Avocado, Garlic,and Zucchini Pasta!

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Yeah its been a long time, sorry lol… life happens.

Been craving pasta like a mofo so I made this and decided to share it with yall! YAY FOOD!

completely clean and simple long with all from natural sources. (Another thing I’m looking forward to doing and getting more into again … Holistic Nutrition! … Having our own house will help too!! – yes I have a lot of catching up to do lol… )

So if you only want the recipe, scroll below to see its amazingness! … but this Thanksgiving Evan and I got ENGAGED! .. Not that it was due time, I never have been the type of girl to ever pressure him either, not my style. Knowing that he’s my person and it will happen when its time to happen kind of thing =) Plus, I thought we were on mission get a house!! lol……

PS!! So excited for my own kitchen and to have a garden!

With the recent events that happened before, I completely have a rather simple perspective on life now. Not that life is simple for me, hell buying a house, planning a wedding, planning on going back to school and looking at a personal trainer certification…not to mention supporting Evan in his goals and life, and just juggling the day in general… things aren’t exactly what some would say would be “simple” … but the more I just let go of things I cannot change, the easier and “simpler” it gets!

So yes! I have A lot ahead of me, but I’m excited to take it on, to embrace it and truly go after what I want in life, everything from the career, love, education down to just having Netflix night with my soon to be HUSBAND.. ( wow that seems strange saying lol….) Bring it All on!

The reverse diet update is that I’m officially up to 1800 calories, losing weight with more food added into my life, I even got to introduce a small amount of dairy back in and I’m not dying!! That’s exciting right there! .. So looks like the metabolism is naturally and slowly fixing itself which gives me more excitement towards these next few years before I decide to have kiddos… ( yea.. I’m almost 27, in one week actually) and.. well I want babies! lol.

so anywho1 that’s what’s new and happening. Like I promised before, the recipe below!

ENGOY 😉

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What yore gonna need yo!

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/8 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
  • 5-6 zucchini or yellow squash ( I’m sure cucumber would be amazing too!!! – just saying )
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • splash of water
  • 5-8 baby heirloom tomatoes (cut in half)
  • fresh basil leafs
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 lime

How to:

  1. start your steamer and begin to spiralize your zucchinis, making “noodles”. put “noodles” into the steamer.
  2. in a food processor, ( I actually used my small 1 serving blender , took a little longer but it worked lol) place avocado, 1/4 of lime ( squeezed, obviously) a few basil leafs, garlic, onion, and water. the more water the more “liquid-y” it will be lol, I left mine pretty thick. =)
  3. Place some noodles on a plate, add a 1/4 of the avocado sauce into the noodles, mix in tomatoes, more basil leafs if you’d like and salt and pepper! Add in come lean chicken breast, shrimp, or any other protein .. or just eat it like it is!!
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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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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_

 

 

Benefits of Cucumbers

Since I’m eating an entire cucumber right now… lets talk about the benefits =P

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  • Very high in water. (95% water actually) So they are good for hydration and eliminating toxins that are in your body.
  • High in vitamins, and almost all vitamins that you need for the day. Remember to eat the skin (which is high in vitamin C)
  • Since its high in vitamins (Including vitamin B) they can be eaten as a snack to help pick you up when you’re body starts to feel tiered. . . . (any food will do this that has a good source of vitamin B by the way…. vitamin b is a mood and energy lifter!)
  • Good for you party people out there. . . eat a few cucumber slices before you go to bed after a night of partying and since it has a good source of water, vitamins and electrolytes …. its none to help with hangovers… (haven’t tried this, just heard about it.)
  • Can be used as a skin soother for sunburns… like aloe does.

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  • Not only on the outside does it help with burns though, its a natural heartburn reliever too.
  • Good source of silica which can help with joint pain.
  • High in fiber so helps aid digestion and keeps ya regular 😉
  • Helps with bags under your eyes. (eat it or put slices on your eyes like they do in the movies… )
  • cancer fighting food. YAY
  • Helps with weight loss because since its a super food (very high-density, high vitamin, and full of fiber and nutrients) you’ll actually feel fuller and wont eat as much.

 

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Basic Multivitamin (How to pick a good one)

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A basic multivitamin is a good thing to add to any diet plan. Even if your eating healthy and taking care of yourself, you still can be lacking some nutrients that your body needs to function properly everyday. But when strolling down the multivitamin isle, you can be a little overwhelmed at trying to find the best one. Which brand do you choose? Do you choose one that’s a pill form, gummy form? Do you choose one that’s meant for a man or woman? There are a lot of questions to ask yourself.

1. Why you should take one- well there is the obvious fact that your diet on some days is going to lack all the nutrients your supposed to get, its almost inevitable unless you seriously carry around a bag full of fruits and veggies with you all day everywhere you go.. lol. Plus it will make you feel better and you’ll most likely have more energy and function better too.

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2. What to look for-

  • Look at the label and see what’s included in the vitamin. All the ingredients are listed, make sure that the amounts will work for your diet, you don’t want too much vitamin c because you’ll just end up peeing it out. (sorry for being so blunt- but its true) If your diet already consist of a lot of vitamin A already, your not going to need a vitamin that’s high in it. Get my drift?
  • On the flipside, don’t overdo it either, you don’t need a multivitamin that has like 120% of the DRV (Daily Recommended Values). Too much can either make your body sick (headaches, nausea, etc.. ) and also can be toxic towards the body.
  • Shoot for basic nutrition – B1, B2, B5,B6,B9, B12, vitamin C, Vitamin A, vitamin D, potassium, iodine, zinc, magnesium…
  • Choosing the ones geared toward sex and age. Woman’s multi is geared toward the baby making years. Men’s are geared toward the basics and 50+ multi is obviously geared towards that age, your bodies ability to absorb certain nutrients slows down, so they may have some more of a certain vitamin in theirs.

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Choosing the best form is a personal thing, whether you find it easier to swallow basic pills, taking a gummy or even using a powder form, you have to choose the best one for you.

* be sure to check expiration dates, they don’t last forever.

* make sure you take it with food to avoid getting that horrible nauseous feeling!!

Clean Eating 101 – Its a Lifestyle not a Diet!

English: Healthy eating pyramid similar to tha...

English: Healthy eating pyramid similar to that of the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. Temporary image as original is non-commercial use only. If you have a better image please replace this. Thanks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So some of you might not know what I mean when I speak of “clean eating”, so here I’m going to kind of go through what it entails and what it all means to “eat a clean diet”. (basically my diet- give or take some cheats here and their =))

What is Clean Eating??

  • Clean Eating is based off of eating whole and natural foods. It cuts out all processes man made products for the most part and focuses eating mainly things that come from the Earth to feed your body. (Nuts, Fruit, Veggies, Lean cuts of meat, and Legumes). It gives your optimal nutrition to function property and when done correctly can leave your feeling amazing!
  • Realistically there really isn’t fitness or weight loss goals that can be achieved without it. Its the basics of most nutrition and diets (with out cutting out natural sources) and it doesn’t leave you feeling deprived or hungry.
  • Feeling health, being healthy and loosing weight or maintaining a good weight is mainly based around nutrition. People seem to think that weight loss ideally comes from working out and spending hours at the gym, yes it does help but nutrition is about 80% of the battle, whereas, fitness and physical activity is 20%

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What are the basic Principles?

  • Avoid all processed food. Whole grain bread and natural cheeses are ok, its the stuff with 80 ingredients that you cant even pronounce.
  • Eat Whole Foods. Things that haven’t been messed with like veggies, fruits, grass-fed meats, natural nut butters and milk, and unsalted and processed nuts and seeds. Herbs and Spices will become your best friend, so will natural oils.
  • Get used to cooking your own food! This way you know what’s in it, how it was prepared and you don’t have to second guess whether or not its healthy or not. Makes it SO much easier! Pre-made meals does not count as “clean eating” even if its a lean cuisine meal haha.
  • Eliminate the sugar! sugar and fake sugar really isn’t good for us. You will use very little natural sugars in  this diet because you wont need them! (stevia, honey and agave nectar are some you can use)
  • Include Protein, Carbohydrate and fat within every meal- Your diet will mainly consist of lean meats, a healthy starch (such as a sweet potatoes or brown rice), a ton of veggies and fruit here and there. You’ll fell more satisfied with this way of eating because you will be eating for optimum nutrition. You’re giving your body what it needs and once you get past the food addictions (things like craving sugar and bad carbs) you wont really have any trouble eating this way for the rest of your life.
  • Eating 6 smaller meals a day! – eating 6 smaller meals revs up your metabolism because your constantly giving it healthy foods, therefore its receiving its proper nutrition, but then again your pretty much eating every 3 hours so there is either no time to even get hungry or have your body “feel” hungry because you wont be going hors without eating.
  • Drinking Calories is a Big Fat NO- sugary drinks are obviously a no-go. Make water your first choice by far (if it get boring you can add fruits to it) but you can also have unsweetened tea, and coffee with little skin milk and stevia, low-fat milk, and nut milks.
  • Physical Activity becomes apart of your day- yes just like any other diet you read or see, you have to ideally get moving. No it doesn’t have to be 3 hours at the gym everyday but even a walk around the block is better than nothing.

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What to Expect from Eating Clean:

  • More energy and alertness
  • Clearer skin, whiter eyes, and stronger hair and nails
  • Provides a natural detox
  • Weight loss (if there is weight to loose)
  • Leaner body
  • Motivation and a sped up metabolism
  • Feeling more healthy all around and more happy as well.

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Clean Eating Meal Plan (Month 2)

So this month is going to be a little less strict, but still make it so that your eating a cleaner and healthy diet! I made this plan so that you can choose from the options for each meal so that way you wont feel bored or overwhelmed. Try to mix it up as you go and remember, you’re eating to fuel your body and give it the optimum nutrition it needs… therefore picking whole, complete and nutritious foods are ideal.

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A cheat is ok here and there (hell, were all human right?!) But now I want you to start to notice how you feel when you eat healthy as opposed to not healthy and also remember to pace yourself, don’t push yourself too hard and don’t think miracles are going to happen over night, changing your lifestyle can take weeks, months and even years to learn how to incorporate into your life. Remember where you started and be proud of your accomplishments, but also don’t loose sight of what’s to come =)

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TIPS BEFORE STARTING:

  1. Drink 2-3liters of water a day..  if not more
  2. You may have tea, coffee with stevia ad light creamer if needed
  3. NO soft drinks and sugary juices!!! – make your own juice!
  4. Make sure you’re getting a good amount of sleep
  5. Get active! Find and new sport or play with your kids, there are many ways to “be active” without a gym.
  6. No negative thoughts, stay positive!

Upon waking – 8oz water

Breakfast:

**Add a multi- vitamin with breakfast (make sure you eat first because it will make you nauseous otherwise)

    • Protein shake made with low-fat milk or almond milk
    • Smoothie with both fruit and veggies
    • 3 whole eggs, 3 egg whites scrambled with as many veggie as you want
    • 1/2 cup plain oats – I have great oatmeal recipes here:   Oatmeal 101
    • Greek Yogurt with 1/4 cup granola and fruit of choice
    • 1/2 grapefruit with stevia (if needed), 1 slice whole wheat toast with almond/peanut butter
    • 1 rice cake with almond/peanut butter on top, 1 piece of fruit
    • 1 whole grain or gluten free waffle with1 tbsp. agave nectar
    • Whole grain cold cereal (Cheerios, Oat Squares, Kashi) – make sure to read the serving sizes! and feel free to add a piece of fruit! =)

Snack (Pick one):

  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • Any veggies – pretty much as much as you want (no corn)
  • Greek/ dairy free yogurt with low-sugar granola
  • 1 low-fat string cheese with 10 almonds
  • Protein shake made with milk or almond milk
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • Rice cake with 1 tablespoon peanut/almond butter on top
  • Mixed nuts (unsalted)
  • 10 sticks of carrots or celery dipped in hummus
  • 1/2 cup plain oats made with water – dash of cinnamon
  • 3 oz of any lean meat
  • 1 apple, 10 almonds
  • 1 apple dipped in 2 tablespoons of almond/peanut butter
  • Pretty much any fruit, pair it with a nut of choice (1/4 cup)

Lunch (pick one):

  • Mixed Greens Salad with 3 oz lean meat on top, add whatever veggies and as many as your want on top. Top with 2 tbsp. of Balsamic Vinegar or Olive oil and vinegar dressing.
  • 4oz lean meat with 3 cups veggies of choice, 1 cup brown rice
  • 4oz grilled chicken with 1/2 large sweet potato and 2 cups of green beans
  • Lightly sauté 2 cups spinach and put 4 ox salmon on top

Snack (Pick One) :

  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • Any veggies – pretty much as much as you want (no corn)
  • Greek/ dairy free yogurt with low-sugar granola
  • 1 low-fat string cheese with 10 almonds
  • Protein shake made with milk or almond milk
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • Rice cake with 1 tablespoon peanut/almond butter on top
  • Mixed nuts (unsalted)
  • 10 sticks of carrots or celery dipped in hummus
  • 1/2 cup plain oats made with water – dash of cinnamon
  • 3 oz of any lean meat
  • 1 apple, 10 almonds
  • 1 apple dipped in 2 tablespoons of almond/peanut butter
  • Pretty much any fruit, pair it with a nut of choice (1/4 cup)
  • Egg Whites with hummus or guac inside them instead of the yolk!

Dinner: (You can mix and match these, I’m just going to give you a couple of examples. * Make sure you have a lean protein, a good carb and TONS of veggies!)

  • 6oz lean meat (Chicken, steak, turkey, game meat, fish, shrimp, crap, lobster, bison)
  • Starchy (healthy) carbohydrate – around 1-2 cups (Brown Rice, Quinoa, Couscous, Sweet Potato, Baby Potatoes, Black, Pinto, Kidney, Garbanzo Beans, Whole Wheat or gluten free pasta)
  • With as much veggies as you’d like! (preferably green!, Asparagus, Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, a salad, squash, zucchini, green beans… ohh the list can go on forever!…. limit the corn… )

Snack (if needed): NO FRUIT in last “snack for the day” too much sugar and carbs.

  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • Any veggies – pretty much as much as you want (no corn)
  • Greek/ dairy free yogurt with low-sugar granola
  • 1 low-fat string cheese with 10 almonds
  • Protein shake made with milk or almond milk
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • Rice cake with 1 tablespoon peanut/almond butter on top
  • Mixed nuts (unsalted)
  • 10 sticks of carrots or celery dipped in hummus
  • 1/2 cup plain oats made with water – dash of cinnamon
  • 3 oz of any lean meat

Before bed- 8 oz water.

** Note: you may switch lunch and dinner if wanted.

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