Challenge Wrap-Up

It was a long, grueling, laborious seven days, and I don’t know how I did it.

Just kidding! My seven day clean eating challenge wasn’t bad at all. I actually really enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun planning my meals and making them look pretty to eat. I don’t usually put that much effort and thought into what I eat, so doing that was a nice change.

As expected, I did face some temptation. The first couple of days weren’t so bad, but around days four and five I started to rethink my decision to take on this challenge. I just really really wanted some Oreos! But I stayed strong and pushed passed those tough days; and I’m so glad I did. Even though the temptation was still there on the last two days, it wasn’t nearly as bad as before.

Since the challenge has ended I have been able to look back and see its effect on my body. There were good and bad aspects of the challenge, and some things that I didn’t expect to occur. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

The Good

More Energy: Last week I had so much more energy than usual. I actually felt awake at my 5:45 am workouts every morning.  I didn’t need an extra 30 minutes to get going. I also felt like I was able to pay better attention in class. As bad as it may sound, I sometimes get very tired in class. Especially if class is right after practice or a workout. But last week I wasn’t struggling to keep my eyes open. Eating clean boosted my energy levels for all of my daily activities.

Faster Recovery: I didn’t get sore last week! Usually when the weekend rolls around I start to feel the thursday chin-ups and friday back squats. My traps and quads are normally pretty upset with me on saturday morning. But that didn’t happen last weekend. My body was able to recover quicker and fight off soreness when I filled it with good things.

Prep Was Fun: This is something that I didn’t expect to come out of the challenge, but I’m glad it did. I really enjoyed thinking about what groceries to get, planning out my meals and snacks, and making them in advance. All of the food was so pretty in it presentation and looked delicious. I was always so excited to eat it!

The Bad

Time Consuming: Although I did really enjoy prepping for and making each meal and snack, it sometimes took longer than expected. In times when I was rushing to practice or class; throwing bacon on the stove or putting together a salad weren’t always the most convenient options. Skipping breakfast or grabbing a granola bar would’ve been a lot easier. However, I wouldn’t have gotten the same nutritional benefits from doing that.

I think the good definitely outweighed the bad in this challenge; so I have decided to keep it up. I really enjoyed the food and benefits that came with eating clean. I’m excited to turn it into a lifestyle!

SK’s Food Of The Day

EGGS

Eggs are the perfect way to start your day. The are low in calories and high in nutritional value.  They’re a great source of protein, Vitamin D, and amino acids. Scrambled, poached, baked, or boiled; adding eggs to your diet is a great start to a healthy lifestyle.

Feeling inspired? Let me know what you think about this post in the comments section below!

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Eating Healthy While Eating Out

Eating healthy while eating out is such a challenge. When you’re out at a restaurant it can be so tempting to order that juicy burger or slice of cheesecake. And if the people you’re eating out with are ordering those types of things, holding your ground and sticking to your diet can be that much harder. With 4th of July right around the corner, I know there’s going to be a lot of dinner parties, barbecues, and cookouts to celebrate the holiday. A lot of people use this coming weekend to go on vacation. And that’s what I’ll be doing.

I will be in Omaha, Nebraska this 4th of July weekend. While I’m there I won’t have much access to a kitchen, so I won’t be able to prep and cook the meals and snacks I usually eat at home. Most of the meals I’ll be eating are going to come from restaurants. At first, the thought of this scared me. I just started my clean eating challenge and I don’t want to stop right in the middle of it! But then I realized that not all restaurant food is bad food. I did some investigating and found that there are so many ways to make a restaurant item fit your nutritional standards.

Here are some tips I found:

Check the menu before you go. Most restaurants have their menus online now, making it easier to decide before hand what you’ll get. If you can check the menu before you go to a restaurant, you’ll be able to see if they have anything on the healthier side; and if they don’t, then it’s a saved trip for you.

Order first. A lot of times I go to a restaurant already knowing what I want, but then I hear my friends order pizza, and chicken fingers, and burgers, and suddenly the salad I planned on getting doesn’t sound so good anymore. In order to silence the temptations of those around you, make sure to order your meal first. That way you don’t have time to change your mind.

Ask for salad dressing on the side. People see salad on a menu and automatically think it’s healthy. But more often than not, salads at restaurants are drenched in fatty dressing. To keep your greens light, ask for dressing on the side. This way you can decide for yourself how much or how little you want.

No fancy drinks. Don’t get crazy with special drinks; just order water. You’d be surprised at how many calories are in sodas, blended drinks, etc. Those extra calories and sugars don’t need to be added to your meal. So just keep it simple and drink water with your food.

Ask for it your way. If you see something on the menu that you like, but maybe want to tweak a couple things, ask to do it! Don’t be afraid to ask for grilled chicken instead of fried, or for a side of veggies instead of french fries. Be assertive when asking for changes to the menu; assume you can have the food made the way you like it.

Drink water throughout your meal. Most people only drink their water before and after their food comes. But if you drink water during your meal, it will slow you down and send a message to your brain that you are full; which helps prevent over-eating.

Ask to box half of your entree. Ask your waiter to box half of your entree before it’s brought out to the table. Restaurants have been known to serve two and three times the size of a recommended portion. Boxing half of your entree will ensure you’re getting a proper serving; and you’ll have leftovers!

Ask to triple the veggies. A lot of times vegetables are just an afterthought on the plate with a main entree. You can ask your waiter to double or triple the serving of your veggies, and most of the time it will be free of charge.

 

Like I mentioned earlier, not all restaurant food is bad for you. There are a lot of ways to turn an item that’s normally high in calories, carbs, sodium, fat, etc. into a more nutritional meal. Also, a lot of menus now have a section just for their healthier items, making your variety of options a lot wider. So don’t worry, eating out doesn’t have to ruin eating healthy.

SK’s Food Of The Day

ORANGES

Oranges are a super sweet way to get your daily vitamin requirement. Everyone knows they are loaded with Vitamin C, but many people don’t know that oranges are also filled with potassium, Vitamin B, and fiber. Orange you glad I told you!

Feeling inspired? Let me know what you think about this post in the comments section below!

Nevada Volleyball’s Favorite Snacks

Snacking has a bad reputation. People associate snacks with weight gain, health repercussions, and much more. But snacking doesn’t have to be a bad thing; it all depends on the size of your snack and its nutritional value. Snacking can actually play a huge role in weight control, because the more often you eat, the smaller your meals can be.

As an athlete, I have to make sure that I am putting fuel (food) in my body on a regular basis, and not just three times a day. Snacking throughout the day helps me keep a steady energy and satisfaction level, and avoid that uncomfortable feeling of hunger. There are a lot of different snack options out there, almost too many to name; so my teammates and I have come up with a condensed list. Here are Nevada Volleyball’s favorite snacks!

IMG_5079

Madison “Merl”  Morell

Merl likes to eat celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, otherwise known as “ants on a log.” Celery has a high fiber content that helps with digestion, and peanut butter is a great source of healthy fat. The contrast of crunchy and creamy is a fun way to mix things up.

 

IMG_5094Samantha Willoughby

Sam’s favorite snack to eat during the day is greek yogurt and honey. Greek yogurt is full of protein, and honey is a great natural way to sweeten it up. Nice choice Sam!

 

IMG_5099Taylar Rothfuss

Tay likes to snack on grapes and string cheese. Grapes are one of the best super foods you can eat. They lower your risks for cancer and heart disease, and are super easy to take with you on a busy day. Because of its individual packaging, string cheese is the perfect way to get your calcium and protein servings without getting too much saturated fat.

 

IMG_5092Moriah Maluotoga

Mo’s favorite daytime snack are bell peppers. Bell peppers are super low in calories, so you won’t feel any guilt when eating them. They also contain plenty of Vitamin C to keep your immune system powerful and your skin looking healthy.

 

IMG_5096Lyndsey Anderson & Madison Thorpe

Lynds likes to eat apples with almond butter, and Thorpe likes chia seed pudding. Apples have all sorts of health benefits. The help reduce cholesterol, decrease risk of diabetes, boost immune systems, etc. Chia seeds are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and protein; making them a great addition to any snack.

 

IMG_5101Dylan Hall

Dylan’s favorite snack to eat is what I like to call a bread-less sandwich. He puts a few slices of deli meat in-between two slices of cheese. This snack is a great way to satisfy your sandwich craving without all the extra carbs.

 

SK’s Food Of The Day

KALE

Kale has been all the rage lately, and there are some pretty good reasons why. Kale is extremely rich in fiber and is a good source of calcium and iron. It has been shown to fight off diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease. You can add kale to lots of things, like soups, salads, or sandwiches. So go on and try it, it won’t “kale” ya!

Feeling inspired? Let me know what you think about this post in the comments section below!