In all honesty, knowing exactly what to eat and when can be very confusing and overwhelming. With a plethora of information at our fingertips, along with raging and fading nutrition trends, it’s no wonder we’re all confused when it comes to making healthy choices at each meal. Fret no more!
After many years of experimenting with diets myself and working with hundreds of clients, I’ve found a solution. One that is simple and attainable for all. These are what I call my Eat Clean Hacks and I am excited to share them with you. All of these principles help:
- balance hormones
- regulate blood sugar
- sustain your energy
- drop weight naturally
Eat Clean Hack – Breakfast
Breakfast Hack: focus on a Protein packed breakfast, with minimal fats and 1/4 cup of carbohydrates
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. You wake up in the morning completely fasted and dehydrated from sleeping throughout the night. Your body is craving healthy nutrients and hydrating liquids first thing. After starting your day with a large glass of room temperature water and 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon, I urge you to only eat when you are hungry. Do not force feed yourself. When it’s time to eat…
- Focus on plant or animal based protein sources such as 1 scoop of protein powder in a smoothie or 2 hard boiled eggs
- Pair this with a healthy fat such as 1 tbsp raw nut butter or 1/2 ripe avocado
- Eat no more than 1/4 cup carbohydrates, about a handful of berries or 1/2 slightly unripe banana (still has some green on the skin).
- Add some alkalinizing vegetables like broccoli, celery or spinach
A breakfast that is structured this way including high quality protein and minimal carbs supports the natural morning cortisol spike. This gives your brain and muscles energy, while allowing you to burn fat for fuel and keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day.
Wondering how to put this all together? I’ve put together a daily meal plan for how to incorporate this into your life including recipes.
Eat Clean Hack – Lunch
Lunch Hack: eat a well balanced salad with a 1/2 cup carbohydrates
Try not to skip lunch. Life gets busy and sometimes work gets in the way, but to maintain functions of a high performing brain, it requires fuel! Fuel in the form of whole, nutrient dense food, not in the form of store bought caffeine. Stick to a lighter lunch rather than making this the heaviest meal of your day. Digesting food requires energy, and lots of it! Ever have a food coma? That’s precisely what happens when you eat a heavy, rich meal. How is that going to serve you in the middle of your day when you still have a handful of hours of work to get through? When its time to eat…
- Make sure your salad is BALANCED – ensure you have at least 4-6oz protein (legumes, eggs, steamed broccoli, tempeh) and healthy fat (avocado, nuts and seeds, as well as their oils)
- Add your favourite vegetables. For instance I use chopped celery, cucumber, tomato, carrots and avocado in almost every salad.
- Add fun flavors by playing with herbs such as basil, mint, thyme, parsley, or cilantro.
- Add some alliums with chopped red onion, shallots, chives, green onion, as they provide a wonderful boost to your brain and immune system
- Pair your salad with 1/2 cup of healthy carbohydrates such as cooked squash, quinoa, chickpeas, chopped peach or blueberries.
Try to stick to the 1/2 cup carbohydrates at lunch to help keep up the morning energy peak. Since cortisol has an inverse relationship with insulin, cortisol will naturally start to drop after lunch as your insulin starts to rise. If your lunch has too many carbohydrates, your brain gets into sleep mode which is not helpful for your day.
Eat Clean Hack – Dinner
Dinner Hack: make this your most nourishing meal with 1 cup of carbohydrates
I believe dinner should be your largest and most nourishing meal of the day. After a full day of work, your brain and body needs adequate fuel to replenish and rejuvenate so that you can wake up again the next day and tackle it all again! When its time to eat, create a plate that has the following components…
- Something green such as a side salad or sautéed dark leafy greens
- 4-6oz of protein such as turkey or chicken breast, cod, salmon or lamb chop
- 1 cup of complex carbohydrates such as cooked butternut squash, navy beans, sweet potato or quinoa
- Something fermented, especially if consuming animal protein, such as 2 tbsp sauerkraut, kimchi or miso soup
At dinner time, your insulin response is at its peak. If you do not have some carbohydrates, cortisol will raise your blood sugar, which will prevent you from getting good nights sleep. This can also cause a blood sugar crash which could leave to sugar cravings.