Last year, I was on track. I had lost 20+ lbs, was going to the gym regularly, and was eating pretty well. Then, a trifecta of doom struck: My personal trainer quit to pursue a new career, I was cast on a television baking show, and subsequently traveled to England to film with no time for/access to a gym. To add insult to injury, we ate at restaurants for 3 meals a day, while also intermittently shoveling in loads of decadent pastries. Sometimes when life gets crazy, you just eat whatever is available in large quantities, and then try not to think on it too hard.
Fast forward 4 months later-2016, and I am up 10 lbs but ready to get back on track. I am one of those people that doesn’t instinctively know how to eat healthy or in moderation. Strict Guidelines seem to help me, especially when I don’t have a lot of wiggle room. So, I am planning to start my second Whole 30. If you are unfamiliar with this plan, it is basically all whole foods-organic when possible and includes: Meat, fish, poultry, fruits, veggies, seeds, most nuts, and healthy oils that are not grain derived. No grains, no sugars, no artificial sweeteners, no soy, no, dairy,
no fun….It gets a bit tricky for me, since my home is nut and coconut free, due to my son’s severe allergies. However, I do sneak around a bit with some pecans and coconut milk (stored like contraband in hidden compartments and labeled with skulls).
Still, being obsessed with preparing food and known for creativity in the kitchen, I still want to eat satisfying foods that I love. Here are some ideas for healthful and mostly Whole 30-friendly snacks, smoothies, and treats (some require a bit of tweaking for whole 30).
Banana Matcha Energy Smoothie:
My favorite Pre-workout energy smoothie, low calorie with a good proportion of protein and carbs for optimum performance. This one could be made without protein powder and with coconut milk for whole 30 compliance. I love to freeze chopped bananas for this smoothie in ziplock bags (when I have overripe ones sitting around).
1/2 frozen or fresh banana, cut into chunks (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
3/4 cup flax milk, almond, soy, rice, coconut or cashew milk
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
3 Medjool dates (optional, but makes smoothie sweeter)
1/2 cup ice cubes
Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until very smooth. Enjoy immediately, preferably 1 hour before a tough workout. I recommend half a smoothie before a workout for energy and the remainder post-workout to replenish carbs and protein.
I know you are not supposed to snack much on Whole 30, but sometimes you need a little something to get over the
starvation hump. Some of my easy to grab go-to snacks are:
- An apple cut into thin slices (or even French fry shapes) and tossed with a bit of cinnamon in a ziplock bag.
- a slice of deli turkey (organic and sugar free, of course) wrapped around a slice of avocado and/or a pickle.
- Prosciutto wrapped around a wedge of melon.
- Crunchy, freeze dried fruit.
- Hard boiled eggs or deviled eggs made with homemade mayo, finely diced shallot, and paprika.
- These babies pictured below, minus the cream cheese for Whole 30 compliance. You could sub a pimento stuffed olive or even an almond stuffed olive…yum! Those are thinly sliced, seedless cucumbers (use a vegetable peeler) rolled up with smoked salmon and an olive. Tie it up with a chive if you are feeling fancy! I actually won a Healthy Snack Contest from Cooking Contest Central (my favorite community of cooking contest friends) with these beauties last year
- I also love a slice of roast beef with my homemade mayo, some grated fresh horseradish, and a slice of tomato all rolled up.
- Raw veggies with a dressing for dipping. Some great brands to buy include Brianna’s and Tessimae. To make your own, the sky is the limit. I plan on making a tahini and roasted eggplant dip soon.
- A sliced banana, some fresh pineapple chunks, nuts (walnuts or pecans, if you are not allergic), coconut chips, and a drizzle of coconut milk that has been blended with a little cinnamon. This also makes a great breakfast when you can’t look at another egg.
- Cherry-Chocolate Sorbet: This will only work in a food processor or a vitamix blender. Blend frozen dark, sweet cherries with a teaspoon or two of unsweetened dark cocoa powder. Keep agitating mixture until the cherries are blended completely smooth, like sorbet. You might need to add a touch of coconut milk to get the blender moving.
- The following concoction:
Carrot Cake Smoothie:
- 1/2 frozen or fresh banana, cut into chunks
- 1/3 cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
- 3/4 cup organic carrot juice (I used Boathouse Farms)
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 3 Medjool dates
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I LOVE the one from Trader Joe’s)
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth and serve immediately.
Lastly, I do want to say that I learned a lot on Whole 30 last time I did it, even though the scale did not show that much movement for me. I felt great, my skin was glowing, and I saw definition in my abs that I had never seen before. Of course, it is all gone now, but I will let you know in a month if I am back in the game; )
Feel free to leave any tips or snacks that you love while doing Whole 30 (or any clean eating plan) in the comments section. Thanks and have a Happy, Healthy New Year!