Here is a plan that is meant for those WORK on their FITNESS REGULARLY and who desire to see MEASURABLE results. Thus it is not AS high fat or even low carb as you might be used to. But this is a ringer plan for those who want to make muscle GAINS and burn FAT without ever having to ‘cut’ to do it. Read on if this sounds like you.
I have made this as EASY to FOLLOW as POSSIBLE and once you get the hang of it you can make your OWN recipes in UNLIMITED number.
By the way: this plan is tethered to what is called the Cyclical Keto diet. This term refers to how adherents replenish their gycogen stores weekly by eating high carb, high protein, low fat for just 1 or 2 days, without ever missing a beat with their tough workouts. Toward that end, if you are doing the Cyclical Keto diet, you might want your carb day to be mid-week–IF you are finding that you are getting a bit tired or sluggish. The idea is that we do NOT carb load or carb binge pre-post workout. EVER. Protein resynthesis WILL happen just by having protein after your workout–or even just a few carbs, as from your Shakeology.
But, don’t let all this overwhelm you! If you are working out and want a simple plan to achieve a lean, mean, fighting machine body, try this. You can always calculate INCREASING your protein and fat to fit the BEST calorie target for YOU. As I am portioning them here, one serving of protein is about 200 calories and one serving of fat is about 100 (hint: guys, you’ll prolly need to increase your fat and protein right from the start and do so by going up 200 calories at a time). NOTE: the food list is NOT comprehensive. I simply gave you a good start–so YOU don’t have to do the work of calculating macros and calories. I already did it for you.
EASY LEAN OUT + BUILD MUSCLE + BURN FAT EATING PLAN
For a 1500-1550 calorie day: Protein:grams (120) Fat: grams (100) Carb: grams (40) Roughly: 60% fat 30% protein 10% net carb.
Post-workout shake (30 min post workout): Shakeology = 1 protein + 10 grams carbs
Breakfast: 1 protein + 3 fat + 0 grams carbs Snack: 1 protein + 2 fat + 0 grams carbs
Lunch: 1 protein + 2 fat + 10 grams carbs
Dinner: 1 protein + 3 fat + 10 grams carbs
Nighttime snack: 1 protein + 10 carbs (or NO carbs and + 10 grams carbs earlier in the day such as at breakfast)
1 serving (approx 10 grams)
3/8 of an avocado
1 oz cashews
½ T macadamia nuts
1 T almonds
1 T butter
1 T walnuts
1 T peanut butter
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 oz triple cream brie cheese
2 T heavy whipping cream
1 T coconut oil or MCT oil
1 T blue cheese, feta (full fat)
1 T olives (variety, such as kalamata)
1 T mayonnaise
2 T cream cheese
2 slices bacon (also can count as 1 protein)
1 ounce semi-hard cheese,such as swiss, cheddar, jack, etc
1 ounce hard Italian cheese such as romano, parm, asiago
1 serving (15-20 grams)
4 oz meat (turkey, chicken, steak, hamburger, etc)
4 oz or 1/2 small can albacore tuna in water
3 oz mozzarella cheese (+ 5 net carbs)
1 container Siggi’s skyr OR unsweetened greek yogurt (+ 10 net carbs)
1 cup cottage cheese, small curd
2 whole eggs
1 scoop Shakeology (+ 10 net carbs)
1.5 ounces hard Italian cheese suchas romano, parm, asiago (also counts as 1 fat)
(There IS no ‘recommended’ serving number or serving size, as you are strictly limiting carbs. But, let’s start with 40 net carbs and work from there. This is a nice round number to calculate with our plan. Feel free to approximate!).
Vegetables (per ½ cup serving, calculated in NET carbs):
1 carb: broccoli rabe, watercress, bok choy, celery
2 carbs: spinach, mustard greens, asparagus, radish, arugula, zucchini, swiss chard, mushrooms, kohlrabi, mixed greens3 carbs: tomato, olives, eggplant, bell pepper, cauliflower, green/white cabbage, bamboo shoots, cucumber
4 carb: artichoke hearts, broccoli, fennel, green beans, bean srpouts, okra, turnips, snow peas
5 carbs: Brussels sprouts, kale, red cabbage
6 carbs: pumpkin, rutabega
7 carbs: celeriac, carrots, onion
Whole food bread/wrap/cracker alternatives (NOT comprehensive):
Sieta Brand Almond Flour Tortilla (7 net carbs/each wrap)
Julian Bakery Paleo Wrap (6 net carbs/ each wrap) Crispbread crackers from Trader Joe’s (4 net carbs/cracker) *check Amazon if you can’t find anything near you
SAMPLE DAY’S MENU:
Post-workout shake: Shakeology (PROTEIN for muscle ‘resynthesis’)
Breakfast: Dilly Baked Egg Cups or Starbucks Sous Vides Egg Bites
Morning Snack: Avocado Cream Cheese Turkey Roll or Peanut Butter Celery
Lunch: Curried Tuna Wrap
Dinner: Bistro Steak Salad
Nighttime Snack: Siggi’s skyr (PROTEIN for overnight)
Dilly Baked Egg Cups
2 eggs baked with 1 T whipping cream + T cheddar cheese + 2 pieces cooked bacon + 1 t sauteed onions + garlic powder, dill, salt + pepper
Avocado Turkey Roll
4 oz turkey + 1 T cream cheese + 3/8 medium avocado + dab dijon mustard + 2 spears lettuce, salt + pepper)
Peanut Butter Celery
1 serving of celery sticks + 1 T peanut butter
Curried Tuna Wrap
4 ounces tuna + 2 t red onion + 1 t fennel + 1 handful spinach 1 T mayonnaise 1 T chopped walnuts + curry spices, salt, pepper, garlic powder + almond flour wrap
Greek Steak Salad
4 oz steak + 1 T feta + 1 T kalamata olives + 1 T creamy Greek dressing + 2 cups of mixed greens (spinach, lettuce, arugula etc) + 1 T cucumber + 2-3 cherry tomatoes+ 1 T red onion
****These are recipe suggestions, USING the protein, fat and carb allotment for each meal as displayed above. Now, put your OWN recipes together by using the food list and matching foods with macros for each meal. It’s FINE to keep it simple, esp. at first!
Italian Cheez-It crackers. Whodathunkit? But these little bite-sized wonders are delicioso, made with NO grain whatsoever, high in fat and protein and almost carb-free! If you sub out the 4-cheese Italian blend for sharp cheddar, you really DO get that classic boxed cheese cracker experience–in the best possible, nostalgic way! Yay!
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup grated 4-cheese Italian blend (mine contained: parm, moz, provolone and asiago)
2 T ghee (clarified butter–don’t use regular butter or crackers will not set up).
2 large eggs
pinch of garlic powder, if desired
Preheat oven to 350* F. Set aside 2 large baking sheets (or if you just have one sheet, that’s okay). Cut 3 pieces of parchment paper to the size of the baking sheets.
In a mixing bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and cheese. Mix together with dry, clean hands or a spoon. Add the wet ingredients and mix into a firm dough. Don’t fuss with this step as you might with a gluten-based recipe. This dough is EASY to work with (and that is coming from a non-baker!).
Divide dough into two balls. Place one between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out very thin–ie: 1/16th of an inch (the thinner you roll it, the crunchier the cracker will be. Thicker crackers will be more like a small, crunchy biscuit). Use a rolling pin OR a tall water glass that is uniform in width from top to bottom).
Remove top piece of parchment paper and cut rolled out dough into 2-inch squares OR use a small cutter (or SOMETHING round with an edge) to create discs of about that size. Keep cutting and then re-organizing the dough until all of it is cut into discs (no need to worry about overworking the dough as it has no gluten in it to get tough!).
Bake for about 13-14 min–the thinner they are the darker and crispier they will get, so watch them. Also if your oven is like mine and you don’t have a middle rack (it’s a small convection oven), you might want to turn the crackers over mid-way through their bake time so both sides get golden brown.
Let crackers cool, then serve with delicious toppings OR just munch on them as is!
This recipe makes about 60 bite-sized crackers, perfect for an afternoon snack, a cocktail party and everything in between. Play around with the thickness by rolling them out more or less, depending on the size, thickness, consistency and CRUNCH that you like. Hope you enjoy! Mangiare!
Trendy and Pricey
Fat Bombs, have you heard of them? Those doses of luxurious fat mixtures people are putting in their morning coffee in order to rev up the metabolism? Well, they are here and they’re pretty trendy right now. Which means they can be very expensive.
Usually fat bombs come in powder form, are added to morning coffee and can cost up to $4 serving. What I did here was improve the nutritional value of (already awesome) fat bombs + cut the cost way down–like 75% less than your typical fat bomb serving.
What is the Point?
Great question. Since I try to live the ‘low carb’ or ‘keto’ kind of lifestyle and my carbs are very precious to me, I am always looking for ways to maximize them. That’s where the superfood drink Shakeology comes into play in this recipe (and more broadly, in my life). For just 4 carbs and 53 calories in 1 T of the powder, I get super-greens, anti-oxidant fruits, pre- and probiotics, digestive enzymes, stress-reducing adaptogens and 3 servings of veggies.
Chocolate Cake Batter? Yes, Please
Plus, this recipe tastes like chocolate cake or brownie batter. It really does. I eat mine like a peanut butter cup with a cup of coffee in the morning or as a snack to get through the afternoon. This delicious healthy dessert-like bomb gives me energy, even for my fasted workout, and I don’t crave all the way to lunchtime like I used to.
You don’t need to use Kerrygold brand butter, but do find butter from grass-fed cows. It’s nutritionally superior to other butters, tastes amazing and has the most velvety texture on the palate imaginable.
Cake Batter Fat Bomb
1 T melted Kerrygold butter
1 T melted organic coconut oil
1 T Chocolate Shakeology
Blend. Chill. Devour.
26 g fat
4 g carb
6 g protein
Crispy ‘fries’ cooked with 3-cheese blend, served with marinara.
2 medium green zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
Dry herbs, optional (rosemary, dill, thyme, etc)
Spices, optional (chipotle, cumin, etc)
Dry garlic power, to taste
Dash of Himalayan pink or sea salt
Generous dash of pepper
extra virgin olive oil spray
2 eggs, beaten in a bowl and set aside
1 cup Italian cheese blend (parm, asiago, romano), finely ground and put aside (*alternately: use 1/2 panko bread crumbs + half cheese blend)
Pro Tip: If you don’t have the Italian 3-cheese blend, no worries. Use all parm for the cheese portion. Any HARD cheese will do, actually.
Lots of creative ways to make these: oven roasted with olive oil and butter.
Preheat oven to 450. Wash squash and zucchini and pat completely dry. Then cut them into fry-sized pieces–the thinner they are, crispier they will be.
In a mixing bowl create an egg bath by cracking and whipping eggs with a whisk or fork. On a plate or in a shallow pan, combine crumbled cheese mix and/or panko crumbs with your dry herb mix, garlic, salt, pepper.
Dredge each squash or zucchini piece first in the egg bath, transfer to your other hand and then dredge each one in the dry mix. Repeating this until each piece is nicely covered.
Next, place cooking foil on a baking pan that has drain holes, if possible. Lay out strips single-high on the pan, for maximum coverage. Lightly spray each piece with a light coach of olive oil spray, to ensure maximum browning.
Finally, place in oven on the top rack.
Pro Tip: Poking holes in the foil allows any juices from the squash to drain so the fries crisp instead of create a mush.
Roast at 450 for 5-10 min. Turn over and roast until golden brown. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. You might have to turn oven down to 425.
Pro Tip: if you don’t have a lot of dried herbs and spices around, use Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. It’s a flavor-packed, salt-free and neutral (goes with almost anything savory). Highly recommended.
Serve as a snack with marinara sauce or as a side to entrees, burgers or casseroles. I often make them with omelettes in lieu of potatoes, roasting them first and then letting them cool a bit while the eggs cook.
Since I eat very low carb, these strips are a flavor-packed, crispy sub for potatoes or traditional fries. Very satisfying!
Mom and Me Hitting the Road
Road Food for Fit Foodies
For the healthy conscious road food can instill fear (What am I going to eat while I travel?), and for the “fit foodies’ it can bring joy (Oh, the adventuresome good I’ll find along the way!). For me, road food is usually a combination of the two. You can find some amazing food almost anywhere, but sometimes healthy road food options fall short, which means you’re faced with drive-thru, highly processed, low-nutrient foods that leave you tired, hungry, edgy and unsatisfied. Boo to that!
On my recent month-long trip to Palm Springs with my mom, we decided to eat as healthy as possible + enjoy a nice dinner at nice, complete with a glass of wine or two. We drove down Interstate 5 from Washington to Northern Cal, turned left, hit the coast and wended our way through wine country and on to the desert. It all went well because we had a plan.
First, we knew exactly where we were going to stop every night, scoped out restaurant options in advance, even making reservations on at least one occasion. This not only gave us a daily ETA, but a specific dinner destination.
Second, we brought along a plug-in cooler/heater unit to store food. This not only saved us time but money because we always had lunch and snack foods ready at hand.
The Ever-Handy Plug-In Car Cooler
Third, because we enjoy a good cup of coffee, we scoped all the nearby Starbucks in the next-day’s destination area. We started our mornings out with a cup of joe and sometimes augmented our cooler lunch food supply with a Bistro Salad or other item (tip: Starbucks has some great, healthy made-daily salads and Bistro Box items. The nutrition info is listen on each salad or box container (or go here ahead of time to check out the nutrition info: http://www.starbucks.com/menu/catalog/nutrition?food=all#view_control=nutrition). If you count calories or keep track of protein and carb grams for your nutrition plan, it’s all there to see and pretty easily calculate. There are items for ‘snacking’ as well as a full-on meal. Almost every store has the same menu, so you can count on your faves being available from store to store. Just be careful to pass over the 25-fat gram scones and reach into the case for one of the healthier food options instead.
One of My Fave Bistro Boxes, Packed with Protein
Fourth, while the hotel we belong to and stayed at along the way, offers breakfast (in which we could always get the healthier options of boiled eggs, toast and bottle water), we always knew that we could grab a sensibly-portioned, fairly clean ingredient breakfast sandwich while we were getting our Uncle Bucky’s coffee. Again, that was handy and didn’t derail our nutrition efforts the first thing every morning. Bonus!
Fifth, we made sure the food we DID pack was nutrition packed, mostly because that’s the way we eat (we work out daily and get HUNGRY!), but also because our trip lasted an entire month, the car was loaded up (including a prime spot for my Puggle Henry) so we had no space to waste.
Henry on the Road–See the Cooler?
Road Food: What to Pack
So, what DID we pack, you’re wondering? Here’s what made it into the cooler:
Raw almonds + walnuts (we bought a large bag of each back at our big-box store to save $ but you can find them at your grocery store, and along the way at convenience stores, for a pretty $).
Apples, bananas + grapes (any raw fruit is good, but the heartier exterior the better as you’re packing it in a cooler)
Organic lunch meat (if you can find lower sodium great because you don’t want to dehydrate yourself on the road and have to stop all the time to potty!)
Crackers. Find a nutrition-packed one with Omega-3 seeds, whole grains and nothing chemical-y added.
Protein bars. I like the brands that have nuts for protein and dates for sweetener, but there are many good ops. The rules of thumb: the shorter the list of ingredients the better; if you can’t pronounce an ingredient don’t eat it.
Veggie sticks/packs. Try to find organic ones if you can, but in any case get some veggies in your bod! Carrots, broc, celery and other hardy veggies will last in your cooler several days.
Hummus. Something yummy + healthy to dip those veggies in. Find as ‘clean’ of one as you can. Essentially the ingredients should include chick peas, olive oil, salt, pepper and tahini and not much else. The neat thing is hummus and chips packs are now available at convenience stores so you might be able to gas up + buy some at the same time in a pinch. Oh, this also makes a great cracker or sandwich spread.
Veggies + Hummus
Boiled eggs. Okay, this is ONLY if you have a cooler with ice or that is plugged in and cooling your box.
Cheese/sticks. I like a slice of cheddar or mozz on my sandwich and some of you may NOT like that. But if you do, find a naturally lower fat high-protein cheese).
Sprouted bread. I prefer the Trader Joe’s variety because it tends to be ‘softer’ than some, but the reality is, it’s great to have something to put your cheese and lunch meat on and if you’re driving a sandwich is not too hard to eat. Salad? Forget it. You gotta pull over, lol.
Mustard. Bag the other condiments because to me they are superfluous, but if you’re going to make any sort of a sandwich, come now, you need something moist.
Dried fruit. This go great alone or with your nuts; in fact you may just want to find a nice, raw ‘trail mix’ and call it good. Just make sure there are not too many M & Ms in there. Some people balk at the ‘sugar’ content in dried fruit but the thing is, on the road you need energy and the less minimally processed your snacks, the better.
Bottled water. This might sound obvious, but skip the caffeinated and sugary drinks. They don’t help you get there faster (too much peeing) and you really don’t high fructose corn syrup and chemicals in your drinks. Keep it clean and fresh, my friends.
There you go. Some simple, healthy road food tips from my recent trip to Palm Springs. I hope your next adventure is safe, fun and healthy, my friends!
Tend to shy away from dip because it can be so heavy? Or just don’t like it because you don’t dig mayo? I get it. I tend to agree. But I also get tired of salads in the winter and sometimes just want to pack up some fresh veggies for a lunch or put out a nice veggie-dip tray on game day without blowing my meal plan. For moments like those, here’s a healthy but SATISFYING fave “Green Goddess” dip, compliments of the Junior League of San Francisco.
1 cup chopped avocado (about 1 avocado)
3 or 4 anchovy fillets, mashed or 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine avocado, anchovies, garlic, scallions, basil, parsley, and tarragon in a food processor or blender.
Add Greek yogurt, white wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Serve with crudités (fresh veggies) as a dip, or over steamed green vegetables as a side dish.
Makes 1 and a half cups
*Interested in the lore surrounding this recipe or the origin of its name? According to tradition, The dressing/dip is named for its green color. The most accepted theory regarding its origins points to the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1923, when the hotel’s Executive Chef Philip Roemer made it to pay tribute to actor George Arliss upon his hit play, The Green Goddess.