My Nutrition Upgrade: Week 4

Last week was the last week of the My Nutrition Upgrade program I’ve participated in.

Upgrade #7 was all about choosing a prep day. This is something that you guys know I consistently do already with Sunday Food Prep. The program recommends following these 7 steps when it comes to prep day:

  1. Choose a consistent day to be your prep day.
  2. Choose your meals/recipes for the week.
  3. Create a shopping list.
  4. Grocery shop.
  5. Don’t put the groceries away… start prepping food! Clean/cut/chop veggies, clean/cut fruits, cook/bake/grill meats/fishes/poultry ahead of time, prepare whole grains, make soups/casseroles, basically prepare anything you can ahead of time.
  6. Portion out meals and snacks into containers and bags
  7. Enjoy a stress free week of healthy meals!

Sunday Food Prep

We’ve got this down pat in our house. This process is incorporated into every single weekend. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it is such.a.time.saver! It takes a lot upfront, but the time and hassle it saves me during the rest of my busy week is SO worth it for my sanity.

Upgrade #8 was a discussion on the difference between a lapse and a relapse. This is a concept I learned about while studying for my personal trainer exam, and I can’t emphasize enough to you guys. A lapse is NOT a relapse. It is just a momentary return to old habits. For example, if you have a bad day and turn to cookies out of emotional eating. It’s just when lapses go unrecognized or ignored, that a relapse could happen. Relapsing is when you have a TOTAL return to your old ways of thinking and behaving, not just one slip up. I think it’s important to differentiate between the two and keep that in mind if you are being hard on yourself.

That brings me to the end of the 4 week My Nutrition Upgrade program. If you missed my first recaps, please check them out at these links: Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3. If interested in participating in future rounds, please be in touch. I’m sure I’ll have some more information to share down the line!

Weekly Eats

Last week wasn’t the most exciting food week. Tim was traveling, so I didn’t have as much help in the kitchen as I normally do. I also wasn’t as good about snapping food pictures as I normally am. So here’s a smattering for you:

My company gave out free fruit for National Healthy Eating Day last Wednesday. Did your companies do anything?

National Healthy Eating Day

Here are some breakfasts. My cottage cheese usual, followed by Ezekial bread toast with peanut butter, sliced banana, and chia seeds.

Cottage Cheese

Toast with Peanut Butter

Here’s some leftover veggie and polenta soup that I ate for several dinners.

veggie and polenta soup

Many of my lunches consisted of salad greens with tuna, chickpeas, tomato, and avocado.

 

Tuna Salad

And finally, a veggie plate. Because I think they’re pretty.

Veggie Plate

That’s it! Next week will hopefully be more exciting.

Did you take part in My Nutrition Upgrade? What did you think? Do you have a prep day? Do you beat yourself up over lapses or do you recognize that they aren’t the same as a complete relapse? Was last week an exciting food week for you?

Health fair day today! Wish me luck!

Disclaimer / Disclosure:  I was not paid to write this post, but I was provided a free registration in the My Nutrition Upgrade program in exchange for writing a review and sharing my experiences with my readers.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Weekly Eats and Week 3 of My Nutrition Upgrade

I talked a lot about food this morning, so I might as well keep it coming today.

Here’s more of what I ate last week.

Dinners

Sunday
Sweet potato quesadillas. Note to anyone who has tried to make this recipe using the one on my blog before, there was a typo in the directions. So if you had REALLY undercooked sweet potatoes, I’m sorry! The error has been fixed.

Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Monday & Tuesday
Apple salmon burgers with broccolini. So. Freaking. Good. Who knew those flavors went so well together? And we’re *almost* out of apples from apple picking. We probably only have a few left!

Apple salmon burgers

Wednesday
I made a veggie and polenta soup. I had never tried polenta before. Have you guys had it? I don’t really get it.

veggie and polenta soup

Thursday
Halloween dinner

Halloween Dinner 2013

Friday
Pizza out

Pizza

Saturday
Fall Fest food

Fall Fest Meals

Lunches

Monday – Wednesday
Butternut squash quinoa. This was just okay. Kind of boring.

Quinoa with butternut squash

Thursday and Friday
Chicken with sun-dried tomato, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette in a wheat pita. Helpful hint – bring the pita on the side so it doesn’t get soggy and crumbly!

Chicken with sundried tomatoes

Breakfasts

I’m finally feeling bored of my weekday go to of cottage cheese with cinnamon, blueberries, and slivered almonds. Last week I decided to make crock pot apple cinnamon oatmeal. I also had to bring that in for a group breakfast yesterday, so it was a good week to make a test batch. I’m on a huge oatmeal kick now!

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

My Nutrition Upgrade

Last week was Week 3 of the My Nutrition Upgrade program I am doing. If you’ve missed my recaps of Week 1 and Week 2, please check them out! I’ve tried to share the most helpful hints learned throughout the program.

Upgrade #5 last week was in regards to beverage choice and the hidden calories/sugars that are often found in liquid form. I eliminated a lot of these drinks (soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, etc.) from my diet years a long time ago. For example, I used to be a huge diet coke drinker, but I haven’t touched one in years. I also went cold turkey on splenda and sugar in my coffee when I made the switch to organic eating. Now I stick to seltzer if I am craving a non-alcoholic beverage besides water, or I’ll garnish my regular water with a lemon, lime, cucumber, or orange. A lot of the drinks that look healthy such as Vitamin Water actually have a lot of unnecessary calories in them, so I’ve actually cut most of those out too. My Soda Stream helps. 🙂

Soda Stream

Upgrade #6 was on dining in instead of out. Tim and I enjoy going out to eat far too much to give that up, but in recent years we’ve definitely cut back on the frequency of our meals out. If we do dine out, it’s going to be on something we will enjoy, not something that’s going to make us feel like crap a few hours later. We try to stick to no more than two meals out every week, and as you guys know, we swear by our Sunday food prep to help us stick with this goal.

sunday food prep

What have you guys been eating lately? Do you cut back on calories with your beverage choices or is that an area that you struggle with? What about dining in versus dining out?

Off to Two A Day!

My Nutrition Upgrade: Week 2

Happy Friday and first of November! Before we head into the weekend, I wanted to share my eats from last week and some tidbits from Week 2 of the My Nutrition Upgrade program.

I’ll share my food first!

Lunch on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday last week was kale salad with pears, grilled chicken, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and goat cheese

Kale Chicken Pear Salad

And toward the end of the week we ate lemon farro chicken.

Lemon Chicken Farro Salad

Dinner on Sunday night was stuffed eggplant because we had a couple to use up from our farm share. We also had small salads on the side.

Stuffed Eggplant

On Monday and Tuesday I had soup. I’m calling this my “get rid of those greens” soup, because I had so many green veggies that were going to go bad and I pretty much just threw them all together to make this meal.

Get Rid of Those Greens Soup

For dinner on Wednesday and Thursday we ate spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs and tomato sauce.

Spaghetti Squash

Finally, dinner on Friday was splurge-worthy. I met up with Katrina and Slesh downtown at Stoddard’s (yes, this was my third time being there in the past 2 months). We ordered some CARBS with fondue for an appetizer, and then I ordered the goat cheese salad and the pork belly appetizer which came with cannellini beans, truffle-bean purée, and chive oil. Everything was delicious, but along with two gin and cucumber drinks I’m sure the calories added right up!

My Nutrition Upgrade

Speaking of drinks, one of the questions posed in my Google group for My Nutrition Upgrade last week was about alcohol and the best way to incorporate it into an otherwise healthy diet. Our nutrition coach informed us that most wines have about 100 calories per 5 ounces, so it’s important to pay attention to the size glass you are getting if you are paying attention to calories when imbibing.

Wine and Cheese

She also broke down the calorie counts and grams of carbohydrates for different types of beers:

Beer     Per 12-oz Serving
“Light” Beer     108 calories, 6 g carbs
Draft Beer     144 calories, 13.2 g carbs
Lager     168 calories, 13.2 g carbs
Ale     216 calories, 13.2 g carbs

Interesting huh?  She also recommended a couple of tips such as alternating a glass of water/seltzer in between ordering alcoholic beverages (something I should probably do more when I’m out!) and to steer clear of mixers, syrups, and sodas (something I already do).  Just thought you guys might be interested in that info!

Aside from that, the “upgrades” of the week were to shop smart and to clean out hidden sugars. I already knew most of the shop smart tips such as sticking to the perimeter of the store when you shop, being wary of packaging, and reading labels for things with fewer ingredients that are easy to pronounce. One new tip I learned though was to make sure to look both high and low on the shelves, because some companies pay grocery stores what’s called a “slotting fee” to house their products on the middle shelves at eye level. And a lot of these foods tend to be the processed and not so good for you items. Tricky!

grocery shopping 2

The hidden sugar lesson was my favorite so far. I learned that the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day when the recommended amount of added sugar should not exceed 5 teaspoons. That’s CRAZY and can add up to an extra 350 calories per day from added sugars alone. The most helpful tip I learned to help decrease the amount of added sugar in my diet actually pertains to label reading. There is an equation called The Altman Rule where you add the grams of protein in a product plus the grams of fiber. If that amount is greater than the grams of sugar, it’s generally okay. If it’s less, it’s not. I know I will start being more mindful of this at the grocery store, and take it into consideration with some of the products I tend to purchase.

I want to hear from you – what meals did you guys enjoy last week? What’s your go to strategy for enjoying adult beverages while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Any comments about smart grocery shopping, hidden sugars, and your strategies for either?

Have a great weekend everyone! Tonight I’m lying low, but tomorrow I’m hosting a fall fest for my gym crew. Can’t wait!

Disclaimer / Disclosure:  I was not paid to write this post, but I was provided a free registration in the program in exchange for writing a review and sharing my experiences with my readers.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.