Make Your Diet Easier to Stick To With These Seven Tips

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I don’t like the word “dieting” in the sense that there are SO many fad “diets” out there that restrict food groups, calories and have ridiculous rules that everyone eventually breaks. In any of my posts when I say the word diet, I am talking about the food you consume on a daily basis, rather than a set of rules stating you can ONLY eat cabbage soup or drink lemon water. I will emphasize that I am not an advocate for fad diets, detoxes, juice fasts, etc. Your diet should be a sustainable lifestyle choice with plenty of balance. This means incorporating foods from all food groups and eating correct portion sizes.

Make your diet easier to stick with starting today by following these simple and effective steps. Revamp your pantry, fill your fridge with the right foods and prepare your snacks in advance. Go grocery shopping on Sunday to stock your home with whole foods. This will make it simple to stick to your healthy eating program. Then get rid of all the temptation foods in your home that could make it hard to stay on track. And just so you do not feel deprived allow yourself one cheat meal per week. This can be the perfect time to dine out!

These are my seven tested and tried true ways to making sticking to your new diet work.

1. MAKEOVER YOUR PANTRY

Give your pantry a makeover and fill it with whole grains, nuts, and foods that nourish your body. This will make snack time even easier and create healthy meals a breeze. Preparation is the key to weight loss success so prepare your pantry pronto, girlfriend!

2. FILL YOUR FRIDGE WITH THE RIGHT FOODS

Get rid of the cheese and processed foods and replace with fruits and veggies. If you fill your fridge with the right foods, you will find it so easy to stick to your diet. Then it will no longer be a diet just a way of life.

3. PREPARE SNACKS IN ADVANCE

Cut up veggies and arrange snacks like hummus in the fridge for your convenience and ease and to stick to the plan. Sometimes the sheer thought of creating snacks and meals can be stressful. If you're prepared when hunger or the 3 pm snack attack strikes, you just have to open up the fridge, grab and go!

4. GET RID OF TEMPTATION FOODS

If you know chips, cookies, and crackers tend to be your weak points, eliminate these temptations from your home. In fact, why are they even there? Make sure you toss all your unhealthy food from your home and start on a clean, healthy slate!

5. PLAN OUT YOUR WEEKLY HEALTHY MENU

So Monday is lettuce wrap night, Tuesday it is turkey tacos on a whole wheat wrap, Wednesday is quinoa and veggies and so on and so on. Create a healthy weekly menu, and this will help you as you go shopping so you can shop for these ingredients while also helping you to stay on the right track to super slim success! Need som ideas? Check out Amanda Meixner aka @meowmeix or Tina Chow aka @fitchickscook for inspo.

6. ALLOW YOURSELF ONE CHEAT MEAL A WEEK

So you have been so good and committed to your healthy eating all week, you go girlfriend! Now it is Saturday night, and you have a dinner invite at your favorite Thai restaurant. Before you decline, remember it is time to allow yourself a cheat meal. (Remeber it's a cheat meal, not a cheat day.) If you are good all week long, it is perfectly okay to celebrate and allow yourself one cheat meal! Savor each bite and enjoy; after all, you earned it!

7. REWARD YOURSELF WITH A NEW FITNESS TOP

If you have been on track all week long, you deserve to celebrate your commitment to change. This is healthy change so celebrate by allowing yourself to shop for a new workout top, shorts or other fitness motivation to inspire you to continue on this path! So with these super-effective tips, follow along. This will make it easier for you to stick with the program to a healthier, leaner and happier you. And you may just rediscover yourself in the process!

7 Complete Protein Plant-Based Sources For Babes Who Want To Eat Less Meat & Dairy

Regardless of what we all grew up believing, meat, dairy and eggs aren’t the only sources of complete protein. There are 20 amino acids in the human body: nine of which are essential, meaning your body can’t produce them on its own and eleven that are non-essential amino acids meaning your body can produce them without the help from food. The nine essential amino acids are what we know as a complete protein, which means they're more beneficial than incomplete proteins. Animal sources aren't necessarily the best options, so try adding some of these alternative sources of complete protein to your next meal and see what you think!

7 Complete Protein Plant-Based Sources For Babes Who Want To Eat Less Meat & Dairy 🌱🌿

SPIRULINA

Spirulina is a type of algae and the best of all sources of complete protein. It is 60-70% protein compared to beef, which is only 22% protein. Per teaspoon, spirulina has 4 grams of protein, and a teaspoon of beef has just 1 gram. Not to mention spirulina contains more iron, calcium, and vitamin B12 than any other food. Use a tablespoon in a smoothie with some vanilla, a frozen banana, blueberries, and spinach with almond milk for a tasty treat that keeps you energized and strong all day long!

HEMP SEED

Hemp seed is especially rich in magnesium, B vitamins, omega 3 and omega six fats, iron, and potassium. Hemp seed contains 13 grams of protein per three tablespoons and a whopping 14 grams of fiber to go along with it! Sprinkle some on your next smoothie, oatmeal, or salad. You can also enjoy these nutty seeds as an alternative to protein powder if you wish.

CHIA

Chia seeds are one of the best plant-based protein sources of iron, potassium, B vitamins, fiber, and omega three fats. For only two tablespoons of chia, you’ll get 10 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber to keep you full for hours on end. Though the seeds are tasteless, you can enjoy them in so many delicious foods like smoothies, oatmeal, puddings, salad dressings, energy snacks, and homemade protein bars.

Goji Berries

These red berries are not only a source of complete protein with 18 amino acids but have 500 times more vitamin C per ounce of oranges. They have a strong, slightly bitter, but with some of that sweet berry aftertaste. Add them to smoothies, granola/ trail mix, and salads!

7 Complete Protein Plant-Based Sources For Babes Who Want To Eat Less Meat & Dairy 🌱🌿

BUCKWHEAT

Regardless of its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, nor does it contain gluten. It also isn’t even an actual grain, though it gets categorized in the grain family due to its nutrient profile. Buckwheat is the seed of a fruit plant and a rich source of complete protein, B vitamins, fiber, and magnesium. Many people enjoy it as a gluten-free alternative hot cereal though you can also eat it sprouted or made into granola. It has a rich nutty flavor with a robust heartiness that keeps you full for hours.

Bee Pollen

These granules created by bees from flowering plants is another nutrient dense food that has 5 to 7 times more protein than beef. Other than all the immune supporting properties bee pollen is an excellent antidote for fighting off allergies, particularly sinusitis and hay fever. You can use them as toppings for smoothie bowls or blend them in, top them on salads or cereal!

QUINOA

This magical grain-like seed is a rich source of protein and one of the healthiest complex carbs you can eat. Quinoa is also a rich source of iron, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and fiber. Cooked with some savory seasonings and veggie broth or even eaten for breakfast with cinnamon, bananas, and almond milk, quinoa is the perfect meal addition, any way you use it.

All of the foods mentioned are a complete source of protein, and some have higher amounts of protein than any animal protein (i.e. Steak= 25% of protein).

Here's Why You Should Never Skip Breakfast

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Breakfast like a king, lunch like an earl and sup like a pauper.

This old adage contains sound advice, according to modern nutritionists. Skipping breakfast is not good for you, eating the wrong things for breakfast is, too. Whether you're a kid still sprouting or a fully grown specimen of the human race, food delivers the nutrients we need, and breakfast happens to be particularly important because after a night's sleep our bodies are low on protein, vitamins, minerals and energy. Hence the word "break" and "fast."

1. Skipping breakfast is linked to weight gain

Numerous studies have proven that eating breakfast aids weight loss. These studies have proven that people skipping breakfast habitually, are 4.5 times more likely to become overweight or obese than those who eat a healthy breakfast.Help avoid a sluggish metabolism by starting your day with eggs or oatmeal. I actually fluctuate 3-4 pounds if I miss breakfast. Why is this? Because without properly fueling, your body is missing those important macros that help control your appetite and not being ravenous during the day.

2. It contains all the nutrients you need

No, not fatty bacon, sausage or hash browns! Breakfast foods like oats and eggs or fruit and unsweetened yogurt will provide you with your daily dollop of healthy nutrition. Those who skip breakfast will have lower levels of potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B6, C and E.

3. You'll Have More Energy

To stabilize your blood glucose level and have more energy, start your day the right way with some eggs. This will provide you with lean protein for a powerful day! And starting your day with protein and a healthy fat will curb your appetite so you make healthier choices for the day. Having more energy is one of my top reasons you should never skip breakfast.

4. Breakfast helps balance protein levels

Instead of scarfing down most of your daily protein dose at dinner time, change your breakfast routine. Our bodies need protein to develop and maintain lean muscle tissue. If we don't get a sufficient supply during the day, muscle maintenance is not optimized.

Our bodies use energy to digest food and make efficient use of the nutrients we consume. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). Not all foods burn up the same amount of energy, though. Protein has a far higher TEF (20 - 35%) level than fat or carbs. This means a high protein intake can significantly boost our metabolism and increase the amount of calories our bodies burn, amounting to as much as 100 additional calories per day.

Eating lots of protein at dinner time doesn't work because our bodies can only absorb and process so much at a time. Include milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese and lean meats in your breakfast to balance protein levels correctly and you'll feel fuller for longer.

5. Protein at breakfast is the best hangover cure

Why should a plate of bacon and eggs serve as the ideal hangover cure after an epic boozy night out? It's because our bodies crave protein in the mornings. Proteins are broken down into individual amino acids. They help our liver to detoxify, which speeds up our recovery. Alcohol consumption depletes the number of amino acids in our bodies, which means eating a hearty bacon butty will get your amino acids working again, according to researchers at Newcastle University.

Do you always eat breakfast and does it contain protein?

These Are High-Fat Foods You Should Be Eating That Won't Wreck Your Diet

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Are you one of those people that avoid fat like the plague? I used to be just like you. But, what if I told you that fat is good for you? It's true it is. Let's be real, it's not fat that you should be worried about, it's those carbs, which we'll get into next week. These Are High-Fat Foods You Should Be Eating That Won't Wreck Your Diet letsregale.com

Some high-fat foods are healthy for you. These high-fat foods can help maintain your cells and keep your hormones balanced, keep you fuller for longer and also boost your immunity. However, so many people aim for a non-fat diet, believing this is the answer to being slim. (This is another topic for next week.) But slimming down can be more easily achieved by consuming healthy fats. This is in fact just what your body needs. As a result of consuming these healthy fats, your skin will be clearer, your body leaner and your immune system will be boosted. Here are high fat foods you should eat during your diet.

Eggs

Most dieters choose egg whites over the whole scrambled egg due to fear of weight gain. Although I totally understand the thought process, this is a falsity. Having the whole egg can aid your weight loss even more. Even though there is fat in the yolk, this is healthy fat which can aid your weight loss. So, go ahead, enjoy the whole egg with a smile as you better your body nutritionally while slimming down.

Nuts

Why should you be eating nuts? Well, it is pretty simple. They are a healthy fat in moderation (no more than a handful a day), full of protein and fiber. In addition to helping you feel full longer while suppressing your appetite, this is healthy fat. Not bad for dieters, right? A handful of nuts suppressing your appetite is a dieter's dream!

Avocado

Did you know that a half of an avocado contains a whopping 15 grams of fat? The good news is that 10 of those grams are monounsaturated fats, which contributes to improving your cholesterol levels. Foods high in monounsaturated fats may prevent the accumulation of #belly fat so dieters, enjoy! And the #benefits don’t stop there. Avocados are also high in antioxidants and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. So enjoy to better your health and slim that body down!

Coconut

Coconut was once said to clog your arteries but now, through countless studies, that has proved to be incorrect. Coconut has fat, but it's the healthy fat shown to improve the health of your heart. Coconut in moderation can lower your risk of heart disease. Cheers to that as you munch on a piece of coconut!

Olive Oil

Look at the Mediterranean diet and its use of olive oil. Olive oil works great for cooking or even as a salad dressing because of the great taste. It’s high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which is the healthy, diet-friendly fat for those looking to lose weight. Working olive oil into your diet can help lower your risk of heart disease by lowering your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. And you can lean down in the process - just enjoy in moderation!

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is also a healthy fat that can help to curb your appetite and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Spread a thin layer on a slice of whole grain bread as a great post workout snack. This protein packed snack will aid your recovery and assist in your weight loss goals!

Salmon

Although salmon is high in fat, this is a healthy fat that can lower your risk of heart disease. Salmon contains Omega 3, which your body requires reducing your risk of a heart attack. So enjoy this healthy fat two times a week for a heart healthy and happy life!

Enjoy the healthy high-fat foods that are dieter friendly in moderation. And please share, what is your fav? Mine are eggs; they help me start my day the right way!

Healthy Tips for a Lean BBQ Season + Dijon Vinaigrette Recipe

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Springtime is the start of warm weather and grilling season. It's synonymous with grilling for many American families, and why not? When the weather is warm, we spend more time outdoors and try to stay out of the hot kitchen.

The days start to get longer, and it starts to stay lighter longer, and the evenings tend to seem a little less jam-packed with activities than usual. These are all great reasons to look to the barbecue for dinner inspiration.

But before you dust off that grill, call over some friends, I have some tips to help you enjoy the BBQ season while keeping your meals as lean and healthy as can be without compromising on the fun.

Healthy Tips for a Lean BBQ Season
Healthy Tips for a Lean BBQ Season
Healthy Tips for a Lean BBQ Season

Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 1: Bold ingredients add great flavor to grilling sauces and marinades.

You can add bold flavors without adding too many calories or fat grams. Here are some of my favorite ingredients for sauces and marinades: Worcestershire sauce: 2 tablespoons contain 30 calories, 0 grams fat, and 390 milligrams sodium Chili sauce: 2 tablespoons contain 40 calories, 0 grams fat, and 960 milligrams sodium (depending on brand)

Tomato paste: 2 tablespoons contain 30 calories, 0 grams fat, and 20 milligrams sodium Molasses: 2 tablespoons contain 120 calories, 0 grams fat, and 40 milligrams sodium Soy sauce (less-sodium type): 2 tablespoons contain 20 calories, 0 grams fat, and 1150 milligrams sodium

Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 2: Have large resealable plastic bag, will marinate!

One of the easiest ways to marinate meat, chicken, fish or vegetables is to place them inside a large, resealable plastic bag. Set the bag in a medium sized bowl, then drizzle the marinade over the food. Seal the bag, eliminating any excess air. The food should be surrounded by the marinade. Keep marinating in the refrigerator until you're ready to grill.

Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 3: A little sweetness is good, but more is not better

Adding a small amount of a sweet ingredient (like fruit juice, brown sugar, honey or molasses) to the marinade or grilling sauce can be a good thing. It adds flavor and helps to balance other bold spices in the marinade or sauce. But too much sweetness can encourage the meat, fish, or vegetables to burn when they're grilled over high heat.

Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 4: Throw some vegetables on the grill

The best part about grilling vegetables is that you don't have to worry about overcooking them as you do with some types of meat. And vegetables seem to taste better grilled than they do cook any other way. Marinating vegetables will help them caramelize better when they're grilled, and it's the caramelization that brings the best flavors. Just submerge the vegetables in a marinade for about an hour before putting them on the grill. If you don't have that kind of prep time, just coat the vegetables ever so lightly with a little olive oil or canola oil.

Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 5: Deconstruct your favorites

Sure, hot dogs aren't the poster child of healthy eating, but deconstructing your favorite BBQ meal is a way to make it a bit healthier. A hot-off-the-grill, juicy, ConAgra Hebrew National® All-Beef Franks hot dogs are one of grilling season’s ultimate greatest pleasures. But, who says you have to be deprived when you’re eating clean? With a well-chosen hot dog, bun and fresh toppings, you can make the best of the wurst. I LOVE deconstructing mine by creating a salad with bold colors and fresh ingredients. I usually will top it with sauerkraut and a dijon vinaigrette for some wholesome, quality eating. Want the recipe? Continue reading!

Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 6: Be sensible about servings

  • Encourage eating smaller portions by grilling the meat in smaller portions, such as:
  • 1/4 pound burgers (made with extra-lean ground sirloin) instead of 1/3 or 1/2 pound patties.
  • Filet mignon-sized steaks instead of 10- to 16-ounce steaks.
  • Kabobs made with small pieces of meat, alternated with vegetables.
  • Link sausage cut lengthwise in half instead of grilled whole.
  • Thin slices of larger cuts of meat (such whole pork tenderloin, roasts, etc). Let the meat rest 10 minutes after cooking, then slice before serving to family or guests.

Healthy Tips for a Lean BBQ Season

What You'll Need

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

What You'll Need To Know

Whisk lemon juice, Dijon mustard, vinegar, and garlic in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
 

I've partnered with ConAgra Hebrew National® All-Beef Franks to bring you this lean BBQ tips. As always, all opinions are my own.

Everything You Need to Know About Smart Pre-Workout Meals

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Have you ever wondered what you should eat before a hard workout or training session? I know I have, and sometimes have been stumped on what to eat, when, and why. pre workout meals letregale.com

How you eat all the time is the most important way you can prepare your body nutritionally to perform at its peak. It is impossible to make up for skimping on meals and snacks during the week by eating one super large carb loaded meal on your grueling workout day. You see, your muscles and endurance levels can't be tricked that easily. And, without the adequate nutrients, you'll be "hitting the wall" considerably faster than if you had been powering all along.

Your ongoing eating patterns should be high in good quality complex, slow digesting carbohydrates (think oat bran, quinoa, and amaranth.) It should also be moderate in both protein and fat because these take a bit longer to digest.

You'll usually find that your energy will remain highest during a competition or exercise routine if you have eaten a light meal about 2 or 3 hours before exercising, and a snack 30 minutes before exercising. This allows your body to have some available energy in the form of circulating glucose, without having too much food in the stomach to slow you down or feel uncomfortable. (And, you definitely don't want to get sick!)

This small meal or snack should be comprised of mostly carbs, it could have some protein to let it stay with you a little longer, and should be very low in fat, to allow your stomach to digest this food quickly.

Some examples of solid pre-exercise snacks:

A banana with 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt Greek Yogurt with a slice of wholegrain toast (Ezekiel bread is an excellent option) Fruit and Greek Yogurt A banana and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter Fruit smoothie made with almond milk Oat Bran bowl made with raisins and hemp milk A bowl of quinoa with a banana or fruit of sorts and unsweetened milk Chia Seeds Pudding made with Greek yogurt and fruit Two Brown rice cakes with a side of fruit

Got the idea? Fruit is always a good idea for carb loading.

Timing meals is important

Timing your meals is important! If you eat too much before your workout—or too soon before it, you won't have digested your snack by the time you start moving. And unfortunately, since both your digestive system and your muscles need blood to function properly, they'll end up competing for it. As you get into your workout, your muscles will win out and require more blood, pulling it away from your digestive tract. This in return will have you feeling pain in your gut when you get on the treadmill or elliptical too close to breakfast or snack time.

On the other hand, if you don't eat enough before your workout, or it's been too long since your last meal, you can expect an energy crash. Blood-sugar levels drop during the first 15 or 20 minutes of a workout, which can lead to tiredness, dizziness, or even fainting. To avoid all of this, eat half an hour before your workout. This snack should be an easy-to-digest and composed of 60% carbs like fruit, a bagel, or a banana with peanut butter. Since your body and muscles can't be fooled, eating a nutritionally balanced diet will make a world of a difference.  And, definitely, avoid eating high fats. Fats take a bit longer to digest and will have you feeling a bit sluggish. (You don't want that!)

Feeling nervous/anxious/overwhelmed?

I tend to get more nervous before grueling workouts like boot camp or kickboxing, even if I've done them a million times. This anxiety will usually slow the digestive process. Allowing more time before exercising, eating a lower fat meal, doing relaxation breathing techniques, or even trying a liquid meal like a fruit smoothie blended with simply Greek yogurt and fruit should help.

Whatever you do, don't experiment day-of

If you are trying something new with your eating routine, it's not a good idea to wait until the day-of to experiment, especially if you've got a tournament or some sort of competition. You could upset your digestive system,  an even bigger problem than too much food in your stomach!

Early morning workouts cramping your eating schedule?

If you are exercising first thing in the morning or have a race, then the last meal and snacks you have the evening before are crucial. You'll want to make sure that you eat foods that are high in carbs, moderate in protein and fat. You should also aim to have a light high carbohydrate snack as soon as you can after you get up on the morning of. A bowl of Oat Bran or a banana smoothie might just enough to get you through an early morning event. You can always add more calories later in the morning.

Check out Pre-Game Meals: What To Eat Before Your Grueling Workout

by valerie fidan at Mode

How do you fuel up before a grueling workout?

Eat Less CRAP And Eat More FOOD

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Happy Wellness Wednesday! We've made it through half of the week.

A photo posted by Valerie Fidan (@valeriefidan) on

Good one, right? But, it's SO true. Good eating habits go hand in hand with consistent physical activity for optimal health. By making small changes to your diet and workout routine, you're making a HUGE impact on your overall health and wellness. You're preventing illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and obesity.

You see, good eating habits go hand in hand with consistent physical activity for optimal health. You can't just kick ass at the gym and expect to eat everything you want. You grueling sweat sesh needs proper nutrients. By making small changes to your diet and workout routine, you're making a HUGE impact on your overall health and wellness. You're preventing risks for certain illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and obesity.

To eat healthier food, you'll need to change some of your daily habits. You also may need to change some things in your environment. Your environment includes everything around you, like your home or the place you work. (Say bye to those potato chips in your desk drawer.)

But you don't need to make enormous changes to eat healthier, nor do it all at once. It takes time and baby steps. Understanding that the principles of good eating and optimal nutrition include variety, balance, and moderation:

Variety – choose a wide variety of food sources Balance – ensure you are eating foods from each food group Moderation – ensure you are not overeating on one or more food groups

Are you looking to make a change for better health? Just remember this.... [columns_row width="half"] [column]Eat Less CRAP! C - Carbonated drinks R - Refined sugar A - Artificial Sweetness and colors P - Processed foods[/column] [column]Eat More FOOD! F - Fruits and veggies O - Organic, antiobiotic-free lean proteins O - Omega 3 fatty acids D - Drink more water![/column] [/columns_row]

By changing each of these things that are CRAP one at a time, you'll create life changing healthy habits. Habit puts willpower on autopilot. Changes in lifestyle and behavior can be tough in the beginning, but become effortless when you turn them into a habit.

Just think... you are what you eat. Eat like shit and you'll feel like shit. Feed yourself amazing things and you'll feel amazing.