GO GREEN – How to fit more veggies into your nutrition (deliciously)

It’s the most wonderfully GREEN time of the year; St. Patrick’s Day is just a few days away, plants are
starting to pop through the earth’s surface and spring is soon upon us! What a perfect time to get those nutrient dense, healthy veggies BACK in the meal planning routine.

What’s the big deal about veggies?

Yes, we’ve all heard since the beginning of time that we MUST EAT MORE VEGETABLES. You’re probably trying your darnedest to hit the FIVE servings/daily you’re ‘supposed’ to throw down. So… why are the so important?

  • Most veggies are very low in calories and high in nutrient density
  • Some awesome nutrients you can find include; potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C
  • Eating a diet rich in vegetables may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke
  • Eating a diet rich in some vegetables may protect against certain types of cancers
  • Nutrition rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes
  • Eating vegetables rich in potassium may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss
  • Eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.

The list goes on and on…

How to fit more veggies into your nutrition routine

Veggies at breakfast are a fantastic way to start the day. Think a bit outside of the box when making a quick meal in the morning or preparing your am meals before the week gets started. Some ideas for breakfast vegetables:

  • Omelets are the perfect hangout for protein AND load of veggies. Include onion, peppers, and leafy greens for easy veggie add ons.
  • Those scrambled eggs? Throw in some mushrooms and at the very end, top with a veggie dense salsa (yum)
  • Don’t discriminate against non breakfast foods in the morning. Leftover veggies from the night before or ANYTHING you have in the fridge are fine to start your day. Become a non breakfast, breakfast person

Salads are boring. You shouldn’t have to relegate yourself to iceberg lettuce, shredded carrot and a radish for you lunch time fueling session. Think a bit more about how you can ‘yummy’ your lunch. Here are some easy ideas:

  • Sandwiches are FINE. Load ’em up with all the veggies! Ditch the drab piece of iceberg and load that sammy with romaine/bibb or butter lettuce. Try a few tomatoes, cucumber, onion (unless you’ve got some close speaking engagements on tap for the afternoon), pickles, bean sprouts and a small shmear of hummus. Add a pice of turkey or chicken for some protein and you’ve got a healthy sandwich that sets you up all afternoon.
  • Try coleslaw as a healthy vegetable-rific side
  • Beef up your drab salad with more dense, colorful veggies. Throw together a monster salad the
    night before, with more dense/moisture driven veggies on the bottom. Try a jar salad; make multiple jars Sunday to eat for lunch throughout the week!
  • It doesn’t have to be complicated. Need a few more servings of veggies to satisfy your serving goals AND your stomach? Cut veggies. Put veggies in plastic baggie or environmentally safe container of your choice. Take veggies with you. Eat veggies. Use hummus or a low calorie dressing for a bit more flavor if need.

Ok, we’ve upped your veggies dramatically and it’s only 4pm. So how can we get some more fun veggies in at dinner that don’t take hours and don’t need waves of fatty dressings and dips. Bring on dinner:

  • ROAST the veggies. This method is quick, easy and I haven’t found a combination of veggies that has not been delicious when roasted. Throw on the oven to 375-400 degrees or so, chop your favorite veggies, salt/pepper and drizzle with EVOO. Throw them in and let them go while you finish off the rest of dinner. Use what’s in season or on sale at your local market!
  • Again, think a bit outside the dinner box. Instead of a protein, veggie and starch… use two vegetables, but one with a little more oomph to it. Try roasted broccoli and acorn squash, asparagus and sweet potatoes and get creative!
  • Finish pastas, lasagnas, grains and casseroles with leafy greens. Spinach, kale, collards, etc. are a great last minute addition to dozens of easy dishes. Throw them in, chopped, with a few minutes to go and you’ve easily got a serving that’s hard to notice.

But, what about the CHILDREN!

Sure, kids notoriously don’t like their veggies. But, there are ways around it. You could either go back in time and introduce a bigger variety of fruits/vegetables to them early on, throw lame steamed mush at them OR use some tricks to get them to eat the awesome healthy veggie things.

  • One of my favorite clients used a great trick teaching her kids about the importance of their food, and even better, vegetables. From early on she stressed the importance of a colorful plate. Fill that plate with COLORS, she reminds them. This drastically helps them make good decisions.
  • Chop/finely diced veggies fit well in most ditches, especially when they’re cooked INTO them. The veggies will take on the flavors of the dish. Season well!
  • Leafy greens are another easy, tricky way to fit in healthy vegetable things. Chop greens and throw them in lasagna, pastas, casseroles, etc.
  • Zucchini and squash are sneaky vegetables. Shred finely and add to many of the dishes listed here
  • Sauces (spaghetti, sloppy joes, etc.) are great sneaky places to add finely diced, shredded vegetables as well. The better they cook down, the more likely you’ll get away with it
  • Tomato sauce (pasta), salsa and pizza sauce are great places to tuck away the veggies
  • Broccoli and cauliflower are notoriously delicious veggies when given a cheesy kick. Create a small cheesy bit o’ deliciousness to top steamed broccoli/cauliflower OR try a Cauliflower Mac N’ Cheese.

Vegetables are a must have in your daily nutrition, but they don’t have to be boring, mushy or inedible. Your meal prep doesn’t even have to take hours to make it happen. Try to get in a serving or two at each meal and throw in one serving as a snack. One serving (1/2 cup) is nothin’! You can easily chop, dice, shred that much into your meals.

Grab some more of the green (and colorful) stuff from your produce department on the next grocery shopping trip. Try something new! You might not even realize you dig a veggie you once thought to be the devil’s work (aka brussel sprouts when I was a youngster… I can’t get enough now)!

Need more help with your nutrition? A guide. A plan. An assist? We do that! Ask Coach Amelia anytime or head over to our Facebook page (and temporarily free group LIVFIT Nation) now! LIKE us, stick around and learn all the awesome healthy things to help you LIVFIT!

4 Things you can do TODAY for Insta-Fitness

 

We live in an instant gratification present day gotta have it now world. Communication, news, photos, what your friends are up to, the perfect outfit, the perfect meal… the perfect life. But, not everything works that way. In fact, the best things are those that take time… and patience. The need for a quick fix and the health/fitness world clash wildly at one another. Fitness takes time. It takes consistency. Finding new muscles popping takes work, effort and patience.

But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things we can’t do RIGHT NOW to hurdle us forward in the fight for fit. Make a few tweaks, additions, adjustments and implement them today to kickstart your fitness routine.

1. SET THE TONE

Good habits build healthy people, reach awesome fitness goals. You can’t be sporadic with your focus on fitness. It’s something you work on everyday in some way, over time (see opening to this article). Instead of flailing about with your ‘habits’, create some routine. Not only will this help you actually carry out said healthy habits, BUT it will help your overall pysche towards fitness AND life.

Start be creating a nightly ritual. Set the tone before you go to bed, so all you have to do is carry it out when the alarm goes off. How?

  • Prepare breakfast foods early in the week that you can just grab and heat in the morning
  • Pack your healthy lunch while you’re cooking dinner, also ready to grab in the morning
  • Put out your workout clothes near the bathroom. If you workout early, throw them on and go. If you workout late, put them in a bag with your shoes so they’re ready to snag on your way out the door in the morning
  • Make sure the little things are where they belong; keys on the hook, shoes by the door, work clothes selected, kids things sorted… so all you have to do is GRAB and GO

Make this a nightly routine. The first few times it may take a few minutes, but after just a week or so it will become a habit that you think nothing about. SET THE TONE for your day, either the night before or in the morning. Get each day off on the right foot because YOU decided so.

2. FOOD PREP/PLAN

As you just read; planning ahead, prepping and carrying it out consistently is a must. TODAY, you can start planning out how to eat all the awesome healthy things, create a grocery list, jot them down on a calendar and simply DO.

We created the 10 Day Recipe Kickstart for this very reason. You’re busy, you’re all over the place and it’s holding you back. But, take action today. Take a few minutes right NOW to plan. Here are some helpful tips from the guide:

  1. On a calendar, referencing your schedule that week, create you meal plan. Start with dinners; what’s east, delicious and can be used for leftovers the next day for breakfast or lunch.
  2. Round out lunches; what days will you use leftovers (making extra at dinner time), what days will you pack lunch and what days require you to grab on the go? Write a plan ahead of time.
  3. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a pain in the glutes. Make a batch of frittatas (mini or sheet), create breakfast burritos you can freeze/fridge and try overnight oats (ALL recipes in the GUIDE above). Keep it simple!
  4. Now, all you have to do is find a bit of time on the weekend (or an off day) to put some of these together. Cook the breakfast items. Chop veggies. Marinate meat. Etc.

Break out the calendar (or use the one we provide in the guide) and get to work TODAY!

3. LIFT THINGS UP AND PUT THEM DOWN.

If you’re ONLY doing cardio, you’re going to get just about as far as your pet hamster in its’ wheel with your overall fitness, muscle tone and overall health. Strength training in any form increases; health, sleep, strength, flexibility and muscle tone. It also helps with posture, overall body composition and even your overall state of mind. All while decreasing body fat AND the possibility of injury (in all areas of your life).

Simply said, if your goal(s) involve losing body fat, gaining lean muscle and improving your life… you’ve GOT to incorporate a strength training program in your fitness routine (Coach Katie touched on this in her blog, ‘If you’re not already lifting, start now’. To be honest, it doesn’t even have to be perfect to get started (hint: there’s an easy gym circuit in her blog to get you going). If that’s not the right program for you; find something simple online and have a personal trainer check it out, consult a personal trainer directly and even have them design one specifically for you. Either way; you MUST include lifting things up and putting them back down into your program. For your body, for your fitness and most importantly for your life.

4. GRAB the H2O’s

Did you know that the human body is comprised 60% of water? Not only that, it composes 75% of muscle tissue. WOAH. You need water to live. To move. You need water to thrive.

All functions of the body are directly affected by the amount of water we drink. The functions include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Let dehydration set in and each of these important functions take a hit. Not only will you experience lower energy levels; but you can become more weak, feel deeper fatigue and even dizzy. This is a recipe for disaster for a great workout, and also how you feel throughout the day. You may not even realize the damage lack of water can do to your body, especially if you’ve never been much of a ‘water drinker’.

If you’re unsure as to whether you’re dehydrated or not, check your urine. Ideally, your urine should be ‘straw colored’; pale yellow and plentiful. The darker the urine, the more dehydrated you are. You can easily start this very moment on getting in more of the H2O good stuff. Grab water. Drink it. Repeat.

BONUS THING: Quiet the NOISE

No, you don’t need to turn your headphones down (although some doctors would tell you to). The NOISE we’re talking about is the avalanche of ‘information’ you receive on a daily basis that has to do with health, fitness, weight lifting, cardio, diet this, thigh gap that, cleanse here, drop there… AGHHH! Enough! The BIG secret to success with your health, fitness and physique is mainly… consistency. There are no magic potions. There are no super pills. There is no one thing that will drop 10 lbs in 2 days. These are simply trigger messages to STAY AWAY.

Focus on you. Focus on simple. Focus on what we learned today. Repeat.

No, there are no quick fixes towards reaching healthy and sustainable fitness goals. If your favorite magazine, late night TV spot or favorite Instagram star are telling you otherwise… you’ve got a long road ahead of you.

Make the choice, right now, to make a change. Change you can knock out TODAY.

I’m Coach A, owner of LIVFIT and love helping folks learn all the awesome healthy things to reach their fitness goals. Want to learn more? Check us out here —> LIVFIT OR email me directly anytime, my virtual door is always open —> amelia@livingfitly.com