Transformation Tuesday Recipe Edition!

54ead6c10d391_-_thanksgiving-elegant-food-1114-xlnI have featured some incredible client transformations, but none of the warriors’ transformations would have been possible if they did not focus on making healthier food choices.  Exercise alone will not result in long-lasting, or consistent weight loss results.  As I shared in Mini Treats Can Have a Major Impact!, the holiday splurges really add up and can derail your progress before you know it!

If you take the time to research “Healthier Holiday Food Makeovers,” you will find over 400,000 pages and each page contains multiple recipes. pumpkin pie cake “Cooking Light” magazine offers a great alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie and a lower-calorie. dairy-free mashed potato recipe for your Thanksgiving table.   If your holidays have more of a down home Southern flair, the FOOD NETWORK has a great selection of “Healthy Comfort Food Makeovers,” including Mac & Cheese!   YES!!! I said HEALTHIER Mac & Cheese!  BAM!!!  One of my favorite articles is Eating Well’s “How to Cut Calories at Thanksgiving Dinner!”  This article offers total makeovers of all of your holiday favorites, Turkey, stuffing, and even SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE!!!  The key is staying on track without feeling deprived! Dive into these articles and when you try they #CoachRobJCooks!!!

Mini Treats Can Have a Major Impact!

Halloween Candy
Sweet Treats!

With Halloween around the corner there are sweet treats up for grabs every where!  I thought I would take a minute and share some calorie counts and offer a bit of education on how to offset this season’s indulgences.

In our society, holidays and celebrations are synonymous  with food.  Make sure that you educate yourself on the amount of calories you could be mindlessly eating as you walk by the candy bowl at work or dip into your children’s Halloween treasures.  Below, is a chart to give you an idea of what it will take to burn off this MINI-SIZED Fun Treats6b166b124c5f41cc9f556d1e3be1a071--halloween-treats-spooky-halloween

As with any health plan, complete deprivation will set you up for failure.  A term I frequently remind my clients of is, “everything in moderation.”  I do not recommend that anyone completely forego sweet treats, IF they want to indulge.  It is not realistic to expect to sustain a lifestyle change without participating in days of celebration.  Whether it is Halloween candy, the office birthday cake, or the upcoming holiday season, don’t allow an exception to your daily eating plan to derail your fitness journey.

IF you choose to eat the treats, be ready to do the work! BAM!!!

Candy

 

Are Fall Favorites Failing You?

someecard-psl
It seems that once September first hits, people start drinking “Fall Favorites” and seldom think twice about taking the calorie hit.  Since the introduction of the “Pumpkin Spice Latte”(click link for calorie information) over 14 years ago, Starbucks has sold over 350 million of them.  Indulging in Pumpkin Spice Lattes, aka PSL, and other fall treats can have a negative effect on any eating plan.   With the average woman needing to follow a 1,500 calorie diet to lose weight, and a manPSL needing to follow a 2,000 calorie diet, using 380-500 of your daily allowance for a morning coffee is not a wise nutrition choice.

I have included a couple of links to help educate you on just how many calories a person can mindlessly ingest in a day.  This first article offers a good overview of how cutting liquid calories can have a positive result on your weight loss.  Stealth Assault on Health: Beverages Pack Calorie Punch.   Another resource, published in 2015, by the Center for Disease Control, titled “Rethink Your Drink,” offers a comprehensive list of calorie comparisons for popular beverages.  So the next time you are thirsty, make sure you count those calories, because they really add up!  Just drink water – BAM!!!

 

Happy, Healthy BBQ Side Dishes

 

bbq-healthyHealthy eating is an integral part of any weight loss or healthy lifestyle plan, but we also know, you shouldn’t deprive yourself.   With this weekend being filled with barbecues for Labor Day and the Fresno State Bulldogs tailgating season kicking off in full swing, I decided to share something healthy BBQ side options.  Let’s just assume we are all going to indulge in something tasty off the grill but this does not mean your entire meal has to be “an unhealthy indulgence.”

As I discussed on my blog last week, access to healthy eating has never been easier.  Easy Access to Eating Healthy   The central California is especially lucky to have fresh produce on every street corner, farmer’s market, and even in some of our own backyards.

farmers
CLOVIS Farmer’s Market Friday nights and Saturday mornings!

Heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, and fresh stone fruit are all in season and can add a new twist to your normal barbecue side dish selection.  Change up those high fat sides of macaroni and cheese, chili, and potatoes salad with some healthy alternatives using fresh produce which is rich in natural flavor and can be locally sourced!

 

Heirloom-Tomato-Salad_FDCOM-small

Cooking Light Magazine’s Easy Barbecue Side Dishes!

I googled “healthy barbecue side dishes” and within .66 seconds, I had 5.31 MILLION webpages, all loaded with recipes and photos at my finger tips!  Here are some great resources to help you contribute healthier sides to any BBQ or tailgate.

If you get adventurous this weekend and make a new healthy side dish, post a picture on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and #CoachRobJCooks or you can SNAPCHAT me at coach_robj and I will feature some of the photos next week! Have a Happy, Healthy, and Safe Holiday weekend! Go Dogs!

Fitness Magazine has a great healthier “Mac and Cheese” made with cauliflower.

cauliflower-mac-cheese

 

Easy Access to Eating Healthy

Changing your eating habits is a process, it is not something that happens overnight. In the age of the Internet and apps like Pinterest, Instagram, and the Food Network, there is no reason why you can’t find healthy recipes that fit your tastes and dietary needs.

Food Journal VeggieAs a trainer, I recommend that you begin a new eating regimen by first understanding what types of foods you are currently consuming by creating a food journal, even if it just for a week or two.  This article from Redbook Magazine offers a list of the best food journaling apps on the market 18 Best Food Tracker Apps of 2017

  • What are you eating?
  • Why are you eating?
  • When are you eating?
  • How much water are you drinking?
  • How many of your calories are from drinks other than water? Coffee? Soda?
  • How many calories are you consuming?

water-1When you have a handle on what you are consuming, educate yourself on what you should be consuming.  You can consult with a nutritionist, a healthcare professional, or a personal trainer like myself that is educated in the types of nutrition necessary to achieve your health and fitness goals.

  • What should you be eating? Carbs? Proteins?
  • When should you be consuming your calories?
  • How much water should you be drinking?
  • How many calories are you burning?
  • How many calories should you be consuming?

When you have a better idea of what you should be doing, start by making a few changes every week and ease yourself into a new lifestyle.  BuzzFeed has a GREAT list of tricks to help you baby step your way into new eating habits.   Remember, changing your eating habits is not about self-deprivation, it is about living healthier.

Forget Calorie Counting

Try this calorie control guide for men and women

By Ryan Andrews & Brian St. Pierre

Math? To plan dinner? Isn’t there a better way? Yes there is. Just take a look at your hand. Use your fist, palm, cupped hand, and thumb to practice calorie control – while avoiding the hassle of counting calories.

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times:  The best — maybe even the only — way to lose weight is to count calories.

After all, it’s a pretty simple equation: Calories in vs. calories out. Eat more calories than you burn, and you gain weight. Eat fewer calories than you burn and you lose weight.

Except counting calories isn’t that simple.

The problems with calorie counting

First of all — on the “calories in” side — you do need to figure out how many calories are in the foods you want to eat.  And that takes handbooks, websites, databases and math. Just to plan your lunch.  Groan.

Next, you have to assume that the handbooks, websites, and databases’ calorie estimates are correct.  They’re often not.  In fact, research has shown they can be off by about 25% because of incorrect labeling, laboratory measurement error, and food quality.

Then, of course, there’s the “calories out” side.  Estimating your calorie expenditure each day comes with another 25% measurement error because of the equipment you’re using, laboratory measurement errors, and individual differences.

A possible 25% error on the “calories in” side, and another 25% error on the “calories out” side.

Is it even worth:

  • pulling out measuring cups to a chorus of boos from family members;
  • dusting off the food scale while trying to ignore the taunts of friends;
  • wheeling in the abacus from the den to keep up the calorie tally;
  • subscribing to apps and web services to track these less-than-accurate numbers?

Sure, we should have an idea of how much food we’re eating each day, so we can adjust based on our goals.

But counting calories itself is a drag!  No wonder so many people give up and go back to eating the way they were before.

The calorie counting antidote

Here’s the good news: counting calories is rarely necessary.

Our Precision Nutrition coaching programs gauge food portions differently. No carrying around weigh-scales and measuring cups.  No calculators or smart phones.

All you need is the ability to count to two. And your own hand.

Here how it works:

  • Your palm determines your protein portions.
  • Your fist determines your veggie portions.
  • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
  • Your thumb determines your fat portions.

To determine your protein intake

For protein-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans, use a palm sized serving.

For men we recommend two palm-sized portions with each meal.

Precision Nutrition Palm Sized Portions Steak Example Male Forget calorie counting: Try this calorie control guide for men and women

And for women we recommend one palm-sized portion with each meal.

Precision Nutrition Palm Sized Portions Steak Example Female Forget calorie counting: Try this calorie control guide for men and women

Note: a palm-sized portion is the same thickness and diameter as your palm.

To determine your vegetable intake

For veggies like broccoli, spinach, salad, carrots, etc. use a fist-sized serving.

For men we recommend 2 fist-sized portions of vegetables with each meal.

Precision Nutrition Palm Sized Portions Vegetable Example Male2 Forget calorie counting: Try this calorie control guide for men and women

And for women we recommend 1 fist-sized portion of vegetables with each meal.

Precision Nutrition Palm Sized Portions Cauliflower Example Female Forget calorie counting: Try this calorie control guide for men and women

Again, a fist-sized portion is the same thickness and diameter as your fist.

To determine your carbohydrate intake

For carbohydrate-dense foods – like grains, starches, or fruits – use a cupped hand to determine your serving size.

For men we recommend 2 cupped-hand sized portions of carbohydrates with most meals.

Precision Nutrition Palm Sized Portions Berry Example Male Forget calorie counting: Try this calorie control guide for men and women

And for women we recommend 1 cupped-hand sized portion of carbohydrates with most meals.

Precision Nutrition Palm Sized Portions Berries Example Female Forget calorie counting: Try this calorie control guide for men and women

To determine your fat intake

For fat-dense foods – like oils, butters, nut butters, nuts/seeds – use your entire thumb to determine your serving size.

For men we recommend 2 thumb-sized portions of fats with most meals.

Precision Nutrition Palm Sized Portions Nuts Example Male1 Forget calorie counting: Try this calorie control guide for men and women

And for women we recommend 1 thumb-sized portion of fats with most meals.

Precision Nutrition Palm Sized Portions Nuts Example Female Forget calorie counting: Try this calorie control guide for men and women

A note on body size

Of course, if you’re a bigger person, you probably have a bigger hand. And if you’re a smaller person… well, you get the idea.  Your own hand is a personalized (and portable) measuring device for your food intake.

True, some people do have larger or smaller hands for their body size.  Still, our hand size correlates pretty closely with general body size, including muscle, bone – the whole package.

Planning your meals flexibly

Based on the guidelines above, which assume you’ll be eating about 4 times a day, you now have a simple and flexible guide for meal planning.

For men:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables with each meal;
  • 2 cupped hands of carb dense foods with most meals;
  • 2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods with most meals.

For women:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables with each meal;
  • 1 cupped hand of carb dense foods with most meals;
  • 1 entire thumb of fat dense foods with most meals.

Of course, just like any other form of nutrition planning — including calorie counting – this serves as a starting point.

You can’t know exactly how your body will respond in advance.  So stay flexible and adjust your portions based on your hunger, fullness, and other important goals.

For example: if you’re trying to gain weight, and you’re having trouble gaining, you might add another cupped palm of carbohydrates or another thumb of fats.  Likewise, if you’re trying to lose weight but seem to have stalled out, you might eliminate a cupped palm of carbohydrates or a thumb of fats at particular meals.

Remember: This is a starting point. Adjust your portions at any time using outcome-based decision making, aka “How’s that working for you?”

Want more individualization?

For those who want to go further – because they have more advanced goals or because they’re already eating well but still struggling – let’s dig a little deeper.

At Precision Nutrition, we have a really simple shortcut for helping people “eat right for their body type”.

We begin by classifying clients into one of three general categories (or somatotypes):

  • I types (ectomorphs),
  • V types (mesomorphs), and
  • O types (endomorphs).

And each type gets slightly different recommendations.

For more about this approach, click here: How to fix a broken diet: 3 ways for getting your eating on track.

For fitness and nutrition professionals

As a fitness or nutrition coach, you might have certain food/nutrient goals in mind for your clients. No problem.

But should you tell them to eat 1 g of protein per pound of body weight? Or 25-50 grams of protein with lunch?  (Hint: No.)

Many clients don’t even know which foods have protein in them, let alone knowing how many grams each food has and what a portion size of that food looks like.  That makes gram-based recommendation pretty tricky.

Fussing with numbers creates a lot of anxiety and confusion for clients. Eating healthy will seem “just too complicated” for them, and they’ll eventually give up or wander off in the wrong direction.

Plus, here’s the most important piece: Most clients don’t need this level of detail. The simpler and clearer you can make your recommendations, the more likely clients are to follow them.

So, instead, why not share these guidelines?  How much easier can healthy, individualized eating be?

Download our calorie control guide

To make this even easier, we created a simple guide for men and women that summarizes our recommendations.  Click here to download it, print it out, and share them with friends, family, or clients.

pn calorie control men 776x1024 Forget calorie counting: Try this calorie control guide for men and women

pn calorie control women 771x1024 Forget calorie counting: Try this calorie control guide for men and women

In the end, if you’d like to start eating better, just take a look at your hand. Use your fist, palm, cupped hand, and thumb to practice calorie control – while avoiding the hassle of counting calories.