From ruining your progress to making you feel like a failure, food cravings aren’t your friend (no matter what they say). In this article, we break down the real reasons you can’t stop over-snacking, and explain how to combine smart behavioral strategies with healthy junk food alternatives—so you can finally conquer your cravings.

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Have you ever stared at a pile of crumbs, with a belly full of shame, and wondered, ‘How did I let this happen?’

We can relate. Because almost everyone can relate.

Besides driving you to eat, cravings can drive you nuts—making you feel like an out-of-control failure who can’t keep from overindulging.

But you aren’t powerless against these urges, even if it seems that way.

The secret to winning the cravings game?

It’s not about eliminating your cravings altogether. That’s wishful thinking.

It’s not about building your willpower, either. Relying solely on self-discipline all-too-often ends with a binge (and then a whimper).

No, the way you conquer your cravings is by outwitting them.

How? By understanding why, where, and when they occur and creating a strategic action plan ahead of time.

Think of it as learning junk food jiu-jitsu.

And if you’re ready, you can start today.

Here 5 simple strategies—along with 16 delicious recipes—to help you get off the cravings train for good.

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Dig to the root of your cravings.

No one hates on themselves when they crave a salad, Super Shake, or a grilled chicken breast.

But most cravings are closely tied to junk food and have little to do with true hunger. And each time you indulge these urges you reinforce the behavior, creating a “cravings cycle” that can hijack your progress… and your sanity.

The cravings cycle works like this:

First comes the urge (the craving), followed by the behavior (finding a food that satisfies that craving). Then, you get the reward (eating the food you wanted). That last part is accompanied by a release of dopamine, giving your brain a “hit” of pleasure1.

From there it can snowball: The more often you reward your brain, the more likely it is to stimulate the craving, and the stronger that craving may become.

Find your trigger

Ever had your mouth water at the mere sight of a McDonald’s drive-thru? Or smell that movie popcorn and make a beeline for the concession stand—even though you swore you’d skip it this time?

Cravings are often brought on by environmental cues such as sight, smell, taste, location, or company. So tracking when and where your cravings occur can you help you figure out what triggers them. From there, you can adjust your environment and habits to disrupt the cycle.

Each time you experience a craving, jot down the answers to these questions:

  • What are you craving? (A specific food? A certain flavor or texture?)
  • Where are you? (Note your location, but also any smells or visual cues—like a restaurant billboard or commercial.)
  • What are you doing? (Driving? Working? Watching TV?)
  • What are you feeling physically? (Shaky? Lightheaded? Tense?)
  • What are you feeling emotionally? (Happy? Cranky? Rushed?)
  • What are you thinking? (For instance: ‘I might as well eat this… I’ve already blown my diet.’)
  • Who are you with? (Be very specific.)

This isn’t a one-time exercise. Try it for a couple of weeks so you can see what patterns emerge. And trust us, there are almost always patterns.

To make it easy for you, use this cravings journal, which takes you through the process step-by-step.

Change your patterns.

Let’s say you tend to reach for ice cream an hour after dinner every night. According to your notes, you’re not even really hungry; you’re just craving something sweet, salty, or crunchy… or maybe a combination of the three.

Or perhaps you’ve noticed that every day after your 2 pm conference call, you saunter down to the office cafeteria “just to see if there’s anything new.” (There’s not.) And you end up with a 500-calorie “treat” you didn’t need or even truly want.

You’ve just identified a pattern. Now you can disrupt the cycle with these smart behavioral strategies.

Strategy #1: Give your craving a timeout.

Yes, the strategy traditionally used with willful toddlers can also work with Rocky Road.

Notice your snack urge, and sit with it for five minutes without taking action.

This isn’t about exercising willpower. It’s about pausing just long enough to let your conscious mind say, ‘Hey, I’m in charge here!’ This gives you the chance to evaluate all your options, and make a rational decision, rather than a reactionary one.

Are you actually hungry? Or are you bored or stressed or procrastinating?

Does a steak or baked potato sound good, or is it just those donuts in the break room?

These are the kinds of questions you can ask yourself.

Granted, you may still decide to go ahead and indulge. After all, maybe you’re truly hungry. Or perhaps you’re just not having your best day. (Trigger alert.) And that’s okay.

Don’t consider this a failure.

In your efforts to break your cravings cycle, you won’t be perfect. Simply think of this as an opportunity to gather more data about your cravings, so you better understand them for next time. (And give yourself a pat on the back for taking five minutes.)

But here’s the really important part: You don’t have to choose between giving in to your cravings and depriving yourself.

There’s a space in between the two, and that’s where you can really break the cravings cycle.

Strategy #2: Choose an activity that doesn’t involve chewing.

What happens if you step away from the freezer and go for a walk, clean up your phone’s camera roll, or make a new Spotify playlist?

By immersing your mind or body in an activity long enough, you may run the urge all the way out of your system.

That’s because cravings are often psychological rather than physical. And with the exception of very strong grief or trauma, intense feelings don’t usually last longer than 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re not really hungry, the craving will likely dissipate.

You’ve probably even experienced a form of this “diversion therapy” before. Ever get so involved in a project that you actually forget to eat lunch? Or the afternoon flies by, and you didn’t even think about a snack? Same concept, only this time, you’ll do it on purpose.

Once you sense a craving, choose an activity you can really dig into, such as:

  • working on a project you’re passionate about
  • crossing an item off of your daily to-do list
  • responding to a few emails
  • calling a friend
  • playing an instrument or video game
  • shooting hoops in the driveway
  • coloring a page or two in a coloring book
  • exercising, gardening, or cleaning

Remember, you’re looking to activate and occupy your mind and/or body. So, while different activities may work better for different people, watching TV probably won’t help (and in fact, is often a trigger).

Strategy #3: Try an experiment.

Hunger and cravings tend to come in waves, rising and falling throughout the day.

It helps to understand how this feels. That’s why we often suggest our healthy clients (those without any pre-existing health conditions) try a fasting experiment. For 24 hours, they don’t eat (they’re reminded to stay well hydrated, though). Although some are afraid they’ll be “starving all day long,” that’s not usually what happens.

Yes, they get hungry. Yes, they get cravings. But these feelings come and go, and for many folks, this can be both eye-opening and empowering. In a sense, fasting forces them to “lean in” to urges, and accept “it’s okay to be hungry.”

Do they waste away? No.

Do they collapse from exhaustion? No.

Does the world end? No.

Again, this isn’t about testing your willpower or denying yourself. It’s about giving you a fresh perspective, and reducing the anxiety, discomfort, and urgency you feel the moment hunger or cravings arise.

Strategy #4: Indulge your cravings—under the following conditions.

Really craving a chocolate bar? Okay, have one. But choose a pricey, high-quality chocolate. Eat it slowly, and savor the experience. Though it seems counterintuitive, clients tell us they eat far less of the chocolate (or any craved food) this way. And research shows the same.

Or even better, try this unconventional strategy from Krista Scott-Dixon, Ph.D., Precision Nutrition’s Director of Curriculum. She tells her clients they can have any snack they want, but it has to be purchased—right before eating—from a grocery store that’s 15 minutes away.

She’s discovered that half the time, people decide it’s not worth the effort.

What about clients who do set out for the grocery store? By the time these folks arrive, they sometimes don’t even want the snack because the craving’s gone.

Precision Nutrition Master Coach Dominic Matteo has used a similar method with his clients. It goes like this:

You can eat it, but you have to make it.

That’s right: Potato chips need to be sliced from actual potatoes and cooked in the air fryer. Cake needs to be baked in the oven. Ice cream needs to freeze.

Sound ridiculously impractical? Sure, it does, and that’s the point.

It helps answer this question: How hungry are you, really? Besides, this is exactly what people have had to do for most of human history. (Sans the air fryer, of course.)

One important consideration for both of these strategies: They work a lot better if your kitchen pantry and office desk aren’t full of ready-to-eat temptations.

So remember Berardi‘s First Law (named for its originator, Precision Nutrition co-founder Dr. John Berardi):

If a food is in your house or possession, either you, someone you love, or someone you marginally tolerate will eventually eat it.

Strategy #5: Eat the right foods during the day.

Though cravings can happen any time of day, nighttime cravings and overeating are very common.

At PN, we don’t necessarily like to tell people exactly when or how many meals to eat. It’s okay whether you eat a couple of times a day or several, or if you have most of your food in either earlier in the day or later. So long as it’s working for you, it’s all fair game.

But over the years, our coaches have discovered clients who overeat at night are often restricting their intake throughout the day—knowingly or unknowingly.

For example, they might be skipping breakfast and having a salad with little or no protein for lunch. By dinner, they could be making solid choices rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, but their appetite is already in overdrive. So it’s no wonder they’re feeling snacky before bed.

What you eat during the day matters. Not so much what you eat on any given day, but what you eat most days.

Fiber (especially from low-calorie vegetables) helps fill you up, and protein keeps you full longer between meals. This makes eating a combination of these nutrients, in sensible portions at regular intervals, key for regulating appetite.

Through years of experience, our coaches have found that even small adjustments to eating habits, such as adding a daily breakfast with a healthy dose of protein and veggies—along with reasonable amounts of smart carbs and healthy fats—can help curb after-dinner overeating.

The message here is simple: If you have a voracious night-time appetite, look at what you’re eating the rest of the day. You may find if you do a better job of nourishing your body at other meals, you won’t hear that little “feed me!” voice when you’re about to brush your teeth.

Junk food alternatives: Marketing trick or healthier treat?

Answer: It depends.

“Healthy” snacking options are everywhere, from frozen yogurt to those keto-friendly “fat balls” that keep showing up on your Instagram feed.

These junk food alternatives can be helpful, but there are a couple of caveats to keep in mind.

First, these shouldn’t be your only strategy. There’s evidence2 suggesting that when people purposely choose a “healthy substitute,” they often overeat later.

So in order for junk food alternatives to be helpful—instead of harmful—they need to be used in conjunction with other strategies, like the ones in this article. Otherwise, you’re just continuing the cravings cycle with a different type of food.

Second, not all substitutes are created equal. Though they include labels like “organic,” “gluten-free,” or even “low calorie,” store-bought junk food alternatives are often made with a delicious combination of sugar, fat, and salt or other brain-pleasing ingredients.

In fact, they’re frequently manufactured to be easy to eat in large quantities. So sure, these products might be slightly better choices than straight up junk food. But they’re unlikely to help you avoid overeating when cravings strike.

But hey, it’s not all bad news.

Chosen wisely, healthy substitutes could help change your taste preferences. If you become accustomed to eating homemade, no-sugar-added ice cream, you may start to crave that instead of the store-bought stuff.

After that, maybe the next step is switching to fresh fruit when you crave something sweet. You’re still dealing with a craving, but you’re making progress toward prioritizing healthier foods.

Eventually, you may start to crave fruit itself, and in most cases, craving fruit isn’t too big of a problem for anyone.

For these reasons, choosing junk food alternatives that contain mostly whole-food ingredients, can be made at home, and aren’t extremely calorie-dense is your best bet.

Decide if you want the real thing.

Arguably, truly enjoying a full-fat ice cream in a reasonable portion beats a compulsive, automatically-gobbled pint of a “healthy substitute” that leaves you with a weird chemical aftertaste. And no matter what your goals are, you absolutely have the right to choose to indulge from time to time.

So before opting for a junk food alternative by default, decide whether or not you truly want the “real thing.” Ask yourself:

  • When was the last time you had it?
  • Are you actually hungry? Or do you just feel like eating?
  • Do you think you can eat it slowly, mindfully, and stop when you’re about 80 percent full?
  • Will you be able to feel happy and satisfied after eating it? Or are you more likely to feel guilty and regretful?

If you decide you want to eat the real thing, enjoy it. Savor it, and then move on. (And note all of this in your cravings journal.)

If you decide the real thing isn’t worth it or that you don’t really want it all that badly, go for a swap that’s both wholesome and satisfying.

And remember, not eating anything is also an option. If you’re not truly hungry, you may find doing one of the activities listed earlier helps relieve the craving.

Satisfy your craving with a healthier substitute.

Disrupting the cravings cycle is key, but it takes time and practice to master it.

And no matter how in tune you are with your appetite, emotions, and eating habits, there are going to be times when you have a craving, truly feel hungry, and want another choice.

That’s when healthy junk food alternatives come in handy.

And you won’t find better options than the 16 recipes that follow, created by Precision Nutrition Chef Jennifer Nickle.

Most of these treats can’t be whipped up in just a couple of minutes… and that’s a good thing. Because they take a little time and effort, they may even help disrupt your cravings cycle. And though they taste indulgent, they’re made with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

So go ahead: Enjoy them all… just not all at once.

Recipes: 16 junk food alternatives to satisfy your craving

If you’re craving: Chocolate…

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

prep time: 15 minutes | makes 16 servings

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 4 tbsp almond butter
  • 4 tbsp cacao powder
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth.
  2. Divide mixture equally into eight small containers. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Kraft®
Chocolate Mousse
Per serving Per serving
Calories 80 Calories 220
Carbs 10g Carbs 17g
Fat 5g Fat 16g
Protein 1.5g Protein 4g
Fiber 3g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Spicy potato chips…

Edamame with Wasabi and Sea Salt

prep time: 10 minutes | cook time: 10 minutes | makes 2 servings

  • 2 cups frozen edamame beans (in pod)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½  tsp wasabi paste or powder
  1. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add edamame and cook for two minutes.
  3. Drain and toss hot beans in a bowl with coconut oil, salt, and wasabi. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Edamame with Wasabi and Sea Salt
Miss Vickie’s®
Jalapeno Potato Chips
Per serving Per serving
Calories 80 Calories 260
Carbs 9g Carbs 29g
Fat 5g Fat 15g
Protein 7g Protein 4g
Fiber 4g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Coffee ice cream…

Espresso and Cacao Nib Ice Cream

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 8 servings

  • ½ cup pitted prunes
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brandy
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ (14 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs
  1. In a blender or food processor, blend the prunes, instant coffee, cocoa powder, protein powder and brandy until a smooth paste forms.
  2. Add the unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk in a slow stream.
  3. Add the yogurt and cacao nibs, and pulse until just combined.
  4. Freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Espresso & Cacao Nib
Häagen Dazs®
Coffee Ice Cream
Per serving Per serving
Calories 98 Calories 250
Carbs 10g Carbs 20g
Fat 5g Fat 17g
Protein 5g Protein 4g
Fiber 1g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Fudge…

Spiced Date and Almond Balls

prep time: 30 minutes | makes about 30 servings

  • 2 cups chopped almonds, divided
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½  tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼  cup warm honey
  1. Using a food processor, blend dates, figs, water, spices and one cup of the almonds into a paste, scraping down the sides as you go.
  2. Form mixture into one-inch balls.
  3. Roll each ball in honey and coat with remaining almonds.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or freeze for up to three months.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Spiced Date and Almond Balls
Eagle Brand®
Maple Walnut Fudge
Per serving Per serving
Calories 90 Calories 180
Carbs 14g Carbs 18g
Fat 3g Fat 12g
Protein 2g Protein 2g
Fiber 2g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Frozen yogurt…

Frozen Yogurt Fruit Pops

prep time: 15 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 8 portions

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup water
  1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into small paper cups or popsicle molds.
  3. Place popsicle stick into the center of each and freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Frozen Yogurt Fruit Pops
Ben & Jerry’s®
Strawberry Banana Low Fat Frozen Yogurt
Per serving Per serving
Calories 70 Calories 120
Carbs 12g Carbs 23g
Fat 1g Fat 1g
Protein 4g Protein 3g
Fiber 1g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Savory potato chips…

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

prep time: 10 minutes plus 30 minutes to marinate | makes 4 to 8 servings

  • 6 baby cucumbers, cut into ½ inch slices
  • ¼ cup rice or wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well.
  2. Chill and marinate for thirty minutes.
  3. Refrigerate up to ten days.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Lay’s®
Dill Pickle Chips
Per ½ recipe Per ½ recipe
Calories 25 Calories 270
Carbs 6g Carbs 26g
Fat 0g Fat 17g
Protein 1g Protein 3g
Fiber 1g Fiber 1g

If you’re craving: Strawberry shortcake…

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Cottage Cheese

prep time: 10 minutes, plus 10 minutes to marinate | makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
  • Sea salt, for garnish
  1. Mix together strawberries and vinegar. Let marinate for ten minutes.
  2. Top with cottage cheese or yogurt. Garnish with salt.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Cottage Cheese
Duncan Hines®
Strawberry Shortcake
Per serving Per serving
Calories 56 Calories 300
Carbs 5g Carbs 51g
Fat 1g Fat 8g
Protein 7g Protein 4g
Fiber 1g Fiber 1g

If you’re craving: A frozen margarita or daiquiri…

Watermelon “Gazpacho”

prep time: 15 minutes | makes 2 servings

  • 2 cups seedless watermelon chunks
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint (about 10 leaves)
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries
  1. Combine watermelon, sparkling water, and mint and blend until smooth.
  2. Top with raspberries. Serve ice cold with a soup spoon.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Watermelon “Gazpacho”
Frozen Margarita
Per serving Per serving
Calories 60 Calories 200
Carbs 15g Carbs 30g
Fat 0g Fat 0g
Protein 1.5g Protein 0g
Fiber 3g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Chips and onion dip…

Spiced Yogurt and Veggies

prep time: 15 minutes | makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chopped dill
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • 1 cup vegetable crudites
  1. Mix yogurt, herbs, and salt in a small bowl. Chill and refrigerate for up to four days.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with raw vegetable crudites.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Spiced Yogurt and Veggies
Ruffles®
Onion Dip & Regular Chips
Per serving Per serving
Calories 66 Calories 340
Carbs 8g Carbs 28g
Fat 2g Fat 23g
Protein 3g Protein 4g
Fiber 2g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Chocolate ice cream…

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 12 servings

  • ½ cup blanched hazelnuts
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cocoa powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 2 cups 1% chocolate milk (or chocolate unsweetened almond milk)
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chunks
  1. In a blender or food processor, puree hazelnuts, dates, cocoa powder, and salt until a chunky paste forms.
  2. With blender running, slowly add yogurt, protein powder, and chocolate milk until everything is combined; stop blender.
  3. Add dark chocolate chunks and pulse.
  4. Freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Häagen Dazs®
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Per serving Per serving
Calories 103 Calories 300
Carbs 12g Carbs 26g
Fat 4g Fat 19g
Protein 5g Protein 5g
Fiber 2g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: French fries…

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Prep time: 10 minutes | cook time: 20 minutes | makes 2 servings

  • 1 (½ lb) sweet potato, skin on, cut into ½ inch batons
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp coconut or extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread onto baking tray in a single layer.
  3. Bake for about twenty minutes, turning once, until golden brown.
  4. Let cool for ten minutes on tray before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
McDonald’s®
French Fries
Per serving Per serving
Calories 126 Calories 350
Carbs 20g Carbs 46g
Fat 4.5g Fat 17g
Protein 1.5g Protein 4g
Fiber 3g Fiber 4g

If you’re craving: Peanut butter cups…

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Pudding

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight chilling | makes 12 servings

  • 3 cups water
  • 10 dates, pitted
  • 4 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp Chia seeds
  1. Blend water, dates, peanut butter, cocoa powder, and salt in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add mixture to a large bowl with chia seeds. Whisk well.
  3. After ten minutes, whisk again. Ladle mixture equally into six small containers.
  4. Chill overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Pudding
Reese’s®
Peanut Butter Cups
Per serving Per serving
Calories 148 Calories 220
Carbs 22g Carbs 24g
Fat 6g Fat 13g
Protein 4g Protein 5g
Fiber 7g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Cookies…

Almond oatmeal cookies

prep time: 20 minutes | cook time: 10 minutes| makes 12 cookies

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup protein powder
  • ½  cup almond flour
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ½ cup almond butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl, and wet ingredients in another large bowl.
  3. Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well until incorporated.
  4. Form twelve small balls and place onto a baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.
  5. Bake for ten minutes.
  6. Remove from tray and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week, or freeze for up to three months.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Almond oatmeal cookies
Pepperidge Farm®
Oatmeal Cookies
Per serving Per serving
Calories 175 Calories 195
Carbs 10g Carbs 33g
Fat 10g Fat 8g
Protein 12g Protein 3g
Fiber 3g Fiber 1g

If you’re craving: Bar food, like Buffalo chicken wings…

Tandoori roasted cauliflower bites

prep time: 25 minutes | cook time: 25 minutes | makes 6 servings

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp store-bought tandoori spice paste
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix yogurt and tandoori paste together in a large bowl until combined. Add cauliflower and toss to coat well.
  3. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for twenty-five minutes or until dark and crispy. Garnish with lime wedges.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Tandoori roasted cauliflower bites
Perdue®
Buffalo Style Chicken Wings
Per 140g serving Per 160g serving
Calories 70 Calories 320
Carbs 8g Carbs 2g
Fat 3g Fat 20g
Protein 4g Protein 36g
Fiber 2.5g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Italian ice or sorbet…

Mango and lime granita

prep time: 1 hour | makes 8 servings

  • 2 ripe mangos
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced & zested
  1. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into a shallow tray and freeze.
  3. After thirty minutes, scrape the partially frozen mixture using a fork. Scrape again every thirty minutes until frozen and flaky.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to three months.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Mango and lime granita
Häagen Dazs®
Mango Sorbet
Per serving Per serving
Calories 40 Calories 150
Carbs 10g Carbs 38g
Fat 0g Fat 0g
Protein 0g Protein 0g
Fiber 1g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Vanilla ice cream…

Ginger, Saffron, and Vanilla ice cream

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 8 servings

  • 1 ½ (14 oz.) cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon saffron threads
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons arrowroot starch
  • ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk and add the honey, ginger, saffron, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk ½ cup of coconut milk mixture with arrowroot starch until smooth; pour back into the pot, whisking as you go.
  3. Squeeze out and remove the vanilla bean, and pour the mixture into a food processor or blender; add the yogurt and salt and slowly blend until thick and frothy.
  4. Freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Ginger, Saffron, and Vanilla ice cream
Häagen Dazs®
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Per serving Per serving
Calories 140 Calories 330
Carbs 9g Carbs 25g
Fat 12g Fat 22g
Protein 2g Protein 7g
Fiber 0g Fiber 2g

Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

References

Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

The post Conquer your cravings: Break the sinister cycle that makes you overeat. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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You know you need a good balance of proteins, carbs, fats. But how do you turn that knowledge into healthy meals that taste delicious? Just mix and match these ingredients, flavor profiles, and cooking methods to create the perfect meal every time. Seriously, this guide could change your life.

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At Precision Nutrition, it’s our mission to help clients develop healthy eating habits for life. That means:

  • Eating fresh, minimally-processed food as often as possible.
  • Including a balance of protein, veggies, smart carbs, healthy fats.
  • Adjusting portions to meet health and body composition goals.

That all sounds great. But the trick is to do it all in a way that’s super-easy and tastes awesome.

That’s where Precision Nutrition’s all-star chef, Jennifer Nickle, comes in.

Jen’s been chef to UFC legend Georges St-Pierre and to tennis pros like Sloane Stephens and Eugenie Bouchard. She’s taught some of the best athletes in the world how to eat.

And now it’s your turn.

Behold the Perfect Meal cheat sheet.

For the past few weeks Jen and I have been working together to create a cheat sheet that helps clients build amazing meals that pack in maximum flavor with minimal effort. And it’s finally ready.

Using the simple instructions in this infographic, you’ll be able to mix and match ingredients and flavor profiles to come up with literally thousands of easy, delicious, health-supporting meals.

Warning: This guide could change your life.

Download the infographic for your printer or tablet. Keep it in your kitchen or bring it along on your next grocery shopping trip. And be sure to share it with your friends.

Again, don’t forget to download or print out this infographic so you have it handy next time you want to create the perfect meal.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes — including helping them with meal transformation — is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post Create the perfect meal with this simple 5-step guide. [Infographic] Hundreds of healthy meal combinations made easy. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Organic produce, artisanal sourdough, strictly grass-fed meat: Yes, they’re ‘good’ for you… but they’re also too expensive for most people. The great news? There are foods that are both nutrient-rich and budget-friendly. In this infographic, we’ll show you five ways to eat healthy on a budget — while making your taste buds happy too.

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People who struggle to consistently eat healthier often face one or more of the following common (and very legitimate) challenges:

  • Zero time to cook or do meal prep.
  • Deeply ingrained food habits that provide a sense of comfort and routine.
  • A strong preference for french fries over steamed broccoli.

In Precision Nutrition Coaching, we have a host of time-saving, prioritizing, and palate-developing strategies to help clients overcome these obstacles.

But there’s another everyday barrier to good nutrition that can be a bit trickier to negotiate: Money.

Considering all the pressures and expenses folks are dealing with, it’s understandable that eating healthy can feel financially daunting.

Unfortunately, it’s true that fresh fruits and vegetables, lean animal proteins, whole grains, and nuts and seeds will cost you more than a diet of mostly processed and fast foods.

But it is possible to eat a very healthy diet, even when money is tight.

For this infographic, we collaborated with Community Food Centres Canada to offer five effective, real-life strategies to help you put nutritious, delicious food on the table regularly,  sometimes for just a few extra cents per meal.

The coolest part: Some of the changes to your routine may be surprisingly small — yet lead to really big benefits.

Download this infographic for your printer or tablet, and keep use it next time you’re planning meals or making a grocery list. (And coaches: Feel free to hand this out to clients who could benefit.)

 

Don’t forget to download the printer or tablet version of this infographic. Post it on your fridge or in your pantry for easy access.  (And coaches: Share these strategies with your patients/clients to show them how healthy eating can be within their reach.)

Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?

Most people know that eating plenty of fresh, whole foods is key to getting the health and body they want. But they need help figuring out how to eat that way consistently, in the context of all the other priorities and demands in their lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post How to eat healthy on a budget: 5 ways to prioritize nutrition while reducing cost. [Infographic] appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Lots of people looking to improve their eating think meal plans are the answer. The only problem? Meal plans usually suck… and they rarely last. So, instead of prescribing yet another doomed eating regimen, check out these 6 ways to transform any diet in a sustainable way.

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“Do I get a meal plan?”

This is the most common question we get from folks who are considering, or just started out in, our nutrition coaching programs.

The answer: No, we don’t do meal plans.

But we can’t blame people for asking.

Sure, meal plans have long been a staple of the fitness and nutrition industry. Coaches are taught to create them. Clients are taught to expect them.

Unfortunately…

Most of the time, meal plans don’t work.

You see, traditional meal plans are explicit prescriptions.

Eat this exact thing, in this exact amount, at this exact time.

For example, you’ll often see:

Breakfast – 7:30am
3 eggs, scrambled
1 cup vegetables
1 piece whole grain toast
1 cup coffee
1 glass water

Morning snack – 10:00am
1 protein bar
1 handful mixed nuts

Lunch – 12:30pm
4 oz chicken
2 cups salad
1 handful seeds
1 glass water

After exercise – 4:30pm
1 scoop whey protein
1/2 cup frozen fruit
1 tsp omega 3 oil
12 oz water

Dinner – 7:00pm
4 oz steak
1 cup cooked veggies
1 baked potato
1 glass water

You (or your clients/patients) might be thinking, “Good! I want a plan. I’m sick of trying to figure all this stuff out! Just tell me what to eat!”

Unfortunately, when we try to follow rigid prescriptions like this, lots can (and often does) go wrong.

For example:

Scenario 1: You just don’t stick to the plan.

No matter how enthusiastic you are, meal plans can be tough to follow.

This is normal. Life can get in the way.

  • People get busy,
  • we’re not always prepared,
  • kids get sick,
  • bosses expect you to work late,
  • it’s always someone’s birthday (or a special holiday), and
  • sometimes you just don’t feel like having a protein bar at 10am.

What’s more, even if you’ve actually paid to have someone make your plan, you might find yourself rebelling against it in subtle (or not-so-subtle) ways.

This is also normal.

Unfortunately, it means you might not get the results you hope for. For instance, a meal plan you hoped would help you lose weight could actually encourage you to gain weight instead.

Scenario 2: You follow the plan perfectly.

In fact, you follow it too well and for too long.

Most meal plans are meant to be temporary.

They’re designed to help a person get to a specific short-term goal, like dropping a few extra pounds before a wedding, learning to manage blood sugar, or cutting weight for an athletic competition.

Our bodies can usually adapt to a rigid way of eating for a short period of time.

But if you’re too strict for too long, you could wind up with disordered eating habits and lasting health (mental, metabolic, hormonal, etc) consequences.

Scenario 3: You follow the plan for a little while but it sucks.

It isn’t sustainable. It doesn’t make you feel better. It doesn’t keep you sane.

Maybe you see some short-term results (or not). But you hate living and eating this way. You never want to see another stupid piece of lettuce or 4 ounces of chicken.

Eventually, you get so turned off by the process that you regress or quit altogether. You conclude that “eating healthy” sucks.

And you miss your big chance to learn how to make healthier, more enjoyable, more lasting and real changes.

Another reason meal plans fail.

One of the biggest (yet generally unacknowledged) problems with traditional meal plans is their focus on “nutrients”.

Real people don’t eat “nutrients”. We eat food.

We eat meals, often with other people.

We eat meals that match our cultural background and social interests.

And we rarely measure things precisely.

Sure, sometimes an explicit prescription is necessary.

For instance, professional athletes or bodybuilders (in other words, people who make money off their bodies and athletic skills) use meal plans to prepare for training and competition.

A prescribed meal for someone in that situation might look something like this:

  • 1/4 cup dry oats
  • 3 oz turkey breast
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • 5 almonds
  • 1 omega-3 supplement
  • 1 cup green tea (unsweetened)

But most of us don’t need that level of surgical precision.

We don’t normally eat “ounces” of things, or refer to food by their nutrients (like “omega-3 fatty acids”).

Instead, we eat foods like:

  • hamburgers
  • tacos and burritos
  • salads
  • pasta and noodles
  • sandwiches, wraps, pitas and rotis
  • stews and curries
  • cereal and granola
  • stir-fries
  • casseroles

Bottom line: If you want to eat better, you don’t have to get weird about things.

You don’t need to weigh and measure everything, or count out your almonds.

Ask yourself: “Is someone paying me to do this?” If the answer is no, you likely don’t need this kind of approach.

You just need to think about what you’re already eating, and how you could make it a little bit better.

This means fiddling and adjusting.

Making small changes and improvements to what you already normally eat and enjoy, one small step at a time.

Think about a spectrum of food quality rather than “bad” or “good” foods.

Welcome to the meal transformation game.

When you play with the idea of a food spectrum or food continuum, you get to experiment with variables like:

  • what you eat, and
  • how you eat it.

Think of this as a game.

How can you play “make this meal just a little bit better” in every situation?

In which situations is that easier or harder?

When your choices are limited (for instance, when you’re traveling, or eating at a workplace cafeteria), how can you shoot for “a little bit better” while still being realistic, and without trying to be “perfect”?

(Hint for coaches: this is a great game to play with the people you work with.)

Let’s transform breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Here’s how that “food spectrum” might look in daily life, with a sample day of eating.

Transforming breakfast

Stage 1

Let’s say that your go-to breakfast is a whipped-cream coffee drink and a chocolate croissant.

You pick it up in the drive-thru, and wolf it down on your way to work.

This is your starting point. It’s not “bad”. It’s just no longer working for you.

You’re getting indigestion from rushing, the croissant doesn’t hold you at all, and you’ve just spilled the coffee on your crotch while changing lanes.

Now your game is to improve your breakfast just a little bit, starting with what you already have or do.

Stage 2

Your opening moves in the meal transformation game:

  • You might replace the croissant with a whole grain muffin.
  • Instead of a “dessert in a cup”, you get a regular coffee with a single cream and sugar.
  • You grab a yogurt cup on your way out of the house for a bit of protein.

Naturally, you’re still rushed and busy… so you eat your breakfast with some distractions, while scrolling through emails at work.

But this is a solid start. Well done.

Stage 3

Next level of game play:

  • You switch the muffin to granola with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt.
  • You switch the cream in your coffee for 2% milk. (Or even go right to black coffee, you meal player you!)
  • You add some colorful fruit.
  • You’re now eating out of dishes on a table, instead of out of takeout packages off the dashboard of your car.

Of course, you’re still checking out the news headlines while you eat…

No problem. We’re keeping it real.

Stage 4

Now you are seriously playing like a pro.

  • You’ve changed “rushing and panicked” to “set aside a little extra time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast”.
  • You cleverly prepped an egg frittata with veggies in advance on your food prep day.
  • The coffee’s become green tea, since you noticed that too much coffee was tweaking you out.
  • The protein plus colorful fruit and veg have become the stars of the meal.
  • You’ve discovered you really like lemon water. (WHAT? You don’t even know you anymore!)
  • You eat mindfully, feeling relaxed, while watching the sun rise.

Ahhh.

Transforming lunch

Stage 1

At this point, starting out, the idea of a sit-down lunch feels flat out ridiculous.

“Eat slowly? Who has time for that during a busy workday? Grab a burger and go!”

Another “car dashboard” meal. Another stomach ache and regret.

You decide you might want to play with this meal too.

Stage 2

To improve this meal a little bit:

  • You go to a higher-end burger place where you’re pretty sure they use real meat.
  • You get a side salad with that burger, and maybe just a few potato chips.
  • You choose a diet soda instead of regular.
  • You don’t eat in your car, but you do eat by your computer.

That’s OK. You’re progressing.

Stage 3

At this stage, you’re doing a little prep work:

  • You whipped up some burgers in advance so they are handy and ready to take to work.
  • You also grabbed some nice cheese and whole grain buns from the local market on shopping day.

For lunch, all you have to do is take your homemade burger and its fixins to work.

You still grab a diet cola from the vending machine to wash it down.

You move from your desk to the lunchroom, where you socialize with co-workers. This slows you down a bit and helps you digest and relax.

Stage 4

You’re having the burger without the bun, alongside a nice pre-prepped salad.

Instead of staying at your desk or in the office, you take a break.

You sit outside and get some fresh air while you enjoy your meal.

For a drink, water’s all you need.

Transforming dinner

Stage 1

It’s 8pm. You’ve just gotten home after an insane day at work.

All you want to do is put food into your face and zone out in front of the TV.

You can’t even imagine making anything more complicated than boxed macaroni ‘n’ cheese right now.

Ketchup and hot dogs are as fancy as it gets.

Stage 2

Same concept, but:

  • You’re adding some extra protein with the help of a rotisserie chicken leg that you grabbed at the grocery store on the way home.
  • You’ve added a side salad, just grabbing a few handfuls of pre-washed greens out of a bag.
  • You’ve whipped up your own pasta.

Work is still on your mind, and a couple drinks will take the edge off.

Stage 3

Things are getting fancy.

  • You’re upping the protein with a little more chicken.
  • You’re having a little less pasta.
  • You’ve also added a nice big salad to the mix.
  • You’ve cut the booze to 1 drink.

Plus, you’re sitting at the dinner table, instead of flopping down on your couch or standing over the sink.

Stage 4

Again, we’re playing at pro level here.

With your meal planning and prep strategies, even a weeknight dinner looks good.

  • You can whip up a delicious salad in 3 minutes flat and you have some pre-cooked quinoa on hand.
  • That rotisserie chicken is still a fast, convenient option, but now it’s got some healthy buddies.
  • You’re indulging in a single glass of good wine these days, and you take time to savor it.

Meal transformation is not about reaching perfection.

If you’re at stage 1, all you have to do is shoot for stage 2. Or stage 1.5.

If you’re in stage 2, play with getting to stage 3.

And if you’re stage 3, heck, you can stay where you are.

You might never get to stage 4. Or it might only happen at times when you’re relaxed and have a little extra time.

Stage 4 might only happen on Sunday night, whereas the rest of your week is a mix of stages 1, 2, and — if you’re super lucky — 3.

And that’s OK.

How far you progress along the continuum all depends on what YOU want, what YOU need, and what YOU can reasonably do, right now.

Over time, things can change.

Play YOUR game.

Success secret: Have a food prep ritual.

You might look at these photos and think, “How can people possibly do all that?”

One success secret: Having a food prep ritual.

The idea is simple:

Practice planning and preparing healthy food in advance.

This makes healthy eating convenient and easy.

It also makes decisions easier: You don’t have to make a choice when you’re rushed and hangry.

Your food prep ritual can include:

  • shopping (or arranging to have food delivered)
  • menu and meal planning
  • washing and chopping vegetables
  • cooking/preparing protein (e.g. cooking up some chicken breasts)
  • cooking meals in bulk (e.g. casseroles, soups, stews, chili)
  • preparing the dry ingredients for things like Super Shakes or healthy muffin mix
  • soaking grains/beans beforehand so that they’ll be ready to cook later
  • sorting foods into smaller containers or baggies
  • freezing and refrigerating food for later
  • planning healthy meals that someone else cooks (e.g. using a meal delivery service, deciding in advance what to order at a restaurant, etc.)
  • looking ahead to ensure healthy eating strategies during the next few days, especially during difficult times (e.g. a busy week, traveling, dealing with a family crisis, etc.)

Mix and match any of these to find what works for you.

Experiment with systems, skills and strategies that work for YOU and YOUR life.

The real goal of a meal plan is to stop using a meal plan.

Fit, healthy people who have a good relationship with food don’t need other people to tell them exactly what to eat at all times.

Living a fit and healthy life doesn’t require perfection, either.

If you are using a meal plan:

That’s OK.

Some people like prescription, especially if they are working towards a specific short-term goal, like cutting weight to compete in wrestling, making sure they get enough nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy, or fueling their triathlon performance.

Keep it short-lived.

Meal plans are supposed to be temporary, working towards a short-term goal.

Keep it real.

As much as possible, try to make the meal plan fit your real life, not the other way around.

If you’re a parent, a worker, a student, or anyone else living in the real world, most of your meals will fall somewhere in the stages 1 through 3 spectrum. That’s perfectly OK. Just experiment with being a little bit better, wherever you can.

Remember all goals require trade-offs.

If you want to achieve a high level of performance or exceptional body composition, understand what you are prioritizing and sacrificing.

Getting very lean, for instance, comes with costs.

Make sure it’s working for you.

If your meal plan is making you feel:

  • overwhelmed
  • anxious and fretful
  • guilty
  • regretful
  • bad
  • overly rigid and/or preoccupied with food…

or any other negative, unproductive emotion…

…and if you find that meal plans result in you:

  • “falling off the wagon”, hard
  • getting obsessive and compulsive about food
  • restricting foods and food groups, or
  • doing “all or nothing”, usually ending with “nothing”

…then consider trying another approach.

What to do next

1. Consider where you sit on the spectrum of meal “stages”.

Where’s your food game at?

What level are you playing at?

What level would you like to play at?

Given your goals and your current situation, what is realistic?

For example, if you currently eat at stage 1, your goal might be to eat at stage 2 for most meals.

Or, if you eat at stage 3 most of the time but find yourself dipping into stage 1 or 2 meals more often than you’d like, aim to stay at stage 3 a little more consistently.

(Hint for coaches: you can walk people through these questions and help them arrive at their own answers.)

2. Start small. One step at a time.

Pick one meal to transform and focus on that.

For instance, you might leave all your other meals at stage 1, and focus on getting lunch to stage 2.

Concentrate on improving that one meal each day.

Using the examples above, you might think about things like:

  • adding protein
  • adding veggies or fruits
  • eating less processed food
  • eating more nutrient-dense, whole foods
  • drinking less alcohol or fewer sweet drinks
  • drinking more water
  • eating in a calmer, more relaxed setting, and/or
  • eating more slowly and mindfully

Of course, don’t try to do all these at once.

Try just fiddling with one or two, and see which ones work best for you.

3. Add things slowly.

Once you’ve improved one meal a day, try another.

If you feel like lunch is a solid stage 2 or 3, play with moving breakfast, dinner, or snacks along the spectrum.

Or, once you’ve improved one factor in a meal (e.g. adding more protein), try another.

For instance, if you’re getting more protein, now try switching out your sugary soda for some soda water. Or adding a little more veggies.

Be patient; small steps add up.

4. Set yourself up for success.

Notice what makes it easier and simpler for you to eat better.

Then figure out how to do or get more of that.

For instance:

  • Is planning helping you? How could you do more of that?
  • Is a healthy meal delivery service making it easy? Could you set aside a little more cash to get two meals a day instead of one?
  • Is setting aside time on Sunday afternoon to cook some protein a good idea? Great, keep on doing that. Book it in your calendar.

There’s no “right” way to do this. Do what works for YOU.

5. Enjoy your meals.

Meal plans don’t usually address how you eat.

Before you change what you eat, you can also try changing how you eat. For example, you could:

  • slow down
  • breathe between bites
  • relax
  • savor your food
  • sit at a table if you can, and/or
  • use real dishes if you can.

Give yourself some time and space to appreciate those tasty concoctions you put together.

Meal time is YOUR time.

6. Work towards being your own boss.

Sometimes you might just want someone to tell you what to do.

That’s fine, and helpful, especially if you’re juggling a lot. But only for a while.

Over time, look for ways to help yourself intuitively and wisely make better choices, rather than just following the rules.

(Coaches, much more than serving up prescriptions, this is your job too: to help the folks you work with arrive at a place where they feel good about making decisions for themselves.)

Think long-term. What do you want to happen over the next few months? Year? 10 years? Do you want to be on a meal plan for the next few decades?

Today, if you were to take one small step towards the “better” end of the meal spectrum, what might that look like?

How can you start playing the “meal transformation game” today?

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes — including helping them with meal transformation — is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post Meal plans usually suck. Here are 6 better ways to transform your diet. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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