Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Fit Fridge for a Fit You! (Part I: Cabinet staples)

The first step to clean eating is getting rid of the temptations. If you don’t have junk food around, you won’t eat it! Easier said than done when all of your roommates buy it for themselves, right? Developing the will power to turn down the pizza and reach for something healthier is a practiced skill that does not happen overnight, so be patient with yourself. Try to visualize how great your body will feel and look if you do make the right food choices. Remind yourself of that killer workout you had at the gym earlier that day and how disappointing that would be to lose it all to a slimy piece of cheap bread with marinara sauce. I won’t lie to you and say I slip up on occasion, but honestly, that’s normal! You should indulge in something if you really want it because depriving yourself will torment you. The key is moderation. Instead of eating the whole pizza, eat one slice, slowly, savouring every flavour, then get over it! Temptations aside, knowing what kinds of foods will make your body thrive all on its own and actually assist you in weight loss and management, is key to success. Here is a list of the foods you will always find in my fridge and cabinet at home.From top left to top right:

1. Quinoa (Pronounced Keen-wah)- this low sodium whole grain has the highest amount of protein compared to its competitors like brown rice. It is also high in calcium and iron, and is a great source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It has an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development provides valuable starch and fiber.

2. Sugar free maple syrup- I use this to flavor my Greek yogurt, cereal or oatmeal without the added sugar and calories.

3. Flaxseed- Fiber rich seeds backed with omega-3 fatty acids and disease fighting nutrients. I mix this with my cereal and oatmeal in the morning to help fill me up on less food.

4. Whole grain oatmeal- Whole grains are packed with B vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber, as well as other valuable antioxidants not found in some fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of energy metabolism. Vitamin B, magnesium and iron help support and regulate your metabolism by controlling blood sugar levels. Fiber assists in weight management by keeping you full longer on less calories.

5. Whole grain cereal- Much better choice then sugar cereals.

6. Whey protein- High quality, easily digestible, low fat protein that suppresses hunger. Protein helps repair broken fibers after lifting weights to gain muscle. I drink a protein shake twice a day after working out or 20 minutes before lunch and dinner.

From bottom left to bottom right:

1. Extra virgin olive oil- olive oil helps to build a more healthy balance between omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats.

2. Dark Chocolate (70% or more coca)- Studies show the flavanoids in dark chocolate help regulate blood pressure and have more antioxidants and nutrients then some fruits and vegetables. Eating one small square and satisfy your sweet tooth in less quantity then milk chocolate because it is so rich.

3. Salmon cups- Easy to throw onto a salad or dip veggies in for a snack. (Dorm room friendly!)

4. Brown rice- Brown rice, a whole grain, provides three times the fiber of white rice and studies show is correlated with a lower body weight.

5. Almond butter- has all the benefits of almonds without the added sugar. Go for an unsalted organic kind and eat in moderation, both peanut and almond butter are very high in fat so check out the serving size.

6. Green tea-The benefits are insurmountable but for starters green tea extract is a source of caffeine which is a natural fat burner. It helps regulate glucose levels which slows the rise in blood sugar following a meal. AND recent studies have indicated catechins, a major component of green tea extract leads to both a lowering of body fat and of cholesterol levels.

7. Popcorn- I get the 100 calorie mini bags as a fiber rich snack that is filled with air that gives me the feeling of being full on less food. I eat it instead of chips with a turkey wrap.

8. Goji berries- A dried fruit that is very high in antioxidants. They are great to put in your cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.

9. Almonds-Nuts, especially almonds, are a great on-the-go snack you can throw in your bag when your running out the door. One handful can satisfy your hunger and helps to maintain insulin levels.

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