To help you all prepare for the 21 days ahead, I am going to break down some the challenge rules, so you can spend the next few days planning.
*Let me first touch on ingredients. The deal with any processed food is that people are always looking at calories and fat grams on ingredient labels – that is, if they are looking at the labels at all. What I want you all to do during this challenge is to look at the list of ingredients. What is actually in the food that you are about to fuel your body with? Is the first ingredient sugar or enriched flour? Is the ingredient list longer than your grocery list? If so, do not put it in your grocery cart!
Remember – 5 ingredients or less for MOST foods. The one exception I would make here for this challenge is bread. Bread will always have more than 5 ingredients and it is hard to find good, healthy bread; but there are healthier options out there with a shorter ingredient list and brands where the first ingredient is whole wheat. Let me give you a sandwich example. If we are talking about making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for your kids for lunch and the ingredient list looks like this:
If your food item has one ingredient, you are always safe! Egg, potato, banana, apple, spinach, beets, tuna (fresh), broccoli, almond, carrot, pear, brown rice……you get the picture. For more on several misleading food labels, you can view one of my older blog posts here – https://fitenvync.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/just-what-does-that-mean/
*As far as protein sources, here are several that you can choose from during the 21 day period. Eggs, lean turkey or chicken (organic is your best choice), cottage cheese, beans and legumes, fish, shrimp, bison, plain yogurt, hummus, nuts, quinoa (in the grain family, but actually a seed with more protein), tofu and/or tempeh. Strive to eat some protein with each meal!
*Stay away from simple carbohydrates (like white flour and sugar) – these do not keep you full and soon you will be searching for the next snack! Eat complex carbs, such as fruits, veggies, sweet potatoes, oats, brown rice, beans/legumes, and whole wheat couscous. These are high in fiber, keeping you full longer and stabilizing blood sugar.
*You have heard it before – breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Eat it within ONE hour of waking to get your metabolism going. Include a protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat! Two of my favorites are a rice cake w/ almond butter and sliced apple on top or oatmeal topped with 1-2 tbsp chopped walnuts, cinnamon and diced apple.
*Drink your water! If you get bored with water – add lemon, lime, cucumber, orange slices!! Also, green tea is great for you and full of antioxidants. Before you go to bed, put hot water in a pitcher with 4 green tea bags. Let it cool overnight & put it in your fridge in the morning to enjoy all day!
As always, contact me with any questions!