Crowd it out- Eat more crave less
Last week a client asked me about my healthy eating habits and when I feel my absolute best. After pondering this question in bed (that's when I have all of my epiphanies), I narrowed my answer down to one easy phrase, "crowd it out". This is a term that I originally heard at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, while getting my degree in holistic nutrition. This concept refers to the idea that, "by eating more vegetables, fruits, and other nutrient-dense foods, your cravings for less healthy foods will naturally diminish." In my case I am primarily talking about veggies, though I eat at least one piece of fruit and one serving of grains almost every day. In my version of "crowding it out", instead of feeling restricted to cut calories or "diet" you are able to indulge in as many vegetables as you desire without fear or the shame of overeating. When you fill up on delicious veggies, your stomach tells your brain to stop eating and forgets that it may have originally been craving sweet or salty snacks. By munching and crunching your hunger away on veggies, you naturally end up eating less, feeling full and energizing your body. Personally, I love to eat and was never one to control my portions very well. By "crowding it out", I naturally trick my body to feel full without ingesting the empty calories that exist in all processed foods. Refined carbohydrates and sugars have no nutritional value, so your body continues to stay hungry even if you have already eaten a calorie dense meal. Once you incorporate greens into at least two meals a day, you end up eating less and feeling more satiated. After following this regimen for the past couple of years I continue to feel energized throughout my day, (even while teaching Pilates and raising a baby), I'm naturally loosing weight and my skin has never looked so smooth (except when I was pregnant, haha). I look forward to my meals and plan my veggie-heavy menu ahead of time. Below are some of my favorite and easy ways to incorporate greens into your meals. Always look for organic or pesticide-free produce to ensure that you're reaping all of the veggie's nutritional value. Use my ideas and being making meal plans of your very own, munch away and enjoy!
1. Add protein to any large salad: Adding a protein to an entree salad can feel more substantial than just eating veggies alone. Choose a protein that satiates your palate...beans, fish, poultry, red meat, or even an egg. Switch it up daily to keep the salad exciting and your taste buds stimulated. If possible, opt for organic, grass-fed, hormone-free or all-natural proteins.
2. Side salad please: Choose a salad as one of your sides when eating out. Staying home? Toss some greens with a little olive oil and vinegar, or olive oil and lemon. Some breakfast restaurants will even let you switch out your toast for a side salad. Want a little more substance? Add avocado to your salad.
3. Stir-fry: Want a hot meal? Combine your favorite veggies in a pan with soy sauce, bean sprouts and sesame seeds to create your own stir-fry.
4. Appetizer salad: Going out to dinner or entertaining? Start your meal with an seasonal salad. Choose greens and vegetables that are in season. Starting with an appetizer salad will hopefully keep you from eating the entire bread bowl.
5. To go salad: On the run? Find a salad that you enjoy from a local restaurant and make it a weekly staple. Right now I'm obsessed with the Le Pain Quotidien, lentil and avocado salad. I probably eat two a week.
5. Create a veggie bowl: Mix and match all your favorite cooked veggies and put them onto a serving of brown rice or quinoa. Add your favorite sauce, such as tahini, Sriracha, or teriyaki and taste the complimentary flavors.