Welcome to week 2 of the Winter Shape Up! (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 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, Pinterest, 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 2 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 the simple snack ideas PDF, click here. Here are some fun new make-ahead recipes to try out this week:
- Nutty Protein Granola Bars
- Healthy Peanut Butter Power Cookies
- Oatmeal Raisin Energy Bites
- Spiced Baked Apple Chips
- Homemade Wild Blueberry biscotti + a latte!
- Raw Wild Blueberry Snack Balls
- Wild Blueberry Orange Scones
- Superfood Snack Bites
- Vegan Oatmeal Cookies
- Wild Blueberry Ginger Smoothie
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 the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. I discovered Wild Blueberries last summer in Maine, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I throw them into smoothies, oatmeal, my protein packed flour free breakfast pancake, baked goods, and even salad dressings!
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 ones you find in the produce section. The reason they have more fiber is due to the higher skin-to-pulp ratio than their larger cultivated counterparts. As for the antioxidants, they have a greater concentration of the flavonoid anthocyanin, a phytochemical found in blue-pigmented fruit.
Wild Blueberries are also smaller than regular blueberries making them great for baking and cooking. Because Wild Blueberries haven’t been modified by man, they’re not meant to travel great distances fresh, so you’ll find them in the freezer section of your grocery store. Just be sure to look for “Wild Blueberries” on the label. Here’s a link to more information about where to find them.
Our Wild Blueberry friends are giving away a $25 Whole Foods gift card and A Wild Blueberry Infuser Water Bottle to one lucky Winter Shape Up participant (well, one from here on my blog, and one on Gina’s).
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!