Welcome to week 1 of the 2017 Winter Shape Up, which begins on Monday, January 30, 2017!
(Looking for the home base Winter Shape Up page? Click here – it has answers to any questions you might have about the challenge and links to all the weekly content!)
As you know, my friend Gina and I have partnered up to bring you this fun healthy living 4 week challenge to inspire you to kick off the year on the right foot in terms of fitness and nutrition. Gina is a personal trainer, so on her site, you’ll find the weekly workouts for the challenge, including videos (which I’m also in this year – we filmed them together in beautiful San Diego). Here on mine, I’ll be sharing the weekly nutrition-focused content, which will feature regular, gluten free, and vegan meal plans – as well as quick snack ideas and some make-ahead snack recipes.
We’d love to hear how you guys are doing with this challenge! If you share updates or photos on social media, please include #WinterShapeUp and, if you have space, tag both myself (@fANNEtasticfood – follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!) and Gina (@fitnessista) so we can see!
Before I get into the plan, please remember that everyone’s nutrition needs are different and will vary based on activity level, age, gender, height/weight, and more. I am a Registered Dietitian, but this meal plan is not meant to be a substitute for personalized nutrition plans or nutrition counseling (like I provide in my AnneTheRD private practice). Above all, use this as a guide, not a concrete plan, and change it as you see fit based on your own hunger levels, preferences, and dietary needs. I’m not including specific quantities/portion sizes because of this – try to eat intuitively and listen to your body. This guide may be too much food for some of you and too little for others. If you’re getting full, save the rest for later. If the meal or snack wasn’t enough, don’t second guess yourself – listen to your body and have something else. If you’re really hungry and try to deny it, it will only lead to overdoing it later or feeling like crap. Honor your hunger, my friends. And same with the other end of the spectrum – stay mindful during your meals, and stop as soon as you start to get full. If you’re distracted, it’s a lot easier to overeat. Your body knows what to do if you just listen to it! Sound good?
A note on drinks: I didn’t include drinks in this guide, but aim to limit sugar-sweetened beverages. If you’re currently having a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, sweet tea, sweet flavored water, etc.), try to cut back by 1 or 2 drinks per week until it becomes an occasional treat vs. a daily habit. Focus on drinking lots of water (carbonated water with fruit in it is a nice sweet, fizzy alternative to soda – as is kombucha), some unsweetened tea/coffee (if you’re into it), and the occasional wine or beer, if you like.
Regarding dessert, it’s not included in the plan for simplicity’s sake, but indulgence in moderation is certainly part of a healthy relationship with food. The key is to view dessert as an occasional treat vs. letting it become an everyday habit. If you really want something, by all means allow yourself to have it and really savor it. There’s no point in feeling guilty – eating perfectly 100% of the time isn’t realistic or healthy. Just make sure that when you do indulge, it’s worth it. Choose the real thing, not a diet imitation; stay mindful and stop when you are satisfied.
To download the week 1 meal plan, please click here.
If you have any problems downloading the meal plan or see any errors, please let me know! It also includes grocery lists (including vegan and gluten free variations).
For snacks, choose a variety each day based on hunger levels. Some days you might need a snack or even two or three, while other days you might not need one at all. Focus on how you feel. Hunger levels change daily based on activity and a host of other factors, so don’t expect to feel the same every day. For snacks, just like meals, focus on a good mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fat to keep you satisfied.
To download the simple snack ideas PDF, click here. Here are some make-ahead recipes to try out this week too featuring sponsor Wild Blueberries:
- Wild Blueberry Turmeric Zinger Smoothie
- Gluten Free Wild Blueberry Chocolate Oatmeal Cups
- Wild Blueberry Energy Bars
- Wild Blueberry Biscotti Recipe
And since this week includes Super Bowl Sunday, here are some fun Super Bowl recipe ideas:
This week’s featured sponsor is the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. I discovered Wild Blueberries a few summers ago in Maine, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I throw them into my microwave banana oatmeal, my protein packed flour free breakfast pancake, baked goods, and even WILD my smoothies with them!
You may not know this, but not all blueberries are the same. Wild Blueberries have a more intense flavor, double the antioxidants and fiber, and a deeper blue pigment, making them serious nutritional superstars when compared to the regular (cultivated) ones you find in the produce section. Wild Blueberries are also smaller than regular blueberries making them great for baking and cooking.
Wild Blueberries are frozen at the peak of ripeness to lock in flavor and nutrients. Find them in the frozen section at your local supermarket – be sure to look for “Wild Blueberries” on the label and feel the bag for small, pea-sized berries. Learn more information about where to find frozen Wild Blueberries all year long. Because Wild Blueberries are frozen and full of flavor and nutrition, they are the ultimate smoothie making ingredient. Wild Blueberries is currently running their#WildYourSmoothie Recipe Contest, open to RDs and food and lifestyle bloggers, through February 10th. Learn more here.
Our Wild Blueberry friends are giving away a Wild Blueberries water infuser and a $25 gift card to Whole Foods for collecting ultimate smoothie ingredients to one lucky Winter Shape Up participant!
Comment below up to once per day (starting on Monday) with how thing are going for you during the challenge and each comment will count as an entry! I’ll randomly select the winners after the week is over and notify them directly by email. Good luck!