Q&A Series, Part 1: What I Eat in an Average Day
First off, I am SO excited to finally have a chance to sit down and write this. I’ve had the intentions of writing down all my “secrets to success” for a while now, but get overwhelmed never having enough time to tackle each category. So following one of my own rules to goal setting; it’s time to break them down. With goals, I always write down like 20, then pick my top 5-8 I really want to focus on. Otherwise I feel scrambled, try to tackle them all, and get overwhelmed before I even get started. With everything I get asked on Instagram, it’s time to do the same. Because of that, I’m starting a Question & Answer series, where each week or so I’ll pick one question and answer it. I always write or say way too much, so starting this new tradition I’ll be able to put all my energy and undivided attention into one question at a time. After all, I usually only get 20 minutes to an hour to dedicate to blogging during Tanner’s nap time or after dinner.
Before I get started talking about my meals, my #1 key to success is TRACKING MY MEALS. I promise you, until you write down EXACTLY what you eat for EVERY SINGLE snack or meal, you will not see progress. Meal tracking is essential in starting your weight loss/transformation/maintaining. I built a tracker that keeps me 100% accountable, where I can record my meals, my fitness, and other weekly essentials for my lifestyle. Download your copy here. I upload a fresh copy each week where I insert TIU’s weekly calendar into AM & PM slots, as well as my other favorite workouts and weekly challenges. Try it for one week and I can guarantee you’ll be amazed with what – and how much – you eat!
With that, here we go! Onto my first Q&A! Tonight I’m tackling the biggest, most frequently asked question on my Instagram account in regards to my fitness transformation and my flat tummy…
These guys know my secrets!
Q1: During a typical day, what do you eat?
I follow Tone It Up’s method of 5 meals per day, so I break my meals down into 5 categories; M1-M5. Occasionally, an M6 will sneak in. Remember, I’m a clean-ISH eating mama with a love for FroYo, & sometimes dessert is just a necessity! 😉 I’m a breastfeeding mama, so the key for me is eating A LOT and enough of the RIGHT foods; clean.lean.green.
- M1: Post-Morning workout breakfast
- M2: Morning snack
- M3: Lunch
- M4: Afternoon snack
- M5: Dinner
- Occasional M6: Post-dinner snack/dessert
Here’s a breakdown of my typical meals…
1. M1 – BREAKFAST:
- MOST FREQUENT: 2-3 Plain scrambled eggs + a splash of unsweetened almond milk, no salt
- I learned from my bootcamp instructor, Natalie, that eating the whole egg is an essential way to get good fats into our bodies. Because of that, I don’t just eat egg whites, I eat the whole lovely, protein-packed egg in its entirety. For seasoning, my go-to is Mrs. Dash or unsalted hamburger seasoning (my FAV).
- MOST FREQUENT: A fruit + protein smoothie; I make SO many smoothies; I’m a total smoothie junkie. I don’t follow any recipes, I just make them up as I go. Smoothies & sandwiches have always just been my thing; I LOVE THEM and love experimenting. Typically, however, I use about 2/3 cup frozen mixed berries, 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/4 cup 100% pure OJ or cranberry or apple juice, 1 plain or fruit-flavored Greek yogurt, 1/2-1 pack of vanilla Perfect Fit protein powder, 1 banana, 1 cup fresh spinach, and a few chunks of other fruit; strawberries, mango, pineapple, or 1 pack of Sambazon’s unsweeted Acai berry pouch. I love my smoothies super thick, so try to add as little liquid as possible. I use all frozen fruit when possible to help with the thick consistency as well. Freezing my bananas makes my smoothies extra creamy and thick! You can also add 1/4 avocado to smoothies to make them silky smooth! I post my smoothie recipes to my Instagram account, so keep an eye out! One of my seasonally favorites right now is my Cranberry Frost smoothie. So yummy! You can also find some of my smoothie recipes here.
- SOMEWHAT FREQUENT: Perfect Fit Protein Pancakes. I finally perfected the perfect blend of ingredients to make them fluffy and PERF. Find my recipe in my blog archive here. I also am obsessed with my clean pumpkin bread.
- IF I HAVE EXTRA TIME: Egg Scramble – 2 Scrambled eggs + sautéed veggies (onion, bell pepper; pretty much whatever is in my fridge I’m trying to get rid of.) LOVE to top with 1/2 sliced avocado. For seasoning, I LOVE salsa. There are SO many fresh, clean salsas you can buy from your local natural grocery store that add a ton of flavor to your scramble without added salt or junk. I also love hot sauce; Franks is my fav!
- INFREQUENT (during my 6-week bootcamp and during TIU’s 8-week challenges I try to cut back on dairy, carbs, and sugar): Greek yogurt parfait; topped with fresh fruit & a few tablespoons of natural granola
- IF I’M RUNNING OUT THE DOOR ABOUT TO STARVE: A Luna Bar, Lara Bar, Clif Bar, or other clean granola bar
2. M2 – MORNING SNACK [Depends on what I eat for M1; i.e.: If I make a smoothie for M1, I won’t have a smoothie for M2; If I have a granola bar for M1, I won’t have a granola bar for M2, etc.]:
- Apple + Peanut Butter (my absolute favorite PB is Peanut Butter Company’s cinnamon raison or maple! SO FREAKING AMAZE!)
- Protein + Fruit Smoothie (see details above or click for some of my favorite recipes)
- Clean granola bar
- Handful of unsalted nuts; cashews & almonds are my fav
- 2 Hardboiled eggs
- Clean baked goods (like my guilt-free pumpkin bread/muffins).
- Stretch Island Fruit Leathers
3. M3 – LUNCH [Same guidelines as M1 when I was taking my 6-week bootcamp or am active in an 8-week TIU challenge; I cut back on dairy, carbs, and sugar]:
- Meat + Veggies on Ezeikel or Spelt Flour Wrap (fav is from Trader Joe’s because it wraps nice and soft and doesn’t completely fall apart like all the others I’ve tried). Ezeikel also makes a pita that’s great too. I hateeeee mayo and am not a mustard fan, so typically eat all my wraps, pitas, or sandwiches plain with no sauce. If I have avocados, those are my FAV and I find those give enough moisture to my creations. I add pepper & Mrs. Dash on top of the avocado and love the flavor without sauce. If I do want to switch up flavors, I love clean teriyaki and BBQ sauce; those are my two favorite sauces. If you can’t completely “go dry” but want to try to go mayo-less, I love olive oil and balsamic too.
- Leftover dinner. I usually try to make extra dinner to ensure leftovers on purpose. My typical leftovers are chicken & veggies, stuffed peppers, or some sort of crockpot concoction.
- Huge spinach salad with any veggies & fruit I can find + protein (chicken usually). I’m not a huge kale lover, but if it’s chopped up small and mixed with spinach I don’t mind it. Kyle travels a lot for work, so I usually just buy the Organic Girl spinach container; when I buy more than one blend I never get through it all before it’s bad. If I’m going for a veggie-packed salad, my go-tos are cucumber, carrots, avocado, black olives, red/orange/yellow bell pepper, edamame. My fav fruity salad is spinach + strawberries, blueberries, avocado, mandarin oranges, grapes, and apples. SO GOOD. For dressings, I use balsamic only, or a clean recipe incorporating Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. My favorite store-bought brand for my tuity-fruity salad is Brianna’s Home Style Dressing in Blush Wine Vinaigrette. Brianna’s Creamy Balsamic is my favorite on my veggie-packed salad when I’m looking to change up pure balsamic vinegar.
4. M4 – LATE AFTERNOON SNACK:
- Apple + Peanut Butter
- Protein + Fruit Smoothie (see details above). I really love smoothies for M4 because I often am craving something sweet yet filling. I love making something berry-filled & tart or tropical. I also love the Creamsicle smoothies; right now I use 3 tangerines since they’re DELISH, locally grown, and in season + almond milk + frozen banana + 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract + 1/2-1 packet of vanilla Perfect Fit + 4 ice cubes + 1/4 cup OJ + 3 frozen pineapple chunks + 3 frozen mango chunks. If I’m not cutting back on dairy, I’ll also add 1 plain or vanilla greek yogurt. You can also freeze almond milk ice cubes to make it extra frothy, thick, and cold since the tangerines are fresh.
- Clean granola bar
- Handful of unsalted nuts; cashews & almonds are my fav
- 2 Hardboiled eggs
- String Cheese
- Clean baked goods (like my guilt-free pumpkin bread or muffins).
- All-natural, clean fruit leather strips by Stretch Island (can find in bulk at Costco or online).
5. M5 – DINNER:
- My favorite dinner routine is taking family recipes or other recipes I stumble upon online and converting them into clean dishes. I think it’s fun and exciting to take old dishes and make them modern-mama & family approved; lean, clean, and green (usually). My favorite clean spin so far has been my take on Seasonally Jane’s Butternut Squash Gratin, “Winter Veggie Au Gratin.”
- My stuffed pepper recipes
- Anything clean in the crockpot (totally mama & time approved and I love that the meat pulls apart so Tanner can chew it!)
- BBQ or Teriyaki Chicken & veggies. I have clean sauce recipes in my blog’s archive. I love to wrap up chicken breasts in little foil pockets and bake with veggies and sauce; it’s like a mini marinade pocket and they come out so good! If I’m not in the mood for sauce, I always love garlic and Mrs. Dash with spray coconut oil. Another favorite chicken recipe is our family favorite we call “Jackson Hole Chicken;” a blend of dijon, panko, white wine, spices, and shredded parmesan.
- Recipes from the TIU Nutrition Plan
- Other clean, lean recipes from Pinterest (obvi).
View some of my favorite dinner recipes here.
6. M6 [because sometimes a mama just needs to indulge!!! However, during my 6-week bootcamp and during 8-week TIU challenges I try to never eat M6 or dessert. When I get sugar/sweets cravings during challenges, I will eat fruit or yogurt of fruity tea with local honey, because that’s way better than sugary treats and fills my cravings.]:
- CHEAT TREAT: Champs #cheers …my FAV is Barefoot Bubbly’s Tropical Fusion. OMG. Drooling just thinking about it.
- Bowl of fruit drizzled with honey
- Greek yogurt dessert “parfait” – 1 flavored greek yogurt + 1 tablespoon carob chips + 1/4 cup berries. You can also drizzle with local, raw honey if you need an extra touch of sweet
- Cup of flavored herbal tea (my favs right now are Celestial Seasoning’s Caramel Apple or Cranberry Vanilla. I’m also obsessed with anything mint, mango, or acai/blueberry.) I love almost all tea & find all my favorites at my local grocery stores & Target!
- CHEAT TREAT: FRO-YOOOOOO (I reward myself with a huge bowl of FroYo when I hit a goal; i.e.: a certain amount of miles toward #100by______). I reached my goal weight after Bikini Series and Frisky Fall, and haven’t weighed myself in months, but when I hit weight-loss goals previously, I’d reward myself then 🙂 I think it’s really important to not cut out things completely, yet find a balance. I don’t drink besides an occasional glass of champagne or Blue Moon at a concert, so dessert is my happy hour!
- CHEAT TREAT: Bowl of ice cream (rare; special occasions and holidays)
- SEASONAL CHEAT TREAT: annndddddd right now I’m having a SUPER hard time staying away from chocolate and Christmas cookies. December only comes once a year and I’ve worked my butt off (literally) these past six months since joining TIU. So I’m indulging and don’t even feel bad about it!
Another question I get asked often is what are my favorite ab exercises. I’ll be dedicating a separate blog post to my favorite ab routines, but one of my favorites for staying on top of my toning is my ab blaster below:
Other FAQs on my eating habits:
Q2: Is there anything you don’t eat?
- Not really. As mentioned above, I’ll limit dairy + sugar + carbs during bootcamp sessions or TIU 8-week challenges, but never cut out anything completely. I don’t believe in that lifestyle; cutting something out is not a realistic way for me to live. When I cut things out, I end up really craving them and over indulge. However, that being said, I find that doing a TIU #7DSD or #5DSD will cut cravings I have. I did Advocare 24-day challenges in the past, and they’re the same concept; cut certain food groups out until the habit is broken, and you won’t crave them as much anymore. I find this especially true for dairy, carb, and sugar cravings. Days 3-4 are always SO HARD and the worst, but at the end of the slim downs, my body really gets back on the right track to crave clean, lean, and green foods.
- That being said, I cut back on dairy, sugar, and carbs. I use unsweetened almond milk for smoothies and in recipes. I use coconut sugar, raw, local honey, and 100% pure maple syrup rather than sugar. And use Ezeikel wraps, bread, or spelt flour for sandwiches. For flour, I sub with garbanzo bean, coconut, almond, or whole wheat flour. Never enriched. For baking with chocolate chips I use at least 62% cocoa or dairy, soy, and nut free carob chips.
- I’m a breastfeeding mom so maintaining enough healthy fats, calories, dairy, and protein is essential to my lifestyle; my weight, my supply, and my overall well-being and energy.
Q3: What do you do to curb your sweets cravings?
- I drink flavored herbal tea with raw, local honey
- I bake clean and use clean ingredients, cutting out sugar, flour, or processed ingredients.
- I eat dark chocolate (the higher percentage of cocoa, the better!)
- I indulge! I’m human! I’m normal! Sometimes you just need to GIVE INNNN to your cravings. Not often; definitely everything in moderation. Like I mentioned earlier, reward yourself with treats when you reach certain goals. During Frisky Fall, I completed a 5k running more than walking, and that was a HUGE feat for me. Because of that, my “lunch” that day was FroYo. Because I deserved it, dang it! 🙂 I only eat crap once in a while, because nutrition is really 70%:30% to exercise to maintain your figure. Remember abs are MADE in the kitchen and revealed through workouts. I also really like Dole Dippers
- I make lots and lots of fruity smoothies. If you’re trying to lose weight, be careful to watch out you’re not making the too sugary. I’ve reached my weight loss goals, so am not worried about that as much. You can sub less fruit and add more protein (add peanut butter or cashews) to your smoothies.
Remember to cherish your body AND your soul. Don’t drive yourself crazy being on a “diet.” Life is all about BALANCE. Find the right balance that works for you.
The “secret” to my abs is eating right and exercise 🙂
*These are just tips and what I found worked for me. I am not a dietitian or nutritional expert. I am not a physician and therefore cannot diagnose or treat illnesses or health problems/issues/concerns. All medical advise should be advised from a licensed physician. I make no representations, claims, or guarantees regarding the efficacy of my recommendations. The above recommendations are based upon a personal experience & overall knowledge of what works for my lifestyle and body. Following these opinions does not constitute a medical service or health care treatment. These are my opinions only. I’m just a TIU girl on a fitness journey sharing my “secrets” along the way!
If only as a mom I got to follow the first line……