Lisa’s 7 Insider Tips to A Cleaner Diet

Feeling that Christmas magic around the middle? I don’t know about you, but the holidays make it hard to stay on a healthy eating plan. As soon as you have a few good days, there’s another party or get together, or you’re making cookies, or you’re buying chocolate at Wilbur’s and you just have to get a sample for yourself! When the holidays are finally behind, I like to really clean up my diet (and lose a few pounds). Here are a few tricks I use to get myself back on track and I hope it helps you start the new year off on a healthy note!

1. Cut the sugar. I feel better cutting sugar out completely except for one cheat a week. I use a natural sweetener called stevia. You can get pure, organic stevia online. The packets in the store are okay as well, but do contain added ingredients.

Yogurt – I like to blend plain organic Greek yogurt with a teaspoon of vanilla, a pinch of stevia, and berries (blueberries, blackberries, red raspberries). To me it’s a creamy treat and the protein helps keep me full.

For tea and coffee – I use a splash of unsweetened nut milk (my favorite is a blend of almond and coconut) with a pinch of stevia. Some of my favorite teas are black, caramel, and peach. I also enjoy citrus and mint teas with just a tiny pinch of stevia.

Replace sweets with fruits – berries, apples, oranges, grapes and so on make great snacks and can ward off cravings for sweets. If you have a high-powered blender, combine frozen fruit with a little unsweetened nut milk and blend for natural “ice cream” (bananas are delicious!).

2. Add veggies to everything. Veggies are packed with so many nutrients! They are low in calories and full of fiber, and keep you regular. If you’re not a huge fan of veggies you can hide them in many recipes. Every time you cook, think of ways you can add some veggies to the meal.

Smoothies – I have found that organic baby spinach is a great addition to smoothies. Although it makes the color rather green, it does not have a strong flavor. You can add spinach to fruit smoothies with nut milk and protein powder if desired.

Chili and Soups – I love all kinds of chilies and soups in the winter. I throw diced mushrooms and shredded zucchini into chili along with peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Vegetable soup is great to have on hand then add different meats and beans when you heat up.

Snacks – raw veggies with hummus is a snack I really enjoy. I may have a few rice or almond flour crackers on the side for an extra crunch. Celery sticks and baby carrots also pair well with natural peanut butter! 

3. Pack in the protein. I try to have protein with every meal and a little with snacks too. Protein helps keep me full and satisfied throughout the day, especially when I strength train in the morning. If I’m feeling really hungry, I know I need protein.

Meals – have a quality protein with each meal. I like eggs in the morning, then poultry or fish for other meals. I use a lot of different spices and often “pan fry” with avocado oil. One of my favorites is Montreal Chicken seasoning.

Snacks – I like to add hummus, peanut butter, almonds, or hard cheese to a snack. These “light” proteins go well with fruit and veggies for quick snacking.

Products – occasionally when I am busy or on the road, I will use a protein powder or protein bar. They are not as quality as the pure source, but can be great for something fast or portable. There are lots of varieties, and I prefer an organic, plant-based blend that is soy free.

4. Add healthy fats. Fats used to get a bad rap, but now they are understood to have many health benefits. They help keep blood sugar stable, help absorb certain vitamins, provide fuel for the brain, etc. I like to add healthy fats throughout the day.

Cooking – when I saute or roast foods, I prefer to use avocado or coconut oil. They are good for high heats and can come in an oil or a spray. Try tossing veggies with avocado oil and spices, and roasting in the oven.

Nuts – pure nuts are the best without salts and flavors. One of my favorites is roasted almonds. Take whole, raw almonds, spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Cool completely then store in an airtight container for a yummy, crunchy, healthy fat snack.

Dairy – I like to use full fat, plain Greek yogurt, grass fed cheese, real butter, etc., in moderation. Many low-fat varieties have fillers as well as added sugar. Look for pure, full fat, organic varieties.

5. Drink water. I love water so this is not usually a challenge for me. I drink a lot throughout the day. The only bad side effect is more trips to the bathroom! Water plays a key role in all of our body functions and is essential.

Morning – drinking a large glass of water first thing in the morning gets me off to a great start. You can add a slice of lemon if you need a little flavor.

Water bottle – I fill a large water bottle and take it with me everywhere! I’m constantly sipping on water. Once you get in the habit, you realize how good you feel when hydrated.

Tea – there’s no replacement for plain water, but herbal teas are a good way to help get more fluid throughout the day and give you a little flavor.

6. Prepare foods ahead. My days are usually busy and I don’t always have time to cook. I like to plan meals and snacks so I can pick up everything I need when grocery shopping. When possible, I cook a batch of food at once so I have it for the week.

Meal plan – I typically jot down my menu and make my grocery list from the menu. This way I have all the things I need for healthy meals and I’m not trying to figure out what to cook.

Make extra – I like to eat leftovers for lunches so I try to cook extra when making dinner. I pack the leftovers in single-serving storage containers for easy reheating. 

Have a prep day – Something that’s really helpful for me during busy weeks is to cook three or four meals at once. Leftovers can be used any time during the week when I’m too busy to cook.

7. Pack for the road. With my profession, I spend a lot of time driving to appointments. I always take water and food along. Not only is it nice to have fresh food with me, but it keeps me from making bad choices on the road.

Snacks – It could be something as simple as an apple and almonds, grapes and a piece of cheese, or a low sugar protein bar. I always take a snack if I’m out for several hours.

Leftovers – Especially in the winter, if I need to eat a meal on the road, I like something hot. I have a great little thermos I can put hot foods in to keep warm. My favorite is homemade spicy turkey chili with lots of veggies.

Take water – Make sure you have a water bottle and your favorite tea to stay hydrated. I usually take both and sometimes even have two water bottles if I’m out for a long time.

I hope these tips help you! They are not meant as expert advice. If you have specific health or diet needs, please talk to a professional!

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