5 Dirty Dieting Tips
I’m a big supporter of clean eating, which is basically eating whole, unprocessed foods and I eat six times per day every 2-3 hours. “That’s nice, Lisa, but 1) I hate to cook, and 2) I hate health food, and 3) I still want to lose weight. Any suggestions?”
Oh, you lover of processed foods! I feel for you. Not everyone is ready to make the leap into clean eating, so if you are more of an incremental person, here are some tips for you.
5 Dirty Dieting Tips
1. Start your day with fruit. It gives you a burst of energy with a natural sugar rush and is packed with fiber to help things moving in the right direction. A lot of dieters avoid fruit due to the sugar content (called fructose). But the key to remember with fruit is TIMING.
Here’s why the timing is important: There is a chemical in your liver that determines whether or not the fructose from fruit gets used immediately as energy for your body or gets stored as fat for later use. Since you can’t really measure your liver levels, it’s reasonable to imply that when you first wake up after sleeping for 8 hours this chemical is at it’s lowest level, so it’s likely that the fructose will be converted directly into energy.
***Also, when I say “fruit” I mean “fruit” and not “juice.” One serving of orange juice can equal three (3) whole oranges, so skip the juice and go for the real deal.
2. If you must have cereal, try Kashi Go Lean. As a whole foods person, I’d ideally like you to eat old fashioned oatmeal and egg whites. But I know you’re not going to cook that up on a hectic Monday morning, so try 1 cup of Kashi Go Lean cereal with 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk. The Kashi tastes good, has 13 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber and not too much sugar. (They are not paying me to say this. But if you know someone at Kashi, feel free to ask them to send me some money.)
3. Switch your drinks. Soda has no nutritional value. You know this. Everyone does. But it’s fizzy and wonderful and you love it. One soda has 140 calories, which is 7% of your total calories for the day based on a 2,000 a day meal plan. Just switch to diet. It’s still not good for you, but at least it has zero calories. It will take your taste buds about a week to get used to it, but your waistline will thank you.
If you are drinking cow’s milk (moo!) try switching to unsweetened almond milk. It tastes like regular milk but only has 30-40 calories. Lots of people (like me) are lactose intolerant, so this switch alone may make you feel better.
Are you a lover of double mocha caramel cafe latte with 4 packets of sugar? Something like that can be 700+ calories. Can you try regular coffee with sugar-free vanilla creamer and two packets of Splenda instead? How about trying green tea? Probably the best thing to drink is just plain old water (8 cups a day.) It’s not fancy but it keeps you hydrated.
4. Eat carbohydrates, proteins and fats? Whaa??? Aren’t they bad? Every few years scientists and the media tell us that something is evil: red meat, carbohydrates, eggs, butter, coffee, chocolate, wine…only to tell us several years later, “Oops! My bad. You can eat that after all.” It drives most of us crazy. Here is a simple truth: you need all three food groups. Carbs give you energy and fuel your brain. Protein is needed for your muscles. Fats give you that full feeling, help with your mood and taste really awesome. I could tell you all about macronutrients now, but I know you’ll fall asleep reading it, so here’s what I want you to do instead:
Picture your plate. Now think of a bikini on top of it. The bikini bottoms are your vegetables. They take up the biggest section of your plate. The top right cup of your bikini is your protein (chicken, fish, eggs, etc.) and the left cup is your complex carbs (brown rice, sweet potato, etc.). And your belly button is for a little dab of fat (avocado, a handful of natural almonds, etc.). If you portion out your foods that way you are headed in the right direction towards a bikini body.
5. Sugar is Not Nice. The old adage was, “Everything in Moderation.” When you were cooking your own food, that made a lot of sense. The tricky thing now is that if you are eating processed food, sugar is added to just about EVERYTHING. Coffee creamer. Ketchup. “Healthy” frozen dinners. And the big food industry knows you are trying to be healthy, so they are sneaky. They don’t just write, “sugar” because that would make sense. No, they write, “organic natural sugar cane” or “high fructose corn syrup” and fancy things like that. It’s just sugar, which is used for energy in your body. If you’re not using it up, it goes directly to fat storage.
Still sticking with packaged meals? Then use this trick: When you are looking at labels, divide the sugar number by 4 and that will tell you how many teaspoons is in each serving. When you are choosing TV dinners and realize that one brand has 9 teaspoons of sugar and the other has 12 teaspoons, this may make your decision easier to make. (Less sugar = better.)
I totally get that you are crazy busy and don’t have time/like to cook, so I hope these tips help.
You know, there’s still 2 1/2 weeks left to this challenge. Now, I’m not saying, go out and cook every single meal, but can you make one (1) meal a day? Or try a clean eating recipe on the weekend just for sh*ts and giggles? You might actually like it…just sayin’
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two.
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