Craziest Month EVER: Month 1 Insanity Review

I can't believe it has been one month since I started the Insanity program! This is the program that I always told myself I couldn't do, and that I wasn't strong enough for, so the fact that I have followed it to a T for the past month is a HUGE accomplishment for me! It's been hard, sweaty, painful, and challenging, but I can honestly say that this program has been the most rewarding one I have done; not only for my body, but for my mental strength and endurance as well. 

First and foremost, here are my one month results!

I can't believe the results I am seeing. For the first time ever, I feel like my body is literally shedding all of that excess fluff and bloat. I'm seeing definition in my abs, and that is just SO exciting to me! This program is pushing me to my limits. After each and every workout, I feel a sense of accomplishment I have never felt before. 

Of course, it isn't just the workout that I should contribute my results to. As a dietitian, I know more than anyone that weight loss, getting in shape, toning up, and reaching your goals is 80% food and 20% exercise. I've overeaten my way through programs with zero results to show for it. SO, my nutrition during insanity has been imperative. I've been following the 21 day fix portion control system, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it is the BEST meal plan out there to help you reach your goals. 

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I made sure to eat all my containers, drink water, and of course, have my Shakeology daily!

And I still had room to enjoy my favorites on this meal plan! Like Waffle Wednesday with the hubby! :) 

The most important thing to remember is to eat for your goals. My goals are to lean out a bit and tone up in the process, while not starving. This meal plan was PERFECT for that! It is so important to have a "plan."

If we call it a diet in our minds, it is only temporary. The plan needs to be one that we can follow for a lifetime, and I can see myself following this one for a lifetime! I felt energized, full, and excited for each meal! 

Overall, I am beyond thrilled with my results and how I am feeling! I can't wait to see what this next month will hold! Right now, I am in my "recovery" week between month 1 and month 2 for insanity. I am looking forward to the rest of this program, and will keep you all updated!!

This, and any program really, will work for you if you follow through and stick to it. Do you need some extra accountability? I can be your coach and coach you through the program that is best suited for YOU and YOUR goals! My September Joyfully Fit Bootcamp starts in a few weeks, and I would love to have you join! The accountability in this group is what has helped me get this far in my journey. The deadline to sign up in September 10th, so make sure to fill out the form below if you are interested!!! I can't wait to begin working with you!

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Food, Fitness, and Wedding!

Happy Monday everyone! I hope it was a great weekend for all of you. I thought I would write a post just as an update of my life, eats, and workouts lately! I love to write so I figure, why not? :) Life has been busy but wonderful at the same time. I have found a groove and lifestyle that I love regarding work, friends, family, and health. Not that I don't have my challenges, because trust me I do! But then I realize God is with me through it all, and there is no other hand I would rather be in than His!

I have been meal planning and cooking like crazy lately! My meals last week were delicious and not in anyway boring. I made a huge batch of turkey marinara to take to work this week, consisting of some ground turkey, marinara, and bell peppers!


I also made a batch of grass fed beef, and some pumpkin protein squares to have some emergency protein and pre/post workout snacks on hand!



And yes, I am eating my beef with a little mermaid spoon....and proud of it!

As many of you know, my fiancé and I are also in the midst of crazy wedding planning stress. We have been busy planning photo shoots, the honey moon, managing the guest list, and a million other things that are on our list. We had a Starbucks date this week to discuss a few things...and I think I tired him out a bit!


My workouts have also been consistent lately. I am really seeing progress in my abilities to lift heavier weights! I also started the Frisky Fall challenge at Tone it Up which has served as great motivation! Their online community, workouts, and overall vibes are all fantastic! They have a "100 miles by Halloween" challenge, and I have already reached 22 of them! They post daily toning workouts and inspiration, which always gets you in the mood to workout! I highly recommend checking out their site,

I am also keeping up with my personal training sessions, and am actually on my way to one soon! Having my pre-workout nuts to power me through!


This week, I have two vacation days which I plan to fill up with fun adventures, cooking, working out, relaxing, and just enjoying some time to myself. I cannot believe we are already halfway through's crazy how fast time is flying!!

Anyways, I am off to get a good workout in before my day begins!! I love kicking off a new week with a workout, which sets the tone for a healthy week to come! I hope you all have an awesome Monday!

30 days of Consistency

Good morning everyone! I can't believe it is already August...this summer is just speeding by! Before we know it, it will be Fall again, and then...CHRISTMAS! Am I getting ahead of myself? Oh well, I love Christmas and everything about wintertime. So I really can't wait! :) I thought I would write a little update post on my workouts since I haven't done a post on fitness for a while. July was a really consistent month for me in regards to both fitness and nutrition (yay!) and, not shockingly, I have seen the most changes in my body and physical abilities because of this. Consistency is key, and I have really seen the difference that consistent healthy eating and workouts can bring.

I workout about 5-6 days a week, doing cardio almost every day, and doing toning work and strength training 3-4 days a week. I work with a personal trainer every Monday morning, and then work out of a log book for the rest of the week.

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Each workout lasts about 50 minutes-1 hour, including both cardio and strength training.

*My cardio consists of running 3-4 miles, walking, or doing the elliptical machine for 30-40 minutes.

*I alternate my strength training days between legs/abs, chest/triceps, back/biceps, and shoulders/abs.

I have been upping my weights this month and have been amazed at what I am capable of! When I began being more consistent with my strength training in May, I started my bicep curls with 5lb dumbbells, and now 10lb dumbbells are getting easy! I could only do 6 male (aka the real kind) push ups when I first started, and now I can do 15. I'm seeing more definition in my arms and I am really liking the results I am experiencing! The picture below shows the first day I actually spotted a baby bicep! :)

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Of course, it isn't just about workouts. We can workout all we want, but our goals are a direct results of our nutrition. Whether we want to lose weight, tone up, or grow bigger, nutrition is 80% of the equation! For months, I was working out consistently, but was not consistent with my eating. This month, I have been pretty consistent (not perfect mind you, just making healthy choices more than unhealthy ones!) and have really seen the difference that healthy and balanced eating can make in my fitness and physical appearance. It's been exciting for me to see changes and I can't wait to see what the next few months bring!

My typical meals include:

Pre workout meals of HB eggs, banana, nuts, or a gluten-free baked good of mine (search the blog for tons...and I mean TONS of recipes!)

Post workout meals are mostly eggs, sausage, veggies, sweet potatoes, or some kind of fruit. I focus on protein and carbs for my post workout, which helps with recovery and my energy levels! Below is me thoroughly enjoying my scrambled eggs and spiraled sweet potatoes after a workout! :)

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Lunches and dinners have included protein, vegetables, lots of vegetables, more vegetables, and healthy fats! I love vegetables, if you can't tell. When I go out, I also try to make healthy choices whether it is a salad, or this beautiful plate below. You can never go wrong with chicken and vegetables, but make sure to not get bored of it as well. Sometimes, I will include rice or some kind of grain to my meals. But I always make sure to have them in the correct portion and not overdo these foods. I would hate to have less vegetables because I filled up on rice!

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**Make sure to follow me on Instagram (@tveen_rd) for a day-by-day account of my eats and workouts!**

I don't follow a strict diet mentality. I just make sure to eat whole, nutritious foods. It took me a while to get to this point. But I have found that the more freedom I give myself in my food choices, the more naturally I gravitate towards the healthier options. I love how eating healthy makes me feel, and I always feel better after a meal that nourishes me. But, life is not about labels (as I have written about before...see Labeling Life post from January), and I feel that God is constantly teaching me this through my healthy eating and fitness journey.

As a Registered Dietitian, I am bombarded with nutrition news, research, and diets that always overwhelm and confuse the public, as well as myself from time to time! I try to focus on the healthy side of each diet philosophy, even though I may not agree with 100% of what some advocate. So whether my meals are paleo, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, or a random hodgepodge of food, I try to make the healthy choice, while leaving some wiggle room for whatever may come my way! :)

It's been exactly 30 days of consistency for me, and I am loving the way I feel and the changes I am seeing. I can't wait to see what these next 30 days will bring me!


1 Corinthians 10:31: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."


"Make Good Choices" Monday

Wow! This day flew by for me. I had a training at our main office today which was SO good, it felt like a half day! We blinked and it was 5:30 already...I'm not complaining! Today was a great day as well because my mission of planning and making more balanced meals was a success! I may have slightlyyyyy deviated from my original plan I posted yesterday, but I still made good choices, ensuring my meals were balanced, healthy, and kept me fueled all day long! Here is a rundown of how my day went: I had my personal training session at 6am this morning, so I had one of my gluten free pumpkin protein squares before hitting the gym!


The workout was definitely a killer, but felt so good! We worked on chest and triceps, with a 25 minute interval run to top it off. As my post workout meal, I has some eggies with kale and a small banana. Gotta get that balance of protein and carbs! :)


I made sure to pack a filling day's worth of food for work today so I would not get hungry and tired again during my training. We learn so many new and valuable tools at our all-day trainings, so I wanted to be alert and awake to absorb all the information! I packed a peach for a snack, then had chicken, sweet potatoes, and an apple for lunch. Nuts were my afternoon snack before we got off!





Dinner was one of my favorites, Chipotle! I love their barbacoa and made sure to load up my bowl with lots of fajita vegetables, salsas, lettuce, and a few dollops of guacamole!



I felt like today was definitely a success! My meals were well thought out, contained adequate amounts of proteins, fats, and carbs, and kept me focused and energetic throughout the day. I also made sure to pack my lunch tonight for tomorrow so it is all set! That way I don't have an excuse for a lazy lunch if I am feeling rushed in the morning. Having your lunch packed the night before ensures that you will a) make good choices the next day and b) won't get stuck in a food emergency the next morning if you run out of time to pack a lunch! It's a win-win! :)

And on that note, this girl is definitely ready for bed!! Have an awesome evening everyone!

Life Lately

Happy Saturday everyone! I am so glad it is finally the weekend. I am currently icing my ankle as it has been randomly swollen all week. I had pain and tingling in it at the beginning of the week but worked out through the pain, then Thursday I noticed that it was seriously swollen! So I am icing and elevating and hoping it's nothing serious! photo 2-2

I thought I'd share my latest eats with you all and how life has been lately. In one word, life has been BUSY! I feel like every second of my week and weekends are accounted for. Thank God all my plans are fun with some lovely people, but I am actually looking forward to during the day today! Work has been keeping me busy too...always learning something new and slowly getting more and more comfortable! At least I have been able to keep up with my workouts and healthy eating through it all!

My latest pre-workout meals have been either toast with peanut butter, or some kind of baked good creation. This week, I used Nature's Own Honey Wheat bread to put my peanut butter on.

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I also baked some banana oat bread (recipe already posted!) with some added flaxseed (about 2 tablespoons) and an extra banana. This bread came out amazing!


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My workouts have been about 40-45 minutes long as I do not have much time in the AM before work! However, I am NOT an evening worker-outer, and will definitely blow off my workout the minute I get home from work. So I love getting my workout done in the morning because it fills me with a sense of accomplishment, as well as energy to sustain me throughout the day! I've been doing 30-40 minute bike workouts with some toning work at the end. Short and sweet!


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Post workouts have been tricky. Some mornings, I have time to make a nice meal after my workout. This week, I made oatmeal with half a scoop of protein powder, flaxseed, almond milk, bananas, and nuts! Oh and of course, tons of cinnamon!

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I also had some leftover beans in the fridge one morning and sautéed some kale and ate that with half an avocado. Seems more like a lunch, but it tasted great as breakfast too!

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And some mornings, I just grab a quest bar and go. I love these bars because they are full of protein and fiber and really act well as a post-workout meal when I am short on time!


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Lunches have been delicioussss this week. I packed tuna earlier on in the week, and had some trouble getting excited about it. Usually I love tuna, but I wasn't feeling it this week. I decided that I MUST pack foods I am excited to eat! Especially at work when that 30 minute lunch break is something I really look forward to! So, my mom and I made a Seven Bean soup recipe we got from our William's Sonoma soups cookbook. It's basically sautéing onions, garlic, bell peppers, and whatever veggies you have, adding however many types of beans you want, a can of diced or crushed tomatoes, and some broth. And viola! You've got a nice and healthy chili to take with you all week to work!


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I also made a salad with tons of greens, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, black beans, and avocado. Let's just say I've been on a bean and avocado kick lately :) such a great combo!


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Well, that's it for my update. I hope this post gives you some meal ideas for your busy week to come! Use this weekend for some serious meal planning and prepping to ensure healthy choices all week long! Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Confidence and Goal Setting

Motivation is a mysterious thing. I'm pretty sure we have all had moments of being hyper-motivated as well as downright lazy. We start out a day, week, or month, with plan and goals we want to achieve. However, sometimes we don't quite make the cut. I think it is very important to assess your goals and confidence in your abilities to achieve these goals. Planning is key, but where some people miss out is the confidence aspect, or what we in the nutrition/behavioral science field call "self-efficacy." Self-efficacy is the belief that you are actually capable of achieving what you set out to achieve. How can we increase self-efficacy and, in turn, increase our motivation and chances of achieving our goals? Well, read my rambles below to find out what I think! photo

"What you get by achieving your goals is as important as what you become by achieving them." -Thoreau


I've always been a big goal setter/planner. Ever since I was in elementary school, I would make lists, plans, and schedules as to how I was to attack the day, whether my goal was to reach a certain page in the book I was reading or reaching milestones in a 20-page research paper. I would put myself on a study schedule and would follow it to the letter. However, when I would fail at a goal, it would really lower my confidence in my ability to achieve other goals. It would be like a domino effect. There is a saying I heard once that has stuck with me: "one good decision leads to another." Well, this is true about bad decisions as well! The more bad decisions we make, the less confidence we have in our ability to make good decisions, and the harder it becomes to make these good decisions. What is really hard though, is when you really DO want the goal that you set out to begin with, but you seem to be on a conveyer belt, staring at your destination getting smaller and smaller as you move backwards and father away. I've been there, as I'm sure you all have too!

Self-efficacy is a concept taught to be key to achieving your goals, whether your goals are in health, nutrition, or any other aspect of your life. As a Christian, I have comfort in the fact that my confidence is from the Lord. My ability to achieve my goals is because "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (Phil. 4:13). What a relief and joy that is! But what God has also impressed upon my heart is to think about why I want to achieve the goals that I have. We may want to lose weight, be a certain size, get a certain job, or save a certain amount of money. But we won't successfully achieve any of those things without the WHY behind it. I believe the WHY of your goal is the first step towards self-efficacy, or God-efficacy as I would like to call it. That is definitely something I just made up, but I think I'll stick to it! God-efficacy is the belief that GOD will help me and strengthen me to achieve my goals. The WHY for these goals must be centered on how these goals will draw me closer to God and make me more able to do the work He has called me to do.

Back to the Thoreau quote, I believe that the journey to achieving our goals must draw us into a closer relationship with God and pull us into His love and purpose for our lives. For example, if our goal is to get a higher paying job, we must evaluate why we want this job. If it is just because of the higher pay, that is not necessarily a bad thing, but how will we use this bigger blessing? Will we spend it on material possessions, or use it to help the people around us who need it? Or, if our goal is weight loss and health, will we flaunt our new body and become vain and cocky when achieving this goal? Or will we use this weight loss and health journey as a lesson in self-control and reliance on God, allowing Him to help us make healthier choices that will make us more energetic and effective in our relationships, families, and church communities? It's definitely something to think about...

I encourage you all to think about and evaluate your goals. Once we focus on the WHY behind our goals and realize that the journey is just as important as achieving the goal, we are more likely to find success in all that we attempt to achieve. The journey is part of the process, and finding our strength in God and His perfect efficacy is a way to surrender our goals and desires to Him and allow Him to work in us to achieve whatever we do unto His glory!

Back to the Basics

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone has started this week off with a bang! I thought I'd share my eats of the day with you all as some inspiration to show that sometimes, simple really is better! These past few weeks have been filled with ups, downs, stresses, events, good food, and good times for me. However, I woke up today thinking "I neeeeeed some simple, easy, clean foods back in my life!" So I decided to just plan my meals out and make them as simple, fresh, and easy as possible. And let me tell you, it felt great! Going back to the basics of having lean protein, fresh veggies and fruits, and healthy fats helps you appreciate these delicious and nutrient-dense foods in their natural form, and reminds you of how satisfying and satiating they can actually be! So here is my day! :) I woke up and had a banana before my workout this morning. I am finally get back into working out after being sick for 2 weeks! I did the bike with some toning work afterwards for my arms!

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After my workout, I made a quick veggie scramble before heading off to work.



For my day at work, I packed berries, salad with grilled chicken that I prepped last night, veggies, and nuts. These meals/snacks were so simple and were all from fresh, real foods. They kept me full and energized all day long!

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After work, I met my parents at one of my favorite restaurants...Lemonade! I got their Pineapple chicken salad and Thai veggie salad. These salads are both so light and delicious and are filled with more of those fresh veggies!

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Whoever says vegetables don't fill you up has definitely never...well...eaten vegetables! Veggies are so filling because of their high water and fiber content. Plus they require lots of chewing, forcing you to eat slower and enjoy your food. This helps your body take time to digest, and helps your brain send those helpful "I am full so you can stop eating" signals. In addition to the nutritional benefits of vegetables (fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc), they are also great for volume eaters, like myself! I'd rather have a whole big bowl of something than a teeny tiny slice of anything else. That is why I love to fill my plate with lots of fresh, non-starchy veggies that are crunchy, fun to eat, and that fill me up! One of the best things I've ever done for my health is try to incorporate vegetables into at least 75% of my meals for the day, whether that is in scrambles, stir-fries, salads, snacks, soups, etc. Also, pairing high-quality proteins such as eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, or fish, with your vegetables is the best way to help you stay full and energized all day long, without compromising your healthy eating goals!

Whenever you are stressed out about meal planning or just need to snap out of some old habits creeping back up, just go back to your basics. Grab a protein, surround it with tons of veggies, and add some healthy fats to the mix. Simple, easy, healthy, and delicious!

P&P with Pumpkin Biscuits!

Happy Tuesday everyone!!! I feel as if I have been neglecting this blog for far too long! I promise to be better! I have been sick for over a week now but finally getting over it and hopefully starting up my workout routine again tomorrow! I seriously CANNOT wait!!! This past weekend was a very low key one for me as I was diagnosed with bronchitis, a double ear infection, a sinus infection, and a throat infection! I basically isolated myself to my home other than going out to eat just to get out and get some fresh air. However, I really did enjoy relaxing at home and was finally able to do something that I have been wanting to do for a long the five hour BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice" with my boyfriend! I prepared quite a spread for it was five hours long and we would definitely need our sustenance!


In the bottom left corner, you will see my lovely pumpkin biscuits that I baked! These biscuits came out so fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and had a scone-like feel! Not only are they delicious, but they are low calorie, high in vitamin A, and are a good protein and fiber source! Here is my recipe for my Pumpkin Biscuits!

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Makes 11-12 biscuits (depending on how big you make them)

2/3 cup pancake and baking mix (GF or multigrain)

1/2 cup oats

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

1 T coconut flour

1/4 cup almond flour (or additional scoop of protein powder)

1 whole egg

2 T brown sugar

1 cup pumpkin

16-18 packets stevia

1-2 t pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon (depending on your preference!

The method is pretty always! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of your ingredients together. The mix will be a drop batter type of consistency, but will hold together to be able to form biscuits on a baking sheet. Line your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. Make 11-12 small biscuits with the batter, then bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from one of the center biscuits!

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Then...enjoy!! These make a perfect dessert or movie snack, but also served well as my breakfast the next day, or while enjoying afternoon tea with my Mama!

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This recipe is sooooo easy and delicious; I really hope you all get to try it! They perfectly complemented our lovely british film and were the tastiest, healthy treat! 

Nutrition facts per biscuit:

100 calories, 3g fat, 14g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 6g potein, 37% daily value of Vitamin A!

Healthy Priorities

I am currently writing this with no voice. I mean that...NO VOICE. Nada...I can barely whisper. It's been an interesting past few days to say the least, and past few weeks for me as well. There has been so much going on for me, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It's been a lot to process, but I am loving the many things God has been teaching and showing me through this journey here on earth! This past weekend, I got very very sick. I basically came down with a fever on Valentine's day (so so sad!) and was in bed with a  cold/flu for most of the weekend. Then, when I finally started feeling better yesterday, a horrid cough came over me and my voice decided to go on a little vacation and leave me behind. So here I am, voiceless, hacking a lung, and kind of frustrated that I can't talk. I'm hoping that some tea, rest, and silence will get this out of my system! I haven't been able to work out since Friday which is KIND OF irritating me, but I know I have to stick it out and rest up for this sickness to leave and hopefully never come back.

A number of weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled "Labeling Life," which is a very honest look at how our brains deal with the "diet labels" we put on ourselves. Ever since writing that post, I feel like God has been doing SUCH a work in my heart in regards to what I eat and why I eat the way that I do. I have felt such freedom in choosing foods that are healthy and work for me, even if they don't fit into a particular "diet philosophy" or mold. I've also come to realize that I can agree with a certain diet mentality, but not have to follow it 100% of the time. As one of my very close friends Michelle over at says at the end of each of her posts, "what works for me, works for me." I think this is SO true! 

Let me back up a bit. There are SO many diet books out there, right? I mean just go to any bookstore (or Amazon) and you will be overwhelmed at the amount of nutrition literature there is available to the general public. Which can tend to be confusing! There are books ranging from vegan, paleo, vegetarian, low-carb, high fat, and so on, and each of them have great attributes. However, following any one of those diets religiously, for the sake of following a set of rules, is not the healthiest thing to do for your body or mind. Your body needs a variety of foods, and so does your brain for that matter. Food is here to fuel us, but also to bring us enjoyment. When we over restrict foods, our brains tend to want those foods so much more.

When I first started my journey with gluten-free and paleo eating, I was seeking a diet philosophy that I could get sold on, 100%. I wanted a clear cut set of rules that could guide me and dictate my food choices. I wanted justification for why I ate the way that I ate. However, throughout this whole journey, which has been almost 2 years now, I've realized that diet is not about following rules, labels, or philosophies. It is about finding what works for you. Which is why I have decided to not follow any one diet mentality, making this a "Labeling Life part 2" type of post I guess! :)

As a dietitian, people think that I have it all together in regards to my food ideas and philosophies. However, I am here to tell you that I do NOT have it together. In fact, it's even harder for us dietitians sometimes! We have all this knowledge bouncing around in our heads: contradictory research, objective and subjective findings, and personal experience that all get confused in our brains. It is hard not to be conscious of the foods you are eating when you know so much about them. It is almost as if you "know too much," which can be overwhelming! I've realized that life has to be SO much more than just minimalistic views on food. Fruit is not just sugar. Grains are not just fiber. Protein is not just fat. Food is beautiful and made up of so many intricate components. There are good sides and bad sides to each food group. There are healthy proteins, and not so healthy proteins, healthy grains, not so healthy grains, healthy fats, and not so healthy fats, etc etc. We can choose the healthy foods we want to eat instead of restricting almost every food group while trying to have the "purest" and "cleanest" diet ever. This is just not possible...and life is about so much more! One verse that God keeps bringing to my mind is Romans 14:17, which states:

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

I want to be healthy for the Lord. I want to glorify Him and honor the body He has given me. I want to be healthy so I can be effective to do the SO MUCH MORE that God has in store for me! I want to eat nutritious foods, but I want to be filled with righteousness, peace, and joy in the LORD, not in the rules that I follow. Being healthy should never be the end result, because our bodies are so temporary. We should strive to be healthy to glorify God, to learn the art of self-discipline in this very overindulgent world we live in, and be well equipped, energetic, and healthy to bear much fruit for the Lord.

I am so excited for this freedom in health that God has been showing me, and I know I still have so much to learn. We should make healthy choices to glorify God, not to follow some set of rules or ideology that start taking a life of their own, turning into over-restriction! I hope this post resonates with some of you out there, and I hope that my honesty and openness helps you reflect on why you have your health goals and where your priorities are in regards to why you want to be healthy! Having goals and making plans and health-conscious food choices are important, but let us never lose sight of what matters in life and WHY we want to be healthy!

Redefining the Snack!

I love snacking and have always been a snacker! When I was younger, I would look forward to my afternoon snacks, which would usually consist of goldfish crackers while watching "Little House on the Prarie." (Loved that show!) Throughout the recent years, I have found that my nostalgic love of snacking still rings strong and true. I would much rather snack throughout the day than have 3 square meals a day. But, since most snack foods tend to be processed, high in salt and sugar, and not the healthiest of options, snacking has gotten a bad reputation. The action of snacking also stimulates us to eat more by triggering that mindless "put food in mouth, repeat, repeat, repeat" action, which makes it easy to ignore our satiety signals (aka your brain screaming "I am full so stop feeding me!!!") Makes you almost feel like a crazy cooke monster, huh?? images

I read an interesting article this week entitled "Half of eating occasions are snacks." Here is the link below!

A new report by the Hartman group states that more and more people are eating on the go, snacking, and replacing traditional meals with more snack foods. The authors stated that people are eating "on a whim" and "according to cravings," making them more likely to go through the drive thru, stop at a grocery store, or pick up a yummy baked good from the local bakery on their way home from work, school, or any function. The report also stated that half the time, people eat alone, which means that smaller portions are even more necessary. The report states that these snacks have become replaced meals, and some people are even starting to snack at home when they are too tired to make a full course, nutritionally balanced meal.

My opinion:

I am a healthy eater, but also love to snack. I completely understand the need to eat something on your way home, or the feeling of being too exhausted to cook a full meal after a long day at work. But, there are some healthy ways to prevent a snack attack that leads to an all day eating fest! Planning and prepping your meals and snacks are the key to establishing healthy meal and snacking patterns, leading to a happier and healthier life! Check a few posts back if you need some meal planning ideas, and keep reading for some snacking tips!

Since I get off work at 5:45pm, have a 45-50 minute commute home, I know that I will get hungry on my drive. I always make sure to either pack a quest bar or some nuts for my drive home.

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The combination of nuts with either veggies or fruit is also very satisfying and filling!

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In my experience, the key to being a healthy snacker is to PLAN your snacks. Most people plan meals, but simply leave the snacks up the chance. This usually leads to overeating snack foods such as chips, popcorn, candy, etc. The reason why these foods are SO easy to overeat is that they are full of sugar and very devoid of nutrition, which leads to these foods having addictive qualities. Think about it, have you ever eaten 4 plates of steak or grilled chicken? Your body just screams NO and physically doesn't let you because of all the nutrition and protein in these foods. But, have you ever polished off 4 baskets of chips and salsa without even thinking about it?? Be honest, because even I can answer that question with a  resounding YES! As delicious as some of these snack foods are, they have no internal mechanisms that make us say STOP EATING. Most snack foods do not contain adequate protein to keep us full and do what snacks are intended to do: keep us full enough till our next meal. Which is why, I recommend, redefining the snack!

1.) MINI-MEALS: A snack should really be more of a mini-meal. Think of your snack as a protein, veggies, and some healthy fats. If you have a hard-boiled egg, carrots, and a 1/4 cup of hummus, nuts, or guacamole, I guarantee that you will feel satisfied and full, without feeling the need to have a second, third, or fourth portion of this "snack" or mini-meal. Another idea is 2 oz grilled chicken, some snap peas or mini bell peppers, and a string cheese. This meal would fill you up without stuffing you up, and will keep your energy levels steady for a few hours instead of leaving you hungry and wanting more.

2.) QUICK STOP PROTEIN: When it comes to stopping on the way home for a snack, most people turn to Starbucks, fast food joints, or ice cream parlors. However, in the same amount of time it takes for you to pull into one of these food establishments, it would take the same amount of time to stop at a nearby grocery store with a prepared foods section and pick up a rotisserie chicken. Chicken has good protein, is a fast snack option that you can leave in your fridge at work, and can even be taken home to your family for a quick dinner. Just whip up a salad or some steamed veggies (keep a few bags of frozen veggies on hand for emergencies such as these!) and you've got yourself a nice protein+veggies meal! You can even boil cook up some sweet potatoes or some brown rice as a carbohydrate side as well.

The more our world changes and gets busier, the more our daily habits change as well. As this article has shown, the "traditional" meal is taking a back seat to snacking and eating on the go. Even though we all have busy schedules, don't let health and nutrition take a back seat as well! Use some of these tips, or create your own protein, veggie, and healthy fat meals that will help you stay full and resist the need for salty or sugary snacks. By packing each meal with as many nutrient-dense foods as possible, you will leave your body and brain satisfied and going strong throughout the day, preventing the overeating and mindless snacking that so often occurs when you let yourself go hungry! So go ahead, redefine your snacks, and see how much better your moods, energy, and overall health will be!