideas on how to eat more clean, my what I eat daily blog posts are for you.

I also think it is important to know where I am in my nutritional journey. I’m currently eating for strength. I am slowly increasing my intake in a controlled fashion to build muscle, strength, and scale weight. My training consists of 4 strength sessions and 2 conditioning sessions per week (in a perfect #momlife world). I am just a mom trying to achieve my nutritional goals and keep my sanity.

(Ready to stop putting your health on the backburner? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

What I Eat Daily: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

P.S. I chose a Wednesday to show you that in my most crazy day of the week, I nailed my nutrition goals.

4:30 am – Wake up

Yes, I get up between 4:30 and 5 am every single day. The only day I don’t wake up this early is Sunday. I’ll sometimes sleep until 6:30 am then. I work a part-time job from home, run my own small business, and write for my blog. Needless to say, I have a large to-do list. Early mornings are my quiet time to put in a few hours of work or reading before my kiddos wake up and Mommy duty calls. When I wake up, I try my best to down a full glass of water to start my day with a little hydration.

Coffeeandfrother-tiny

Next — coffee time! I really didn’t even start liking coffee until after I had kids. It must have been survival mode inspired. It is a treat in my day and I’d chose my coffee version any day over Starbucks.  I usually prepare my own latte with coffee, milk, butter, and a bit of maple syrup.

7:30 am – Breakfast

My breakfast often doubles as my pre-workout meal. I typically try and eat breakfast with my kiddos and then head to the gym after I drop them off. I cooked up 1 egg and 1 additional egg white, over medium, to go on top of hash browns. There are few things better for breakfast in my opinion than a runny yolk over potatoes! I also had a few strawberries on the side.

While I made breakfast for us, I also threw 3 pounds of chicken breast with some simple chicken broth, salt, pepper, and fresh garlic into the Crockpot to cook on low all day. Wednesday is gymnastics and football practice for my family, so I make sure my meals are simple and easy for our quick turnaround between activities.

8:30 am – Pre Workout Snack

I love being able to squeeze in a pre-workout snack with some good fat and carbs. I try to choose the most wholesome and quick option as possible. One of my favorite options is an apple cinnamon Larabar. I was hungry already and knew I’d starve during training if I didn’t have some good fats on board. Since I am in a strength gaining phase, I will take fat before a workout. If I were more into a weight loss or maintenance mode, I would personally avoid fat around workouts altogether.

Post Workout

This is the time that I usually prefer to take something in a liquid form. It gets back into the bloodstream a bit faster and falls into that “magic” window.  I usually ha ave ½ serving of my whey protein, 14 grams, shake mixed with 6 oz or so of water. I also try and have some type of fast acting carbohydrates. Today I had planned for a banana and then totally left it sitting on my counter. Luckily I dug through my gym bag and found a fruit leather that I keep on hand for my kids! BOOM! It was my lucky day.

Lunch

After I workout, I typically have my next meal an hour or so afterward.  Today, I was craving a turkey burger. That’s the great thing about healthy eating. I can have whatever I want, and not feel guilty about it because I make a few changes to fit my lifestyle and goals. Anyway, I browned my turkey burger in a skillet with a light spray of olive oil and ate it on top of fresh greens. On the side, I made ¼ cup of white rice.

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Afternoon Snack

Today is a crazy transition from school to gymnastics to football.  I planned for my Afternoon Pick Me Up Shake to have on the road.  It is the perfect combination of macros and a little afternoon “sweet” treat to help me get through the rest of the day, without the crankiness.

Dinner

Tonight my Crockpot chicken turned into buffalo chicken stuffed sweet potatoes. It had to be something fast before football practice. I microwaved 2 large sweet potatoes for the family to share. Once soft and cooked throughout, I piled on my shredded chicken and topped with buffalo sauce and a bit of Greek Yogurt. We also had a side of greens.

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Bedtime Snack

When my kiddos go to bed, my hubby and I settle in for a little Netflix and chill, or I’ll use the time to work again. I look forward to a snack at this time of night. Tonight it was a brown rice cake, 1 tablespoon organic peanut butter, and my current obsession — pumpkin butter!

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This gives you an idea of one day, in the scope of many, of how I balance my intake at mealtimes, around workouts, for snacks, and amidst the crazy schedule, we keep! It takes effort in planning but comes with great reward.

(Want to learn how to fill your body with real food to look and feel your best? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Macro Friendly Camping Tips

Camping, Tracking and Planning…Oh My!

I grew up camping.  I have vivid memories of waking up early in a chilly tent, my dad waiting for me to wake with his coffee in hand.  We spent our days discovering the woods, my parents sharing stories of their childhood.  Our evenings were spent around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and snuggling each other tight as we fell asleep under the stars.  I want those same experiences for my kids too.  We attempted our first camping trip about a year and half ago.  I woke up in the middle of our first night with….food poisoning from a very atypical fast food stop.  Literally the worst night of my life spent puking and um…pooping my brains out…in a tent…in a forest.  Needless to say, it took me awhile to rally back from the experience for round two.

 

Camping Revenge

I recently took revenge on that camping trip. This time around, I was determined to make sure my food was under my own control while still getting the traditional camping experience.  Like any travel, keeping your macros in check can easily be done with proper planning and 100% commitment.  Nothing is worse than working overtime to prepare your nutrition for a trip and then giving up 100% mentally.  When I travel, I do my absolute best to track because I feel better, rest better, and have zero post vacation regret.

 

Tips to Camping Tracking Success

 

1. Map out your weekend.

Just like a normal week at home, map at your weekend.  Decide what you will be eating for all meals and what snacks you plan to have available.  Pack those foods ahead of time and use Ziploc bags and containers to pre-pack meals and snacks

 

2. Pick meals that fully utilize the campfire.

Seriously–all food tastes better on a campfire. Period.  And you don’t have to let it soak in grease or other unwanted fat sources. Making meals on the fire gives it a taste spin you won’t get at home so use it fully.

 

3. Pack only what you want to eat.

Seems simple right?  If you pack an unhealthy option that doesn’t meet your goals, the whispering pines will whisper in your ear…EAT IT.  So don’t pack any last minute snacks that just won’t fit your macro budget.

 

4. Plan for 1 camping treat.

Yes–allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy.  It keeps the rest of your day on point and honestly, you enjoy that treat so much more.  The goal is balance not restriction.

 

5. Don’t overindulge in alcohol.

The more you drink, the less likely you are to stay on track with your plan you so diligently worked hard to prepare.  Plan for a few drinks, drink them slowly and with plenty of water in between.

 

6. Pack Your Snacks

Snacking and camping go hand-in-hand.  When you are relaxing in the great outdoors, reading a book or playing cards, snacks are usually nearby. So make them yummy and goal oriented.

Here is a list of some possible snacks that will keep you right on track:

Jerky

Dried Fruit

Fresh Fruit

Pop Chips

Deli Lunch Meat Rolls

Homemade Trail Mix (with your favorite options)

Simple Snack Idea Recipes:

Fresh cut veggies and homemade Greek yogurt dips: This is SO easy to do! Cut up lots of fresh veggies before you leave for the big trip.  Bring several small containers of plain Greek yogurt and pre-made seasonings.  You can mix in the seasoning of choice and enjoy some fresh veggies along with them to satisfy the snack sensation while filling up on micro nutrient rich volume food.

Popcorn (over the campfire is the best): Put kernels in a loose foil packet with a small bit of olive or avocado oil (try coconut for a sweeter taste). Hold foil packet over campfire with tongs or skewer and allow to cook until popping stops.  Once done you can salt, drizzle melted chocolate over or whatever sounds good to your camping mood.

Homemade corn tortilla chips: This is another one that is easy to prep ahead of time.  Cut corn tortillas into as many wedges as you like.  Place over camp fire on top of a griddle, on layers of foil or on a foil tray and allow them to cook until crisp to your liking.  You can lightly salt the wedges or add cinnamon and some coconut sugar for a sweet treat.

 

Three Easy Campfire Meal Ideas

Here are my favorite camping meal ideas that are simple, fun and macro friendly:

Kebabs: Pre-cut your favorite lean meat such chicken breast or flank stead, into 1-2 inch chunks and marinate in Ziploc bags.  Bring along metal or wooden skewers to roast meat over open camp fire.  You can also pre-cut potatoes, peppers and onions to add onto the skewers as well for a great balanced meal option.

 

Fajitas: Pre-cut beef or chicken into portions that work for you and lightly spray with olive or avocado oil and store in a Ziploc bag.  Do the same with bell peppers and onions.  When you are ready to cook, place on the griddle or into a disposable tin pan to cook over the fire.  Serve with tortillas warmed over the campfire and your favorite fixings.

 

Foil Packet Meals: The sky is the limit here!  You can make foil packets in so many variations.  Use a large piece of aluminum foil and lightly spray with oil.  Place a lean chicken sausage, with onions, peppers and cubed potatoes in side.  Again, lightly coat the contents and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings.  Fold to close packet and place on open campfire until contents are cooked throughout.  You can place any kind of meat and potato option in foil packets and the kids will have a blast!

 

Enjoy the great outdoors and a campfire along with some healthy food options that will keep you right on track!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

Veggies and Dips You Can’t Live Without

If you know me, you know I love any excuse to turn simple fruits and vegetables into some delicious concoctions. And one of my favorite ways to dress up veggies is to have veggies and dips!

Veggies-Shmeggies

I am not sure what happens at 5:00 pm but all kids must communicate to make that hour of the day the whiniest. I’d like to think that I have awesome kids, but the moments leading up to dinner seem to be their toughest.

Not only are they ravenous, like I haven’t fed them for hours, but they just seem to be hangry. And that’s not fun for anyone. I always try to include them in dinner preparation thinking it will pass the time more. Some days it works, while other days I swear it makes their hunger unbearable. I know many of you can relate.

I recently read a Mom Blog “From Stork to Fork” that gave an amazing suggestion. In an effort to increase vegetable consumption for her children, this mom started putting out a veggie platter right before dinner. She filled it with fresh, raw veggies and didn’t mention a word to her kids.

The moment they saw food out and available, they welcomed it with open arms. She provided a simple dip on the side and they ate those veggies in a hot second. What parents don’t want their kids to eat more veggies even if it does spoil dinner? It was a WIN all around.

What’s more interesting is a recent study completed by Texas A&M University identified the one factor that determined whether or not kids ate their veggies.  That one factor was what those veggies were paired with. The article’s conclusion was that “Kids, in short, are much more likely to eat their vegetable portion when it’s paired with a food that isn’t so delicious, so it gets all the attention.” So, offer those veggies alone or with a more nutrient dense but less kid-desired option and BOOM! They become veggie connoisseurs.

Leading By Example

This study supports the prime reason we as parents are lifestyle role models to our children. Kids let taste lead them. They aren’t mature enough to choose something less tasty because it’s more nutrient dense. We as parents must guide them and be sure to encourage better eating habits.

I work hard with my kids to model and discuss the importance of vegetable consumption at every meal. I’ve tried to teach them that there are foods we eat every day, foods we eat sometimes, and foods we eat on special occasions.

It isn’t always perfect and some meals are better than others.  My heart is always happy when I hear them tell people no thank you to things because they know they’ve already had their “sweet treat” for the day.

My Early Parenting Days

I was a total earthy pregnant mom and newborn mom. I was particular about everything that went into my body and on my body. I came up with a Zen birthing plan (which never remotely happened), I breastfed both my kids for 18 months and I made every single ounce of their baby food myself. I am darn proud of that!  My kids are awesome eaters and I think my investment in their food early on has paid dividends.

I went off the deep end at first. I once told a friend that our kids would never eat at McDonald’s. My friends who had kids older than mine told me I was unrealistic but I told them “No way.”  I’ve loosened up over the years. My kids have had a Happy Meal. But at the heart of it all, they know and understand that is a rare experience and should and never will be the norm.

Deprivation is Not Sustainable

I’ve come to believe that if I deprive my kids of anything mainstream food or otherwise that it only cultivates their desire for it more.  I know some of you are shaking your head at me right now. But listen— it is like when your mom tells you not to hang out with the “bad boy” so naturally you are drawn to him. In my almost 7 years of parenting, I’ve learned that being the example for my children’s healthy lifestyle is less about what they shouldn’t have and more about what they should have.

Are Adults Any Different?

This research got me thinking if adults were any different. And, personally, I don’t think we are. I am pretty sure my hubby wouldn’t eat his veggies if I wasn’t regularly preparing them for him at home. If what that veggie is paired with makes a difference, then adults need good options too.

(Want to focus on your health and make it a priority? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Options that are rich in nutritional value and even richer in taste. It should be easy and convenient. I used to commonly buy a big tub-o-sour-cream and dump in a “seasoning packet” to serve alongside veggies. But now I have some great options to replace those packets and that tub.

Veggies & Dip DIY

Seasoning packets are filled with all types of fillers, artificial flavors, and preservatives.  If you look closely to identify the real food ingredient list, you will notice that you have those things sitting in your pantry.  So why not take them and make your own seasoning, without all the junk?  I mix together the options below and have them on hand for dips, for marinades, rubs, and any other mealtime options.

Ranch Dip

¼ Cup Parsley Flakes

⅛  Cup Dried, Minced Onions

4 Teaspoons Salt

1 Tablespoon Dill Leaf

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

Onion Dip

1/3 Cup dried, minced onion

2 Teaspoons Parsley Flakes

1 Teaspoon Onion Powder

1 Teaspoon Turmeric

1 Teaspoon Celery Salt

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

½ Teaspoon Black Pepper

Fiesta Seasoning

1/3 Cup Chili Powder

¼ Cup Onion Powder

⅛ Cup Ground Cumin

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

1 Tablespoon Paprika

1 Tablespoon Sea Salt

I mixed all of my spices into small glass jars to keep them fresh. Once these seasonings are prepared, you can mix 2-3 tablespoons with 4-5 oz of greek yogurt for amazing veggies and dips combos, or you can even serve these dips with healthy and nutritious chips!  They are perfect for a mealtime side or for some tailgating munchies.

(Tired of feeling like healthy eating is impossible? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Eat those veggies friends. Find ways to incorporate them into your life to improve your health and be an example to the little people surround you.

What are your favorite veggies and dips combos?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

Morning Oatmeal Recipes

Oats are a great kick start to your day!  I have a few go-to morning recipes that you can prep the night before and enjoy in the busy morning.

The Skinny on Fats: 13 Tips to Control Your Fat Intake Each Day

Fat! We love it, we hate it and we can’t live without it…literally.  Fat is a macronutrient that acts as a secondary source of energy for our body.  Fats assist in absorption of certain micronutrients in the body, aides in the boundary of cells, cushions cells and in turn the body.  Fat plays a crucial role in hormone regulation and brain function (1). You need it–there is no denying it.

Poor, Misunderstood Fat
We don’t gain weight from fat, we gain weight from excess fat that puts our metabolism out of balance.  Each person’s body chemistry is unique, requiring its own quantity of fat that pushes their metabolic capacity and allows them to hit their goals. Adjusting fat ratios is key to fat loss, athletic performance and day to day health.

Fat and Tracking Macronutrient Intake

The important thing to understand about fat is its caloric value.  When the body metabolizes 1 gram of fat, it acquires 9 calories of useable energy as a fuel source.  This is in comparison to protein and carbohydrates which yield only 4 calories of energy. It is also the reason that being accurate when tracking fat intake is key, as it has more caloric consequence if over consumed.

In the name of FAT

In the name of  fat, I put together a quick reference of ways to decrease fat daily but also quick ways to increase fat daily.  At some point in your nutritional tracking journey, you’ll need to do both to satisfy your nutrition goals.

Easy ways to reduce Fat:13-tips-to-control-fat-intake-pinterest

  1. Reduce the number of yolks you consume with eggs, opt for egg whites or a combo.
  2. Choose 93/7% Ground beef over 80/20%.
  3. Replace your mayo, sour cream, spread with plain 0% fat greek yogurt.  It really does taste the same.
  4. Try almond milk or ultra filtered milk in your coffee over half and half or creamer.
  5. Chose a grilled chicken breast over a drumstick or thigh.
  6. Chose almond cheese over cow’s milk cheese.  Say what? No seriously it is delicious!
  7. Fill up on Veggies—their caloric value is little to none! You can load up on them to help you feel full with little macronutrient value but a heck of a lot micronutrient value.

Easy Ways to Increase Fat:

  1. Take a fish oil supplement. Try using this in the evening when you need to fill small quantities to hit those counts.  A gel capsule can keep the fat content in a smaller amount or a liquid version to increase the fat content.
  2. Add a bit of oil based dressing, like olive or avocado, to a salad.
  3. Enjoy some nuts or nut butter (this is my go-to to increase fat) on your favorite piece of fruit or in your morning oats.
  4. Add an egg yolk.  Try another yolk in your morning eggs or prep some hard boiled eggs for a mid afternoon snack.
  5. Add some slices of avocado to your eggs, lean meat or dinner meal.  Mash it up as a condiment to make a healthy fat version of chicken salad.
  6. Throw a small bit of Kerrygold butter on your baked potato.

Keeping your dietary fat intake on track is the key to so many functions of the body–not to mention they can taste so.darn.good.  Use them in the right places in your daily routine to maximize their benefits.

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

 

Sources:

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6298507

 

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Kickin’ It Old School during Snack time

healthy nostalgic snacks

I’m sure you remember quite a bit of your childhood. When it comes to food, nostalgia is REAL. The thought of healthy nostalgic snacks take me right back to after school TV and riding bikes with teh neighborhood kids.

There are some snacks that have withstood the test of time and others that have gone to snack heaven. There are snacks I think about that make me nostalgic and others that make me want to puke.

I am a child of the 80’s and grew up on snacks like Planter’s Cheese Balls (remember those in the blue can), on Keebler’s Magic in the middle cookies, on “Squeeze It’s”, and of course, fruit by the foot. But, the healthy nostalgic snacks that I think of really bring back fond memories and have stuck with me to this day.

Afternoon Snacking

The afternoon is a snack time for me and my kids. We tend to eat dinner later to accommodate my husband’s work schedule and I love a balanced snack to hold me over until then. These snacks are typically snacks that I love and that my kids love too. Thankfully, my kids will escape a pantry full of 80’s snacks because it’s my goal to provide an afternoon snack that is fun, healthy, delicious and that they will remember and love!

Why do people snack?

Statista.com reports that in 2014, North American’s spent over 124 billion dollars in snacks in grocery stores. According to research conducted by the Mintel Group, “62 percent of U.S. consumers snack mainly to satisfy a craving. One-quarter of Americans snack because they are bored, while 16 percent do so because they are stressed.

Say what!?!

This data is clear evidence that snacking is tied to emotion and your mood. Thus, further supporting the need to have healthy snack options at home to avoid that oh-so-tempting 80’s style snack binge.

(Want to learn how to fill your body with real food and learn how to eat without all of the emotions? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

No need to be FANCY

Some of the best snacks and for that matter, meals, are the simple ones. Ones that don’t take the entire kitchen to prepare, that are pretty to look at, and that have great tasting ingredients. I’ve put together for you three simple, old-school style, healthy nostalgic snacks for your snack attack that you can make now…like right now!

Plus, you may already have many of these ingredients in your fridge and pantry, which is a double win.

Ants on a Log

For this quick and easy recipe, you’ll need:

1 tablespoon of Peanut/Almond/Sunbutter (sub with 1 serving PB2/Fit to reduce fat)
.5 ounce of Raisins
1 celery stalk

All you have to do is spread your nut butter of choice on that celery stalk, sprinkle those “ants” right on top, and enjoy the salty and sweet taste.

My kiddos love it…especially if I sing “The Ants Go Marching One-by-One!” (which I highly recommend doing, it’s so much fun).

Apple Cinnamon Yogurt

This is one of the simplest healthy nostalgic snacks. You only need a few ingredients.

4 ounces Plain Greek Yogurt 0% fat
2 ounces All Natural Applesauce
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
(You could also add 1 serving PB2 for a thicker, peanut butter taste)

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Then, dip in your spoon and enjoy! Sweet with a little kick of cinnamon. This recipe is a winner!

Rice Pudding-ish

¼ cup cooked white rice
2-4 ounces Greek yogurt 0% fat
1 tablespoon honey
Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Another simple and easy snack. Just combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy! Just as a note, you can alter these quantities to suit your palate texture requirements as well.

A great idea is to prepare a “rice reserve” for the week. This reserve is easy to pull from for meals and snacks and can be spiced in lots of ways as you need it. Plus, extra rice on hand never hurt anyone, and it can last a while in the fridge!

The beauty of all of these recipes above is that you can tweak each to meet your needs and taste. Snacks are optional, but good health and good taste don’t have to be.

Although those 80’s snacks like Gushers and Bugles (you remember them…I know you do!) bring back love in your heart, don’t let them bring any love to your belly. Enjoy that afternoon snack with all health benefits included. So — get in that kitchen and get your snack on, and enjoy those healthy nostalgic snacks!

What were some of your favorite healthy nostalgic snacks?

Work Hard Be Kind,
AWalk

* All calories calculated using CalorieKing.com