Today’s guest poster is one of my most favorite people in the world ~ Janetha of MEALS & MOVES! Janetha was one of my very first followers and through blogging we have become great friends. Both The Husband and I have a great time when we get the chance to hang out with her! She is one of the sweetest people I know and always has fantastic ideas that she shares on her site. She is AWESOME ~ What can I say and her guest post below proves it ~ check out all these FANTASTIC SWAP IDEAS!!! Thanks, J!
Hey, Danica fans! Janetha G. here, from meals & moves. I am SO happy Danica asked me to guest post. She has graciously guest posted over on my blog numerous times.. it is about time I repay the favor 😉
Today I want to talk about switching it up. It is common knowledge that when it comes to working out, in order to see results you must always keep your body guessing. You never want to do the same workout routine for more than four weeks. This is the way you keep your body from hitting a plateau and it also keeps you from dying of boredom.
Well, I am not here to give you workout advice. I actually want to talk about a different type of switching it up: your eats! Our bodies crave variety, both with exercise AND with what we eat. I know that some of you may be shaking your head and saying, “No, Janetha, I can happily eat the same breakfast, lunch and snack every day of the week, rotate through a few dinners… and never get sick of it!” I know, I am one of those people, I can totally relate! I could eat the same things day in and day out and never complain.
But, the fact remains: our bodies honestly need a variety. Vitamins found in one food are not in another, so if we eat the same food day in and day out, we could be seriously lacking in the nutritional aspect of our diets. In addition to lack of proper nutrition, our bodies also get used to the foods we are eating. Plus, while you may say you don’t get sick of eating oatmeal every day for breakfast, you will eventually get bored and tired of the same ol’, same ol’. When this happens, it is so easy to fall off the clean eating wagon and derail your healthy diet. It’s time to shake it up! Shock your body with a new twist on your every day meals!
Here are some simple swaps to start the shakin’ and shockin’.
If you like: Almonds
Why: Pistachios have the least amount of fat of all the nuts. They are high in fiber and protein. In fact, a 1 ounce serving has 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. In addition, a 1 ounce serving of pistachios has the same amount of potassium as ½ of a medium sized banana.
How I like to enjoy pistachios: I like toppings on my salads. I feel like croutons are a waste…dry, stale bread does not do much in the nutrient department but it does add a nice crunch. I top my salad with unsalted, roasted pistachios to get that much needed “crunch” and get so much more out of the nuts than I would the croutons.
If you like: Broccoli
Try: Brussels Sprouts
Why: One cup of Brussels sprouts contains 35 calories less than a cup of broccoli. These cruciferous veggies pack quite a bit of Vitamin A, which is necessary for good vision, healthy hair and nice skin. They are actually quite tasty, lots of people aren’t aware of what a Brussels sprout tastes like, yet they claim to hate them. Brussels sprouts definitely have a bad reputation, but they are a great choice! Try them, you may be surprised.
How I like to enjoy Brussels sprouts: Roasted Brussels sprouts are like candy to me. I like tossing them with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and roasting them for about 30 minutes at 425 degrees in the oven. Make sure to turn them every 10 minutes so they don’t burn. I made this recipe last Thanksgiving and it was a hit!
If you like: Oatmeal
Try: Oat Bran
Why: You will find that you need less oat bran than oatmeal to make the same size bowl for breakfast. I typically use 1/3 cup of oatmeal but if I am eating oat bran, I only use ¼ cup. This saves money in the long run! While they are similar in the calorie and carb department, oat bran boasts more fiber and protein per serving size than its friend oatmeal. You can actually see a post I did on the nutritional comparison on this post of mine from May of 2009.
How I like to enjoy oat bran: I eat my oat bran the same way I eat my protein oatmeal. I cook it in a cup of water on the stove, low heat, for about 15 minutes. When almost all the moisture is absorbed, I stir in a scoop of protein powder. I like to top it with peanut butter and jam or cinnamon.
If you like: Spinach
Why: I hadn’t even heard of kale until April of 2009, when I started reading healthy living blogs. I quickly learned of the many health benefits of this green, leafy vegetable. Kale is chock full of vitamins A, C, B6 and K as well as packed with calcium, beta carotene and iron.
How I like to enjoy kale: In a smoothie! I love blending kale into my protein shakes for some added health benefits. Try this basic recipe: 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice), 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, ½ of a frozen banana, ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 2 cups of kale, 10 ice cubes.
Feel free to chug it straight from the blender 😉
If you like: Yogurt
Try: Greek Yogurt
Why: One word: PROTEIN. Greek yogurt has SO. MUCH. PROTEIN. I am a protein fiend. I aim to get at least 20g each time I eat. One cup of fat free Greek yogurt totes anywhere from 19-24 grams of protein. In addition, it is lower in carbs and sugar than regular yogurt. And if that isn’t reason enough, Greek yogurt is about 5 times thicker and creamier than regular yogurt. Once you go Greek, it is hard to go back.
How I like to enjoy Greek yogurt: Um, how don’t I like Greek yogurt? I seriously use the stuff for everything—from sweet to savory. Try it topped with fruit, cereal/granola or nut butter (or all 3!), mixed with peanut flour for a nice peanut butter “mousse” to top waffles or pancakes, use it in place of mayo in your tuna and chicken salads, swap out sour cream and use Greek yogurt instead (on things like taco salad and soup or a baked potato), mix it with ranch seasoning for a protein packed veggie dip. Seriously, this stuff is so versatile!
If you like: Snap Peas
Why: Edamame, a fancy term for soy beans that are harvested while still young and green, is packed with protein. One half cup has 11 grams of protein! It also possesses all nine of the essential amino acids that our bodies need. The fat content in the edamame is the good kind: heart healthy poly- and monounsaturated.
How I like to enjoy edamame: Straight up, with a little sea salt. Careful, you don’t eat the shell.. just what’s inside 😉
If you like: Peanut Butter
Try: Sunflower Seed Butter
Why: Sunflower seeds are a great source of Vitamin E, in fact, just ¼ cup of seeds contains 90% of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin E. Sunflower seed butter contains phytosterols (compound found in plants) which lowers cholesterol. Additionally, sunflower seed butter is high in magnesium, which is great for healthy bones!
How I like to enjoy sunflower seed butter: Sunflower seed butter can be enjoyed in both sweet and savory settings. Two favorite ways of mine are with a VitaTop and Greek yogurt or over a baked potato with cottage cheese. Sounds iffy, but I promise.. it works!
If you like: Tortillas
Try: Flat Out Wraps
Why: Flat Outs are great! I know Danica has raved about them before, and she had good reason. They are low calorie, high fiber and high protein. They come in a variety of flavors to keep you from getting bored.
How I like to enjoy Flat Out wraps: I have made the occasional pizza on Flat Out wraps, but my favorite way to eat them is, well, as a wrap! They hold a LOT of ingredients. You can also make a mean Panini using a Flat Out. Plus, they are chewy and doughy.. Flat Out delicious! Tip: These are sold at Costco and freeze very well.
If you like: Ground Beef
Why: Bison is LEAN. In addition to it tasting amazing, it contains 75% less fat than ground beef. Bison will also help reduce LDL cholesterol (that is the bad one!) and is actually higher in protein that ground beef. Check out this link for some shocking bison comparisons in the fat & cholesterol categories.
How I like to enjoy Bison: While using bison instead of ground beef or turkey is easy to do in any recipe, I love to enjoy a bison burger, straight up. If you try bison, I highly suggest you grill a burger so you can fully experience the flavor, while reaping health benefits!
If you like: Shrimp
Why: Well, first of all, you don’t have to deal with that pesky tail or poop shoot like you do with shrimp. Nutritionally speaking, scallops are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. They are also low in fat, unlike several other of their sea dwelling friends. When it comes to health benefits, scallops are rich in Omega 3 and tryptophan…yep, the same thing that makes you sleepy from Thanksgiving turkey! They also have a very “meaty” texture, so it is a nice way to feel like you are eating a calorie-dense piece of protein when you are actually being very kind to your waist line.
How I like to enjoy scallops: Scallops don’t pack a strong flavor, so they really take on whatever you decide to season them with. I like to sauté scallops with some olive oil, spinach, salt and pepper. Very simple, yet very tasty. Tip: But them frozen at Costco, then grab a few just when you want them. You can throw a few on top of a salad for added protein!
If you like: Russet Potatoes
Try: Sweet Potatoes
Why: Sweet potatoes, also referred to as yams, are high in beta-carotene. They are beneficial to maintaining low blood pressure and stabilizing blood pressure. Sweet potatoes are considered “good carbs”, which means they are a complex carbohydrate that breaks down slowly. When eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes contain more fiber than a bowl of oats.
How I like to enjoy sweet potatoes: Baked or roasted sweet potatoes are my favorite. I often bake a whole batch on Sunday to enjoy the rest of the week, topped with cottage cheese and sunflower seed butter (seen above). When roasting them, I slice them into half-moon shapes and spray with olive oil. I put them in an oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes on each side. These are great plain or dipped in ketchup!
My beautiful mom, slicing up some sweet potato fries!
If you like: Raspberries
Why: Blackberries are among the ten foods with the most antioxidants. They are also high in fiber and vitamin C. They contain phytoestrogens, or “plant estrogens”, which are said to have a possible roll in prevention of breast and cervical cancer.
How I like to enjoy blackberries: While the very best way to eat blackberries is straight out of the container.. I also like to cook with them! I make a delicious blackberry glaze that goes well on top of just about anything! You can check it out here. My mom also makes a delicious blackberry jam, which is a fun change from the standard strawberry or raspberry jams I typically eat. You can also make a tasty protein shake using blackberries and it will result in a beautiful color.
I hope these suggestions have given you some ideas and some inspiration to get out there and try new foods! There is a world of various foods out there, don’t be afraid to mix it up and try something new. Your body will thank you and, hey, you just might find a few new favorite foods!
Thanks to Danica for having me. Check out my blog, meals & moves, for clean eating recipes and fun workout routines.. and a hefty dose of rambling 😉
xo. Janetha G.