Eat Your Way to Skinny Jeans With Six Meals a Day

by Mareya Ibrahim

“Take five to six clean meals a day and call me in the morning.”

When I hear people say, “I have no energy,” “I’m so moody lately,” or “I can’t lose weight around my belly,” my answer is, eat MORE.

Their baffled sideways’ looks transforms to an insta-smile when I offer some ideas for eating properly that can help them get into those jeans. One idea I recently came across was Ziploc®’s Fresh 180 Feats. I know you are saying to yourself, “Ziploc®? What?”

Trust me on this. They have an “Eat Your Way to Skinny Jeans” challenge that will help you reach your goal. You just need to give it a try.

Your Body Knows What to Do

Here’s what happens. Your body is pre-wired to take care of you in the event of an emergency. Stop telling your system that it needs to store fat, and you can turn your body from a fat-storing machine into a fat-burning machine. Caloric intake will vary based on your sex, age, activity level and pre-existing health conditions. But if your goal is to get leaner, start by eating cleaner — not by going on a diet that focuses on deprivation. Stoke your metabolism’s natural fire by eating more regularly and by combining lean protein, essential fats and quality fiber sources, and you’ll burn MORE fat and calories.

Eat More, Worry Less

How’s that for the best news you’ve heard all day? Now, I’m not saying break out the cookies, cakes and candy. Your meals should combine high-quality fiber with protein and essential fats for a surefire way to avoid blood sugar pitfalls, what I refer to as the Fit Foodie Triangle. Eat MORE of the right types of foods, in the right combination, at the right intervals throughout the day, with plenty of water.

You might look at this approach and think, I can’t possibly eat five or six times a day. I’ll gain weight. You won’t, because you’re eating clean foods and you’re consuming smaller portions. Clean foods + smaller portions = higher metabolism.

Remember, veggies add fiber and bulk to make you feel fuller longer for fewer calories, so keep them high on your priority list. You can always add more veggies to your dish.

Simple, balanced 250- to 400-calorie meals:

  • Chicken breast, arugula, sprouts and chopped tomato in a low-carb, whole-grain tortilla with Artichoke Hummus (see recipe below)
  • Grilled fish with steamed veggies and cucumber, garlic and dill yogurt sauce
  • Oatmeal made with old-fashioned oats, flax meal, fresh fruit and unsweetened nut milk
  • Protein shake made with high-quality protein powder, spinach and coconut water
  • Sushi rolls made with toasted seaweed, vinegar-seasoned brown rice, avocado, tuna and cucumber
  • Sprouted grain English muffin topped with 1 tablespoon of almond butter and a small sliced apple

The key here is to plan ahead. One of my favorite quotes of all time is ‘Failing to plan and planning for failure.” This is so critical for food so you don’t get caught in a hunger-panicked, junk food binge. PRE-PREP and Ziploc® Brand Freezer and Sandwich bags and storage containers help you store and transport foods easily, so you don’t have to get caught without a snack when you’re on the road.

It’s Time to Get Fresh

Since half your plate should be fresh produce, then half your fridge should be, too. The mind shift here is to reverse the order of priority when building out the elements of your meals. Start with green leafy veggies, which provide the most nutrient density per bite, then add to the seasonal mix — the more color the better. By getting your fridge in order with a variety of pre-prepped veggies that you’ve already washed, chopped and stored in Ziploc® Brand Sandwich bags and storage containers, increasing your intake becomes a lot easier. Your refrigerator should look a lot like a salad bar.

Tips to Get More Veggies on Your Plate

  • Make veggie chips out of kale, carrots and beets
  • Toss vinegar-based slaws with firm root vegetables.
  • Puree sweet potato, cauliflower, bell pepper, tomatoes and greens and add them to soups, sauces and baked goods.
  • Steam veggies that can be added to sautés, baked goods, stocks and combined with legumes or high-quality grains like quinoa, farro and whole-grain couscous.
  • Use peppers (bell, Anaheim, etc.), zucchini and Japanese eggplant as vessels for stuffed meals.  You can also add veggies to the filling, like sweet potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli.
  • Place pickled veggies on sandwiches and in wraps.  Cauliflower, carrots, celery, onions and garlic are great options to add crunch and texture – and they hold up well.

Make More Room In Your Food Wardrobe – And Your Closet

If you have a box of “emergency cookies” or an “only eat them when there’s nothing in the house” bag of chips on the top shelf, you better believe they’re going to find a way into your mouth. Toss them! Just like your closet, once you purge the foods that don’t fit you anymore, you’ll have room in your wardrobe for the new ingredients that suit your cleaner lifestyle.

Skinny-Jeans Recipes

ARTICHOKE HUMMUS

The perfect protein-rich dip or sandwich spread. Scoop it up with raw veggies or whole-grain pita chips.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame tahini
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped (if using the canned or oil-preserved kind, drain the oil and pat dry)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except for artichoke hearts in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and mix in artichoke hearts. Chill and serve.

SUPERCHARGED PROTEIN SMOOTHIE

Up the nutrient factor of your protein smoothies and balance out sugar intake by starting with a high-quality powder containing at least 15 g of protein per serving and fewer than 6 g of sugar, and add greens, like in this version. If you’re vegan, omit the egg whites.

Ingredients:

  • 1-cup fresh strawberries
  • 12 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 ounces water
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1-cup fresh baby spinach
  • ½-cup crushed ice
  • 2 egg whites

Directions:

Wash strawberries and spinach thoroughly. Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Sip and enjoy!

LUSCIOUS LEMON ROSEMARY CHICKEN

Recipe Servings: 3

  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, black, ground
  • 1 lemon, squeezed plus 1 tsp zest
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions:

1. Mash garlic, salt, and pepper together in large bowl. Mix together with minced rosemary, and oil and lime juice, and add chicken breasts. Let stand, covered in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

2. On a pre-heated grill or saute pan, Grill chicken for about 10 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through.

TURKEY LETTUCE CUPS WITH CONFETTI SALSA

Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground lean white meat turkey or tempeh
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • ¼ teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 24 pieces of iceberg lettuce, pieced out into whole sheets

CONFETTI SALSA

*Ingredients:*

  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • ½-cup chopped jicama
  • ½-cup fresh corn
  • ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of a fresh lime
  • Dash of sea salt

Directions

1) In a medium sized bowl, combine confetti salsa ingredients and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2) Saute crushed garlic and onion in a large skillet over medium low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the lean ground turkey or tempeh. Cook and stir for 8-10 minutes until thoroughly cooked and crumbled.

3) Drain any excess grease.

4) Add the oregano, rosemary, cumin and sea salt.

5) Spoon 2 tablespoons of mixture into each lettuce cup.

6) Top with 2 tablespoons of confetti salsa.

Disclaimer: I was paid to develop this post for Ziploc®. As always, all opinions are my own.