Welcome to week 1 of the Winter Shape Up, which begins on Monday, January 26, 2015! (Looking for the home base Winter Shape Up page? Click here – it has the answers to any questions you might have about the challenge and links to all the weekly content, too!)
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. Here on mine, I’ll be sharing the weekly nutrition-focused content, which will feature quick and easy recipe ideas for your meals and snacks.
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, 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 with it or see any errors, please let me know! It also includes grocery lists (including vegan and gluten free variations). A big thank you to my dietetic intern Jackie for her help in putting these together for you guys!
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 a simple snack ideas PDF, click here. Here are some make-ahead recipes to try out:
- 5-Minute No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars
- Whole Wheat Carrot Cake Muffins
- Cinnamon Raisin Almond Balls
- Healthy Deviled Eggs
And since this week includes Super Bowl Sunday, here are some fun Super Bowl recipe ideas!
Please say a big thank you to our Winter Shape Up sponsors for making it possible to offer this challenge to you guys for free!
This week’s featured sponsor is Cabot Creamery, maker’s of the World’s Best Cheddar and a personal favorite of mine, too! They are owned & operated by 1,200+ farm families throughout New York and New England, and they are happy to provide 5 lucky Winter Shape Up participants gift boxes of their award winning cheddars. Rich in calcium, Cabot’s Cheddars are a tasty (and lactose-free!) way to add a protein-packed punch to your Shape Up snacking routine. I highly recommend the Seriously Sharp variety, which is my favorite. Great with crackers or veggies – as well as in a bunch of the recipes in this week’s meal plan!
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 (Monday morning) and notify them directly by email. Good luck!