Madrona Nutrition and Fitness: Recipe and Nutrition Guide

Madrona Nutrition and Fitness:
Guide to Wellness through Holistic Diet
and Lifestyle

Rachel Fiske
Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant,
Certified Personal Trainer

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tips to Make Eating a Whole Foods Diet Easy!

One thing I hear all the time from clients, friends, and family, is that switching to a more whole foods-based diet is hard because, first and foremost, it is more time consuming. I can't disagree with this! It will undeniably take you a bit longer to chop up vegetables in the morning than it will to go next door and buy a burrito. is the case with so many aspects of life, it's all about creating new habits. Studies have shown that this habit making/breaking period is generally about 3 weeks, so be prepared for the first 3 weeks to be a bit more difficult, but have faith that your health, energy, mind and body will pay you back tenfold. Here are some suggestions of how to better incorporate this kind of diet from a time management perspective, as well as some simple, quick meal suggestions:

  • Over the weekend (or whatever day you have off), make a grocery list and do your grocery shopping for the week. Don't make this trip on an empty stomach, because you are way more likely to stray from the list at hand and buy foods that will tempt you later on in the week. 
  • Menu plan! If you are a recipe person, make a detailed menu plan for the week before shopping. If not, make a more rough plan, buy the types of foods you want to eat, and wing it. Just make sure you have enough food for the week so you can prepare your meals.
  • Cook once, eat 2, 3, 4 times. Take time one day of the week (or more) to make some staples. For example, sometimes I will roast a chicken, or cook a pound or two of ground beef with yummy spices (takes 10 minutes), and then I have these quality protein sources to add to salads, lettuce wraps, eggs in the morning, etc. Chop vegetables ahead of time and keep them in the fridge. Or, make whole meals and eat leftovers.
  • When you are at the grocery store, stick to the perimeter. Avoid packaged foods as much as possible, and if you must buy something with an ingredient list, make sure you recognize all of the ingredients! If you can't pronounce it, probably not a good choice.
  • If you know you will snack throughout the day, keep healthy snack foods at your work, home, etc. This could be raw nuts/seeds, chopped vegetables with nut (not peanut) butter, whole fruit (no fruit juice!). If you get stuck, see if there is a store nearby that sells Lara Bars, the one commercially made bar that is, actually, healthy (has just 3 ingredients or less, made of nuts and dried fruit).
  • Hard or soft boil eggs ahead of time. These make a great snack or can be added to salad.
  • Make a salad dressing to use for the week. One of my favorites is a simple vinaigrette: chop garlic, crush with a bit of sea salt, add olive oil and vinegar and shake well. 
  • Remember not to let yourself get really hungry by forgetting to eat or skipping meals. Eating every 3-4 hours will guarantee that you don't get to the point of being ravenous at night and reaching for anything in sight.
  • Practice getting up from 10 minutes earlier to assemble food for the day. It is worth it.
Simple Meal Suggestions:

  • Big salads with protein. This is probably the easiest to throw together, include any leafy greens and other veggies you have in the fridge, add a protein source, maybe some raw nuts/seeds, avocado, hard boiled eggs, anything! 
  • Make a lettuce wrap. Kale and collard greens work great for this, too. Try ground lamb (or any meat) with avocado, onion, and cilantro. Or ground beef seasoned with cumin, topped with raw sauerkraut and spicy mustard. Or a BLT lettuce wrap with bacon, tomato, and onion. Get creative!
  • In the morning try a smoothie (see my previously posted breakfast smoothie recipe). If you like eggs in the morning but don't have time to cook them, have 2-3 hard boiled eggs with a handful of raw nuts/seeds to go. 
  • For a snack or part of a meal, or if you are craving sugar/refined carbs, bring a roasted sweet potato topped with some coconut oil or butter, grass-fed butter, shredded coconut, or nut butter. I guarantee this will satisfy your sweet tooth!
  • If you are going to eat out, opt for baked, broiled and grilled options. Choose a salad with protein, skip the bread basket, ask for oil and vinegar vs. pre-made dressings, and if the portion is huge, bring half to go.
Remember, building routines and habits centered around a whole foods based diet might take a little getting used to, but with time, the idea of opting for non-nourishing and energy-blasting meals/snacks will slowly but surely become a distant memory...

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