Week one and half of week two of the Ramp it up Challenge is down. Time to consider what dietary changes you have made and would like to make in the future weeks of the challenge and beyond. I have heard some good ideas from folks so far, such as, limiting alcohol, cutting complex carbs and limiting sugars. It takes about 3 weeks to really feel the positive affect of a dietary change. You’ll know something is working if you start to see signs like, clearer skin, less bloating or gas and faster recovery from workouts (and of course, just feeling good). One of the best things you can do for yourself during these next 6 weeks is keep yourself fed. While at work, you don’t have to eat those donuts in the break room as long as you are equipped with a healthy snack to eat. That’s why in this post I am going to provide some tips for packing lunches and preparing breakfast so we can stay fed and not get that irrational, angry hunger that drives us toward the donuts.
Let’s start with the most important meal of the day. Breakfast in the morning should always be protein. This will help you to avoid irrational hunger around your mid-morning coffee break because protein metabolizes slowly, especially in the morning. It will also help regulate your insulin. If you eat carbs in the morning, even healthy ones like fruit, you will have an insulin reaction that will crash with in an hour causing that irrational mid-morning hunger, making you more likely to want that donut. There are great protein breakfast recipes you can prep in advance. Starting as simple as hard-boiling some eggs on the weekend to have for all the week day mornings. Egg dishes like frittata keep well when covered in the fridge so you can make one on Sunday and have a slice each week day morning. For some great egg recipes visit http://paleomg.com/category/food/eggs/.
PS: Leftovers work for breakfast if you’re not picky about it. Half a pork chop or piece of chicken from the night before would be a great option.
On to lunch. The only 20 minutes of sanity we maybe get at work. I don’t know about you, but if I eat some heavy, complex carb crap for lunch, my productivity for the rest of the day is shot. And I get crabby. A salad with chicken or a soup serves me much better.
A quick note about soup: canned soups (even the fancy organic ones) have lots of sodium and preservatives which can negatively affect blood pressure, water retention and cause headaches in many people who do not even realize they are sensitive to it. Make your own soups out of leftovers or try one of these recipes http://paleomg.com/category/food/soups/
Trying to save leftovers from your healthy dinner is a great way to have a healthy lunch the next day. I should warn you, my lunch packing methods require use of tupperware containers that I must clean each day when I get home as well as the use of a luck box that I think is sweet but my husband says makes me look like a nerd face. So here is a lunch I pack regularly for myself. It does the trick. I’m the only one who’s not eating those donuts.
Morning snack 1: banana or apple with peanut butter. I will sit at my desk with a jar of PB and spoon it onto my apple as I grade papers. Snacking mid-morning also helps curb that irrational donut craving.
Extra snack to have on hand throughout the day: Roasted, unsalted almonds or mixed nuts (or any nut you like). Nuts have fiber and protein and good fats. If you like to mindlessly munch on things as you work, they are a great choice.
Main Course: Salad greens with chicken
Save some of the chicken from a dinner meal (cook extra at dinner if necessary). If you have some leftover veggies, throw those in there too. Buy a bag of salad greens. Pre pack some containers with 2-3 handfuls of greens and a hand full of the chicken. Put your favorite oil-based dressing in a separate container to avoid sogginess.
Dessert (if you must): Blueberries, strawberries, plain, full fat yogurt.