Tip of the Week # 18: Quality vs. Quanitity

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When it comes to the food you put into your body, its more than just “calories in and calories out”… The food you consume is either going to benefit you nutritionally or its not, its either going to give you energy, vitamins, minerals, fiber and everything else or it may make you feel lethargic, worn out or give you a sugar rush that will most likely die within a few hours. So when picking out your food according to price vs. nutrition is a huge thing that a lot of people have a hard time doing.

All the time I hear “eating healthy is expensive” Yeah sure, some of it can be, not gonna deny that. But… I dare you to go to your produce isle and look at how much a bag of 10 potatoes is, or how much a bunch of spinach or romaine is…. a bag of potatoes is about $4 (and there usually are like 10 potatoes in there!) Then go over to the lettuce options you have (not he pre-packaged pre-made salads the actual bunch of leafs… they usually are about $1 $1.50 each bunch ) If your buy 2 or 3 of those, make your own salad mix A. you usually get more than the pre-packaged salads and B. its usually half the price. Key to buying healthy foods is to know where you can save money.

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Now that I got that rant off my chest with a little example were gonna discuss how quality is so much more important to quality. Sure have a few cookies or a pop tart here and there but not every day. Your goal is to get healthy right? Well here are some things to consider when you reach for that junk food.

  • Fake sugar and sugar in general – Now I’m not saying a little sugar is bad. Sometimes you need a little to keep your sanity hahaha.. and sugar from things like fruit aren’t as bad as your actual table sugar…. When you eat sugar or too much sugar is spikes your insulin levels .. which can result in diseases like diabetes and whatnot. When  you insulin levels are spiked you body is constantly trying to “burn that sugar off” first. And with that insulin being spiked your body is going to have a  harder time getting to that fat burning zone. Needless to say sugar any kind, fake or not, your body isn’t used to the amount we normally put into it  now-a-days. Do you really think our systems as humans were meant to eat potato chips, Oreos and sugary cereal all day? or at all for that matter? Limit your sugar intake and you’ll see a change, guarantee it. (I’ll do a post on how to curn sugar cravings and other options you can use that are better than sugar soon if ya’ll would like.)

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  • Ok so as we talked about Oreos and Cereal …. lets take a look at that. So  yeah its yummy don’t get me wrong and like I said, enjoy a fricken oreo here and there (you need to find a balance) but do NOT eat the whole pack in 2 days haha. So when looking at cereal, have you actually looked at the ingredients in Captain Crunch? (I’m picking Captain because its one or was, one of my favs =)) Besides looking at how many calories are in the food and calling it done, I want you to grab a box of a sugary (usually Kellogg’s) cereal and go over to Kashi cereal. Look at the ingredients on the bottom of the nutrition panel. Do you recognize everything in the Captain Crunch? Do you in the Kashi? I bet there is less in Kashi as well. Now…… here is where people don’t realize. . . . yeah Kashi is $4 and Captain is probably $1 .. $2 I don’t know.. So with that and looking at the ingredents, I bet one of the first few ingredients in Captain is “Enriched Bleached Flour” .. Yup! Its exactly what it sounds like, I might as well go grab my flour, bring it down to the laundry room and make my own. sad to say but yes, its true… they bleach it. and I bet the ingredient sugar isn’t far behind it on the list. On the flipside, Kashi probably says something like “Whole Wheat rolled Oats” or something. Now that should like something healthy right ? … and it definitely doesn’t sound like a chemical shit storm… Pay attention to ingredients and look for as minimal as possible.

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  • Lets talk about nutrition (the main point). So which do you think will fill you up faster? A burger from a fast food place? Or a salad? Well the thing is, they both “fill you up” just depends on how long your going to stay full for, which is going to provide your body with the nutrients, vitamins and fiber your body needs to run at top notch and which one is healthier (because being healthy is the main goal here). If your keeping track of your calories (which you should be because you’d be surprised how much you actually eat sometimes). You will notice how easy it is to get up to 1800 calories by eating crap foods. I mean good grief, 2 chips ahoy cookies is 150 calories alone, and between you and me… I cant just eat two at a time, its usually like 4 or 5 ( which equals 300+ cal) haha. Whereas, if you were to cook up 4oz of chicken and some fresh broccoli or whatever veggie you’d like .. the calories is going to be around 180-200 in that. So now that you see you would get to consume more food by eating healthier foods, you have to stop and think about which one is going to “fuel” your body. 4 cookies or a piece of chicken and veggies. The choice is yours but I think I made my point… plus I don’t know about you… but id rather eat a lot, then only have a small amount of food and feel groggy all day.

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  • One more point, sure at first eating healthy sucks (been there, I used to live on ramen, Tostitos pizza and all kinds of horrible things that I usually don’t eat now .. only for a treat do I do that)  But once you start getting used to it, its really not that bad. You start to get creative in the kitchen, you get a fun cookbook, you start to have fun looking for different spices and herbs. Learn to make it fun, get the whole family in on it and don’t look at it as a chore, your taking care of yourself. I personally like to think that my body is the only one I get, I either spend the money on fresh food or I will spend that money at the dr. later on in life. You’ll also notice a significant change in things like energy, sleep patterns and much more.

Plus I saw brown rice, dry beans and frozen veggies at the dollar store … so don’t tell me its expensive, you’re making excuses.

And don’t feel like you have to do everything at once, I didn’t, take baby steps.. this way you don’t quit or get overwhelmed.

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Baked Garlic & Herb French Fries (no oil)

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Story time first! … (recipe is below if you don’t want to hear my story lol… but I think it was kinda funny personally)  Ok so my boyfriend actually has been doing pretty good through this whole “I want to do a competition” thing. Hes been helping with food prep, supporting me when I lose my shit and dealing with my low-carb mood swings haha. I’m very blessed, that’s all I have to say! … so anyways…..We were driving around and it was becoming dinner time soon for him anyways ( I still had like 2 more meals to eat) But for the most part he’s been eating what Ive been eating give or take some extra carbs or something for him… So the other day he was like “I’m gonna get Good Times” and kind of gave me a look of “please don’t hate me … and is that ok?” lol and I understand … I’m not going to deprive him from things just because I have a goal… its not his goal he can eat/do what he wants… So we order it and he gets the bag and puts it in-between himself and the driver-side door so its not staring at me in the face (aww so considerate)…. So I’m all “you can put it on the center console so it doesn’t fall and spill everywhere” so he does…

I literally looked out the window because all I can smell is those fries… (and if you know me, I’ve never really been a fry fan anyways … but ohhhh Good Times fries just sounded good.. ) .. so I looked down and there is seriously a little fry sticking out of the bag, I swore it was like mocking me. hahha.

So I looked at him and was like .. ” yeah put this back over to your side and we need to go home NOW, so I can make my chicken and asparagus” lol… he just laughed at me and headed  home…. So that’s my story.. I think it was funnier in person, oh well… but anyways I made these and they weren’t “Good Times” fries, but they definitely curbed that craving!!!  ENJOY!

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Recipe:

You’ll need:

As many potatoes as you want ( I used Red Gold for this and I only used 2 potatoes total… but then again I can only have so many carbs right now … so keep that in mine, One potato this size measures out to be about 1 cup)

and Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasonings …

THATS IT! BOOM!  ( p.s. I love minimal ingredient recipes!!! )

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How to:

  • Put potatoes into desired shapes or slices
  • Pre- Heat Oven to 345
  • Lay a piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet and spread out the potato chunks evenly on the baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle Ms. Dash seasoning onto the pieces – jut enough to lightly cover them (it helps if you flip them too so the seasoning gets everywhere)
  • Bake for about 20-25 min depending on how fast your potato cooks. … (I did turn on the broiler for out 5 min just so they came out a little more golden and crisp! )
  • Let cool and Enjoy!

nom nom nom

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Side note: You can basically do this with any potato and any seasoning, no need for oil which helps save on calories!! =) – I might try a southwest Chipotle seasoning next time!

Also, I found a lower sugar Ketchup that’s not too bad either!  But different flavored mustards are delish too!

kats5 cal per tablespoon – 1g sugar! BOOM

Update: 12 Weeks out!

Well I survived 1 whole month. Whooo haha. (it wasn’t that bad… the workouts are brutal though…. )

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Not too much has changed as far as weight ad diet. He did add fish to my plan so that was suuuper exciting haha. (something other than turkey and chicken ahahah)

I notice more of a difference in pictures and body composition than anything (which thank god for pictures because I would probably be freaking out otherwise since when I started with him I was 137ish  and I’m now only 133 lol. But when you think about it, its about 1 lbs. a week which is ideal so I guess I’m on the right track.

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I’m also getting more and more creative with my food to not make it seem like I’m eating the same thing over and over. The other day I did one of these Ms. dash packets (fajita style) in a crock pot of about 6 chicken breasts and made like a pulled chicken type of meal. … and this one was pretty good too. Made it with Ground lean turkey and no tomatoes ( the recipe on the back called for them.. but I’m a rebel and don’t follow rules =P  )

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This was the pulled chicken, it is really juicy (which is god because so many times chicken gets dry fast) … I put it on a salad with some salsa.

Along with just every day life, I also learned to never eat 6 cups of broccoli all day  everyday for 3 days straight.. (or at least I hope that’s what the problem was. So long story short (and I’m just going to say it like it is ya’ll … hope ya don’t get offended) but I was literally keeled over at work and when I got home last night. I was google-ing stomach pain and found that broccoli is a veggie that can A. cause bloating and B. has a harder time digesting in your body… (I didn’t know this)

So with that being said and a laxative taken last night to see if that was the problem (I believe it was BTW) I feel a lot better today and need to go get something other than broccoli for my meals now… since all I have is broccoli hahha.

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this is whats in my fridge hhahahahaa .. oh man..

green beans and asparagus here I come!!!!

 

 

 

 

Lemon & Garlic Kale Chips

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So with my diet being pretty limited to veggies and meat mainly haha, I’m always looking for new ways to spice it up!!! So I made KALE CHIPS! … (even my boyfriend liked them… which was a surprise! ) <— ps. I love when he likes my health food hahah.

Ok enough bibble -babble! On to the Recipe!!!!

Its suuuper simple too. YAY!

You’ll Need:

  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  • A bundle or two of fresh kale, washed and chopped.
  • 6 Garlic cloves, chopped. (or more if ya want… I’m a garlic freak so if you ever ask me… you can never have enough garlic!!!)
  • 1-2 tbsp. Sea Salt (one if you use one bunch, 2 if you make 2 bunches worth)
  • 2 tbsp. Lemon juice or one whole lemon freshly squeezed.
  • 1 tbsp. Black pepper

 

How to:

  • Wash Kale bunches and chop off ends, and then chop into “chip” size pieces.
  • Pre-heat oven to 325
  • In a large bowl mix all ingredients. (Olive Oil, Lemon, Salt, Pepper)
  • Place chopped up kale into bowl and mix around so the oil gets all over it all and you can even let it marinade for a while if you’d like. ( I let mine marinade for about 15 min)
  • On a baking sheet, spread out kale pieces onto sheet and then sprinkle the chopped up garlic cloves on top.
  • Bake for about 15-20 min until the kale pieces seem crispy at the end.
  • Let cool, and ENJOY!!!

Note: it helps if you every once in a while toss the leaves so some don’t end up burnt.. ( you know the ones on the sides of the pan) . …. lol.

 

Meal Prep 101

 

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So I’ve gotten a lot of emails asking me how to meal prep…. therefore! I’m going to show you how easy it is, the trick is to do it all at once.

Meal Prepping is a great way to stay on track, especially when you are low on time and just want to grab something fast. Our first instinct is to go to fast food or something simple when were in a rush right? … So this way, you’ll already have it made and set to go so therefore your diet and all the hard work you’ve already put in with trying to eat clean and workout doesn’t go down the drain.

So what it basically is, is preparing everything you’re going to eat for either that week or more (depending on how much you cook). I like to do my meal preps about every week or even twice a week depending on what days I have off work.  In a nutshell- its cooking in bulk and eating left overs….

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First things first though, you’re going to need a good variety of Tupperware.

Then, you may be asking…. “but what do I cook???”

Well pretty much anything that your diet calls for… My meal preps usually consist of these things:

– LEAN PROTEIN ( chicken,  catfish, tuna, tilapia, salmon, shrimp, beef (shoot for the leanest you can find) , turkey, game meat(deer, elk) protein powders … eggs and egg whites would be good too. Hard boil them, it will make it easier too. )

– VEGGIES ( pretty much all is accepted. I like salads with different green blends, mixed veggies (frozen or fresh) zucchini, squash, carrots, celery, broccoli, asparagus…. you get the drift…)

– COMPLEX CARBS – Yams, sweet potatoes, brown and wild rice, quinoa, couscous, Oats, Whole wheat bread, beans.

– FATS (almonds, cashews, pistachios, avocado, coconut, walnuts, peanut and almond butters, flax, chia, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and oils and oil based dressings. )

– FRUIT – obviously you don’t have to “cook” these..  (pretty much any, Berries, apples, banana, peach, pear, orange, strawberries …etc. )

DAIRY- I don’t eat dairy for the most part, it makes me sick… every once in a while Ill have a Quest bar which has Whey protein isolate in it and I seem to do fine. If your going to add dairy, pick these! ( Low fat mozzarella, low fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt (shoot for plain and add your own goodies!), low-fat milk and creamers for coffee and whatnot  )

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Now that we’ve got the basis of whats pretty much “healthy” and whatnot, how much do you cook? ? ?

Well that all depends on how many days your prepping for. You can do an entire week or a few days. Up to you. Best part of this way of eating (notice I didn’t say diet) is that you DONT STARVE and your constantly eating to rev up that metabolism to ultimately .. lose weight or gain muscle. You ideally want to eat every 3 to 4 hours so that makes about 5-6 meals a day. Now these meals .. since there are more than your average three, are going to be smaller in size, but that’s ok because every 3 hours your going to eat more.

Here is a basic every day meal plan for me currently.

Meal 1: Oats with 1 banana

(this is the time I workout usually)

Meal2: Protein Shake with a piece of fruit

Meal 3: 4oz grilled chicken, 1 cup brown rice and 1 cup mixed veggies

Meal4: 4 oz fish, Big salad with as much veggies as I want. 2 tbsp. oil based dressing  (you can add in a complex carb here if you’d like )

Meal5 : 4 oz turkey, 1 cup veggies (add carb if wanted)

M6: Protein Shake

SO in example I really only need to “prep” 3 meals per day. The oats and shakes take like 2 minutes for me to make on the spot … So when prepping keep in mind how much you actually need to make. Now I’m not saying to follow THIS plan, this is just an example .. Do what you want, make it fun, add in some fricken cottage cheese ( man I miss that stuff haha) and make it YOUR meal plan and make the food towards Your Goals!!

So basically cook like your having a party or barbeque haha. Light up the grill and grill up some chicken and turkey burgers, meanwhile while that’s going, cut up salad and veggies and also have either some rice on the stove or a few sweet potatoes in the oven. Its really quite simple, just start cooking and see how it ends up. Use different spices so things don’t always taste the same or seem bland. (I like Mrs Dash a lot because its salt-free yay!)

Put it all in Tupperware and you can even mark what day they are for on the containers if you want. The more organized you are the easier it gets. Preps usually only take me an hour (that’s 4% of my day) .. You have time, just find or make the time =)

Also, get creative, find new recipes and learn to have fun with it =)

HAPPY PREPPING!

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ps. I do a lot more “prepping” and what not on my instagram! FOLLOW ME! @amanda_fit_

 

 

My Current Meal and Supplement Plan (Fitness Comp Prep)

A lot of people have been asking what my diet looks like, what I eat, when I eat and how they can get their metabolism running faster… the key is to eat super clean foods every 3 hours so your body doesn’t even have a chance to feel hungry. I also focus more on counting my macronutrients (protein, carb, fiber and fat) more than my calories..

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… so here it is!

I always make sure I drink 8oz water right when I  wake up.

Supplements at waking:

  • 200-300 mg caffeine (or a pre-workout, depending on my mood)
  • 500-1000 mg Green Tea Extract
  • 1-2 g Acetyl-L-Carnitine
  • 1000 mg White Kidney Bean Carb Intercept

Meal 1: (don’t wait more than 30 min to eat after you wake up)

  • 1/2 cup Steel Cut oats prepared with water.
  • Splash of almond milk
  • 1/2 banana cut up inside it for sweetness
  • sprinkle of cinnamon =)

***This is usually the time of day I workout (around 60-90 min)***

Meal 2: (Post-workout)

  • 1 scoop protein powder of choice. Mixed with 10 oz unsweetened Almond milk. 1 scoop glutamine powder, 1 scoop greens, 1 scoop carbohydrate blend, and 1 scoop BCAA’s.
  • With other 1/2 of banana.

Supplements :

  • 1 Multi-vitamin
  • 1-2 g L-Carnitine
  • 1000 mg White Kidney Bean Carb Intercept

Meal 3:

  • Medium size salad with 2oz grilled chicken/shrimp or turkey (usually cut into chunks)
  • 1 cup brown rice or quinoa. (or 1/2 baked sweet potato)
  • 10 almonds.

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Supplements :

  • 200-300 mg caffeine
  • 500-1000 mg Green Tea Extract
  • 1-2 g Acetyl-L- Carnitine

Meal 4:

  •  1 scoop protein powder of choice. Mixed with 10 oz unsweetened Almond milk. 1 scoop glutamine powder, 1 scoop greens, and 1 scoop BCAA’s.
  •   1/4 avocado
  • 1 cup of  carrots or 3 celery sticks (or both haha)

Meal5:

  • 3oz Grilled Salmon/Tilapia (seasoned with Ms. Dash – no salt)
  • 10 spears of Asparagus
  • As big of a dinner salad as I want! …. (Dressings I use are all oil based – usually Newman’s own or Annie’s Brand.) about 2tbsp. I also add salsa sometimes too (its healthier than dressings…)

Supplements:

  • 2-3 g CLA
  • 2-3 g Fish oil

Meal 6:

  • 1 scoop protein powder of choice. Mixed with 10 oz unsweetened Almond milk. 1 scoop glutamine powder, 1 scoop greens, and 1 scoop BCAA’s.
  • 1/2 cup nuts or seeds (almonds, cashews, pecans, pumpkin, sunflower)

Supplements before bed:

  • 2-3 g CLA
  • 2-3 g Fish Oil
  • 2-3 g Glutamine

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WATER WATER WATER ALL DAY!!!!!! DRINK UP

**The supplements and meal plan that I’m on is geared towards my goals for preparing for the fitness competition. I’m not stating that people should take these supplements because everyone is different and have different goals. This is just what I do one a every day basis and it works for me. **

Tip of the Week #15 Grocery Shop after you Workout

I’m telling you, I almost always stop into the grocery store after my workout. I feel great, awake and eager to make healthier choices after I’ve just spent an hour sweating. This is why you should try grocery shopping after you workout. grocery0000 ENDORPHINS! YAY! The happy hormone is naturally coursing though your body after you workout. Along with all that happiness, you usually just feel good after a workout in general, along with  a sense of self accomplishment and pride. You just worked your butt off, wanting more for yourself and health.. why not take it to the grocery store with you and load up on some clean eats! Also when you go… make sure you’ve brought a snack with you for the road to munch on while you’re on your way to the grocery store. Or when you first get there, hit the produce isle and grab some fruit or even an already made protein shake . I like to make my shake before I head to the gym so then when I get out, its right there ready to chug lol. workgroc2 Good post-workout snacks – Click on this link –Good Post-Workout Snacks!

Now this is where everyone gets it wrong, I used to do (and think) the same way… but man things start REALLY kickin’ along when you don’t use the excuse of    “I just worked out, I deserve this” …. so therefore you use the fact that you basically just busted your butt at the gym so its ok if I eat this ice cream or girl scout cookies…. No, your undoing what you just did its a catch 22… Yeah  every once in a while is fine, don’t get me wrong there but if its an every time occurrence… you might want to think about what goals you have in place and how much you really want something. Also, just as an experiment, you should try the other way around and see how much different you feel. =)

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