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I know one thing is for sure: You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. You can work out as hard as you want, but if you are fueling your body with poor nutrition, you most likely won’t make progress. Proper nutrition plays a key role in how I’ve been able to stay lean while having the energy to execute my workouts. Here, I share my favorite kitchen staples, as well as strategies I use to fit balanced nutrition into my busy schedule.
My Kitchen Staples
While I love a wide variety of foods, here are some items you can always find in my kitchen: kale chips, bone-broth protein, coconut, almond milk, Siete chips, Simple Mills pizza crust, Epic beef jerky, raw local honey, dehydrated beet and carrot chips, eggs, steamed veggies, hummus and turkey bacon.
I love making smoothies for breakfast every morning, so I also always have ingredients on hand. Smoothies are fast, nutritious and delicious — and they take little brain power to prepare!
My Favorite Breakfast Smoothie Recipe
1 scoop Multi Collagen Protein powder
1 scoop vanilla bone-broth protein powder
1 cup berries
1 tbsp goji berry powder
1 cup almond or coconut milk
Mix ingredients together in your favorite blender for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Meal-Prep for Success
If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time with consistent meal prep. So when I suggest this approach, I don’t mean that you have to prep all your meals for the entire week on Sunday! Instead, I look at my calendar and figure out which days will most likely be the busiest. Then I make sure I have a plan for those days foodwise. For example, I pick out a simple, stress-free dinner recipe and make sure I have the ingredients on hand. Planning out meals and snacks, even just a few days per week, not only will help you save time but also will ensure you are sticking with your food regimen and getting closer to your goals.
What is life without a snack? Another important part of staying on track for me is having snacks that I love on hand. This helps fight unwanted food cravings and keeps my mind and body fueled for daily tasks.
Preparing ready-to-go snacks may require a little extra thought on the front end but can pay off big time! When you’re hungry, it’s so easy to grab whatever is convenient. I get it. “Hangry” is a real thing, especially when the chaos of life hits! One snack I always have ready is homemade protein bars. I try to have a batch or two stored in my freezer so I can easily grab one when I am running out the door.
You also can find trusted clean protein bar brands at your local health food store. One of my favorites: Epic bars. They house a clean protein source and are low in carbs and fat. Another great snack option is dehydrated fruit or vegetables. You also can find these at the store, or you can have some fun and make your own batch with a dehydrator. I love to make kale chips at home!
When beginning a new way of eating, I always recommend finding one or two meals that fit into your plan and can serve as your “go-to” meals. For carb cycling, you should have one or two recipes for both high- and low-carb days. They should be easy to make with ingredients you truly enjoy. Make sure to always have those ingredients in your fridge and pantry so you’re prepared for when you’re short on time or if your schedule gets derailed.
Another option is to prepare ample portions of your go-to meal in advance and freeze your leftovers. This way, most of the work is done, and all you need to do is thaw and bake.
Being prepared with go-to meals can be a game changer when the time comes. Achieving consistent nutrition and fitness results is all about consistent preparation.
When it comes to carb cycling and meeting your daily macro recommendations, it’s important to have foods in each macro category available that you can consume if you’re running short in that area. I always make sure to have a few chicken breasts—grilled or precooked—in the fridge, refrigerated steamed vegetables, precooked brown rice or quinoa and an avocado. This way, if I’m running around and realize I’m way behind on my daily carb intake (which never happens, by the way. I love my carb days!), I can measure out some cold quinoa or brown rice and add in a few apple slices to eat as a snack. These ingredients also can be combined to make a meal on the spot, if needed. Again, just a little intentional preparation can make a big difference.
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