We've all been there. The toddler lunch becomes your lunch because you're tired and don't really care to make yourself something. Besides, sometimes a good ole' PB&J just sounds delicious. Toddler lunches (unless you've got an extraordinary one that loves vegetables) are not the ideal lunch for an adult. I also know the struggle of grabbing whatever is in the fridge to pack for work or eating out at lunch time because you didn't have time to even do that much.
We can solve both problems with some planning! Fail to plan, plan to fail right?
I've put together 10 healthy lunches you can make ahead of time so you're less tempted to choose unhealthy foods in the middle of your busy day.
I put together 10 breakfast recipes that will help you fuel your body in a healthy, satisfying way that holds you until lunchtime!
Breakfast is indeed one of the most important meals of the day. It sets the tone for your metabolic response when you break your fast. Building your meal with fat, fiber and protein right from the start will help prevent your body from craving junk food, experiencing energy slumps and help you feel confident and healthy!
Making healthy meals can feel intimidating but it doesn't have to be. I'm going to give you the building blocks to use to build a healthy meal to fit any cuisine that fits your craving.
1. FAT Every meal must have a healthy source of fat. Fat is important to increase your levels of satiety hormones in your body. Healthy fats play an important role in regulating your cholesterol, helping you digest fat soluble vitamins and is used for your body's hormone production.
2. FIBER This is another portion of your meal that helps your body feel satisfied, evens out your blood sugar, prevents high cholesterol, can help prevent certain types of cancer and aids in the elimination of "waste" from your body. You should aim to get about 25 grams a day from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds and legumes.
3. PROTEIN The building block for muscle, antibodies to help your immune system, the transporter of oxygen and nutrients and the macronutrient that helps regulate your body's pH is protein! Make it your goal to get about 20g of protein per meal but if you are still hungry, you can increase this amount.
Sounds simple but yet difficult? Come follow me on IG and click on my stories when I make meals for my family and I'll walk you through how the recipes fit The FFP Method for meal building (fat, fiber, protein). Also, come back to the blog over the next few weeks to get some recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner that will help you follow The FFP Method!
Inflammation is the most likely cause of disease in the human body and what we eat can either feed the flames of inflammation or help cool them off. You have the power do something about whatever inflammation is causing your health problems! Let’s go through a few inflammation causing foods that you should avoid:
You have the power to change your health through your diet. Make the decision to incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods and eliminate inflammatory foods! Give yourself at least a few weeks and up to a few months of consistent change to notice a significant impact in your health.
High cholesterol is one of the most common chronic health problems that can lead to several MORE serious issues. There are several different medications that can be prescribed to help lower cholesterol and while these medications are important, it’s also important to change your lifestyle and prevent yourself from needing them in the first place.
Side effects of cholesterol lowering medications called Statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) include:
There are several things you can do to help lower your cholesterol:
If you’re needing to reduce your cholesterol or risk for heart disease and stroke, pick one of the five listed ways to decrease your cholesterol and start implementing changes to make it part of your daily life. Make a SMART goal about the item you choose. For example- I will eat 25g of fiber a day by eating 5 servings of vegetables a day and using acacia fiber for the next two weeks.
Once you get one item down, move on to the next until you have all five of these as part of your lifestyle. You’re much more likely to succeed at lifestyle changes when you have someone holding you accountable and encouraging you along the way. Find a friend that wants to make the same changes or hire a health coach to exponentially improve your chances of making permanent changes to your lifestyle.
If you've got kids and it's summer, chances are you're spending some significant time poolside. And I don't know about your kids but sometimes I'm not sure if they want to go to the pool to swim or to eat snacks! :) Here are some healthier poolside snack options:
1. Charcuterie mason jars (use your kids favorites like but here's a good link so you can see the concept)
2. Popcorn (either make your own at home or bring a bag of store bought popcorn with fewest ingredients possible like "boom chicka pop")
3. Cheese sticks
4. Veggie pinwheels
5. Rice cakes to top with nut butter and their choice of fruit or veggie toppings
5. Infused water
6. Vegetables & Dip (we use primal kitchen ranch dressing)
7. Energy balls
8. Turkey Sandwich Kebobs
9. Crunchy Chickpeas
10. Butterfly Snack Bags
In our great country we have many freedoms that we take for granted because they're seemingly things every human should have. Have you thought about these freedoms that you enjoy?
1. Grocery shopping
2. Eating at restaurants
3. Drinking whatever beverage you'd like
5. Going on vacation
6. Spending money
8. Going outside
9. Enjoying sunrises and sunsets
10. Using electricity
11. Having as many kids as you'd like. Or none.
12. Choosing a healthcare provider
13. Driving a car
14. Obtaining an education
15. Choosing a job
...definitely not an all inclusive list.
It's good to not only focus on our bigger freedoms but also the small ones that we may not have in another country. Given our freedoms, what will you choose to do with yours? Make the most of your freedoms to make a big impact on the world through something you're passionate about? Or focus on making life as pleasant as possible for yourself? Maybe you balance both of those. Whatever you choose, recognize your freedoms that many don't have and be grateful!
Celebrations of independence are just around the corner and just as with any celebration, if you're trying to stay on track with your healthier living efforts your parties may require a little extra planning to offer some food options that aren't going to totally derail your efforts.
Depending on where you are on your health journey you could choose to approach celebrations in a few different ways:
1. Don't indulge at all. This approach is the hardest for some and the easiest for others. It really depends on how you're doing with your sweet tooth. Some find that if they indulge at all then they completely go overboard with what they eat so it's easier to stay on track if they don't indulge at all. Others will feel over restricted and then begin a binge cycle.
2. Plan your indulgence. For most people, this is the my suggested approach to celebrations because it's usually the most sustainable approach. Go into the day knowing you're going to have some delicious food you wouldn't normally eat and have the mindset that you'll get right back to your better food choices the next day. Where this could get you in trouble is if you have trouble resisting a binge once you start eating indulgent foods OR you have access to leftovers of the less-than-ideal food options and your indulgence carries over into several days.
3. See how you're feeling. This approach tends to lend itself to disaster unless you use it carefully. First, you should think about how you're feeling now that you've started to nourish your body with healthier foods and compare it to how you felt when you weren't making the best choices for your body. Next, remember your goals and your reason for starting a healthier lifestyle. Then approach the parties and events with the goal of having fun but not over-indulging. This approach may be perfect for those of you who struggle with obsessing over foods and feeling over restricted.
To help yourself out it's smart to bring a healthier dish to events that you would like to eat yourself. Chances are there are plenty of other people at the event that will appreciate your healthier option. Here are just a few ideas:
1. Watermelon Caprese with Balsamic Glaze
2. July 4th Charcuterie Board
3. Quick Watermelon Skewers
4. 4th of July Fruit Kabobs
5. Blueberry Tomato Caprese
6. Watermelon and Blueberry Sparklers
7. Red, White and Blueberry Parfait
High fructose corn syrup is that type of sugar we’re all supposed to avoid right? Well, there’s more to the story than just avoiding high fructose corn syrup. Let’s take a look at what HFCS is and how it impacts our body according to science (instead of moms/health advocates on the internet). Corn starch is made to corn syrup through acid hydrolysis (hydrochloric acid, heat, pressure). The corn syrup is then converted to high fructose corn syrup through enzymes that convert some of the glucose molecules in corn syrup to fructose molecules. HFCS is 42% or 55% fructose.
We also need to pay attention to how the body metabolizes glucose and fructose because the two go through a very different process. Glucose is taken immediately to your cells, muscles and brain for energy by its’ taxi named insulin. If there’s anything leftover it’s then taken to the liver for conversion to glycogen (sugar in storage form) or fat. In contrast, fructose is taken straight to the liver to replenish glycogen stores and make triglycerides. A very small amount of fructose is made for energy. Because fructose doesn’t use insulin, consuming fructose doesn’t cause a huge insulin release and so was theorized to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes- hence the health craze that caused people to use fructose instead of sucrose (table sugar) to sweeten foods. However, the triglycerides that fructose makes can be problematic in a different way than glucose. Fructose is used to make triglycerides which can cause their own cascade of inflammation leading to chronic diseases.
Just to confuse matters a bit, which is what caused people started to avidly avoid HFCS, some studies say HFCS can contribute to increased body fat, NAFLD, insulin resistance and increased cardiometabolic risk. Other studies say HFCS itself doesn’t contribute very much to those unless there is a caloric excess at baseline in which one could assume these processes would be happening anyways. The FDA states there are no studies that show a difference between HFCS and other sweeteners that have the same amounts of fructose and glucose. It is believed that HFCS is more addicting than table sugar but the evidence here is also lacking. HFCS is sweeter tasting than sucrose so one could logically connect there would be more of a tendency to addiction despite inability of studies to show a statistically significant difference *in humans* between carbohydrate equivalent loads of glucose and HFCS and how they impact ghrelin, leptin and insulin. Larger human studies are needed to show truly what HFCS does to the body versus other types of sweeteners. People with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) should try to avoid anything that stresses their liver, such as fructose and HFCS.
We can safely conclude that we should be avoiding eating too many sweets, sugars and carbohydrates regardless of what type of sugar is used. Whatever sweetener used, if used sparingly, is going to be safer than using any sweetener in excess.
If you're struggling with cravings and sugar addiction you need to strategically take on reducing your sugar consumption so you'll be successful!
When you eat sugar or carbohydrates your body has to release insulin to transport the sugar to your muscles, liver and brain. Once all the sugar has been transported there's still insulin left in your blood that'll make your brain think it needs to have more food. Specifically, you'll want more sugar or carbohydrates. There are ways to eat your carbohydrates without having a big blood sugar crash and subsequent cravings. Here are some strategies you can implement-
First, always have fat, fiber and protein with your snacks and meals. Building your food with this structure makes whatever you're consuming get digested more slowly and will send signals to your brain that you're full.
Second, avoid processed sugar. There's little you can do to prevent cravings and sugar crashes after eating a big load of sugar. If you have the option, eat sugar with fat and protein. For example, if you're getting a sugary Starbucks drink, consider getting the full-fat version instead of the non-fat version. Be mindful of how you feel after the full-fat version versus the non-fat version you've had before. You may save yourself calories later in the day by mitigating your cravings even though your drink itself may have some more calories from the full-fat milk.
Third, get enough sleep. Hunger hormones and cravings are altered when you're sleep deprived. You'll crave more junk, more sugar and more calories when you're if you're running on little sleep. If you're sleep deprived and trying to get past cravings, eat something high in fat and protein before you grab a bowl of cereal.
Lastly, be aware of other things that alter your blood sugar curve. Adrenaline, stress, caffeine, exercise and dehydration can all cause changes in your blood sugar curve. Be aware of how your body responds to these situations and plan accordingly.