#Whole30 Restaurant Tips & Snack Suggestions

Just a few more days and this diet will be a distant memory. It’s been pretty rough on me. The first week I was hungry all the time…so I upped my portion sizes and added more meat to my diet. Then my stomach started to retaliate. Now I’m back to being hungry all the time. Sugar cravings haven’t stopped at all…in fact they’ve only gotten worse with time. To be honest, that’s exactly why I don’t believe in elimination-type diets like this. When you completely eliminate something you love, it will only make you binge on it later. I did this diet as an experiment but it’s failed pretty miserably.

Despite my misery and all of the issues that I’ve experienced, I continued to stick it out. I came up with some snacking suggestions to beat hunger, while staying #whole30 compliant. I also figured out what to eat at certain restaurants…should you be going stir-crazy and want a break from the kitchen.

Now the rules for #Whole30 state you aren’t supposed to snack…but that’s impossible. There is no way you can survive eating just the 3 measily meals..especially if you workout. So, I’ve come up with some suggestions to conquer your hunger and keep you fueled all day long.
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  • Larabars – these bad boys have saved me. They say to not eat them except for emergencies however if you get the fully compliant ones (cashew cookie is a perfect example) you should have no issues.
  • Monkey salad (comprised of nuts, sliced banana, and coconut chips.) I found that this is perfect to fuel a workout.
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  • Frozen blueberries with coconut chips
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  • Apple slices with cinnamon
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  • Apple slices and frozen blueberries
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Now, just because you are on this crazy diet doesn’t mean you can’t go out and enjoy life with friends and loved ones. I’ve found that going out breaks up the monotony of what I normally cook and eat…and someone else does the dishes! Below you will find some suggestions I have for eating at restaurants on this diet.

  • Look at the salad options first. More often than not, these are gigantic portions and contain mostly compliant foods. Carefully view the ingredients and after you make your selection, order the salad with oil and vinegar on the side.
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  • Turkey burgers (or regular if you can eat them) – order them off the bun (obviously) with a side salad or baked potato. Sweet potato fries may also be okay if you know the restaurant to not deep fry them. If you don’t know, ask!image

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  • Look for grilled meats and fishes then order a vegetable or sweet potato on the side. Virtually every restaurant under the sun will offer this option. While it may not be the most exciting…it is definitely compliant. Just make sure no butter is used and you should be good to go.
  • Omelettes – This is one of the best options I feel. You can order egg white omelettes and often get just about any vegetable in it. AND they almost always come with home fries. win-win. Just make sure that they don’t use butter or milk in the eggs and you’re in the clear 🙂
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  • Diners seem to offer the easiest solution. They have huge menus with endless possibilities. Be cautious and ask questions
  • Ladies and gentlemen…CHIPOTLE! They offer a glorious salad option – stay away from the cheese and you’re set! Also, you can ask them to add a little extra chicken and they usually will for no extra charge…especially when they see how little is in the bowl.
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    •Last (and most important): No matter which restaurant you choose…always ask your server questions! Their job is to provide a service. You are on a special diet and most times the restaurant will do whatever it takes to accommodate you. You could even call ahead and ask the questions prior to your visit if that makes things easier.

    Whether you’re doing this diet or just trying to eat healthy, give it your all. This diet has been really hard on me physically but I’m not giving up. I promise to write a full review (warning-it won’t be pretty) once it ends later this week. Work hard, lift heavy, and NEVER QUIT! After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

    Stay strong & stay in the fight!

    -Gina
    TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

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    Gather ‘Round the Dinner Table

    Dinner just may be my favorite meal of the day. There’s so many options and so many different foods to enjoy. Being on the #Whole30 diet hasn’t changed that. In fact, I’m learning to appreciate the beauty in all of the colorful foods that are compliant on this diet 🙂

    I try to make enough at dinner to yield me leftovers at lunch. If that isn’t possible, I usually make my lunch while I’m making dinner to save time. Since grains are not allowed and I’ve been eating sweet potatoes earlier in the day, dinner always consists of a protein and vegetables. A lot of vegetables. I have also been on a balsamic kick since starting this diet. I had no idea that you could use it to make SO many things taste amazing!

    As with my breakfast plan, these recipes all serve one but I am more than willing to assist you in making these recipes work for you and your family.

    Tilapia Bruschetta
    1-4 oz. Tilapia filet
    1/2 can of diced tomatoes
    Italian seasoning
    Black pepper
    Paprika
    Pinch of salt
    Crushed red pepper flakes
    Garlic powder
    Parsley

    • Begin by drizzling olive oil in a small pan; heat on medium-high
    • Season tilapia with pinch of salt, black pepper (to taste), a drizzle of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of paprika for color.
    • Place in pan.
    • Cook for 5 minutes then flip for another 5.
    • While that cooks, grab a small pot. Place diced tomatoes, pinch of salt, red pepper flakes (to taste), and Italian seasoning in pot and place over medium heat.
    • Remove fish from pan and top with sauce. Serve alongside your favorite veggies and enjoy 🙂
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    Tilapia Over Italian Stirfry

    *I make this all the time. When I’m not doing the #Whole30 I place fish over brown rice and serve with asparagus.*

    Balsamic Glazed Chicken Cutlets
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    1- pound (or a package) of chicken cutlets (or a 4 oz. chicken breast)
    Balsamic vinegar
    Olive oil
    Black pepper, to taste
    Italian seasoning
    Pinch of salt

    • Begin by drizzling olive oil into a grill pan and placing on medium-high heat.
    • Season chicken with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning.
    • Place chicken into pan and season the other side.
    • Cook for about 5-7 minutes (for the cutlets; about 10-15 if it’s a whole breast) and flip. Cook through.
    • Once chicken is just about done, add balsamic vinegar. Flip chicken to completely coat. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
    • Remove from pan and serve over salad or alongside your favorite veggies!

    Grilled Eggplant
    *this recipe can serve 4…or yields many leftovers!*

    1-medium eggplant
    Olive oil
    Italian seasoning
    Black pepper, to taste
    Pinch of salt

    • Begin by peeling the eggplant and slicing into 1/4-inch thick slices.
    • Drizzle olive oil into a grill pan and heat on medium.
    • Season eggplant slices with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
    • Place slices in pan, seasoned side down. Season the other side. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes and flip. Cook through and remove from pan.
    • Continue this until all eggplant slices are cooked.
    • Serve alongside other veggies or as a side dish with chicken. Enjoy!

    Spaghetti Squash:
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    1- medium spaghetti squash
    Olive oil
    Pinch of salt
    Black pepper, to taste

    • Begin by preheating oven to 400 degrees and lining a baking sheet with foil.
    • Slice the squash length-wise; scoop seeds out of middle and discard.
    • drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
    • Place both halves cut side down onto baking sheet and place in oven.
    • Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until fork tender.
    • Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
    • Using a fork, shred the inside of the squash, making “spaghetti”
    • Top with your favorite sauce and enjoy!

    Sides:

    Brussel Sprouts:
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    These have a terrible stigma. I saw a bag of frozen sprouts in Trader Joe’s for only $1 so I took a chance….and it changed my life. They are phenomenal! Here’s how I cook mine:

    1/2 bag of frozen sprouts
    pinch of salt
    black pepper
    drizzle of balsamic vinegar
    drizzle of olive oil

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees; cover baking sheet with foil.
    • Place sprouts on sheet; season with salt and pepper and drizzle the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss to coat evenly.
    • Bake sprouts for approximately 20 minutes, or until fork-tender.
    • Remove from tray and serve alongside chicken or other veggies

    Kale Chips:
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    1/3 bag of kale (I use the one from Trader Joe’s)
    Olive oil
    Pinch of salt
    Black pepper, to taste

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
    • Spread kale onto baking sheet. Drzzle with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
    • Bake for 15 minutes, or until crispy.
    • Serve as a snack or alongside your favorite protein dish.
      **I tend to use frozen veggies most often but frozen kale WILL NOT work for this. Trust me…its not pretty.**

    String Beans: These are an absolute staple for me. Since being on this diet, I’ve eaten them every day for lunch and many times I also eat them for dinner. They are extremely versatile and I prepare them in many different ways. Some examples of this are: balsamic glazed, steamed and seasoned simply, and Italian style (with diced tomatoes). Typically I buy a bag of frozen whole green beans and go from there. They take hardly any time to cook and are delicious!

    Italian stir fry: I wrote a blog on this a couple of months ago however it’s worth mentioning. I basically call anything with zucchini and tomatoes my Italian stirfry 🙂 Depending on what I have available, I add things such as peppers, mushrooms, and diced eggplant to that mix. This is a quick and tasty addition to your dinner table.

    I hope this has been helpful. I will continue to post new recipes as they come to me. This diet isn’t easy and it may eliminate many of your favorite foods. However, that doesn’t mean you have to eliminate flavor. Spice things up and make them look pretty and you won’t even miss some of that other stuff 🙂

    Stay strong & stay in the fight!

    -Gina

    TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

    My Whole30 Breakfast Plan

    Breakfast has been one of the bigger struggles for me. I’m used to having oatmeal or a yogurt everyday…and both of these are no-no’s on the Whole30 diet. I’m also used to having coffee creamer or some flavor in my coffee…which is also not allowed. So I’ve had to adapt. Since beginning this diet, I’ve been eating eggs most days. I’m used to only eating egg whites but I’ve had to incorporate the yolk as well to make it more filling. I also have learned that you must incorporate some sort of meat or vegetable into your breakfast or else you will be starving all day.

    The best part about these recipes is that they all take 15 minutes or less to prep and cook. I make all of my food the night before so I can grab it and go to work. They can all be easily microwaved and all taste just as great the next morning. All of the recipes seen here serve one, as I cook for myself. However, I can certainly assist you with expanding whichever recipe to feed more.  Feel free to ask if you have any questions or comments. Bon Appetit 🙂

     

    Scrambled Egg with Sweet Potato Hash

    1-large egg

    1-small sweet potato

    Black pepper, to taste

    Pinch of salt

    • Begin by grating the sweet potato. Toss shredded potato with black pepper. Take a paper towel and drizzle some olive oil on it; rub oil onto a small pan.
    • Add shredded potato to pan and place on medium heat. Cook for approximately 5 minutes then flip. Continue this until cooked through.
    • Crack the egg in a bowl, add salt and pepper (I also had a pinch of parsley) as well as a drop of water. Poke the yolk and scramble egg with a fork. Set aside.
    • Remove potato from pan and add egg mixture. Let it set for a bit then flip eggs in pan. Cook for a total of 3 minutes. Lay egg over potato and enjoy 🙂

     

    Egg in Avocado

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    1-egg

    ½ avocado

    Black pepper, to taste

    Pinch of salt

    Lemon or lime juice (to drizzle over avocado)

    • Begin by preheating an oven to 400 degrees.
    • Slice a medium avocado in half. Using the half without the pit, drizzle lemon or lime juice on top. This will help prevent browning. If using a large egg, scoop a little extra avocado out of the center.
    • Place avocado in a baking dish, such as a ramekin. Crack egg into avocado hole. Add salt and pepper.
    • Bake for approximately 20 minutes (I don’t like runny eggs so I cook until the yolk is firm, however you can cook for less time if you like it that way).
    • Remove from oven. Serve alongside fruit or sweet potatoes and enjoy 🙂

     

    Scrambled eggs with leftover turkey “chili”
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    2-eggs (one whole + one egg white)

    approximately 1 cup of leftover turkey chili (no sauce)

    black pepper, to taste

    pinch of salt

    pinch of parsley

    • Begin by cracking an egg into a bowl. Take the second egg and separate the white from the yolk; add the whites to the egg in the bowl. Add a drop of water, salt, pepper, and parsley to the bowl; scramble together.
    • Take a paper towel, add a little olive oil and rub onto a small pan. Heat pan on medium and add egg mixture. Cook for a total of approximately 3 minutes, stirring around throughout to cook evenly. Set eggs aside to cool.
    • *When I made turkey chili, I made sure to take about half of the meat and peppers out of the pot before making the sauce for it. I then portioned that half out and used it for two days worth of breakfast.
    • Take your leftover “chili” out of the fridge. Once eggs are completely cool, add to “chili” and place back in fridge for your morning breakfast.
    • **If you are making this to eat right away, reheat meat prior to cooking eggs. Set aside, cook eggs, and pour eggs over the meat.

     

    Strawberry Smoothie

    *This shouldn’t happen everyday but once in a while it’s a nice addition to break up all of the savory foods.*

    approx. 1-cup of frozen strawberries

    1/3 cup of light coconut milk

    1 tbsp flax seeds.

    • Place all ingredients in a blender. Add water if needed. Blend and enjoy along side a banana.

     

    Coffee
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    This is where I thought I would struggle most. I love my coffee creamer and sweet flavors from Dunkin and Starbucks. However, I found that canned coconut milk is creamier and slightly sweeter than what I was used to. I add about 1/3 cup of light coconut milk, which is the serving size…and while it sounds like a lot, trust me you will need it! I also add a pinch of cinnamon. Somehow that’s a fake-out to making your mouth think you’re having something sweet. Anyway, this has actually been working really well for me and I don’t really miss the extra sweetness in my cup of Joe. I even found you can alter your favorite Starbucks drink with it! I got a Grande Americano, black then I went home added the coconut milk and blended with some ice. Topped that with the pinch of cinnamon and boom—Coconut Blendicano 🙂

    Water: I’m making a point to add this. I have a bad habit of forgetting to drink during the day. I don’t really know why or how it happens but I do. I’ve found that the more water I drink early in the day, the less hungry I am as the day goes on. I didn’t invent that theory but I figured out how true it was when I was starving during the first few days of this diet. So, it may not be the most exciting beverage and you may already know to do this…but be sure to get at least your 8 glasses in while doing this diet.

     

    This diet, like everything else on this journey, is extremely hard. Remain focus and remember why you started. It may not get easier but you will feel so much stronger for doing it. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

    Stay strong & stay in the fight!

    -Gina

    TheFight2Befit@gmail.com

    Whole30 – Week One Recap

    As of today, week one of this Whole30 experiment is officially in the books! I’m not going to lie…this diet is much harder than I thought it would be.

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    I have been really strict with this and really following all of the rules. I thought coffee would be my biggest hurdle..seeing as I can only put coconut milk in it. However, that hasn’t been an issue. My biggest problem at first was with hunger. I’m used to eating small portions multiple times a day. Well I realized with this diet portion sizes go out the window. I can’t speak for everyone on that…but since I am unable eat some of the bigger, more filling foods I have to bulk things up a bit. I started using MyFitnessPal again to track everything and I was horrified to learn I was hovering around 700 calories…by the day’s end! 

    Enough was enough so I decided to play around with adding more protein (ground turkey and chicken) to my breakfast and lunch, respectively. I also bulked up my portion sizes and added more fruit. This seems to have really done the trick…however now I’ve caused another issue. My IBS is on fire! My guess is that it’s being caused by my significant increase of fiber. Either way, this experiment won’t work unless I nip that in the bud.

    Here’s how my diet looked week one:

    Breakfast: egg with avocado (most days, a couple of days were just egg whites), egg with sweet potato hash, strawberry smoothie* and banana, egg white omelette with asparagus and home fries, egg with sweet potato hash and ground turkey. Coffee with coconut milk and pinch of cinnamon.

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    Lunch: tuna with avocado, chicken burger with avocado and string beans, string beans and sweet potato, string beans with eggplant, a chicken tender and a small salad, mixed veggies with small salad.

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    Dinner: tilapia with veggies, chicken cutlets with warm kale salad, chicken burger with Brussels sprouts and string beans, chicken breast with brussel sprouts and string beans, turkey chili with warm kale salad, chicken with kale chips.

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    Snacks: apple with cinnamon, grapes, cantaloupe, banana, almonds, larabar.

    Despite severe sugar cravings and IBS flare-ups, I’ve actually managed to lose weight this week. While that wasn’t my goal…its always nice to see!

    Week two I will be focusing on curing this IBS mess that I created. I will be limiting my intake of high fiber veggies and to continue these new eating pattern. Hopefully with all of this, I will feel better and have more energy to get back to my workout regimen.

    I will be posting some of my recipes later this week. If you are interested in anything you see above or have a request, feel free to let me know 🙂

    Until then…stay strong and stay in the fight!

    -Gina
    TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com