Another Protein Boost at Starbucks!

I had so many great responses to our last post on getting your protein in while at Starbucks, I thought I’d share another tip. A great friend and committed boot camper Janis shared this tip.  Another genius way to do it!

Janis says to:

  1.  Bring in a bottle filled with unsweetened almond milk and one scoop max muscle protein.
  2. Ask for two shots of espresso on ice in larger cup and pour that in your protein shake.
  3. It ends up being only $2.50!

Janis’ version comes out to 182 calories, 3 grams carbs & 31 grams protein.
I have like 5 bottles of this in my fridge.  Again another genius way to work that system!


Another Quick Protein Tip

Yesterday I posted about how you can have your protein and get a fun luxury treat at Starbucks.  Well today I wanted to share a quick idea for protein powder.  I get my protein powder at Max Muscle in Springfield. I’ve posted different ways to use it too – baking it into cookies and pancakes. But my friend Kira shared with me that I could use a half of a scoop in my greek yogurt to cut the bitterness of the yogurt. Genius!

If you use 1 cup of non fat plain greek yogurt and 1/2 scoop of your protein powder you have: 

190 calorie snack with 10 grams carbs, 0 grams fat, 35!! grams protein, and 8 grams sugar!!!

Another option is to add 1/2 scoop of protein powder to 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (I like 1% fat)

140 calories, 8 carbs, 2 grams fat, 23!! grams protein, and 5 grams sugar.

So try out a new way to use that protein powder. Bump up your protein intake in in an easy peasy way!

Thanks for the idea Kira! And stop by Max Muscle to find the protein powder that works for you!!

Sugar Strike Challenge – Day 5

sugar challenge day 5Our FINAL DAY!

I want to end the challenge by talking about things we can eat. Two things I want you to consider adding into your diet to help with taking the sugar OUT of your diet.

1. Protein. Protein keeps you fuller longer because you digest it slowly. Also, protein doesn’t make your blood sugar spike the way sugar does. Pick proteins like lean chicken, low-fat yogurt, eggs, nuts, or beans.

2. FAT – Yep. You read that right. One way to beat sugar cravings is to be sure you are getting some good fat in your diet. The good fats in your diet trigger the same area of the brain as the “not so great” carbs like treats, lattes, muffins, cookies, and cakes. So be sure you have some avocado, coconut oil, peanuts, nut butters (in moderation) to help FIGHT THE CRAVINGS.

If you struggle with sugar cravings at night -try adding in a bit more protein and fat to your dinner! Tell me one protein and fat you are going to eat at dinner tonight!
Bonus info:

Sugar is sugar is sugar. I want to go back to the beginning of this series….I wasn’t eating candy bars but my body couldn’t process the sugars I was consuming in even natural foods (potatoes, fruits etc) Also making my own treats at home still had sugars in them. Honey, brown sugar, and cane juice may sound healthy. But sugar is sugar. Whether it comes from bees or sugar cane, it can cause your blood sugar to rise. Honey and unrefined sugars are slightly higher in nutrients, but their calories still count.

Here are a few places sugar can surprise you: Watch out friends and read your labels!
1. Pasta sauce
2. Cereals and crackers – obviously this one surprised me with my 20 grams in my cheerios :/
3. Fat free salad dressings
4. Smoothies
5. Yogurts
6. BBQ Sauce
7. Ketchup
8. Dried fruit
9. Packaged fruit (canned)
10. Fruit flavored instant oatmeal

HEY FRIENDS – what kind of results did you see this week? I know some of you have seen the scale move a bit and some less bloating right? Share with us!

Sugar Strike Challenge – Day 4

sugar challenge day 4Day 4 – Quick Tips

Ok we’ve talked about how to identify sugars, how to set realistic goals, and foods we can grab when the cravings strike. Now let’s look at some quick tips and tricks we can start implementing in our daily nutrition to help with sugar cravings.

1. Avoid trigger foods. If you know something makes you crave sweets – don’t eat it. I have trouble after Italian food…I always want chocolate so when I do have Italian food, I have a good 2 ingredient cookie on hand to fight the craving.

2. Of course prep healthy snacks in advance so you can fight it.

3. Try to fight the craving with fresh fruit – the natural sugars are better than added sugars.

4. Avoid artificial sweeteners (I’m working on that…) but they do trigger a craving for more sweet food because they are actually sweeter than normal sugar.

5. Try drinking water first and see if that helps.

Ok today tell me one practical habit you can start implementing to help!

Sugar Strike Challenge – Day 2

sugar challenge day 2Day 2 – Cutting Down on Sugar

Today let’s chat SPECIFICS. Maybe you’ve been tracking and you are shocked (like me) about how much sugar you do actually get in a day.  Let’s talk about some very proactive ways you can start cutting down the amount of sugar I your diet.


  1. Give yourself time.  Although going cold turkey may work for some people, most people need time and a plan.  Give yourself a sense of empowerment – believe that you can do this. And then start working on a plan that is realistic for you.
  2. From your tracking – can you tell your #1 source of sugar?  Start there! So if you are getting three frappucinos a week – cut it down to one. If you are drinking a soda a day, try to make it every other day.  If you have a yogurt you eat that is heavy on sugar, try replacing it with a lighter option.
  3. Eat more real food. WE talked about this yesterday – the shorter the ingredient list, the less chance of added sugars.  Want to know the ingredient list on an apple? Apple.  So replace some of your processed foods with real food or food you make yourself so you know exactly what is going in it!
  4. Sleep – did you know when we are sleep deprived we crave more sugary carb foods?  So bump that sleep back up and see how you feel!

Today’s challenge:  choose one PRACTICAL thing you are going to do to help with sugar cravings.


Sugar Strike Day 3

sugar challenge day 3Day 3 – 16 Foods that are Low in Sugar

Today I want to give you a very practical list of 17 foods that are low in sugar. NOW that doesn’t mean you can consume huge amounts of watermelon (remember from day 1 that is what got me in trouble!) but it can help you if you are fighting the cravings something fierce. (Read: better than coffee crumb cake 😉 )

Check this article out for an awesome list on “craving buster” foods.

Today’s challenge: pick ONE food you are gonna stock up on to help with the cravings!

Also if you are craving sugar/fruit I though this chart might help too. It just shows you the general break down of sugars in our favorite fruits. So if you are watching your intake, choose wisely from this list.

sugar in fruit part 1

Original chart taken from

Sugar Strike Challenge – Prep Day

I have become convinced that as we age our bodies just can’t process that sugar as much. We need to focus on exactly WHAT we are putting in our bodies to fuel our day.  And as much as I hate to say it – I was consuming too much fruit. Yep.  I said it. FRUIT IS AMAZING and it is packed with nutrients and if you have to choose between a snickers bar and fruit – CHOOSE FRUIT. But – I was eating way too much of it along with other sugars and carbs and my body couldn’t process.  It was impacting the results I was seeing from the amount of time I spent working out. So I entered into a sugar challenge and I’m challenging you too!

So this week I want us to think about YOUR sugar consumption. If you aren’t seeing the results you wanna see, study along with me this week so we can diagnose some of your intake and see if we need to adjust.

Disclaimer: am I saying I never eat sugar? NO. Now that I have reached a weight I want to maintain, I do add in sugars here and there. I am NOT about deprivation but I am about moderation and finding a good balance for your body.

What I want to do today is set a goal for our sugar intake. Now listen – I think we should read labels. Labels are good. BUT I don’t’ have a ton of time so I would STRONGLY recommended using My Fitness Pal for this. If you don’t have the app – GET IT TONIGHT BEFORE WE START. You can add EVERYTHING you eat in there and it will figure up sugars for you and tell you how you did based on your dietary goals.

This can get confusing ok? Because labels don’t really distinguish between added sugar and natural sugar. Now, the World Health Organization recommends only 5% of our daily caloric intake come from added sugar. So that means if you are on a 2000 calorie diet you multiply by 5% and then divide by 4 to get how many grams you can have a day of ADDED sugar (25 grams).

That does not include NATURALLY occurring sugars like those found in fruit and veggies.

Currently, MyFitnessPal’s sugar recommendations are based on 15% of total calories coming from sugar, which is based on recommendations to increase fruit and vegetable intake in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines as well as sample menus representative of a healthy diet free of added sugars.

So if you are on a 2000 calorie diet, multiply by 15% and then divide by 4 – you can have 7 grams of sugars.

On a 1650 calorie diet – about 62 grams of sugar total.

You can look at your food log and see really – for instance if I eat a banana it has about 14 grams of sugar – that is a naturally occurring sugar.

My Starbucks Skinny Latte has 16 but those are mostly added sugars (there ain’t nothing too natural in there).

So my best recommendation is to use MFP and track it. I’m going to track with you (I was over by 50 grams yesterday!)

The basic point – sugar is sugar. Your body processes it the same. Yes we need some sugars in our diets from fruits and veggies but even those needed to be accounted for. I was wrecking my diet by filling it with sugar (even sugar from grapes and watermelon). My body just couldn’t process it. So this way – we are tracking it all!

So today figure out the recommended grams of sugar for your diet (and if you need more help figuring that out – let me know).


Sugar Strike Challenge – Day 1

sugar challenge day 1Day 1 – Sugar 101

Let’s go back and dive more into the natural and added sugar idea.

  • Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose).
  • Added sugars include any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to your food or drink during the preparation.  Added sugars (or added sweeteners) can include natural sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar and honey as well as other caloric sweeteners that are chemically manufactured (such as high fructose corn syrup).

The confusing part is, you can’t tell easily by looking at the nutrition facts panel of a food if it contains added sugars. The line for “sugars” includes both added and natural sugars. Naturally occurring sugars are found in milk (lactose) and fruit (fructose). Any product that contains milk (such as yogurt, milk or cream) or fruit (fresh, dried) contains some natural sugars.

Reading the ingredient list on a processed food’s label can tell you if the product contains added sugars, just not the exact amount if the product also contains natural sugars.  sugar namesSo if you see any words that indicate sugar, you know the product has added sugars in it and you might want to find an alternative, or limit the amount of it you’re eating.


Take a Dannon low-fat Greek yogurt with strawberries, for instance. The nutrition label says it has 19 grams of sugar, but there’s no way to tell how much of that comes from the naturally occurring sugars in the milk and the strawberries, and how much comes from added sugar meant to make it taste sweeter.  In the case of the Dannon, sugar and fructose are both listed as ingredients — so you can safely guess that a good portion of those 19 grams of sugar are added.  Also WHERE the ingredient is listed is important – the ingredients with the higher quantities are towards the beginning of the list and the quantities go down towards the end.


So today – it is a good day to start looking at labels and seeing

  1. How many grams of sugar (because remember we want to track that and keep it at 15% of our daily calories)
  2. How many we think may be added.

Note:  the more you eat REAL food the more NATURAL sugars you get and you don’t have to worry about it.  For instance, if you are eating apple, bananas, and veggies – you know the sugars there are natural and nothing is added. The more processed food you add to your diet, the more you have to wonder about this.  So eat as close to nature as possible.

Today’s challenge:  Eat at least 2 items that are completely clean/natural (i.e. not processed).

Ideas: fruits, veggies, eggs, lean protein. Can you replace at least ONE snack with a totally clean food?

Want a visual representation of the sugars in our diet?visual of sugar