Food Q+A

Q+As are some of my favorite posts to read on blogs because it’s all opinions formed from experiences. I don’t want a company or a brand to tell me, “do this or that.” Instead, I love reading what works for other women and stealing others’ tips and tricks to apply to my life. I hope today’s Q+A helps you in that way… girlfriend to girlfriend.

I sent out an email on Sunday asking you to shoot back any food-related questions you had. I am taking the top 10 questions and answering them here! Read on!

1. Can you drink wine while on your meal plan? How do you balance the two??
Let’s cut to it… yes! Wine – yes! Champagne – yes! Beer – yes! Alcohol – yes! Anything you want – yes! It’s all about moderation. If there’s a week (like on vacation) or a season (like summer) that I know drinks will be a regular part of my week, I try take an enjoy in moderation approach. I’ll have a drink and be sure to alternate drinks with a full (8 oz+) glass of water.
Also, a little tip I have is to prioritize healthy eating on days I am drinking. Skipping a meal is never a good idea with alcohol but I do enjoy the drinks a bit more when I’ve had a light, healthy meal. On the other hand… if it’s one of those once in awhile wild night out with friends and the drinks are flowing, I let go and enjoy! We all deserve a night like that on occasion.
2. Do you count macros? Does your meal plan include macro counting? Why don’t your recipes give macronutrient numbers?
Not a lot of you know this but I “began” my healthy eating journey with macro counting. Well, first I just tried eating healthy then when I wanted to “take it to the next level,” I started counting macros. Counting macros is an approach in which you allow yourself a certain amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates each day. You eat accordingly to your numbers by counting the macros in all that you’re eating each day.
So, I did that. What I think is beneficial about counting macros is that you’re in a macro mindset. We have to have an understanding and awareness of what we are eating and what the macros in it are. For example, I think it’s beneficial to know “I want to eat 4 carbohydrate meals per day with about X grams of carbohydrates.” What I don’t like about counting macros is… counting. Oh my gosh, it took up so much time and I was constantly thinking of numbers. For me, it became really unhealthy and unenjoyable. 
It’s why I created the Eat Your Way Lean Meal Plan. Meal plan members you know that it takes in considerations “counting macros” without ever having to actually count a single number. That’s way more my style now. So, to answer the question… I don’t currently count macros but I eat in a way that takes it into consideration. I don’t include the numbers in my recipes because I don’t believe in focusing on that. I want to help you eat nutritiously in an enjoyable way, so I promote a different approach.
3. How do you make your favorite recipes healthier?
It’s simple… I use google! If I’m ever craving something, I’ll go search for recipes. For example, I’ll google healthy pizza and follow a recipe. That’s how I started finding healthier alternatives. Now, I have my own recipes that I’ve tweaked to make them exactly how I like them and I use the meal plan cookbook like it’s a menu haha.
If you’re new to healthy eating, this task may seem a bit challenging at first because you’re used to the original/not-so-healthy version. With time, you’ll start to recognize substitutions you can make very easily. For example, you can swap Greek yogurt for sour cream and use a variety of flours like coconut flour, almond meal and more in place of traditional flour. You can use any of my recipes to help you learn how to do this and you can just enjoy them too!
4. Have you ever had an eating disorder?
I almost didn’t want to include this question because it’s a very serious topic but I’ve seen this come up a lot. I’ve never personally had an eating disorder. I feel for all of those who have and my heart goes out to you. Brianne, an LG Sister emailed me saying, “you have so much peace and ease about food and it’s incredibly inspiring.”
When I first began blogging, I only shared workouts and fitness content. Do any of you remember those days? I literally didn’t touch the topic of nutrition. It was probably because I didn’t have a handle on it for myself. I by no means had an eating disorder but I did struggle a lot with food. I was either overly obsessed or didn’t care at all. It took me a little bit to figure out how to reach that balanced, enjoyable place. When I did, I put together my meal plan and began passionately sharing how women can get to a place where they both eat healthy and enjoy food. 
All I want to say is that if you’re not yet at that place that Brianna described, don’t give up. You’ll get there. It just takes time. Trust me… it took me a few years, but I’m “there” and it feels amazing, so keep up your hard work!
5. Do you eat snacks? What about late at night?
Eh, I’m not crazy about the word “snack.” To me, snacks are things like granola bars, crackers, etc. They tend to be low in protein and high in carbohydrates. Instead, I just call everything I eat a meal. Sometimes my meals are more “snack” like and sometimes they’re a bit more of a typical meal. Either way, I still call them a meal.
Here’s why… when I think of all my meals as meals, I am more likely to make them more balanced from a macronutrient standpoint. I shoot for protein, fat and carbohydrates at each meal (with a tiny bit of tweaking later in the day). That’s why I don’t really call things snacks. My Meal 3 is often hard boiled eggs, peanut butter and an apple (that’s more of a “snack” even though I call it a meal). My Meal 4 is my dinner and you can find a big cheeseburger, sweet potato fries, ketchup and corn on the cob on my plate.. definitely more of a meal style. Do you see what I mean?!
So, regardless of when I’m eating, I don’t call them snacks just meals. Occasionally though, I do snack at night or in the middle of the day… popcorn, nuts, cheese, etc. I just roll with it. It’s not my goal but sometimes I just snack. Think moderation and balance with snacking.
6. How do you eat healthy at restaurants?
I eat out at restaurants often! Almost daily! When I eat out, it’s usually just for a normal, healthy meal but occasionally I’ll enjoy a treat meal out. Here’s what I do:
Eating out at restaurants for a normal meal… I use my macronutrient mindset when ordering a meal. I like the meal to include protein, fat and a carb. For example, I won’t just order a big bowl of pasta. If I do eat a meal with pasta, I’ll be sure to add chicken to it. Then, here is the important part… I create my own portions. Restaurants have no sense of portion control, which is where eating at restaurants can quickly lead to weight and fat gain. But, that’s easy to solve. I almost always wrap up half my meal to take home (I even do this at chipotle!). Use the portion hand guide from the meal plan to eyeball what you should eat now and what you can enjoy later.
Eating out at restaurants for a treat… I just enjoy hehe. I like a treat meal at a restaurant because then I eat and it’s over when I leave. Sometimes when I have a big treat meal at home, it turns into a day or night of eating treats lol.  
7. Do you have any tips to eat more veggies?
Yes, it’s pretty simple… only eat the ones you like. So often, I tried to force myself to eat a veggie like broccoli because it was healthy. But, I don’t like broccoli haha. I like bell peppers with hummus. I love sugar snap peas. I enjoy cucumber slices with sea salt, garlic powder and pepper. I loveeee a side salad. Try a lot of different stuff and stock up on what you love. 
8. Is it necessary to increase calories to put on muscle and is it necessary to decrease calories to shed body fat?
Weight and fat loss as well as putting on muscle mass is not a simple calories in minus calories out type of thing. The middle of that equation has to do with our metabolism. By now you know that all our metabolisms are different, so it’s not a cut and dry answer. 
It is not necessary to increase calories to put on muscle or decrease calories to lose fat. For me, what I’ve found to work best is that for focusing on muscle goals – I am more focused on carbohydrates. I increase them a bit around my workouts to utilize them most. Similarly, but in the opposite way, when I’m focusing on leaning out, I decrease my carbohydrate intake the slightest.
9. What do you think about eating Paleo? Vegetarian? Vegan? 
When it comes to others, I encourage them to try all types of things. Vegetarian and vegan diets are often a decision made on bigger reasons than “trying to lose weight” and I think very highly of people who are passionate enough to lead a lifestyle based off what they feel is best for themselves, animals and the environment. 
As far as diets like Paleo or Atkins, I have friends who’ve had great success with those. Personally my take is that I don’t follow any plans that restrict any types of foods. Saying “no” to particular food items creates a deprivation mindset, which can more easily lead to binging. I’m about everything in moderation. That’s just what works best for me!
10. Do you limit fruit throughout the day?
Fruit is actually considered a carbohydrate, which is why this question is a question for lots of us. Carbohydrates are a macronutrient that is often manipulated throughout the day depending upon each individual’s goals. I don’t necessarily limit fruit throughout the day but I am aware of curbing my carbohydrate intake as the day goes on. I do this because carbohydrates serve as energy and I don’t require as much energy late at night as compared to earlier in the day. Bottom line… unless you’re working out late at night, your body won’t utilize the fruit/carbs as much in the evening as it would earlier in the day. What our bodies don’t utilize, they will store as fat to be used as energy at a later time. 
Each weekday this week, I’m giving away a $50 gift card to the restaurant or grocery store of your choice!
To enter today’s giveaway….
Comment you favorite treat and tag a friend on THIS Instagram post. Winner will be announced on Wednesday!

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