Tag Archive for #eatrealfood

Trainer Tip Tuesday: Stick to the Big 3 and make them Colorful

In a pinch?  No idea whet to eat??


Then stick to the Big 3 and Make It Colorful.


IMG_5725I’ll explain what I mean….




There are just those times, this being one of them for me, where you just get off-track. When life picks up momentum, schedules and normalcies change on you suddenly, and your regular practices get knocked to the wayside.




It’s definitely one of those times when all of my systems are off, and a big one is planning and executing meal and snack ‘plans’ for me and my family. We had guests visiting for several weeks, it’s the end of the school year with tons of extra parties/etc, and preplanning and regular trips to the store area little bit MIA, if I’m being honest!




So rather than really freak out when faced with the prospect of cooking yet another healthy (healthier, at least) dinner, I took a deep breath, shook off my inner perfectionist, and focused on the basics of delivering edible, nutrient dense foods: Hit the Big 3 and Make It Colorful.


Roasted summer veggies, salmon and quinoa–another way to get your colorful Big 3.

Hitting the ‘Big 3’ to me means making sure to include a serving of protein, a serving of a starch/carb, a big serving of veggies. And my super reliable ‘portions hack’ is to divide my medium-sized plate (wow does plate size matter!) into 1/4 protein, 1/4 carb, and 1/2 vegetable.

Making it colorful is a really easy and reliable way to also ensure you get a variety of nutrients AND it’s really satisfying to the brain.

Last night’s scramble-to-get-a-decent-meal-on-the-table-in-time creation was: Roasted carrots, turkey breast ‘steaks,’ raw bell pepper slices and varying pastas with olive oil and parmesan.



Cut raw veggies are always a quick and simple way to get in more nutrients.

Where’d this concoction come from?

A bunch of carrots in the veggie drawer, couple of bell peppers in the veggie bowl, turkey breasts on sale cheap the day before, and leftover pastas from spaghetti dinners earlier in the week.

Mission accomplished.

Another favorite combination that is both pleasing to the eye (brain), the stomach and the palate are: any kind of lean red meat, steamed broccoli and yams or another colorful squash.

Tomato-based chilis get topped with avocado, salads get red bell peppers and beets, fritattas (another fabulous go-to in a pinch dish) get a mess of colorful veggies.

Other past colorful, nutrient-dense combos are featured in the pictures from the Whetsel kitchen:

       IMG_4517 IMG_4485 IMG_4281

So when you’re strapped for time or ideas, look around your kitchen and avoid stress by sticking to the Big 3 and Making It Colorful.

What are your favorite colorful food combos? I’d love to hear!

Foodie! It’s not a four-letter word (aka: how loving food works in your favor).

I love food.  I really, really do.  I could never exist on one of those stereotypical ‘fitness’ diets that consist primarily of broccoli, brown rice, yams and chicken breasts–I might be able to handle that for a day, or maybe a week if the threat of wearing a bathing suit in public was looming near, but it wouldn’t last long.  And since I’m not in the business of being on a stage or in front of a camera on a regular basis, I don’t have to be too particular about my macros, etc.  My love of tasty food was once a bit of an issue for me though.  Back in my early to mid-twenties, I ate out at restaurants a lot.  It was a social thing, especially for those of us who were single; it was a time and preparedness thing, as in I didn’t take the time to compose a coherent grocery list and was therefore unprepared to cook or create meals; it was also a bit of a mindless thing in the sense that there was a total disconnect happening between what or how much I was putting in my mouth and how my body was feeling and looking.

This pattern continued into marriage, where neither one of us really knew how to cook, we lived in Germany, and we were still very social and hanging out with single people. And there was tons of good food to be had within a mile’s walk or bus ride.  So I fought up and down through the same 10 pounds for many, many years because I just had no clue how to self-regulate or that that self-regulation started in the kitchen.  That all changed at Fort Polk, LA.

If you’ve ever been to Leesville, LA, you’ll get what I’m saying.  If you haven’t, then let’s put it this way:  Papa John’s pizza was the only delivery service, there were only two actual restaurants in town (a ‘steak house’ and a japanese restaurant), and we were living on the income of a staff sergeant with an infant.  Eating out was just no longer feasible, nor desirable.  So I slowly learned how to cook.  I slowly learned how to make good-tasting food on a budget.  I slowly began to see the connection between what I ate, how much I ate, and how I looked and felt.  It was a good start.

Over the past many years, I’ve continued to educate myself about macronutrients and their roles in health/weight/body composition, what food combinations deliver more nutritional bang for your buck, and tweaked our household nutrition to meet our ever-changing needs. Living in Germany is a bonus, because of the variety of fresh foods at a reasonable price that are available within a very short walk or drive.  Living overseas can also broaden your menu horizons, inviting you to try new ingredients or recipes from other cultures you might otherwise have missed (case in point: the numerous uses for Kohlrabi).  In sum, the changes I’ve made in my own cooking, thinking and eating habits over the past few years have led me to this conclusion:

Being a foodie is a huge advantage in life.  

Whether your focus is on weight loss, fat loss, athletic performance, weight management, or just generally feeling good, if you’re a foodie, you have a natural advantage over those who aren’t.  Here are 5 reasons why I see being a foodie as such an advantage:

1.  When you are a foodie, you are more motivated to make it taste good.

You like food. You like food to taste good.  You aren’t likely to last long on bland or displeasing food sources.  You’ll do what it takes to make it better.

2.  When you are a foodie, you are often more familiar with flavors and better able to make working substitutions or better combinations.

You know how to manipulate spices and seasonings.  You’ll research ways to prep your favorite dishes so that they are both satisfying and good for you/in line with your goals and/or needs.

3.  When you are a foodie, you are more likely to make the time to read about nutrition and food, to research (more) healthful options, to cook different and (more) healthful foods.

Food matters to you.  It’s an important part of your life and happiness.  You’ll make the time to problem-solve, to try new things, to consult new resources (and how cool are channels like the Food Network, and many other online options these days??).

4. When you are a foodie, you are more likely to tailor your nutritional habits/diet to meet both your taste preferences and bodily needs.

Eliminating whole food groups is likely not for you, unless it’s medically necessary.  You know what you like, and you’ll find a way to incorporate it, creatively and healthfully, into your lifestyle.

5.  When you are a foodie, you are more likely to really stick with the dietary changes you make for the long haul, especially after taking ownership of your nutritional/dietary changes.

When you are the one steering the ship, making the informed choices, preparing your mini-meals and full-blown ‘feasts’ with your own two hands, using the ingredients of your choice, timing your meals to your own needs and wants, you are WAY more likely to stick with it because it works for YOU.  It’s not an arbitrary diet, created by an ‘expert,’ difficult to adhere to for longer than a few weeks–it’s your own creation, born of research, testing, experience, and your own approval and satisfaction.

From my personal experiences and observations of client successes,

I’ve derived the ‘Foodie Success Equation’:

Greater Ownership


Greater Enjoyment


Greater Long-Term Compliance and Success

So if you’re a foodie, it’s time to celebrate and embrace your love of good tasting food.  Your dedication and creativity will help you support your own fitness and health needs.  And if you’re not a foodie, you might consider befriending one, or following one on fb or online.  These are the people who will take your eating habits to a satisfying and sustainable next level.  I know I want to eat in a way that supports the way I live, and to enjoy what I eat.  Being a foodie makes it possible for me to do both well, happily, and consistently.