Ever since we started Lauren’s #LCSummerBootCamp in June, we’ve been feeling super motivated to work out and eat healthy this summer. Not to mention, bathing suit season is definitely good enough motivation to stay on top of our goals, too. And aside from scouring the Internet for inspiring health and fitness articles, we’ve also found it helpful to talk to our friends and family about healthy eating tips. We even got together with one of our good friends who happens to be a nutritionist for some one-on-one consultations (more on that coming next month!).
It’s really interesting to discuss this topic with others and see what works for them—we highly recommend it. There is so much interesting information to learn about nutrition and exercise these days! We recently chatted with our friend Carter who works with FRESHLY.com, a healthy meal delivery service that we love. Talking to Carter about what goes into making FRESHLY’s healthy, ready-to-eat meals inspired us to narrow down some of the most important health tips all of us should know about and practice daily. All of the FRESHLY meals (which you can see in all the photos in this post) are not only nutritious, but they’re so tasty too.
Some of these tips we had heard before, and some were completely new to us. But they’re all pretty crucial for feeling your best during summer and beyond. Without further ado, here is our Busy Girl’s Guide to Healthy Eating…
A lot of what goes into a healthy diet has to do with being prepared. “That means planning out your meals each week, looking at restaurant menus ahead of time to be aware of the healthy options, and keeping a running grocery list of the items you should always have in your kitchen,” suggests Carter. When you don’t have time to slave away making a home cooked meal during the week (between work, spin classes, and wine nights—it can be near impossible some weeknights), a meal delivery service like FRESHLY is a lifesaver. FRESHLY lets you pick from four different meal plans (6, 9, 12 or 21 meals a week) that you customize depending on your taste and dietary preferences. Once your meals are delivered, all you have to do is warm them up. Easy as that! Meal delivery services completely eliminate the hassle of weeknight cooking and let you make good choices with minimal effort. That’s a win-win if we’ve ever heard one.
2. Eat real food.
So many people spend their time counting calories to try to feel good in their skinny jeans, but the truth is, it’s the ingredients in your food that count—not just the calories. Before you go thinking you can eat a jillion calories a day and still feel your best, let us explain: Choosing meals and snacks that are made of pure and real ingredients is your best bet for staying healthy. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised to learn how many foods have additives and scary chemicals in them nowadays. In general, the longer and harder to pronounce the words are on a label, the worse off that food is for you. “Aim to eat meals with all natural ingredients that are free of gluten, artificial sweeteners, hormones, antibiotics and added sugars, all of which can cause dangerous inflammation in the body,” says Carter. “Nothing about your diet should be ‘artificial’.” Good options are a Garden Omelet for breakfast, Tuscan Chicken Soup for lunch and Chicken Rustica with Au Gratin Cauliflower for dinner—all three of which are on the FRESHLY menu.
3.Eat your healthy fats.
This one is our new favorite health tips of the summer: Load up on those healthy fats! Adding at least one healthy fat to your breakfast, lunch and dinner will keep you satiated between meals and it will prevent energy instability from your blood sugar from spiking and dropping throughout the day. That means consistent energy without crazy cravings (yes, please). For example, a smoothie with almond butter or avocado will give you much more energy until lunchtime than a simple fruit smoothie, which will give you an energy spike followed by a major crash. A great option for a dinner rich in healthy fats and omega 3s is Freshly’s Lemon Garlic Salmon with Roasted Peppers and Broccoli (pictured above). Eating a meal that combines healthy fats, lean proteins, and vegetables will keep you from craving sugar or junk food, both of which are on our Summer Boot Camp off-limits list.
4.Try to sweat at least 4-5 times a week.
If you’ve ever been on a workout kick, you know that being on a good fitness schedule will motivate you to make better choices about the foods you’re eating throughout that day. It will also motivate you to stay on track with your workout routine instead of falling off the bandwagon. Aim to workout at least 4-5 times a week to keep your momentum going. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes, working out several times a week will improve your muscle tone, which will help with energy storage throughout the day and stabilize your blood sugar. Click here to see some of our favorite workouts routines.
5. Don’t forget to eat breakfast.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It’s crucial to eat a protein and healthy fat-rich breakfast in order to rev up your metabolism throughout the day and keep you full until lunchtime. Making a healthy breakfast choice like FRESHLY’s “BLT” Omelet (the lettuce is substituted with Spinach) will also help your brain to feel satisfied, thus staving off bad cravings. Our belief is that if you start the day off right, you’ll be more likely to make healthy decisions the rest of the day too.
6. Drink enough water.
In the summer months, we are sweating out more water because of hotter temps and more time spent outside. And if you’re like us, you’re probably working out more often in the summertime, which is even more reason to drink that H20. We’ve written before about how to know if you’re drinking enough water (click here for a full explanation) but as a refresher, you want to be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. This number obviously increases if you are working out or sweating more, so stay in tune with your body and give it the hydration it needs. The more water you drink, the more your skin will glow, the less cravings you will have and the more satisfied you will feel after each meal. Try it… Up your water intake for a week and notice how much better you feel!
7. Double down on protein.
“High-protein diets help promote fat loss while preserving the lean muscle you’re working so hard to build,” explains Carter. That means, if you want to feel strong and lean and also see those muscles you work so hard to strengthen, make sure to eat plenty of protein throughout the day. A balanced meal such as FRESHLY’s Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles (which you can see in the above photo) is a great choice. You will feel full without feeling weighed down, and the blend of herbs and tomatoes are the perfect complementary flavors.
8. Make healthy eating a lifestyle, not a phase.
Healthy eating should never be considered a fad diet or a phase. Instead, it should be habits that you develop and stick with for life. Of course there is always room for indulgences once in a while. We love our pinot grigio and froyo as much as the next girl. Life wouldn’t be fun without those things! But life also isn’t as fun if you’re not feeling the absolute best, strongest, happiest and most energized you can be. Eating well and exercising regularly are the smartest things you can do for that body of yours… So get to it, ladies.