Back to School 2014: Eat Your Veggies!
Back to School 2014: Eat Your Veggies Blog Bonus
Last week I shared the first Back to School 2014 Blog Bonus, a lesson plan on SMART Goals. Although each post has tips anyone can use, the series is dedicated to teachers. As my teacher fans and clients are getting ready for their new students, I’m excited to be gearing up for a new class of teacher fitness students in my Teachers’ Tone Up Fitness Program.
This week’s post was written by personal trainer and former educator, Amber Callahan, who has stopped by to bring you some tips for getting healthy by eating more greens as you prepare for going back to school.
Eat your Veggies!
Do you struggle with eating enough vegetables each day? Many people have a love/hate relationship with veggies. Maybe you were traumatized by brussel sprouts and creamed spinach as a kid (I was), maybe the prep work is overwhelming, or maybe you’re sick of eating the same vegetables over and over. Whatever your reason for not getting enough veggies (or variety of veggies), there are ways to work them into your daily meals without it feeling like a chore or extra work.
Keep in mind, too, that regardless of how you eat (Paleo, South Beach, Atkins, etc), everyone should be eating 4 -10 servings of vegetables a day (ideally on the higher end for greater health benefit). To simplify a vegetable serving, 1 serving of vegetables is equal it 1 fist (note: leafy greens = 2 fists and starchy veggies = ½ fist).
So, think back to yesterday for a minute and roughly calculate how many servings of vegetables you ate. If you didn’t get in enough or are on the lower end day after day, check out these tips to get your veggies in each day.
- Try a new veggie each week or cook a favorite differently. For example, if you always steam broccoli, try roasting it lightly with olive oil and sea salt or eating it raw with a healthy dip. Eat veggies that are in season for the most nutrients, or better yet, make a trip to the local Farmer’s Market for the freshest veggies. Make it a game with your kids by writing the names of vegetables on slips of paper and having someone draw one each week. Whoever draws gets to pick a recipe.
- Substitute veggies when you might normally use a meat or a grain. In the Standard American Diet, meat has become the main dish when vegetables should take up the majority of your plate. Meat and grains should be side dishes. For example, eat a Portobello mushroom or cabbage steak instead of beef or a pork chop. Use Portobello mushroom caps instead of pizza crust or use collard green leaves for wraps instead of tortillas or bread.
- Start your day with a Smoothie. Invest in a good blender and add veggies to your smoothie in the morning. Start with a good plant based protein and add fruits (stick to low sugar fruits like berries if you are trying to lose weight) and get creative with the veggies you add like kale, spinach, beets and carrots. You won’t be able to taste them and you’ll get the benefit of veggies in the morning. My favorite combination is Arbonne protein, frozen strawberries, fresh kale and almond milk. Simple and delicious.
- Make it a goal to eat a salad every day. Create your own salad or take advantage of many of the fresh salad restaurants and bars if you need something on the go. Just be careful about the salad dressing you choose because many of them are loaded with calories, sugar, and too much fat. Vary the veggies you add to your salad each week.
- Snack on raw veggies with a favorite dip each day. Substitute crackers, chips and pita chips for fresh slices of vegetables for dipping in a protein packed dip, like hummus or bean dip, as a snack.
My best advice for eating in general, though, is to just not overcomplicate food. Eat whole, unprocessed foods (if it comes in a box and has chemical ingredients you can’t pronounce, put it down and walk away). Eat a variety of foods, especially vegetables. Also, remember that no whole, unprocessed food is bad for you (like potatoes, for example). You just need to follow the proper portion sizing when you eat. If you’re eating the best, most nutritious foods, you should not have to count calories or worry about dieting and depriving yourself.
To learn more or for plant based recipes, visit my website, PlantFit. As a certified Nutrition Coach, I not only help people eat more vegetables; I teach my clients how to adopt habits to improve their quality of life and to quit dieting once and for all! I have a variety of options to help people who are motivated and ready to make changes and who are committed to taking action to improve their health. You can learn more HERE.
Many thanks to Catherine for sharing her part of the internet with me today. And, many thanks to you for reading! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter if you visit my website (you’ll receive an expanded version of these tips as a freebie for signing up) and follow me on Facebook for daily doses of information to help you live a mindful, healthy and strong life. Feel free to email me HERE for more information.
Amber Callahan is a former high school educator and is a lifelong fitness and nutrition enthusiast. She began her career as an Arbonne Independent Consultant, Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer in 2012. She speaks, blogs, writes articles and offers nutrition and fitness advice on her website, GetPlantFit.com.