I was thinking about this over the weekend and trying to come up with strategies to a) ensure I'm eating quality foods, and b) keep myself fuller, longer. It's when I'm hungry that I'm most inclined to snack on empty calorie junk that doesn't actually keep me satisfied. And then it hit me: there was a time I had a much better focus on healthy eating habits, which was when I was in the Chicago Achievers Project and finally busted my low 170s/high 160s plateau. Bingo.
So, this week has been a return of the basic principles we were taught during CAP, which are to eat 9-11 servings of fruits and veggies per day and 80-100g of protein per day. During CAP we were told that once we hit those targets, we could eat whatever we wanted. What they didn't tell us was that you won't want to eat more food once you hit those targets. Tricksters.
If you're thinking that 9-11 servings of fruits and veggies sounds like a lot, that's because it is. Simple math will tell you that breaks down to roughly 3 servings of fruits/veggies per main meal, or a bit less than that if you get in your freggies for snacks. I'm a practical learner, so it's easiest for me to visualize this in terms of meals. Here's what an average day looks like:
- Protein smoothie with 1 scoop protein powder, large handful of spinach, frozen banana (optional), and fruit of choice; strawberries, cherries or blueberries are my favorite. I add a splash of almond extract and it tastes like a muffin (we can pretend, okay). I make this the night before, freeze it, and then pack it in my bag to drink post-workout while I'm getting ready.
- Some type of fruit
- Greek yogurt (optional: protein granola)
- Some type of protein (I've been eating a lot of tuna lately - sorry coworkers) and 1-2 servings of veggies
- Cucumbers or carrots and hummus
Pre-Dinner Snack (YUP):
- String cheese or jerky
- Some type of protein (I've been LOVING mussels lately - I buy them frozen and pre-marinaded so they only take about 7 minutes to cook) and 2 servings of veggies (I <3 Brussels sprouts forever and ever amen)
- Strawberries & cool whip or grapes or a cookie dough Yasso Bar because YOLO (just kidding they're only 3PP and 5g protein)
Don't forget 80oz+ of water, for good measure.
Add it all up and that'll get you pretty close to the targets mentioned above, and obviously a little tweaking here or there where needed. You'll notice there's almost zero refined starches on this list because dun dun dun, those have almost no nutritional value. On top of which, they definitely don't keep you full. Because the list above is actually quite a lot of food, that doesn't leave a whole lot of room for empty calories (I see what you're trying to do here CAP).
So this is my first week back on the "CAP plan," and we'll see how it goes. Of course I'm still counting WW points along the way. My goal is to stick as closely as possible to these targets during the week, and then let myself live a little on the weekend (a little, self). But wine counts as a fruit, right?
How do you break through a plateau? Tell me all your favorite ways to sneak in extra fruits and veggies.