At first, when I got into fitness seriously, I thought I wanted to be a real part of that really intense FITNESS community. You know. The ones who are always posting inspirational meals/workouts/etc. and are going to the Arnold conventions. The ones who dedicate their Instagrams to FITNESS 24/7. I even thought I may want to compete at one point.
Let me get this straight- there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things. I’m friends with people who are in that community. But over time, for myself personally– making FITNESS become this big, bold thing in my life and main focus- it just didn’t become that appealing anymore.
Similar to the realization I had when I realized that only focusing ONLY on acting wasn’t going to make me happy, a few years after I graduated college with my B.F.A in Theatre Performance. Now- I still act! But I don’t base my self-worth on whether I’m cast or not like I used to. Just like I still work out and eat healthy- but I don’t base my self-worth or value in the fitness world whether I have a 6 pack at all times or not.
Maybe it’s because I’ve automated a lot of my lifestyle in such a way that makes it easy to maintain by this point. I don’t “meal prep-” but I always have guidelines for my meals. (Focused on a protein source, veggie, healthy fat, limiting carbs appropriately). But then- I’ll eat meals that don’t follow those guidelines sometimes and not feel guilty about it at all. I also don’t obsess about eating 100% “clean” and freak out if I have a condiment or add cheese or whatever. It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things!
I follow a scheduled workout routine, but if I miss a day, or spend 3 days straight on my feet at a music festival so I end up skipping my next 2 workouts- I don’t stress out about missing my workouts. I just get right back to them when my body feels good enough to. I also sometimes skip my scheduled lifting routine for a challenging hike. And I don’t push myself to lift AS HEAVY AS POSSIBLE every workout- but I listen to my body more. Feels better that way for me right now.
I’ve found that finding the key things that allow me to maintain my health and physique and not obsessing over hardcore FITNESS feels good because I can focus on other aspects and parts of my life that I am also passionate about! I’m finding for myself- it’s important to not let one aspect of life overpower anything. Because when I do, I tend to neglect other things important to me. It’s just the type of person I am, and it’s not for everyone, and that’s ok!
I honestly find myself not wanting to think about my workouts as much outside of when I’m actually working out. I just want to get in, do my thing and get out. I don’t spend as much time researching perfect “fit” foods, I just experiment in the kitchen with flavors, keeping in my mind certain guidelines that are now just habitual.
So while “automating” my fitness lifestyle I’ve found certain foods that really help me reach my goals and without thinking too much about it. Since lately I’ve had people ask me what kinds of things I tend to eat, I wanted to share some of my food basics with you guys so that it may help you out when building your meals!
You’ll notice most of these are lower carb. Since we do go out to eat a couple times a week (where carbs aren’t watched as closely) I tend to keep the meals at home of the lower carb variety. If that’s not your thing- just add some baked sweet potato, Ezekiel bread, etc. to the meal.
–Breakfast Sandwich using Applegate Chicken Sausage, Thomas Double Protein English Muffins, an egg over-easy, and a little shredded cheese.
–3 eggs scrambled mixed with peppers/onions, salsa, and 1/2 avocado. Side of fruit.
-Smoothie with 1 banana, ice, 1 tbs. PB, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 handful spinach, 1 handful berries, a little stevia
–2 eggs over-easy topped with a little cheese, avocado, salsa with some fruit/veggies on the side
–Breakfast Hash– shred 1/2 sweet potato and brown in pan with crumbled breakfast sausage/ground beef/turkey (I use leftover meat for this) or even natural deli meat shredded up. Stir in a little diced onion and pepper. At the very end of the cooking process, crack an egg in the mix until it’s cooked (but yolk is still runny.) Serve with a little ketchup or even barbecue sauce!
-(Usually a left-over from a previous dinner, honestly.)
– Cheeseburger Scramble: brown some natural ground beef in a pan and add some chopped onions, stir till cooked. Add a little salt/pepper. Serve immediately and add a little shredded cheese, then stir in some lettuce/chopped pickles and top with your favorite condiments ( I use ketchup + mustard.) This sounds kind of weird but it’s SO GOOD.
–Turkey Scramble: Basically just cook some ground turkey in a pan with another veggie. I like to use a bag of broccoli slaw as it stays nice and crunchy. You can go a couple ways- if you want a more spicy/Mexican flair, use cumin/chili powder to season. For an asian flair, throw a little soy sauce or red chili sauce.
–Salad: I like to buy those pre-made salad kits at Kroger (Southwest is my favorite!) and use whatever meat I have on hand with it. Easy peasy.
–Crockpot Chicken Tacos: Simply throw chicken breasts and chopped onion/green pepper in a crockpot with 1 jar of salsa and either 1 packet of low-sodium taco seasoning -or- 1 tbs. chili powder, 1 tbs. cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 4 hours on high and you’re left with delicious chicken you can use to make tacos with, or even put on a taco salad.
-Fresh Herbed Fish/Carrots: I have a sage/thyme herb plant, so I like chop about 1 tbs. of each herb with fresh garlic and marinate fish in it with some lemon juice+ olive oil (salmon is my favorite) then bake it. I like to serve this with carrots either roasted in the oven with the same herbs/garlic/oil mix (but no lemon) or I sauté them in a pan. Either way- they are delicious! Carrots are definitely an underrated veggie. But I recommend using the large ones- not baby carrots in a bag.
-I’ll often use one of the scrambles in the “Lunch” section for dinner, too.
–Greek Chicken: Marinate chicken pieces in a mixture including Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Simply grill or bake and serve with your favorite veggie- something simple like steamed broccoli.
–Fajitas: Cook sliced chicken or steak in a pan with sliced onions/peppers. I honestly use jarred salsa as the main seasoning in this (makes it easy, too!) and add some extra chili powder/cumin. Serve in tortillas and top with avocado.
–Homemade Chicken Nuggets: I’ll cut chicken into small pieces, and coat with egg, then a light coating of flour. (If you want to be a purist you can use oat flour.) Saute in a pan with olive oil. Serve with your favorite veggie.
-I generally keep a big bowl in the kitchen full of protein bars, nuts, and fruit to always have something to grab on hand.
-My favorite protein bars are Quest bars (though I tend to not buy them as much as I don’t want to buy a case at a time..hah!), Power Crunch bars, Simple Truth protein bars, and Clif Builders Bars.
-Mini-peppers and hummus
-Arden’s Garden greens juices
While this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, it’s literally the majority of what my husband and I have been eating lately. No- it’s not 100% “clean.” No, I don’t keep track of the macros and calories on all of this. (Here’s why.)
But it’s a diet that fuels us in the gym and for life, that keeps us generally lean and feeling good! So hopefully it may spark some ideas for you!