Easy Ways to Get More Protein

In the health and fitness world, and just in general life, protein can be a big topic of controversy. One minute we aren’t getting enough, the next TOO MUCH. While everyone’s protein amount is going to differ, I do believe that a lot of people are lacking good amounts of quality sources of protein in their diet. Whether or not you’re trying to build muscle, lose weight, or just stay the same, protein is an important building block and essential to making certain things in your body. It also helps keep your feeling fuller! For more information, check out this article.

1. Eggs/Egg Whites

Just to clarify first, EGGS ARE NOT BAD FOR YOU. Okay, there I said it. There was some belief that started that egg yolks are bad for you and you should only eat the whites, not true. Anyway, both eggs and egg whites are great sources of protein, for any meal! Add hardboiled eggs to a salad, make scrambled egg/egg whites for breakfast or dinner, add egg whites to your oatmeal, etc. I typically do a mix of 1 egg and 3-4 egg whites. They’re also great for adding to pancake or waffle batter to increase the protein content!

2. Greek Yogurt

If you follow me on social media, then you know I love my greek yogurt! I use it in oatmeal, yogurt bowls for breakfast or dessert, fruit dip, smoothies, healthy chicken salad…you name it! I love getting plain because A) It has no added sugars in it, and B) I get to add the toppings and flavorings of my own. But, I also do love Dannon Light and Fit Greek yogurts too when I’m feeling more of a sweet treat! The great thing about greek yogurt too is that it’s portable and an easy snack to eat while being so versatile!

3. Lean Meats

This one is the obvious choice. Any source of meat gives you protein, but look for the lean choices when possible. Lean ground turkey or beef, chicken, shrimp, fish, lunch meat, turkey or lean beef burgers, etc. are all great options!

4. Cheese

While cheese can have a lot of fat, it can also provide a healthy source of protein. Look for reduced fat cheeses like mozzarella, feta, goat, provolone, and swiss. These are going to be your healthiest options. Sprinkle some on your eggs or salad, or mix into pasta. String cheese  is also a great snack on-the-go. One of my favorites that I’ve recently found is laughing cow wedges. They come in about 6-8 different flavors (favorites: light swiss and mozzarella sun-dried tomato and basil) and are great to add to eggs or pasta, spread on sandwiches or wraps, or dip crackers in!

5. Powders/Bars

On the market, there are thousands of different protein powders and bars, all claiming they are the next best thing, which can be good considering everyone’s tastes and preferences are different. I personally am not one of those people who say you should never use or eat powders or bars because being an athlete and always busy, I know how convenient and easy sources of protein these can be. When looking for a bar, make sure it has a good amount of protein and carbs, quality ingredients, and limited added sugar. Same goes for powders: limited added sugar and quality ingredients. From there whether you choose egg, whey, isolate, etc. is up to you. So yes I do believe that these are okay to add to your diet. However, they should not constitute the main sources of your daily protein. What I mean is if you have a protein shake, don’t have two bars later to get your protein needs in (unless you’re some big bodybuilder who has insanely high macros for protein and then you do you). I limit myself to one a day, either protein powder or a bar so that I can ensure I’m getting the rest of my protein from quality sources like lean meats, dairy, etc.

6. Other

Other include items that have protein, but aren’t a main component. A lot of these are what vegetarians and vegans get their protein from. This would include beans (garbanzo, black, kidney, etc.), lentils, quinoa, some healthy breads, edamame, and hummus. If you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, I would suggest you use these to supplement your protein intake, but not have them be your main source.

Hopefully now you have a better idea of some good ways to get in your protein! Like I mentioned before, each person’s amount is going to be different based on a variety of factors; however, every person needs quality sources of protein in their diet! These are some of my favorites  and go-tos!

 

What to do after Overindulging?

I bet a lot of you know the feeling, you grab a handful of a snack at a or just a bite and suddenly it turns into many, many, many bites, handfuls, etc. and you realized you have overindulged. Or maybe just going out to eat you have overeaten a lot or just eaten too much. It happens. I’m not going to lie and pretend it doesn’t happen to me–it just did this past weekend with lucky charms. (Also not going to lie and pretend admitting that was easy, hey I’m human). But when this happens people often think they need to restrict the next day or rest of day, starve themselves, workout for hours, (especially if you’ve ever struggled with an ED) etc. when instead there are a few things that are crucial to do to help you! I want to share some of those tips today to help you realize that you didn’t “fall off track” or “lose anything”. I want to help you make choices to continue a  healthy happy lifestyle no matter what!

1. Return to your normal eating routine

The biggest thing you DON’T want to do is restrict, starve, or not eat the next day or the rest of the day. Since a lot of this happens at night, it’s most likely the next day, but it could be the rest of the day too. I’m not saying you have to force food down your throat if you aren’t hungry, but restricting only puts you and your mindset in a bad place. Keep eating, eat like you would filling yourself with wholesome, nutritious foods and go on like normal. Hopefully you’re choosing to eat healthier foods anyway, but if you did overindulge you do want to try to get your micros in (fruits and lots of veggies). Also, protein helps keep you feeling fuller as does complex carbs (brown rice, whole wheat, sweet potatoes,  oatmeal, etc.) so try filling most of your diet with those.

2. Drink water

If you overeat, especially things with lots of sodium like chips, processed foods, or most things at a restaurant, you will likely retain water and look and feel a bit more bloated. This can scare people into thinking they’ve gained a lot of fat/weight overnight when in reality most of it is water. After overindulging, make sure you continued drinking lots of water (at least 8 glasses or more) to stay hydrated and flush your system out. This will help you feel much better the next few days.

3) Movement

While I mentioned that it’s important to not think you have to go in the gym and run for hours, it is a good idea to get some movement in. For example, the morning after my lucky charms indulgence, I went for a 20 minute easy walk around my area. Nothing big, I didn’t run until I had burned X amount of calories, I just let my body move a little to help me feel healthier and help my body digest and get things moving. Whatever that may look like for you, a little bit of exercise and movement will do you good.

4) Don’t feel guilty

This is probably the biggest piece of advice I could give you. Coming from a place where every “treat” and indulgence (even if it wasn’t “too much”) left me feeling guilty, and overindulging was an even worse feeling, feeling guilty makes it worse! Then, your mind and body makes you feel bad, over-exercise, under-eat, etc. and it is an unhealthy mindset to get into. The best thing to do after overindulging is figure out why, and what you can do next time to prevent it. Were you bored? Next time you feel bored/hungry, go outside and do something or occupy your mind elsewhere. Emotional eating? Try talking to someone or finding another way to cope. Restricting yourself during the week? Find the balanced way to enjoy treats during your everyday life. At a restaurant? Practice choosing smaller portions, boxing up half your meal, not ordering an app, dinner and dessert, etc. Find a way to help yourself in the future without feeling guilty because guess what, crap happens! It’s life, you live, learn and move on.

Those are my top tips for when you overindulge. It happens, but it’s important to know how to take care of your body afterwards so that you can continue living a healthy and happy lifestyle that works for you!

 

A Weekend of Eating

Okay so from the title, you may think, no duh, you eat on the weekend but I promise it has more to it than that. When I was planning meals for the week, like I do every weekend, I decided to treat myself out to a “date night” dinner on Saturday because I was really craving this certain thing and I hadn’t been out in a while. Plus, I love having some me time and enjoying time to treat myself. I also knew that I had a BBQ on Sunday that my company was throwing for new interns. So I thought I would do a blog post on my weekend of eating and how I handled these two situations differently on each day.

So the first one like I said was going out because I was craving Luna Grill, a really good and fresh greek/mediterranean restaurant. I absolutely love it and the dish that I get there. Luna Grill is relatively healthy which is always a nice choice when eating out and still wanting to fit into your macros–which was the case here. I don’t always fit eating out into my macros, but I do the majority of the time because that is what works for me and makes me feel best.

Now, usually I like to pick places with nutritional information online. And while Luna Grill doesn’t have the nutritional information online, I’ve eaten there a few times and guesstimated macros for my dish which are probably pretty close to the real thing. Even if I am off it is probably small amounts and since I am not cutting, and I’m actually trying to gain muscle, being off is okay. But, even with that I still made sure that at the end of the day, after putting in all my other foods, that I still had some fat and carb macros leftover to help with underestimating. I hit my protein because I don’t mind going over my protein, but I try not to go over my fat or carb macros. So even if my guesstimates are off, I will either hit my macros or go over only by a few grams.

On the other side, Sunday’s BBQ would not be tracked. That is because I have made the decision to challenge myself and my fear of not tracking and being in control, by not tracking on Sunday. I don’t use this as an excuse to go crazy overboard on food, but I do decide to eat intuitively and listen to my body. I also generally check out my meals to make sure I have a good amount of all 3 macros still. So before the bbq I still ate like normal and afterwards I did the same. Ahead of time I decided that I would fill my plate with meat, fruits, and veggies with maybe some baked beans for carbs. I knew that this would make me and my body feel best as well as allow myself to still have room for maybe a dessert. For  me, I would rather not gorge on the chips, potato salad, rolls, etc. during the meal and instead save it for a dessert. I ate until I was full, not stuffed, but still enjoyed myself.

So there is a quick overview of 2 different ways that I decided to handle eating out this weekend. I know that there will be people who disagree with me on both sides–saying I should be more lenient or more controlled–and that’s okay! This way of eating works best for me, allowed me to eat good food, and still feel good and healthy. For anyone who was wondering, struggling with this, wanted a new way, or was just curious, I hope that this helped give you some ideas and tips for you to try when you eat out. Life should be about balance, eating mostly healthy, nutritious, whole foods while still enjoying treat foods 10-20% of the time. This weekend showed a good balance of that for me and my life and I hope helped you too!

Protein Ice Cream Comparison and Review

With summer right around the corner, I wanted to give you guys a little review of some healthier ice cream options (although let’s be real, ice cream is good anytime of the year). I’m sure you’ve heard of Halo Top and Enlightened ice cream by now (and arctic zero, but I’ve only tried one flavor of theirs and I wasn’t a fan so I’m gonna omit them here) and know that they are protein ice cream–essentially healthier options when it comes to ice cream. Both brands have many different flavors so to help you out before buying, I’ve tried quite a few and will relay my thoughts and opinions here.

Halo Top vs. Enlightened

Before I begin, I wanted to give an overall comparison of the two brands before I get into the details on individual flavors! In my opinion, Halo Top has the best and most pieces in their ice cream (chunks of chocolate chips, cookie dough, cookies, etc.), but Enlightened has the best overall flavor and texture of ice cream between the two. It’s a hard decision to pick because I love my chunks, so I don’t think I could pick a favorite between the two brands. I love and will continue to eat both!

Now on the fun part–reviewing and grading of flavors!!!

Halo Top

I have tried…

Birthday cake (5/10): I usually love birthday cake/birthday batter flavors, but not this one. The first bites were okay, but it got really sweet, really fast on me and I began dreading having to finish the pint off. There were sprinkle pieces in it which added nice flavor and texture, but overall very sweet.

Red velvet (9/10): I was a bit nervous to try this flavor because I mean I like red velvet, but I don’t love it. I also don’t like chocolate so brownie pieces in the ice-cream and being chocolate-y worried me. But, complete 180!! The brownie pieces made the whole pint and this has been my favorite ice cream of Halo Top and a close second to my favorite “healthy” ice cream (the first will be mentioned later). The flavor of this ice cream is so amazing too! Highly recommend!!

Cookie dough (7/10): I love cookie dough–it’s my favorite flavor of ice cream in general (mostly due to the chunks lol). The cookie dough chunks in this one were really tasty, but sadly, few and far between. This flavor was “just fine” to me, nothing too bad about it, but nothing exciting, amazing or stand-out about it either.

I plan to try peanut butter cup, s’mores, and oatmeal cookie sometime in the future.

Enlightened

I have tried….

Sea Salt Caramel (9/10): This is the first ice cream I tried out of all the “healthy” brands, and it did not disappoint. They really pack in the caramel flavor and swirl all throughout the ice cream and the texture is on point! This tastes like actual ice cream, just a slightly healthier version. No pieces in this one like I usually want, but very good choice!

Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch (10/10): This one is the best enlightened flavor so far! And my ABSOLUTE favorite out of all the ice creams so far! Again, the texture of the ice cream is perfect and the it tastes exactly like oatmeal cookies. There are pieces of oatmeal cookie among the ice cream and caramel–aka the perfect bite!

Cookie Dough (9/10): SO GOOD! The chunks are legit on point although few and far between sometimes. Nice ice cream taste, like literally the bite of it all tastes exactly like ice cream and it’s perfect! It’s my 2nd enlightened favorite, and tied for 2nd overall with Halo Top red velvet.

Red Velvet (3-10): Although I loved Halo Top’s Red Velvet, I did not like Enlightened’s version at all! To me, it was too chocolate-y—not enough true red velvet flavor. I know red velvet is chocolate, but I like red velvet cupcakes and Halo Top’s wasn’t as chocolatey. I also couldn’t notice any chunks in there! But if you like chocolate then you’ll like this.

Strawberry Cheesecake (6/10): Cheesecake ice-cream with strawberry swirls—very tasty!! Although the flavor is spot on and I really liked the strawberry swirl bursts you get, this ice cream was nothing outstanding. I would rank it 6/10 just because not as amazing of flavors as some of the others.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (7/10): Really good! The chocolate chips were many and the taste of the peanut butter ice cream was spot on!! Every bit I took I truly got peanut butter chocolate chip taste!

Hope this little review helped! Let me know what flavors you’ve tried and what you do/don’t like about them!!