I’m Leanna’s favorite (only) little sister. I’m so proud of her for pursuing her passion in starting this blog, and more importantly connecting with all of you! A quick tidbit on me before we jump into things: I’m a twenty-something living in NYC with my gem of a husband, chugging along in the corporate grind as a beauty marketer. While my day job keeps me plenty busy, my true love in life is all things health and wellness related. I know…who needs another millennial preaching about kale and crystals these days… I hear you on that ? BUT, I’d like to think that my approach to staying healthy and happy is different. It’s achievable for real people, with real jobs, that have COMPLETE and busy lives outside of health and fitness. It’s about making it work for you. After all, isn’t that what a healthy “lifestyle” should be by definition?
So to kick it all off, here are four golden rules of nutrition for the busy girl. I don’t care if you’re running for office or running after 10 kids. These rules are 100% achievable, and once you make them a habit—you’ll thank me then!
- GET (WATER) DRUNK
This may seem like the most obvious nutritional tip, but for some reason it’s the most overlooked! I could write a novel about the necessity and benefits of drinking water, but what more do you need to know aside from the fact that it’s essential for human life. Enough said. If you’re really interested, this is the best source of info I’ve found on this little holy grail http://theshawnstevensonmodel.com/best-water-filter-best-bottled-water/ . Aim for four 32 oz bottles a day, and you’ll magically feel more focused and energetic. Your digestion will improve, and your skin will look noticeably clearer and brighter. Best of all, it’s FREE. Tip: track your consumption on an app like waterlogged. Or start drinking games with your coworkers…choose the most annoyingly popular corporate buzz word as of late (mine’s “low hanging fruit” right now) and drink to that!
- VEGGIES ON VEGGIES
Vegetables are so underrated. I’m big on eating every food group, but it’s clear that most people don’t get enough vegetables in their diet. Example A. You get a salad from Chop’t or the likes every day for lunch to be “healthy”. Let’s take a look at the first timer’s favorite: Santa Fe
-Avocado: A+ for healthy fats
-Grape tomatoes: Yay for vitamin A and lycopene!
-Corn: You’ll learn I’m not a no-carb kinda gal. Corn packs a punch of fiber and antioxidants like vitamin C and E.
-Pepper Jack cheese: Newsflash, cheese is actually a great source of protein. Never get the low-fat kind. Studies have shown full fat dairy is amazing for keeping you full without added chemicals or sugars. http://time.com/4279538/low-fat-milk-vs-whole-milk/
-Fried onions: treat yourself.
-Romaine: Basically the most useless leaf of them all, but it’s green so okay.
It’s pretty clear that this salad, and most on the menu, actually DON’T have the kinds of veggies your body needs. If this is what your lunch looks like, I challenge you to add broccoli, sweet potato, brussels sprouts, carrots, kale, asparagus…the limit DOES NOT exist. Unless they rob you of your salary for every extra “premium” ingredient like they do here in NYC. Here’s where the importance of meal prep holds true, but we’ll get to that some other time. J
You may scoff at the men in your life downing three protein shakes a day and adding egg whites to literally everything. Nevertheless, they’re onto something! You’ll never be able to maintain or build lean muscle without substancial protein. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll be hungry five seconds after a meal without it. Aim for a significant source of protein at every meal and snack. Here’s a cheat sheet of protein-rich foods:
-Greek yogurt (get full fat or 2%…no more fat free! You’ll love the creamier, sweeter taste. No need for artificial sugars or additives) 150 cal and 22g protein.
-String cheese (full fat again) 80 cal and 8g protein.
-Egg (EAT THE YOLK!!) 70 cal and 6g protein
-Tuna 70 cal and 16g protein
-Chicken and all kinds of meat 20+ g protein
-Protein shake (be mindful of those with a lot of artificial additives. I recommend MyProtein or Jamie Eason’s Lean Body for Her) 20+ g protein.
And bonus round: here’s what is “marketed” as protein rich, but actually doesn’t give you as much bang for your buck. I included calories only to give you a good look at what the protein to calorie ratio is. I don’t advocate counting calories necessarily, just a general awareness helps keep one from licking the PB jar clean. Obviously I’ve done this—multiple times.
-Nuts and nut butters. A serving size of almonds has only 6g protein with 160 calories. Natural PB runs around 200 cals and 7g protein for only 2 Tbs. Yes, that is the serving size…and no, I don’t think I’ve ever only had 2 Tbs at once.
-Hummus: 2 Tbs serving size (I know, not even enough for one pita chip) is 50 calories with only 2g protein.
- BE QUEEN OF THE FOOD PYRAMID
You remember the food pyramid from the good ol’ days when life (and eating) was more simple and carefree? Guess what? While life may be a hot mess…eating right is SIMPLE! It only gets complicated when you drown in all the information out there, from paleo, juicing, ketogenic, to gluten-free…the list goes on!
Plain and simple. Unless you’ve been tested and have a true allergy or sensitivity, there’s no reason not to eat ALL THE FOODS. Dairy is great for bone health, and packs a protein punch at any meal. Carbs are not only necessary to sustain the kind of energy we need for the hustle of our everyday, but are also really important for hormonal health https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/low-carb-and-womens-hormones#section6 . Just be sure to stick to the unprocessed kind (sweet potatoes, rice, whole grain breads, quinoa). Meat keeps your muscles happy, and we already talked about vegetables. Just keep it balanced and your mind will be happy, you’ll feel satisfied, and your body will thank you! Don’t overthink it.
Thanks for reading, until next time!
about the author
I’m Lauren, Leanna’s favorite (only) little sister. I’m so proud of her for pursuing her passion in starting this blog, and more importantly connecting with all of you! I’m a twenty-something living in NYC with my gem of a husband, chugging along in the corporate grind as a beauty marketer. While my day job keeps me plenty busy, my true love in life is all things health and wellness related.