NUTRITION


Nutrition is so important when it comes to feeling your best. Eating well is a form of self-care, and self-respect.

I know how hard it is to prepare and eat healthy food when you are caring for another human. It's definitely not easy! This means that you need to plan for success by thinking and preparing food ahead. 
 

MY TIPS FOR FOOD PREP:

 

  • Make a grocery list by thinking through your day and everything you want to eat. This way you won't forget anything. Then, split your list into the sections of the grocery store - produce, bulk, fridge, meat, home, etc. so that you aren't going to any area more than once. As you shop, before you leave an area, double check your list. 
  • Where possible, use frozen {organic} vegetables. Did you know that the veggies are actually frozen fresh, and tend to have more nutrients in them than veggies that have traveled a distance to get to the produce aisle of the grocery store? You can roast your veggies from frozen. 
  • Roast at higher temperatures. This brings out the most flavor and gets some toasty goodness into the veggies - I recommend 425-450 degrees for most veggies, watching carefully and stirring throughout. Set a timer for the halfway point so that you don't forget to stir or flip! 
  • Multitask. While you've got several trays of veggies in the oven, sauté something on the stove. For example, zucchini, cauliflower rice, or mushrooms - separately or all together!
  • For chicken, slow cooking or grilling is my favorite method to keep the moisture in. Slow cook for 6 hours or toss on grill for five to six minutes per side at 400 degrees with just sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
  • For ground meat, sauté in a pan on the stove with whatever seasonings you want. Taco flavors, Mediterranean flavors, with tomato sauce, etc. Experiment, be creative. Do this while veggies are roasting. My fave way to cook ground turkey is with coconut aminos, sea salt, garlic and onion powder.
  • Chop and wash your salad greens when you bring them home from the supermarket - store them in a plastic bag or Tupperware with paper towel and they will stay crisp for a long time! You can also do this with any veggies that you don't want to cook quite yet - chop them ahead of time and store with a paper towel. 
  • Leftovers. When you make a meal, don't just make enough for that one meal. Make extra! Having leftovers the next day is key to having an easy and nutritious meal to eat. 
  • Think ahead. If you need to defrost something for the next day, do it before bed. Make it a habit to think of what you're planning to eat the next day before you go to sleep each night.

 

KEEP YOUR SHMEC IN CHECK:

 

SHMEC stands for Sleep, Hunger, Mood, Energy, and Cravings. This is a Metabolic Effect concept that I LOVE to use for biofeedback and learning how to listen to your body. If any of these things are off, your metabolism will likely be off as well. Your metabolism most often gets thrown off when you eat too little or exercise too much or don't get enough sleep. As moms, the sleep part can feel impossible. This is why fat loss postpartum is not a good goal and I recommend focusing on strength instead. When we've got other healthy habits in place consistently, the body composition we are after comes naturally. 

It takes being a detective to truly learn how to keep your body in homeostasis. This means listening to your body when it's tired and getting more sleep, eating when you feel hungry, and truly prioritizing self-care. Check out Jade Teta's book, Lose Weight Here, if this topic interests you. It's not about weight loss, but about the science behind having a healthy metabolism.

 

HOW TO BUILD A SATISFYING MEAL:

 

Protein and vegetables are going to be the most satiating foods that you eat. These foods are important if you feel like your SHMEC is out of check. Protein is necessary for maintaining and building muscle. Vegetables contain water and fiber and nutrients that support your body in feeling fed and nourished. 

Starch (like white or sweet potatoes, rice, oats, winter squash, etc) and healthy fats (oils like olive, avocado, or coconut, avocados, nuts and seeds, even eggs, etc) are the additions to the protein and vegetables that make your meals more satisfying. Chicken and broccoli tastes a whole lot better when the broccoli is roasted in a healthy cooking fat with some seasoning and maybe some rice or butternut squash. Use starch and fat to up the satisfaction factor of your meal. Eat just enough of these foods to feel satisfied but not too much so that you're in a caloric surplus. This is not about counting calories but about how you feel after you eat. If you're too full, you ate too much. 

Remember: in order to make eating healthy food a lifestyle, you must like the food you eat.

 

PORTION GUIDELINES:

 

A healthy meal is going to consist of mostly vegetables, then protein, then starch and fat. We can think of this in two ways:

a) A plate, where at least half of the plate is made up of non-starchy vegetables, a quarter of the plate is protein, and the other quarter is a combination of healthy fats and starch.

b) Hand portions, where your meal is made up of 1 palm of protein, vegetables in the amount of 1 fist, carbohydrates are 1 cupped hand, and fat is 1 thumb worth. Remember that different people will need different amounts dependent on things like activity level and breastfeeding, so listen to your body. If you need more, eat more!

 

STRATEGIES FOR MINDFUL EATING:

 

Every time you sit down to a meal or eat a snack it's important to try to be mindful of how you are eating in addition to what. While we obviously won't do the following strategies perfectly every time we eat, especially with babies or toddlers or kids needing our attention, it's still useful to be aware of the habits and practice mindfulness.
 

Eating Slowly

By eating slowly you will make sure that you don't miss important hunger and fullness cues, along with other body cues of how the foods you are eating are making you feel. It's important not to eat while doing other things, like watching TV or working at the computer. By eating while doing something else you teach your brain to associate that thing with the habit of eating so that you will always want to be eating while you do it. Also, it's a lot easier to clear your plate and overeat (not listening to fullness cues - see below) when you aren't paying attention to the task at hand - eating.

Distraction also isn't good for digestion. When we eat slowly we give our bodies time to break down the food we are consuming and in turn are better able to absorb nutrients. Food that isn't broken down properly can lead to indigestion and other GI issues. Chewing your food, really tasting it, and making sure each bite is mush before you swallow is key.

The bottom line: Eating quickly promotes weight gain and can make you feel out of control of your eating habits.

Strategies for eating slowly: set a meal timer, do something in between bites, practice savoring each bite (really taste the food!), if eating with others try to be the slowest eater in the group, notice what affects your eating speed (who you eat with, when you eat, what you eat, or where you eat)
 

Eating to 80% Fullness

Eating to 80% fullness is tricky, but by eating slowly you will give your body more time to sense that you are full. 

Most of us have learned that we are supposed to clear our plates at each meal, but actually it's better to stop eating when you feel almost full and save the rest for later. Practice the mantra, "there is always more where that came from."

I do not expect you to do this perfectly at all as you begin to practice. (I never expect you to do anything perfectly, we are human!) However, it's important to teach your body appetite awareness and you can do this by helping your body to recognize how much food it needs! Eating when you feel hungry and ending the meal when you feel that you've had enough will give your body the opportunity to do that.

The bottom line: Eating slowly will help and being mindful of what you are doing while you eat is key. And you can always go back for more later!

Strategies for recognizing hunger and fullness cues: practice noticing cues, use an appetite awareness tracker (email me if you want a PDF for this!)


THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT NUTRITION:

 

Focus on eating for health and energy, not body change. There are no food rules, no good or bad foods. The only foods you shouldn't eat are the ones that don't make you feel good - whether that's related to digestion, skin, energy or mood is your job to become aware of and then decide if it's right for your unique body. When you are eating foods that work for your body in appropriate amounts, a healthy body composition happens naturally. 

 

MEALS I LOVE:

 

Breakfast Sausage and Veggies

Ingredients: sausage (Bilinski, Fork in the Road, or Applegate), your favorite roasted veggies, avocado

Directions: roast veggies ahead - my faves with this meal are broccoli or Brussels sprouts tossed in olive oil and roasted at 425 for about 30 minutes, as well as roasted butternut squash (425 for about 45 minutes). Slice sausage and sauté in some olive oil until browned, then toss in veggies to heat through. Enjoy with your avocado!

Big Ass Salad

Ingredients: Lettuce you *like* (I love romaine or red leaf), tuna (Wildplanet) or chicken (grilled or slow cooked tastes best to me!) , avocado oil-based mayo (Sir Kensington's or Primal Kitchen), dijon mustard, pumpkin seeds, raisins, chopped apple, shredded cabbage and carrot, and sauerkraut (Farmhouse Culture), balsamic vinegar and/or Primal Kitchen ranch

Directions: Wash and chop lettuce and put in a large bowl, add protein salad (made by combining all other ingredients besides dressing), drizzle with balsamic vinegar and/or ranch

Lettuce Wrapped Burgers and Oven Fries

Ingredients: {grassfed} ground beef (1/4-1/3lb per burger), 1-2 slices of bacon per burger, whatever you like on top - Woodstock ketchup and dijon mustard, avocado oil-based mayo, sauerkraut, and romaine lettuce to wrap, plus a green veggie and russet potatoes

Directions: grill your burgers, build lettuce wraps with mashed avocado on the bottom, bacon resting on top of avocado, then the burger, then other toppings. Prepare green veggie. For potatoes, slice into thin wedges with skin on, toss in olive or avocado oil and sea salt, bake on parchment at 375 for 15-20 minutes each side, watch closely!

"Rice" Bowl with Sriracha Mayo

Ingredients: frozen cauliflower rice, crimini mushrooms, fave green veggie (zucchini, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc.), roasted butternut squash, ground turkey or boneless skinless chicken thigh, coconut aminos (Trader' Joe's or Coconut Secret brand), organic sriracha, avocado oil-based mayo

Directions: roast butternut squash and green veggies of choice, sauté mushrooms and then add cauliflower rice and coconut aminos. Sauté ground turkey with coconut aminos as well, or grill chicken thighs (best flavor this way!). Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix sriracha and mayo in appropriate amounts for preferred spice. Top with avocado if desired!

Zoodles and Beef Bolognese

Ingredients: zucchini, crimini mushrooms, {grassfed} ground beef, tomato sauce of choice

Directions: spiralize zucchini, or just slice into half spheres if you don't have a spiralizer - no biggie! Sauté mushrooms first in olive oil, then add zoodles at higher heat with sea salt and garlic powder. It's important to keep the heat high when your pan is crowded otherwise you will be steaming your vegetables and that will release water. Don't overcook or they will be mushy! Sauté ground beef in a different pan and add tomato sauce. Let it simmer for a bit - then add to zoodles and mushrooms. Enjoy this meal with toasted Bread Srsly gluten free sourdough and Kite Hill almond-based chive cream cheese!



Note: I didn't include many amounts because this is on you to figure out how much you want to eat, how many people you are cooking for, and how much you want for leftovers. I want you to experiment and play, and most of all realize that cooking can be fun and SO empowering.