I’m always stressing the importance of protein. Sometimes a protein shake is best, especially when you’re in a rush like at breakfast or after a workout. Shakeology even works well for dessert- a much more healthful option than ice cream or candy. But with proper preparation, you can have any meal ready within that 30 minute gap after a workout.
Besides foods like Shakeology and vegetables, protein usually comes along with fat. You can get lean beef, but beef still has more saturated fat than meats like chicken or fish. Fish is an awesome source of protein. You don’t want to overdo when it comes to eating seafood, but it is full of iron and protein and not much fat, and is therefore an awesome choice for a post-workout meal!
Here is my super easy 4-ingredient recipe & prep plan for my most frequent seafood dish- salmon.
Makes 4 servings
1 fresh salmon filet
1/2 fresh lemon
1/8 stick of butter
1 bunch fresh parsley
salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400* (if prepping to cook later, save this step until several minutes before you are ready to cook).
2. Rip off a small handful of parsley, stems on. Rinse.
3. Cut the lemon into thin slices. Leave a small wedge of the lemon for later.
4. Store the parsley and the lemon in airtight containers (if prepping to cook later).
1. Lay the filet skin face-down on a cookie sheet protected by a sheet of foil.
2. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the filet.
3. Squeeze the juice of the lemon wedge into a microwave safe bowl or cup with 1/8 of a stick of butter. Microwave for 10-15 seconds- not so long as to melt entirely.
4. Pour the lemon-butter mixture over the salted and peppered filet. Start in the middle so it spreads over the entire filet.
5. Cover the salmon with the sliced lemons.
6. Surround the filet with parsley. Leave the stems on so that they are easy to remove later.
7. Place the filet into the 400* oven. Bake for 25 minutes or until the salmon is light orange all the way through.
8. Remove the parsley and use a knife or spatula to lift the filet. The skin should peel off effortlessly. Add a fresh squeeze of lemon and serve.
Serve alongside vegetables and quinoa or brown rice. Serves about 4.
If you are meal prepping, cook the dish 1-2 days in advance.
Remember, you can save time by prepping your cooking ahead of time, but this recipe has a super short prep time as well!
Don’t prep fish too far ahead of time- it will start to taste too fishy!
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to share!
When I don’t meal plan, I usually end up having to eat something unhealthy. So with Coach Summit 2013 coming up I knew I had to plan ahead for clean eating!
Eating in popular tourist areas can be expensive – especially Las Vegas! So save yourself the money on at least one meal per day, and pack your Shakeology. There will be free ice in your hotel (if one of your roommates is sweet enough to pack a blender, like mine!) and you can stop by a grocery store for milk, bananas, peanut butter, etc.
Drink water all day long. Not only does water keep you more full, but thirst can often be mistaken for hunger… and in hot climates like Vegas, you need to stay hydrated, especially if you aren’t used to it.
Outsmart alcoholic beverages. Avoid beer and too many cocktails. But when you do drink, give a vodka and tonic with a twist of lemon or lime a try! It will usually be less than 100 calories.
Stock your hotel room. As soon as you arrive, visit the grocery store for Shakeology recipe ingredients, fruit, vegetables, nuts, protein bars, trail mix, granola, and other healthful snacks. This will help you eat at restaurants less often, and save time between events! Also keep a snack or two in your pocket or purse.
Avoid fast food restaurants. I would give you the healthiest options for these places, but why not just leave them out all together? There are better things around.
Restaurants can be your friend. The prices can get a little scary, but you budgeted to travel, right? Check out the low calorie menu, or aim for healthier options like salad, wraps, and grilled chicken. Try to find a lighter salad than a caesar, and ask for dressing on the side. Focus on lean protein and vegetables.
Skip dessert! Make sure you ate enough protein for dinner, and that you aren’t just hungry or bored. If you absolutely need to satisfy your sweet tooth, whip up a small mint chocolate Shakeology or grab a good protein bar.
Never skip breakfast. It may be free at your hotel, and it will help you boost your metabolism and get through the day!
Any more tips you think I should add? Feel free to post comments, and questions, below!
Sometimes salad gets boring, but my new favorite has a bunch of unique flavors and I’m eating it every day. I got most of the idea from Elemental Wood Fired Pizza in the University District in Seattle but I changed a few things. The salad would still be good without the beet, and with a chopped apple added!
Golden Beet Salad Recipe
+ Arugula, radicchio, and frisée lettuce
+ 1 chopped pear
+ handful of (glazed) walnuts
+ sprinkle of bleu cheese (or feta)
+ 1 sliced roasted golden beet – sprinkle with olive oil and pepper and roast on the barbecue like any vegetable then slice. Or, add oil/pepper and wrap in foil to roast in the oven on 400* for about an hour, until you can poke thru the beet with a toothpick. + 1/8 cup pear Gorgonzola vinaigrette or other light dressing.
For meal prep, keep dressing separate until ready to eat!
To me, working out is a reward in itself. You have more energy, your overall health improves, and if you eat well, your body looks awesome! Exercising releases endorphins that make you feel happy. But when you’re just beginning, it can feel like a task that you have to push yourself to complete, and the “happy” effect is not as evident. A good way of keeping yourself motivated during the beginning stage is to encourage yourself with tangible goals and rewards.
1. WRITE THEM DOWN.
It will make an amazing amount of difference if you visually write out your goals and rewards. You can use words, phrases, and images to represent them. This also helps you remember and track your goals.
At the end of each day/week, sit down and review your goals from the past day/week and whether you met them. Then, map out your goals for the coming week. You can write goals to do each day of the week as well as things you’d like to have done by the end of the next week. These goals may be under a larger (monthly/yearly) goal such as Training for the Hot Chocolate 5k.
2. DAILY, WEEKLY, MONTHLY, YEARLY.
Creating short and long term goals for yourself is extremely important. It helps a lot if your short term goals will inevitably help you meet your long term goals. For example if your long term goal is to get into great shape and feel confident in a bikini, your short term goals could be things like Lose 5% body fat, Run first 5k marathon, or Stop dining out every day.
I like to create daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals for myself. My daily goals are basically my schedule for the day (yoga, dog training, zumba) plus tasks I need done at anytime by the end of that day (shopping, run, create a new blog entry, respond to e-mails). I do program my daily tasks into my phone so I can view it on the go, but I always write down goals that are not planned for an exact time, plus my daily tasks, on a notepad that I keep in plain view on my desk. If you have an iPhone, the iCalendar and Notes apps are amazing tools for tracking your goals and rewards. Also see my time management entry for advice on planning out your day.
Rewards can be assigned to each individual goal, or you can reward yourself at the end of a “phase” of goals, such as at the end of the week if you completed all of your daily goals every single day that week.
3. BE REALISTIC.
Your goals, especially short term ones, need to be specific. A goal of “start exercising!” or “get fit!” is not as strong as a specific goal. When are you going to do that? What are you going to do? Are you going to do it more than once? For example my goals today are to lift heavy weights at 6:00pm, drink my protein shake, then go swimming, and go to sleep by 11:00 PM.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever heard about making goals for yourself was “Don’t set yourself up for failure.” Set attainable goals. Don’t set goals that you aren’t going to reach.
4. PLAN SMART REWARDS.
The best rewards will be the ones that will help you reach future goals. If you are training for a 5k (monthly goal), your reward after running it might be a spa day (monthly reward) to refresh your body. For not missing any runs (weekly goal) you might reward yourself with new running shoes (weekly reward). If your goal is to run 3 miles (daily goal) a good reward would be go to to bed early.
5. FOR THE STRUGGLERS.
As I mentioned, for those of us who are just starting to work out, working out can really feel like work. If you are overweight it can take a lot of energy and motivation to get you into the gym and on the treadmill to warm up, weight lifting for 30 minutes, and staying late for that 30 minutes of cardio you had planned. IF you have trouble following through with your goals, another effective rewards system is to remember not to “reward” yourself with indulgences when you haven’t yet met a goal to earn it. Finish that hour workout and reward yourself later. Remember how amazing it feels to finish a workout and then still have a prize to look forward to.
6. NEVER GIVE UP.
A lot of people give up just before the magic is about to happen, because that is when it is the hardest: you have been putting days of time and energy into working out, and you are eating twice as much, and you just don’t see any difference in your body yet. But it will help motivate you to keep going if you remember: It takes 4 weeks for you to notice the difference in your body. It takes your friends and family 8 weeks to notice. And it takes the world 12 weeks to notice.
The way your body looks is only one reason to exercise. Once your body is accustomed to working out, you will have tons of energy and feel happier. It is a scientific fact that exercise is a healthier and more effective treatment for anxiety or depression than any prescription medicine.
Until working out becomes as fun for you as it is for me, use these simple tricks to get yourself up and going. Remember, you need to stick with it even when it is hard or boring, or you will have to start from scratch again later. But if you don’t give up, pretty soon you will look forward to your workouts.
Thanks for reading! Now I want to know, what are your goals? How do you reward yourself? Do you consider your daily workout a reward? Comment below with your comments and questions!
If you are a little confused about what a healthy diet is, I will start by telling you it does not have to be a very specific list of foods and restrictions. A clean diet can include a wide variety of things you enjoy as long as they have the right nutrients and are eating them at the right time of day. You can even slip in some dessert. You might be able to eat whatever you want and exercise enough to not gain weight, but if your diet is unhealthy you won’t lose fat and you won’t build lean muscle.
Contrary to popular belief, muscles are not built in the gym. While you are working out, your muscles are actually being torn down. Heavier weight or resistance to our body means more damage to our muscles. The appearance of swelling or growth after lifting weights is actually “hypertrophy” which is only temporary. It is within 30 minutes of working out that our muscles begin to use available protein to rebuild tissue.
1. Eat often!
Finding time for six small to moderately sized meals per day may be a difficult feat for some people who work long hours or attend school all day long, but aiming for at least four meals per day should be doable for everybody, and is crucial for people on a workout plan. If you can manage at least 4-6 meals per day, you will fuel your body properly as you burn fat and build muscle. I highly recommend having a large breakfast (within an hour of waking up) around 6 AM, light snack at 9 AM, moderate to large lunch at 12 PM, light snack at 4 PM, and moderate dinner at 7 PM. Adjust these times according to your sleep schedule and workout schedule.
2. Feed your muscles!
As I described above, it is important to eat protein within 30 minutes of working out. You also want to have protein for every moderate meal of the day, especially breakfast. The amount of protein your body needs depends on things such as your weight and how much you are exercising. Plenty of protein and other nutrient intake calculators can be found online. Carbohydrates are important for energy as well. Your brain needs a certain amount of carbs each day to function, so do not deprive your body of carbs! Men digest carbs faster than women, so it is more common for women to be on a low-carb diet. Sodium should not be ingested immediately before a workout because it will cause you to dehydrate, but it is important to have during and after a long workout. Your body also requires fat, water, vitamins, and minerals.
3. Drink water all day!
Water is the most vital nutrient for our bodies. It is required for every single body system and function. If you are thirsty at any point in the day, it means you are not drinking enough water. Thirst is the first symptom of dehydration. Try to intake at least 64 ounces, or 8 glasses, per day. Your urine should be almost clear on a regular basis, and you should never feel parched. Also be sure to stay hydrated during exercise!
4. Eat fat!
Some people think that if they stop eating all fats, they will lose all of their fat through exercise. This is an extremely unhealthy diet for your body. Actually, your diet should be composed of up to 20% fat. If your body becomes deprived of fats, it will switch to “starvation mode” and begin to store all the fat it can. That’s because your body NEEDS fat. Fat provides 9 calories of energy per gram, compared to protein and carbs, which provide only 4 cal/g. We need fat to store and use vitamins. Fat is involved in the production of hormones and enzymes which control everything from our digestive system to our reproductive system. Fat provides heat insulation for our bodies, as well as protection for our organs by cushioning them.
The best kinds of fats come from things like nuts, olive oil, and even avocado. Less healthy fats come from animals: dairy, red meat, and fats/cooking oils that are solid at room temperature.
5. Add a shake!
Protein shakes are a great way to jam-pack nutrients into your diet without overloading on calories. If you find a high quality shake you enjoy (such as Shakeology) it can be perfect for replacing any meal. They can provide essential nutrients such as a full serving of protein, which helps build lean muscle, improves skin and hair, supports mental clarity, and reduces cravings, antioxidants, phytonutrients, adaptogens, and probiotics and digestive enzymes which increase nutrient absorption and improve digestion.
Follow these nutrition guidelines and you will burn fat and build lean muscle more efficiently. Having more lean muscle also in turn helps you burn even more fat! I would love to answer any questions you have about a healthy diet. Feel free to add your own comments and tips about eating right.
For plenty of amazingly healthy AND delicious recipes, follow my friend Lauren’s clean eating blog! She also has some awesome recipe ideas for using with your Shakeology! http://www.kitchenqueeneatsclean.blogspot.com | @kitchenqueeneats