This year I am working to become the best me possible. For me, that not only means thinking in the most positive mindset about myself and others, but also to mold my body into the healthiest it can be. Now, I’m not saying I’m trying to get “skinny,” because I think skinny is an opinion. What is skinny to me may not be someone else’s definition of skinny. What I am working towards is overall health. Yes, I’d like to drop some weight and tone up my body, but my ultimate goal is health. I’d like to be able to walk up several flights of stairs without becoming out of breath. I’d like to be able to go out with friends and not feel guilty because that was yet another unhealthy meal for that week.
To start 2016, I have been on the South Beach Diet. The whole premise of the SBD is to get your body to readjust and to get rid of cravings towards things that harm your body. There are three phases in this diet. The first phase cuts out carbs and sugar completely. The second phase gradually adds in fruit and whole grains. And the third just has you watching your carb and sugar intake as well as portion size. Currently, I am still in Phase One. As I venture to the other phases, I will blog about them along with my favorite recipes for that phase.
Now, before you say “I could never give up carbs and sugar,” trust me that it is not impossible (I know you just met me, but I’m very trustworthy!). I love carbs of all kinds, as well as sugar. I have two guilty pleasures: Chick-fil-a and ice cream. In my small little college town, the local Chick-fil-a had “College Night” every Thursday night. With your handy-dandy student ID card, you could get fries and a drink free with the purchase of an entrée. That’s right people, a whole delicious Chick-fil-a meal for $3! So, naturally, everyone went religiously every single week. Now, you would think this would make me tired of the Gospel Bird (as its more affectionately known around my friends), but it actually made my craving for it worse! As for ice cream, I will forever and always have a love for ice cream.
So, now that you know my love for carbs and sugar, you can believe me when I say that its possible. The first couple days are hard, but as long as you keep enough snacks on hand, you can get through them. After a week, I don’t really miss the sugar or carbs. I feel so much healthier and have dropped some weight (which is always encouraging). The hardest part is being prepared with meals and snacks so that you don’t feel the need to cheat with that bag of chips, or that quick on-the-go dinner from a fast food joint. To get you started, I’m going to provide some links to recipes that I love, as well as the “approved food list” for Phase One and Phase Two.
Approved Food List: http://content.everydayhealth.com/sbd2/cms/What-Can-I-Eat-Member.pdf
This is the list of approved foods for both Phase One and Phase Two. It lists out pretty much everything you can eat, which I really like so there’s no guess work in what I can or cannot eat. We printed out the list and stuck it on our fridge to make it easy to look anything up if we had a question. Also, I don’t worry too much about portion size in Phase One. You’re going to be eating less regardless, so just eat until you feel full.
Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu: http://www.dietplan-101.com/chicken-cordon-bleu-south-beach-phase-2-recipe/
My family and I made this earlier this week and were pleasantly surprised. It does take a little effort to get it put together, but it’s totally worth it. We doubled the recipe so that we could have plenty and still have leftovers.
Almond Meal Chicken Nuggets: http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2010/03/recipe-for-south-beach-diet-friendly.html?m=1
Now this is one of my favorite SBD recipes I have found yet. I will keep making these even after I’ve moved off this diet! Just follow the directions and make sure you use a dark colored sheet pan with plenty of oil on it for them to get crispy. I normally make more bite-sized nuggets instead of the larger ones so it feels like I’m eating more. You will want to double or triple the recipe if you have more than two people in your family!
Avocado Chicken Burgers: http://laughingspatula.com/chicken-avocado-burger/
I made these today for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed them. They were super easy to make and had great flavor. I did use almond meal instead of the bread crumbs to make it Phase One friendly. The recipe says that it makes 4 burgers, but I made 8 smaller ones instead for quicker cooking.
These are really tasty! To get them to be “sugar-free”, you have to search a little to find Agave with very little sugar. They are good both with honey and agave, but for Phase One, make sure to use agave since honey has a lot of natural sugar. Also, they’re really only good day of, but they rarely last past a day in my household anyways!
No Crust Sugar-free Cheesecake: http://www.easylowcarbdesserts.com/no-carb-desserts/
Now, this was kind of a gamble when I made it, but it was actually a great, guilt-free dessert! I made the unflavored cheesecake, and it is very tasty. I would, however, only use about half a teaspoon of lemon juice and add some vanilla extract instead. If you like it kind of tangy, leave it the way it is, but if you want something sweeter, I would make those adjustments.
So there are a few recipes to get you started. Even if you don’t desire to follow the SBD, these recipes are still great, healthy meals that are totally worth it! If you have any questions about anything, just ask them in the comments section! I would love to answer any questions you have.