How to Beat Healthy Eating Boredom

July 28, 2014

A common challenge with making the switch to a lasting, healthier diet that provides the physical results you crave – like upper body muscle definition, a toned torso and lovely legs, is the potential boredom that can come with eating healthy.

Even though I love to cook, and creating healthy recipes is now part of my job description, I still believe that one of my biggest barriers to eating lean is that I crave variety. Eating the same foods over and over does not satisfy me. Of course I do not tell myself this is a barrier anymore, I have learned that I need variation and I get busy doing something about it.

Before you think I am about to dole out some tough love like ‘Suck it up buttercup! Get your food prep done!’ guess again. Food preparation and eating the same foods week in and week out does work for select individuals. For others, it is a recipe for falling off the wagon again and again.

When it comes to your eating habits, you likely fall into one of two camps. The ‘Routine Eating Camp’ or the ‘Switch It Up Eating Camp’. It actually does not matter which side you are on, overcoming boredom with eating healthy is vital to your success long term. The tricks to preventing healthy eating boredom are different for those in either camp, read on to find out!

Routine Eating

Routine eaters are characterized by choosing the same foods each and every day. They crave little variety and are satisfied by eating similar meals each day or for a few days in a row. While being a routine eater may seem ideal, boredom can still set in and we can fall back on easy to make, more processed snacks like crackers and cheese, or peanut butter on toast.

This population does best when they find their favourite go-to healthy meals, prepare them in larger amounts and have them ready to go in the fridge. Choices like unsweetened greek yogurt and fruit, large quinoa salads with veggies and even an apple with cheese rather than cheese and crackers can be helpful alternatives.

Preventing boredom for routine eaters must be simple, easy to create and mimic the foods they already enjoy. Adding different herbs like mint or basil to salads, putting extra leafy greens into a sandwich or wrap and having fresh fruit and veggies you enjoy readily available can keep you on track.

Switch It Up Eating

Switch it up eaters are characterized by never finishing a pot of leftovers because they get bored of it first! Food choices are constantly varied and healthy eating can seem boring and restrictive to this population.

Learning how to order healthily at restaurants is a huge win for those craving variety from their diet. Prioritizing protein, seeking menu options with tons of veggies and limiting processed, deep fried carbohydrates is ideal for the switch it up eaters.

When eating at home, making the same types of recipes with different ingredients can create variety without a huge amount of preparation. A stirfry is one of the easiest meals to vary, whether veggies, protein source or sauce is changed each time.

Above all, switch it up eaters do need to be proactive with searching for new healthy recipes. They must realize that eating healthy is not boring (eating the same foods over and over is for this population), and that the amount of variety present in the produce section alone is staggering!

When it all fails and you find yourself bored again..

  • Are you trying to be something you are not! – Assess which camp you fall into and learn how to master what you need. I am a switch it up eater, and fell off the healthy eating wagon over and over again when I tried to stick to a meal plan of the same foods each day. In order to stay on track, I do have to search for healthy options, but that is far better than feeling like crap for telling myself I didn't have the willpower to follow a plan that wasn't varied enough for me. 

  • Pick 3-5 go-to food items that are high in fibre and/or protein to have in your fridge and pantry at all times. Mine are eggs, apples, oats, frozen berries and spinach. I can make a few different recipes out of these ingredients and they are always in our fridge. 

  • Recognize that you can eat healthily almost anywhere. Practice going out to eat and ordering a satisfying meal with tons of veggies and protein! 

Which camp do you fall into? I would love to hear your insights and how you beat healthy eating boredom. See you on the Blast Fitness Facebook Page

Lana xox

Almond Crunch Salad

July 28, 2014

It has taken awhile for me to come up with a sequel to the Big Crunch Salad I created earlier this year. It was such a hit, I knew I needed something reaaaal good to live up to the taste, texture and health of salad celebrity. Kale, cabbage and celery all give a great crunch so chopping the ingredients into smaller pieces makes this much more palatable!

Ingredients:

4 kale leaves

1/2 small green cabbage

4 stalks celery

1/4 red onion

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Dressing:

1/4 cup almond butter

1 tsp tahini

1/2 lime, freshly juiced

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

optional pinch of red chili flakes

Yields 6-10 servings, but keeps well in the fridge without the dressing. I made the base up at the beginning of the week and ate it often, adding dressing when I was ready to serve.

After washing kale and celery, chop finely and place into large bowl. Finely chop red onion and cabbage and add to bowl. To make dressing, add all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined. I find the almond butter combines better when it has been left at room temperature or heated up slightly. If the dressing is too thick for your liking, add a bit more olive oil and lime juice to thin out. 

I like to add the dressing and mix up the salad right before I serve it. Keeping the salad and dressing separate in the fridge will last well for a few days.

Am I Fit Enough?

July 17, 2014

Am I _____ enough?

Likely each and every one of you has asked yourself this question at some point in your life. Insert your word of choice into the blank space above.

Am I good enough?

Am I rich enough?

Am I pretty enough?

Am I strong enough?

Am I funny enough?

Or for me, a huge roadblock to even starting an online business was:

‘Am I fit enough?’

I have been training clients and teaching fitness classes for over 10 years. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Science majoring in Kinesiology, am a Certified Exercise Physiologist, have run countless races, sweated for thousands of hours in the gym and I still held back.

I held back because I didn’t think I was fit enough. Fit enough for who is the real question. The answer for me was that I needed to be fit enough for myself.

I am the judge of how much is enough.

I finally decided that my body is enough. Yes, there are tons of trainers out there that are more ripped than me, stronger, faster and smarter than me. But none of them have a story like me or an insight like mine or a passion or vision like mine. I had to recognize that what I have to offer is unique and enough and then I got busy doing that!

Over the last 10 years my body, mindset and lifestyle have changed a lot. You can read my story HERE. But I am still the same person. Now I have a stronger sense that what I knew of myself inside matches what I feel and see on the outside.

Deep down there is something telling you that you are not ____ enough. It may be easy for others in your life debate your struggles. It rolls off their shoulders like, ‘Oh Lana, of course you are fit enough.’ But the fact of the matter is that believing that we are enough is a personal decision. YOU GET TO DECIDE! How can you realize that you are enough?

Tool #1 Take ACTION

The best way to dispel your ‘not enough’ story is to get into ACTION to prove yourself wrong! But what types of actions can you take?

  • Do something you have always wanted to do. Last May I went on a trip with my Dad up the Inside Passage of British Columbia. My Dad was humming and hawing for months about being able to take time off work - so I just went ahead and booked it! (yes, he came along and now he will not stop talking about our 'wonderful' trip!)

  • Face a fear you have held deep inside of yourself. For me, sharing my story in March of this year was terrifying, embarrassing and ultimately freeing. What if people find out I haven’t always been ‘fit’? What if everyone realized that I don't always 'have it together' haha!

  • Act out the worst case scenario in your head. What if everyone thinks I am not fit enough? Would I be able to handle it? Yes, I can handle it because I am fit enough for me!

Tool #2 Walk the Talk 

The first step for me was deciding that I was in fact fit enough for myself. I stopped worrying about not being fit enough for someone else as that certainly wasn't helping my cause. I recognized I had zero control over other people’s opinions. If someone chose not to train with me because I didn’t have a six-pack, so be it! This freedom allowed me to think and act the way I wanted not the way I thought I should be for others.

Actions speak louder than words.

When I started to believe that I was in fact, fit enough, a funny thing happened; I made better food choices more consistently. I didn’t beat myself up for missing a workout, which meant I enjoyed exercising even more which also helped my consistency. I let my actions reflect what I wanted to be.

Tool #3 Practice Gratitude

Being grateful for the ability to move and eat well can do wonders for your perspective. Exercise becomes a gift, not a chore. Eating fresh local produce becomes a way of life rather than an expensive and time consuming nuisance.

Adopt a daily gratitude practice. This can be in the morning when you wake up or at night before you close your eyes. Think of one thing your body does for you that you are grateful for.

Matching the inner strength you have deep down with your outer presence is the key to feeling fulfilled and ‘enough’. Get out there and share your amazing self with the world!

I can’t wait for you to tell me how you are ____ enough! Let’s keep the conversation going on our Blast Fitness Facebook Page!

Lana xox

Raspberry Lemon Quinoa Muffins

July 16, 2014

One of my barriers to eating healthy (or so I told myself for years) is not wanting to eat the same things day after day. So boring! To manage meal preparation and avoid spending every waking hour in the kitchen, I now prepare basic ingredients and put them together in different ways.

A couple weeks ago I made a huge pot of quinoa. I used it in quick quinoa pancakes, chicken quinoa kale salad and then made these low sugar, high protein muffins with the leftover quinoa. Genius!

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon

Zest of whole fresh lemon

1 tbsp honey (room temperature so its runny)

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup ground almonds

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 packet true lemon (dehydrated unsweetened lemon juice)

3/4 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Mix all wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Slowly add wet mixture to dry mixture, stirring a couple times. When combined, fold in raspberries and transfer to muffin tin. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

I really enjoyed this recipe, although I found that I had to let the muffins cool or they would stick to the paper cups. Next time I will experiment with blending up the batter and then baking...

After a few days, I freeze the muffins in little bags and toast them up in the oven for a quick snack. 

Quick Quinoa Pancakes

July 16, 2014

During my big quinoa cooking week which included Raspberry Lemon Quinoa Muffins, Chicken Kale Quinoa Salad and these super fast and delicious pancakes, it also happened to be the Calgary Stampede. There are literally pancake breakfasts on every corner here in Calgary, so these little flapjacks fulfilled my desire without impacting my daisy dukes!!

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 eggs

1 tbsp almond milk

1/4 tsp each baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon

Add all ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until fully combined. Cook each pancake on a medium heat greased pan (I used coconut oil) for 1-2 minutes on each side. I am in love with these. They came out much fluffier than my usual egg and oats pancakes. This recipe yields 3 large pancakes with 20 grams of protein total. Serve with fresh berries!