When changing your diet, go slow, and that goes for buying food too. Your body needs time to adjust, and you need to train your mind to think differently about eating.
1. I don't know about those of you in Europe, but here in the states, portion control is a big issue. So start by using smaller, salad plates instead of the dinner plate. Dinner plate is for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other time where there's a lot of different food being served. Not daily use. Our minds are trained to fill in the blanks, and that includes those 'blank' spots on a plate too.
2. Like I said go slow; maybe start with just healthy breakfasts for a week. Then breakfast and lunch the next, and all three meals the week after that with snacks converted at the fourth week. Otherwise you'll be like me and stuck in the bathroom all day. Again, not fun.
4. Ingredients. Cannot stress this enough. If you see the words 'high fructose corn syrup', put it back, and don't give it a second glance. Not sure? Check. The whole point of trying to lose weight, is to make yourself healthier and you're not going to do that by putting toxins in your system. It just doesn't work that way.
5. Grow what you can. If you have the space for a veggie garden, I envy you and encourage you to start planting today. Fresh fruits and vegetables pack a heck of a lot more nutrients than those in the store- plus by growing them yourself, you know that nothings been added that shouldn't have been (i.e. GMO's). If you don't have the room for that, try smaller pots for some of your favorite herbs.
6. And go in with a plan. Shopping blind leads to impulse purchases. Sometimes, I get back home and realize that I have almost nothing but snack stuff and sugar. Lists are your friend.
And with the basics out of the way, I can finally show off what I got for the next 2 weeks, by food group.
Grains group: Wild rice, brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa, seeded rye bread and whole wheat elbows.
When shopping for grains, look for the USDA Whole Grain stamp. That stamp means that a serving actually counts as a grain- not a fat. Also, choose items that say 'whole grain' or 'seeded' vs. 'whole wheat'. Wheat is only 1 grain; you should have a variety of them in your diet.
Protein group: Almonds, chia seeds, Vanilla soy protein powder, black beans, Greek yogurt, soy milk (not pictured, canned tuna, canned chicken, ground beef, eggs, peanut butter)
Proteins are key to building strong muscles, making them perfect for a post-workout meal or snack. However, we tend to think of those un-pictured items as protein, neglecting other, sometimes less fatty, sources. Cut down on the amount of red meat, chicken, and fish and eat more soy, nuts, Greek yogurt, and beans.
Veggies group: Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, celery, spinach, carrot sticks.
Go crazy here. You can NEVER have enough veggies. Start thinking outside the box when it comes to these guys; they're very under appreciated. Breadsticks? Try garlic parmesean baked zucchini slices. Craving something crunchy? How about celery with peanut butter and craberries (Fire Ants on a Log)? And they pack a punch when it comes to nutrients. Don't skimp on this group.
Dairy group: Paremesean cheese, monteray Jack cheese, soy milk, Greek yogurt.
The key here is making everything but the cheese do double duty, otherwise you're eating more fat than the needed calcium and protein. On the cheese, get different kinds; they all have different benefits and flavors. Experimenting encouraged!!
Fruit group: Frozen raspberries, dried cranberries, fresh apples
Ok, I loooove fruit, so this is my weak spot. My trick? Getting things that won't be easy to munch on (except the apples). Get fruits that are in season fresh, and others either frozen or dried.
Fats and other: Extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, dijon mustard, stick butter.
The butter is strictly for cooking purposes only, same with the olive oil. That being said, olive oil is a much better (but more expensive) option than canola oil. Be ready to bite the bullet. As for the others, variety is the spice of life!!! Mild garlic and lemon juice are great for fish and pastas, while the spicier red pepper flakes kick start your metabolism. Not pictured: drink mix packets because I have a problem with not drinking enough water; the packets help alot. Just be sure to get sugar-free ones.
All in all, a very good start to this journey. Being in the south, sometimes it's hard to find healthy alternatives to some of my favorite foods, so I'm glad that this trip was a success. Keep an eye out this week for recipes; I'll start trying them out tomorrow! And thank you and good luck to everyone!!