Your kitchen can make or break your weight loss results.
A kitchen stocked for healthy meals and snacks will keep you on your fitness and weight loss track, even when late-night cravings strike. However, a kitchen filled with unhealthy food choices will destroy your weight loss and fitness efforts every single time.
So with that in mind let's see what you should have in your kitchen? What should we keep and what should we get rid of.
Let's start with the Refridgerator.
Get rid of: Beverages with high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Drinking calories is one of the quickest ways to gain weight, so quickly eliminate any beverage that lists HFCS or sugar on the ingredient list.
Replace with: Water. It is a well known fact that most people are partially dehydrated, a condition that is harmful to your health and plays havoc on your weight loss efforts. Keep plenty of cold water on hand for proper hydration.
Get rid of: Rich dairy products. I know that many cheeses taste great, but fat-filled dairy products are extremely high in calories and should not be a part of your diet. Eliminate all high-fat cheese, milk and yogurt from your kitchen.
Replace with: Fresh Vegetables and Low Fat or No Fat Dairy Products. The produce drawer in your fridge should be overflowing with colorful nutrient-rich veggies. In fact, your fridge should hold more veggies than the drawer can hold. Veggies are filled with fiber, vitamins and nutrients and are a vital part of a healthy well-rounded diet. No Fat Dairy products taste great and fill the dairy need in any diet.
Get rid of: Fatty meats. It is important that you be selective about the meats that you eat. I may tell you that chicken is a great source of protein, but if you take that as a license to eat fried chicken everyday then the benefit of the protein will be lost in all the extra fat calories.
Replace with: Lean meats. Skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, white fish, and a wide range of other lean meat choices.
Get rid of: Fruit-flavored yogurt. I hate to break this to you, but that cute individually packaged yogurt is going to do more harm to your waistline than you think. More than 50% of the calories in fruit-flavored yogurt come from sugar. Check out the ingredient list and you likely find both high fructose corn syrup AND sugar.
Replace with: Plain low-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, or low-fat cottage cheese. If you love yogurt, then get the low-fat plain version. You can even chop up some fresh fruit and stir it in. Another option is to have a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped fruit on top.
Now let's go to the freezer.
Get rid of:Ice cream. We all love ice cream, me too; but it doesn't work on fat loss fitness program. Save yourself from that temptation and don't buy ice cream.
Replace with: Frozen fruit. When your sweet tooth starts acting up, throw an assortment of frozen fruit into the blender and whip up a healthy fiber-filled smoothie. You can also check out the Frozen Fat Free Yogurts that are available. Check the ingredient label; but most are OK.
Get rid of: Frozen Pizza. I know I love Pizza too; but this is another one of those items that is just too tempting to keep around. Stop eating frozen pizza and watch as your waist start to shrink.
Replace with: Frozen Turkey or Veggie Patties. They great for a quick meal. When served on a bed of brown rice or on a whole grain bun for example, they taste great and are good for you.
Get rid of: Pre-packaged Frozen dinners and meals. Yes they do save time, and many taste pretty good; but the next time that you are tempted to buy a pre-packaged frozen meal, turn the package over and read the nutritional facts. You will see why with all of those calories and less-than-healthy ingredients they are not a healthy fitness choice.
Replace with: Home-made Frozen Meals. Spend some time on the weekends cooking up healthy meals, and then freeze them in portioned containers. When you're hungry during the week, simply take one out, heat it and you're "good to go."
Get rid of: Frozen Breakfast Food. Frozen french toast, waffles and pancakes are all popular breakfast foods. Unfortunately these items are highly processed and contain a tremendous amount of unnecessary sugar.
Replace with: Whole Grain Bread and Muffins. It is just as easy to throw a slice of whole grain bread into the toaster as it is a frozen waffle. Spread it with some natural peanut butter and pair it with a piece of fruit. Now that's a much healthier breakfast.
Finally let's look inside your pantry . Let's see what we find.
Get rid of: Sugar-filled cereal. If sugar or high fructose corn syrup are listed as ingredients on your cereal box, it's got to go. Sugar-filled cereal is basically another form of junk food, and will only add inches to your waist.
Replace with: Whole Grain Cereals especially Oatmeal. There is a huge difference between instant, sugar-filled oatmeal and whole grain oatmeal and other processed cereals. Check out the nutritional information on the back, and it's an easy decision to make. Whole grain cereals are not only good for you in so many ways, when you eat them with seasonal fruit they taste great. Give it a try.
Get rid of: Refined/White Bread/Rice/Pasta. These highly processed products promote weight gain and a number of other health problems. Do not buy "white" bread, rice or pasta, especially if you want to lose weight.
Replace with: Whole Grain Bread/Rice/Pasta. Whole grain is the best choice you can make. It is filled with healthy fiber, and is less likely to contain harmful, waist-expanding ingredients.
Get rid of: Chips and Crackers. Chips/Crackers are great to graze on, but most contain extra calories and fat that will quickly add up. Do yourself a favor by not allowing these into your pantry.
Replace with: Almonds, they're great for you and they taste good too. The trick to making this snack a winner is portion control. One way to insure you don't eat too many at a time is to place a handful of almonds in individual bags for pre-portioned snacks. When you need a snack just pick one up and you're all set. Remember only pick up one.
Get rid of: Prepackaged Cookies, Cakes, and Candies. Cookies,cakes and candies shouldn't be a regular part of your diet, so keep them out of your house. It's one thing to enjoy a dessert once in a while, it is quite another to routinely eat processed sweets at home.
Replace with: Dried Fruit. When your sweet tooth screams, turn to a bag of dried fruit. Make sure that you purchase dried fruit that does not contained added sugars.
Well there it is a quick trip through your kitchen. I recommend you do this again every couple of months as a way of keeping yourself on track. Be sure to talk to your family about the healthy changes that you're making and why you are making them. These are changes in diet that everyone in the family can benefit from.
You know weight loss doesn't simply happen, it comes as a result of healthy eating and consistent, challenging workouts. Having a healthy kitchen stocked with healthy food makes the process a lot easier. You'll even find that eating healthy tastes good too. If you have questions remember I'm here to help.
Finally to help you stock up in the kitchen here's a simple grocery shopping cheat sheet. Remember try to shop only the perimeter of the grocery, that's where most of healthy stuff is.
Don't Buy Foods That Are:
Filled with sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Highly processed and contain unidentifiable ingredients.
Full of fat.
Buy Foods Like:
Fresh fruits and vegetables.
Low fat products.
I hope this helps you realize that it's not just about working out, it's also about the fuel you put into your body. To be successful in your fitness programs it requires a life style change; and realizing that your success requires a combination of a great programs and great nutrition.
Until next time, "Remember, Stay Fit You'll Feel Better."
Great Spinach Salad
The first thing that you'll notice about this salad is that it tastes great. It also doesn't hurt that spinach is an extremely healthy and nutrient rich food. This recipe calls for raspberry vinegar, which is a flavorful and refreshing alternative to traditional, oily dressing. The fruit and nuts add flavor, fiber and healthy fat. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
- 8 cups cleaned spinach leaves
- 3 oranges, peeled, sliced and quartered
- 2 cucumbers, peeled sliced and quartered
- 1/8 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/8 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced or whole raspberries
- 1/2 cup white balsamic raspberry blush vinegar
Combined the spinach, oranges, cucumbers, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and strawberries in a bowl. Add the vinegar and toss well.
One serving equals: 99 calories, 3g fat, 14g carbohydrate, 2.6g fiber, and 3.5g protein.