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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Tuna, Broccoli and Avocado Rice Wraps

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You’ll Need :

4 rice wraps

1/2 avocado cut into 4 slices

1 pack or tuna

baby corn (optional)

Broccoli, Carrot slaw (I got it at King Soopers for like $2 bucks)

 

Place rice wraps in water and let soak till soft, place ingredients inside and wrap! Its that simple!

you can put all kinds of things in these things so get creative and have fun.

other things that could possible go inside….

  • olives
  • beans (soy, black, chickpeas)
  • soy or other sauces
  • chicken, beef, shrimp
  • cucumber
  • rice or quinoa
  • spinach and other greens
  • tomato

 

 

 

 

I survived Week 1 ! ( 15 Weeks Out)

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HAHA, I like the title of this blog post …. Ok so you may be asking, How did it go? OMG.. talk about some up’s and down’s haha.

  • Diet – I’ve never ate so much food in my life. Its funny when people think you don’t eat and you’re starving yourself to get to this competition weight .. ( even my parents kind of gave me the look of “are you eating?” a few times since I’ve started this goal). When you actually eat whole complete foods and start eating what your body needs to survive instead of things you “want” or “think you need” that’s when you start so see some huge changes. When you actually start focusing on the nutrition side and meeting macronutrients, you’d be surprised how much food you can actually consume and how little or filling an appropriate amount of calories can be and feel. I’m currently carb cycling and hoping to learn more about this ( wanting to do a blog post on it too, but not till I fully understand it since I don’t want to put out information that isn’t correct to you guys) so my calories kind of go up and down. One day it will be around 1700 cal with higher carb down to 1350 cal with higher fat …. its seriously a science and I’m lucky I have a coach through this because I don’t really know what to look for or know what’s working and what isn’t yet.

What kinda of food am I eating? ? TONS of protein haha.

  • Protein – chicken, turkey, beef, shakes
  • Carbs – Oats, Banana, Brown and white rice, Quinoa, Potatoes and Sweet potato
  • Veggies – Kale, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, romaine and spinach.
  • Fats- mostly almond butter and a little bit coming from my dressing for salads , some avocado, some raw nuts like almonds or cashews.
  • Other Items – Low sugar ketchup (so happy I can have this haha, I’m a ketchup freak and I found one that has only 1 g sugar and 5 calories …and he said go for it!) … he’ll probably take it away closer to comp though, mustard, salsa, any spices (Ms. dash is a staple since its salt free), stevia, tea, every once in a while I will drink a cup of black coffee with stevia but its just not that same as a Starbucks haha , BCAA, lemon juice.
  • water water water- a gallon a day I try to shoot for.

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Pretty simple, yet can be boring at times. I understand sugar addiction even more now and never realized how much I crave bread. Everyday its something random that I’m craving too, one day its fruit, anther I seriously just want a cookie lol.

Things I have been using to bust the cravings…

  • Gum, Deserts gum is amazing haha.. but I have everything from minty, fruity, to cinnamon roll flavor.
  • Tea- you should see how many tea boxes I have right now, ridiculous.
  • I have a few different flavors of BCAA (branch chain amino acids) that help me when I want something sweet
  • Using different seasonings and spices, like I stated before, I have about every Ms. Dash made, and I have tried some weird concoctions on some things you wouldn’t think taste good but do… like tomato, basil, garlic flavor on a cut of steak… waaa?? … I’ve also accepted my “desert time” is in the morning with my oats and banana hahha.
  •  I have gummy multi-vitamins too, I usually try not to take them too often or I rotate them between my days since your body has a harder time digesting a gummy rather than a softgell (plus they have a little more sugar too) but on my lower carb day … it definitely keeps me on track and from losing my shi*.
  • When all else fails… Win and doubt, add more veggies…

So now this next part I thought wasn’t going to be the hard part… HA! I was wrong!! O so wrong!!! Workouts. HOLY SHIT. pardon my language … but Holy…

These workouts are probably the most taxing and difficult workouts I’ve ever done! I figured since I usually spent 2 hours in the gym every day I would have had this part down, I was more nervous about how the diet was going to change. . . . Ha! Rude awakening let me tell you!!

So when I met with my coach to go over everything … he kinda looked at me and was like “lets see how hard you work!” … oh sweet baby Jesus please save me came through my mind…. haha

Its amazing  how a few little tweaks and upping the number or sets and reps and lowering the weights can make THAT much of a difference in not only the difficulty and intensity along with the changes I saw within just the first week!

What do the workouts look like? Its a rotation of 6 days a week, weights and HITT cardio. with 1 rest day (which is low carb day and you’d think I would look forward to rest day, but since I don’t get my endorphins pumping and then with low carbs – which I can see why its low carb since your body mainly needs that “fuel” for your workouts … its just a rough day in general.) … and I may have snapped at Evan ( my boyfriend) a few times and its only week 2…ops! He’s a keeper if he lasts till October.. =)

 

last week :

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This week:

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What I’m noticing with my mentality and overall mindset….

So as I’ve wanted to give into my cravings or wimp put on a few sets of a certain exercise. …. you almost have to pep talk yourself back up. Its so much of a mind game than it is a “prep” its crazy that I’m actually having a struggle with this because this is like the NUMBER ONE thing I honestly believe has a major impact on your life in general. I’ve written a few blogs on the power of positive thinking, and always try to see the positive side to everything. I love motivational speakers, quotes and if you ask me what the big “secret” is … I will always say “You have to believe in yourself and that you can do it.. no doubts” But omg, I almost feel like I wasn’t ready for this next level of belief I guess. I have so much coming towards me all at once that everything I do or don’t do is going to affect my future. And that realization is a bit scary, not going to lie. But a quote I absolutely LOVE and I keep telling myself … “How bad do you want it?” The rest of the quote is below but when I feel like things are too hard, or I just want to be done or quit (Yes, I’m admitting I’ve wanted to quit a few times… Hell I’ve been at this for a year now and I’m only human)… I always ask myself this. And along with that I remind myself … “if it excites you scares the crap out of you at the same time, its probably something you should do”….

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With that being said I’m still going strong and I will do my best to keep you guys updated on everything.

I feel like I’m on the right path, I feel like everyday more and more people come to me and either share their success with me and tell me that I’ve helped them or inspired them and that is like the #1 reason I love what I’m doing. This makes me want to push myself harder than before and its weird because I get that drive from not only making myself better but from you guys. So keep sending me your crazy gym and food prep snap chats because I love them. =)

Some opportunities that have came my way… not sure where they will lead, but anxious to find out!

  • I moved jobs into a supplement store, leading me to meet tons of new people with experience doing what I’m on track to do. Whether they have competed, helped people get to compete or even just meeting people who are just starting out on their weight loss. I always get the “you probably don’t understand” look for the more overweight crowd and when I show them a picture or tell them my story, I can tell it has an effect when I mention to them if I can do it so can they, they just have to believe they can… This is also how I meet my coach. =)
  • I have been offered and audition for a supplement company to be a model and rep their products when I finally get down to that weight and “look” – they even might come to my show and support/watch me!
  • I’ve been asked numerous times if I’m a trainer at my gym, and then the manager asked me if I would like to be one and even offered to pay for the schooling to get a personal training certificate.
  • Tons of people have commented on how much progress I’ve made just in the last few months … ad to keep going.
  • This blog was nominated for an award that sadly didn’t get, but still being nominated is something huge in my mind.

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So what do I want o do? HA I have no clue, just following life where it leads me …

  • personal trainer
  • coach for competitions
  • personal and competition chef
  • fitness model and/or rep
  • competitor ( pro card? )
  • registered dietitian
  • weight loss and health coach

some of those ideas seem so far fetched in my mind right now (but looking back, being 210lbs.. I would have said standing on stage in a bikini was far fetched ha.. ) , but I know if I keep pushing myself towards this, it may become a possibility …. I just have to believe it is .

 

 

Almond Butter Banana Snacks

wpid-img_20140523_131944.jpgSnack time!!! How simple is this ? Great for when you want something sweet but don’t want to break your diet.

All you need is one banana, cut into slices and 2 tbsp. almond or peanut butter. =)

Enjoy!!!

ps, I usually don’t have the patience for this so I just dollop the butter onto the banana lol. But in the spirit of blogging I made these! =)

Garlic and Herb Tuna Salad

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Had this the other day and it was delish!!! … after eating though, I could have gone without the dressing … but its all about a learning experience and seeing what works for you too. But anyways! Here is the recipe!

 

1 cup spinach and baby greens mix

50g (5 slices) cucumber

1 oz avocado

1 packet of tuna ( for this is used Tuna Creations Garlic and Herb flavor but lemon pepper is yummy too! ) =74g

1 oz chopped orange bell pepper

2tbs Walden Farms Chipotle Ranch dressing <— this is what I felt like I could have done without because the avocado acted as a dressing… but its all up to ya’ll.

 

Nutrition Breakdown:

Calories- 250

Protein- 17.5

Carbohydrate: 13.4

Fat: 14.5

 

ps. follow my instagram! I post all kinds of motivational stuff, quotes, recipes, and other stuff!! @amanda_fit_

 

Things to Jazz up a Smoothie!

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I don’t know about ya’ll, but I like smoothies, especially when I can put all kinds of goodies in it and have it still taste AMAZING! They usually are grate for the morning when your in a rush to make something and you can just pour a bunch of berries into the blender add a little ice and almond milk and Ta-da !

Here are some ingredients you may have used before but there are also some others that most people wouldn’t think of putting into a smoothie! Happy Blending!! =)

Fruits – pretty much any but here are some favorites.

  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
  • oranges
  • grapefruit
  • cuties (tangerines)
  • pomegranate seeds
  • dragon fruit
  • kiwi
  • pear
  • pineapple

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Veggies

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Any greens
  • Carrots
  • Greens powder mixes
  • Algae
  • Beets
  • celery

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Fats

  • Chia seed
  • Flax Seed
  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil or shreds
  • Nut butters – almond, sunflower, peanut, hazelnut etc..
  • shaved almonds or nut pieces (walnut, pecans, pistachios)

Protein

  • Protein powders (vanilla or strawberry is my favorite)
  • Tofu

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Other

  • yogurt
  • Almond / Coconut/ Hemp/ sunflower seed milk
  • cocoa or cocoa nibs
  • Spices – ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves
  • pumpkin puree ( unsweetened)
  • Stevia – this is a miracle worker lol… if something isn’t sweet enough this is a sugar substitute that’s calorie and carb free and its from a plant!
  • Oats or oatmeal
  • Cereal and granola
  • Grits and quinoa
  • Dates, dried fruit, cranberries, raisins.

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Turkey, Avocado and Tomato Sandwich

Made this today and it was A-MAZING!

You’ll Need:

1 sandwich thin

1 cup mixed greens of choice

1 small/med tomato

1/2 avocado

spouts

…and anything else ya wanna add … after I ate it I thought of adding onion next time =)

  • Use the avocado as your “dressing” or “mayo” substitute and then just pile on the rest. I ate the whole tomato and had some on the side … its all up to you. Enjoy!

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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 #13 Eat more!

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Yup! That’s right, eat MORE if you want to lose weight.

Now… lets set this straight from the start, I don’t not mean eat more gummy bears and pringles… I mean eat more high quality nutritious foods.

A lot of people think that losing weight is all about not eating what you love, and eating less and being miserable and feeling constantly hungry. WRONG! You can still eat things you love (every once in a while – not every week or every day). Along with that, people think that if you don’t eat or eat very little you will lose weight as well. This is also WRONG! Eating fuels the body and keeps it running, without it you cant function properly and as well either.

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So without further ado, and without getting off subject. EATING MORE……….

RULE#1 DRINK A LOT OF WATER………AND I MEAN A LOT!

Enough said!

RULE#2 IF IT GROWS ON A TREE OR IN THE GROUND, I’LL EAT IT

that means load up on those fruits and veggies, now virtually you can pretty much eat as much of these and be in the clear. Now if you only eat fruit… not as good, but try to add in some veggies too. Experiment with the veggies, grill something you normally wouldn’t, like mushrooms or make a veggie kabob! This also includes nuts and seeds that are high in good fats and omega-3’s. You should ideally be including fresh fruits and veggies into every meal you eat.

RULE#3 6 SMALLER MEALS A DAY, SHOOT FOR AROUND 250-300 CALORIES EACH MEAL

Eating this way can speed up your metabolism and also leaves you not hungry throughout the day. Learn to make your meals ahead of time or even the night before so your not tempted to go to that vending machine.

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RULE#4 EAT GOOD PROTIEN AT EVERY MEAL

Especially at breakfast! Breakfast is the first meal of the day, you need to fill it with foods that will keep you full for a long time… that means Lucky Charms are out of the question! But the more you incorporate a lean protein source, the fuller you’ll be throughout the day and you’ll be able to fight off those cravings that hit you mid-day. 30g of protein will last you about 3 hours of fullness.

RULE #5 EATING BEFORE YOU WORKOUT

Eating a snack or small meal before your workout that high in protein will actually not only help your metabolism but it will speed up your recovery time and muscle growth. Also make sure you get a post workout meal in too to refuel your body (make sure its high protein too).

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Tip of the Week #12 Eat 6 Smaller meals a day!

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So some people swore by it, some people are totally against it. So let me tell you how it can be amazing and work and you will never be hungry again and then I’m going to tell you in return, how it can have a negative effect and honestly probably hurt you.

The Good :

It is known that frequent smaller meals can not only curb those hunger pains we often get in between our average “3 meals a day” but also speed up your metabolism. Eating more foods (ideally cleaner foods) helps get you the nutrients you need and keeps your energy levels up as well . Here are some examples of how to do this correctly, and what is considered a “small meal”. Each meal (of the 6) should consist of a lean protein, Lower carbohydrate, high fiber, and low fat snack/meal. Always include veggies and fruits in at least 4 if not all your meals.

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Some examples:

  • Half of turkey sandwich on 100% Whole Wheat bread with light mayo or mustard. Side of Veggies and hummus.
  • Big Spinach Salad with fruit and a tablespoon of almond butter on the side.
  • Grilled chicken breast with steamed veggies
  • Protein shake
  • Lean meat with sweet potato and veggie
  • Medium apple with string cheese
  • Hardboiled egg on a slice of whole wheat bread. 1 half of grapefruit
  • Lean meat with 1 cup brown rice and steamed broccoli and cauliflower

Key pointers: Make sure you keep your portion control in check and make sure you aren’t only eating a lot of one key nutrient (i.e.. Grains)

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The Bad:

Eating 6 smaller meals can go back when you either don’t watch your portions (this isn’t grazing all day kind of diet its a cut your meals in half and eat them every 3 hours). Also, it can go back when you aren’t getting a balanced meal every time you eat. Make sure your getting the cleanest forms of foods ideally. You don’t want to have every snack you have to be a protein or granola bar, you need to mix it up.

Also if your eating out all the time. (cheeseburgers, fast foods and processed foods, ) these are not considered cleaner foods… If your eating these at every 3 hours, this will not work either.

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Some examples of how this Wont work:

  • Cheeseburgers all the time. With fries
  • Granola bars and fruit bars for every snack
  • Foods with too much sugar constantly throughout the day (gummy snacks, too much fruits with added sugar)
  • Not a balance of nutrients  (of anything)
  • Too many sandwiches throughout the day or week. (mix it up!)
  • Prepared Salads and meals at fast food chains (sorry but they are ideally not the best but ok when only in a time crunch or you drop your prepared meal or something.)
  • Energy bars and drinks. Some are ok, but usually the ones everyone likes have more sugar than a snickers bar!
  • Pre-made smoothies – your better off making your own.

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