One of the most asked questions I get from my vegetarian clients is “since I don't eat meat what other protein sources can I eat to lose weight, build muscle and get flat abs”? OK here it is. First, if you want to flatten your abs let's start with these seven steps:

1. Water
Drop the sodas, lattes, sweetened juices and drink 60 to 120 ounces per day of water. Put a lemon or orange slice in it for flavor if you really need it, but water is important. Keep it at your desk; drink it in the car, at the gym, while shopping or wherever you’re at.

2.  Simple sugars
Cut them out! If you are having a craving, go with a small piece of dark chocolate. Not the whole bar! You still get some of the antioxidants in the dark chocolate and fulfill the craving at the same time.

3.  Portion Control
This is a question I get asked often as well. How much of or what size should each portion of food be? The best and easiest way to measure is with your own hand. Your protein source should be the size of the palm of your hand. Your carbohydrate source should be about the size of your fist. Your fat source should be about the size of your thumb. OK, you say wow that seems like a small amount of food. Well it probably is less than what you're used to, but hey, do you want a flatter stomach or not!

4.  Balance Your Foods
Every time you have a carb, have some protein with it. The carb raises your blood sugar and the protein lowers it back down. The key to flat abs is to keep the blood sugar level low. Eat foods that lower blood sugar or low GI (Glycemic Index) foods. Another great source for lowering blood sugar is to take an Omega Fatty Acid (OFA) supplement such as Ultra Omega Oil, Borage or Flax Oil with Omega 3, 6 and 9. OFAs also help to regulate your hormones as well so you’re not having sugar and hormone ups and downs, causing you to crave sweets.

5.  After Dinner Snacks
Try a Greek style yogurt with fruit in it. You get protein, a little fiber and a lot less sugar than ice cream or frozen yogurt. If you feel like you need a little crunch, add some broken almond or walnut pieces to your yogurt for a little extra flavor and protein.

6.  Lose the Salt!
Do not add salt to any of your food. There is enough salt in just about everything we eat. Read labels for sodium content on processed or frozen foods. You should have no more than 1,000mg of salt in an entire 24-hour period. DO NOT eat anything that has more than 300mg of sodium per serving. Salt equals bloat. Salt is yuk, throw it out.

7.  Plan Ahead
Do your grocery shopping on the weekend so you can prepare your foods for the week to take with you to work. Have some small plastic portable food containers to put your recommended portions of food in so you won't grab fast food or whatever is handy.

As I mentioned earlier, my clients often ask me about alternatives to meat protein sources. Here is a quick list of some that I really like:
There are so many great tofu recipes out there these days and they are so easy to find. Tofu is a great source of lean protein and it is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try a tofu scramble instead of eggs for breakfast this weekend.
Quinoa is called the Mother Grain in ancient Inca cooking and today it is still a staple in South American cuisine. It contains more protein than most other grains and is a great alternative to rice or couscous as a side dish. It can be added to vegetables, meat or tofu as a main dish and in stir-fry too. Quinoa is truly versatile and gives you 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per ¼ cup serving.
Smart Dog Veggie Hot Dogs
These are great for an alternative to regular beef hot dogs. They have protein without the high sodium and fat content and are a healthy snack for kids too. They taste so good kids don't even know they’re not real hot dogs.
Greek style yogurt
Greek yogurt is lower in fat and sugar and a good source of protein. Have it with some almonds for a healthy low fat snack. You can get it with fruit added for yummier flavor.
Egg Whites
Anything you use eggs for you can substitute with egg whites. Egg white scrambled or as an omelet. Use them in baking instead of eggs with the yoke. Hard boil an egg, cut it in half, take the yoke out and take it with you as the quick protein part of your snack.
Protein powder
When adding protein powders to your foods, I recommend using a Whey protein isolate powder.
Make sure it is gluten, wheat, lactose and fat free and contains at least 20 grams of protein per serving.
It also contains important amino acids for feeding muscle cells. For example I use protein powder in my morning oatmeal, (I recommend vanilla flavored) or in my fruit and protein smoothie after my workout. It can be used in baking healthier muffins or cookies and is also great for adding protein to pancake batter.
Lowfat or nonfat cottage cheese
This is another great source of protein to which so many things can be added. For example cherry tomatoes cut in half added to a serving of cottage cheese and a couple of carrot sticks makes a great snack. You can add some sliced strawberries or pineapple to your serving of cottage cheese also for another type of snack.
Low fat cheese sticks
My favorites are cheddar or mozzarella. It's a great low calorie snack with the addition of some apple slices or whole grain unsalted nonfat crackers.
Beans and legumes
I cannot say enough about beans for a wonderful protein and fiber source. How can you go wrong with these little darlings? There is a long list of healthful benefits from eating beans. My favorites and recommendations are pinto, kidney, garbanzo, black beans, all lentils, adzuki, mung, cannellini, green beans, edamame and the list goes on and on.

Remember to eat every three hours and stop eating 2 to 3 hours before going to bed and you will be on your way to flat rock hard abs. Of course there is my hellish ab workout that really kicks it up a notch too, but you would have to come and workout with me to experience that. See ya at the gym!

No comments:

Post a Comment