When Supportive Eating Gets Boring . . .

Nobody said "Supportive Nutrition" was easy. It takes effort. The good news is, once you develop the habit, it's hard to go back to any other way of eating

The basic idea is to try to get a lean protein, a starchy carb, and a fibrous carb every 3 - 3 1/2 hours. There are some very real concerns that present obstacles. Where do you find the time to prepare meals? What do you eat if you're not at home? How can you financially afford to eat that much food . . . especially when you have to shy away from the more affordable fast food options?

I wish I had a simple answer. I don't. The simple answer is, you're going to have to, through effort and trial and error, zero in on what works for you.

The first thing you should understand is that you don't have to do it perfectly. If you're seeking improvement, just strive to consistently do better with your nutrition. A few backslides are OK, provided you remain motivated to jump right back on. It's also OK to have "the best meal you can in the situation you're in." That in itself should lessen the pressure.

Here are some simple, quick, not perfect but not so bad options for those times you're not up for a chicken breast, baked potato, and brocolli:

Non fat sugar free yogurt with some low sugar granola cereal and a handful of berries. This is easily prepared at home, but also can provide a quickie meal if a supermarket is nearby.

Tuna on a whole grain pita with some lettuce tomato and sprouts. This is simple to make up at home. In fact, it's simple to mix up 3 days worth of tuna, store it in tupperware, and it takes all of 3 minutes to scoop it into pita bread, add the veggies, and wrap it up in a zip lock bag. If you're on the road, many of the Power Smoothie stores now have sandwich menus and any one of them can prepare tuna on pita bread.

Fast food restaurants that grill chicken can always provide chicken breast without mayo. Lettuce and tomato add some carb making it a fine substitute for a fully supportive meal.

Meal replacement formulas are a mainstay for every bodybuilder and fitness competitor I know. When I'm on the road, my EAT! formula Meal Replacement often makes up 3 of my 6 meals. Another option is to stock up on protein powder. If you carry a powdered serving in a zip lock bag, you can stop into any convenience store and buy some bottled water and rice cakes. There's your protein and carb.

Deli sliced turkey breast in the fridge makes it simple to whip together a sandwich, or you can tear up the slices, mix them up with some spinach, sunflower seeds, and tomato, add some balsamic vinegar and you have a 3-minute supportive salad. Lean sliced roast beef, sliced chicken breast can add variety.

Turkey jerky, if you can handle the texture and taste, can not only give your jaw a workout, but can also provide protein, and almost every 24-hour convenience store has an ample supply.

Egg whites are a great lean protein, but don't think you have to eat only hard boiled egg whites. You can always boil some eggs and make egg salad with four whites to one yolk using a mix of mustard, lite mayo, and pepper. Chop up celery and tomatoes and you have a meal. If there's time, a non stick pan can produce a very nice egg white omelet using ingredients such as mushrooms, green and red peppers, and salsa.

Nuts can supply protein, and although they are high in fat, you'll use some of the essential fats for important biological function assuming the rest of your meals are supportive. Unsalted peanuts or cashews with a handful of raisins can provide protein, essential fat, and carbs.

Seafood offers so many protein options. Grilled mahi. Broiled salmon. Sushi. sashimi. Seared Tuna steak. Steamed Shrimp. Oysters on the half shell. Mussels marinara. The imitation crab meat is usually made from pollock or haddock and is relatively inexpensive. Again, not optimal (sugar is used to modify the taste), but certainly an acceptable protein once in awhile.

The truth is, when I sit down with people who are initially frustrated by their lack of options, and we determine what they were eating prior to beginning the program, they are in fact limiting 90% of their meals to the same 8 or 9 foods. It's a mindset that tells people foods are forbidden that makes them feel limited. In reality we are limited only by our creativity and our willingness to break old habits.

If you're just starting out, don't stress over eating supportively. Do the best you can. Enjoy the cheat day. If you go four and a half hours without a meal, it's not the end of the world. If a fruit finds its way into a meal or two, it's quite alright. The trick is simply to understand what "perfection" would be, and then to land somewhere between your old habits and "almost perfect."

Note: All of my programs address Supportive Eating.  My EAT! Recipe book offers limitless options for making supportive nutrition work in the real world. [get EAT! or other supportive nutrition products through the Fitness Superstore]

If You Haven't Been There Yet:

The Foundation of Supportive Eating

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