Category Archives for "Food"

The “I’m Satisfied” Challenge

"I just ate too much."

"Wow, that was so fantastic I just had to eat the whole plate."

"I really didn't need that last bite."​

It is so easy to eat more then we need. It’s not always about physical hunger. There's other stuff at work. For example:

It's hard to waste food. We can hear our parents’ voices in our head: There are starving children! You shouldn’t leave food on the plate!

Food keeps us occupied. If we stay “busy” with food, then we don’t have to deal with other things… such as “the big stressor in our lives”. Or just plain old boredom.

Food numbs us. It’s a good painkiller for emotional and physical distress.

We confuse emotions with hunger. Often, we mix up emotions such as anxiety or anger with hunger. It feels like hunger… but it isn’t.

Habits. We do many things automatically, such as picking the last tidbit off the kids’ plates as we tidy up dinner, or popping a bite into our mouth as we cook.

We're worried about social consequences. We don’t want to say no, make a fuss, or stand out as a “weirdo” at social events with friends and family.

Our environment. We’re there, and so is the food.

It’s natural to avoid all of these discomforts. So we make choices that don’t fit with our goals. We eat because we’re bored, upset, stressed, or simply near tempting food. We eat more than we need because eating to satisfied is challenging.

Commit to the "I'm Satisfied" Challenge: 

Here is how it works: when you are having a meal or snack, you’ll eat only until you first feel satisfied. You’ll have to slow down to listen to your body. Once you are no longer hungry but not stuffed, you stop eating. No matter what. You’ll feel just like Goldilocks in “The Three Bears” - just right.

And this is what you will receive as you complete this challenge:

  • You’ll be more able to reach your health goals.
  • You’ll feel more in control of yourself and your actions.
  • You'll feel stronger, more courageous.
  • You’ll be proactive rather than reactive.

It’s not easy to change why you do what you do, BUT commit to the challenge.

To your best health, 
Coach Nancy

Knowledge Won’t Do You Any Good!

Lately, I’ve been dwelling on the fact of how much information we have access to. I mean it is so easy to type a few words into Google or talk to Siri and find oodles of facts and tidbits to help me out.

I mean, seriously, you type in “Is water from a plastic bottle okay to drink?” and there are over 5 pages of articles, blogs and places to buy water from that pop up.

But knowledge won’t do you any good!

Typing those words into Google didn’t help me savor healthier drinking water. Even if I took the time to read all 5 pages worth of over 60 articles and blogs, it wouldn’t help me. If I memorized all the steps and knew the difference between phthalates, antimony, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, it wouldn’t make me healthier.

Knowledge won’t do you any good…… until you take action.

In his book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill knew this. He states, “Knowledge becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action”. He was mostly talking about growing your wealth, but the same principles apply to our health. We have to grow our health.

How do we turn actions into goals?

Use SMART Goals

S = specifically what you are going to do.
M = measure, how are you going to measure it?
A = actions, what actions are you going to take to reach this goal?
R = result, what will the result be?
T = time frame, what is the length of time you're going to do this in?

Evaluate your actions versus your knowledge. Are the things you’re doing now moving you toward your goal? Are you stuck, or worse, moving farther from your goal even though you know all there is? Take Coach Meagan’s advice, you might be telling yourself the 4 Most Dangerous Words.

7 Tips to Turn Actions into Results

  1. Get quality sleep
  2. Surround yourself with people that encourage you
  3. Exercise regularly
  4. Eat a clean healthy diet
  5. Finish what you started
  6. Eliminate "can't" and "but" from your vocabulary
  7. Focus on your strengths

There is a lot of knowledge in this article, what you do with that information is up to you. One last thought from Coach Dean, “A Goal Is a Dream with a Deadline”.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Yummy UMP Graham Cracker Recipes

We've recently gotten in a new flavor of UMP (Ultimate Muscle Protein). Its graham cracker flavor and we have some delicious recipes to share with you! 

Check out this Graham Cracker Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding that Coach Dean came up with. It will satisfy chocolate and peanut butter cravings!

Here are a few more recipes with the UMP graham cracker protein powder.

Dan's Dynamic Shake

  • 1 scoop graham cracker protein
  • ½ scoop vanilla protein
  • ½ scoop chocolate protein
  • 1½ teaspoon peanut butter
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 fistful spinach
  • About 10 ounces of water

Blend until smooth in a blender. If you use a fresh banana, add in a few ice cubes to chill it. Enjoy!

Marquita's Marvelous Shake

  • 1 scoop graham cracker protein powder
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
  • 10 ounces of water
  • Ice

Blend until smooth in a blender.

Homemade Granola Bar

  • 4 scoops graham cracker protein powder
  • 2 cups oats
  • ½ cup crushed walnuts
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • About ½ cup of water

In a large bowl, combine all the oats, protein powder, walnuts, flax seed, sunflower seeds, salt, and raisins. Add in the vanilla, coconut oil, and then the water a little at a time. At first it will seem very dry but be patient it will blend up. Coat an 8x8 pan with coconut oil. Press the mixture on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into bars or squares.

The great things about these granola bars is that they are flexible. Some shredded coconut or cacao nibs would go great in here. Experiment with different protein powder flavors for a different spin, too.

Plan to Get Back on Track

When you stumble- and we all do when it comes to eating- often, we find the next declaration out of our mouth is, I may as well eat the rest of the cake since I already had one piece”. In Jeremy Dean’s book Making Habits, Breaking Habits, he helps us to face the fact that we are not perfect in our quest to build a habit. We will miss a moment, miss a day, or more. It’s a given. What you need to know is what to do when that happens. Have a plan for when the plan breaks down.

When the plan fails, take these steps.

1. Identify the triggers. Find the moment or rewind your day until you can visualize the cross roads. The place in your life where you could have gone one way or the other. When we are in the moment it is hard to see this crossroad, but often playing our day back in your mind like you would rewind a video to see the good parts can help. It’s defining this moment that will help you most. The more specific you can make it the better. So think in terms of a) time, b) location, c) emotional state, d) other people around, e) the circumstance. So it might look like this: Right before I chose to go through the drive thru and order 4 donuts and coffee for myself, I was in a tense meeting at work that didn’t go well, I yelled at my co-worker for the silliest thing, I didn’t sleep well last night, and I forgot my gym clothes. The driver that cut me off right before I left the parking lot was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I just had to have a donut (or three).

2. Identify the old habit. Be specific about what you are trying to stop. Again, think of all the details about this old habit. For instance, I want to stop relying on donuts when I feel upset and stressed in the car while driving alone.

3. Identify the new habitKnow exactly what you want to do, but create a goal that will take less than 60 seconds to accomplish. That sounds too simple but it isn’t easy. For myself, that would be using my 60 seconds to drive past the donut store. Think about it, it sounds simple but it isn’t easy.

It’s hard to change your behavior. It takes courage to have to do things differently and resilience to keep at it.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

It’s hot and its summer, so of course we are thinking of dipping into some of the cool stuff to enjoy.

Guess what? It doesn’t have to be bad for you! Try this delicious and easy to make recipe next time you need a cool treat.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon cocao nibs
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 3 scoops chocolate UMP
  • 4 cups of ice

Add all the ingredients into a powerful blender (we use a Vitamix). Using a damper, blend for 30-45 seconds. Going longer will melt your ice cream. Scoop this out and enjoy – it is really good!

Look for more new recipes soon using UMP’s newest flavor Graham Cracker! Watch out, it is fantastic!

Enjoy your summer,
Coach Nancy

Food Fun!

Nail the kale

Rock the broc

Win it with spinach

I'm maddish about raddish

Yes, this is what I do. I have fun with food. We’re all kids at heart. I’ve grown up a bit since my days in junior high and food fights. That only leaves me with a messy kitchen that I end up cleaning up. I find different ways to have fun with food now.

This week I had fun with new recipes. I experimented with making a spaghetti sauce that didn’t have hamburger in it as the protein but lentils.

It was surprisingly yummy. My kids ate it without question. Of course I used spaghetti squash as the noodles.

Here's how I made the sauce:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 28-ounce can of petite tomatoes
  • 1 12-ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1½ cups of dried lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper

Sauté the onion, celery and garlic until soft. Add the lentils and water and cook for about an hour on low, covered. Add in the tomatoes and tomato paste along with the seasonings. Cook uncovered about 15 minutes until lentils are soft and mushy. Serve over spaghetti squash.

I also had fun with my food this week by using paper plates. I’m not sure what it is, but it makes it like a whole different gathering something kid like when you eat on paper plates. P.S. I didn’t use paper plates the night I served spaghetti.

One more way to have fun with your food when it comes to how you serve it. Try serving your omelet in a mug. This recipe works great.

Besides what you eat, and how you eat, there is also where you eat. This week with the weather being so nice outside, we took our meals outside. What could be better than enjoying a great meal, with family, outside. Hint: you don’t have to clean up crumbs as much outside as you do at the kitchen table. Besides eating outdoors beats eating on the couch where everyone is glued to the TV and doesn’t even noticed you made a delicious meal for them.

Have some fun this week with your food.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

What’s in Your Cupboard?

I went shopping yesterday. 

You may be saying, “Big deal. Why should I care about your grocery shopping?”

Well, many of you have asked me, “What do you eat? How do you make PPW (Protein, Produce, and Water) a reality?”

I thought I might answer that question with a few pictures. While you won’t see exactly what lunch or dinner is, you will see what I use to fix our meals (lunch was Salmon Cakes, salad and Zucchini and Summer Squash, while dinner is Spaghetti Squash Pie).

Our cupboards for our dry goods are filled with spices, tuna, natural peanut butter, and things like ketchup and mustard. The salmon was here until lunch time. This is it besides a big box of oatmeal, dried beans, and almonds. Those are down below so the kids can reach it.

Here’s the fridge. All the typical stuff is here. Veggies located in the bins below but also scattered throughout the place. My rule of thumb is that my grocery cart should not be known for its fruit or highly processed food in a box. If you see me in the store, look for a wide selection of veggies. The white bowl on the top shelf is full of hard boiled eggs. There are over 48 eggs in the picture. They make a great snack – quick and easy.

And the freezer? Its been stocked with frozen veggies, some of which are from our garden. Frozen shrimp, chicken, and other meats. I guess I didn’t need to say ‘frozen’. Imagine that - frozen food in a freezer?

And then finally the picture of my counter (I avoided the piles of papers and stuff that piles high only to clutter). You’ll see the fresh fruit my family enjoys eating.

If you see me at the grocery store, say hi. What’s in the grocery cart won’t embarrass me. I am not always perfectly compliant. No one is. But in general what you see is Protein, Produce, and Water.

Hope you enjoyed taking a peek into the Carlson's cupboards!

Now ask yourself, "What in MY cupboard?"

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Eating For Two? What to eat during pregnancy (Infographic)

Are you really eating for two? How the food you eat affects you and your baby.

by Coach Nancy Carlson, Pn2


Staying healthy while we are pregnant makes logical sense, and your diet during these nine months can matter more than you may think. Here's what you need to know.


When I was pregnant I did have food craving. Not pickles and ice cream so much, but chocolate? Umm, yeah. And chocolate ice cream probably was on the list, come to think of it.

But while it's perfectly normal (and necessary) to gain weight when we are pregnant, that number is not unlimited. And we all know how hard it can be to get it back off, and any extra isn't going to make that any easier!

Print out this simple guide to help you create your optimal pregnancy nutrition plan. You'll get insight on how much to eat, the kinds of food that will keep you and your baby healthy, and some things to avoid during your pregnancy. I'll be honest, with my first couple I didn't pay as much attention as I should have, probably because I didn't know what I didn't know. This is better.

Click here for a fully printable copy of this infographic you can take anywhere.

Want to learn more? Check out Dr. John Berardi's expanded article; Eating during pregnancy: Foods that support your health - and your baby's. 

Eat, move, and live... easier.

At the Grateful Plate, our passion is helping you figure out how to make fitness and nutrition fit into your life, your way. Find out how you can stop dieting forever and start living better here.

Eating Healthy Can Easily Be Summed Up in These 3 Rules

Eating good (or healthy) can easily be summed up in the three rules below. By following these three rules, you’ll make ‘good’ eating, healthy eating.

1) Eat a wide range of veggies every time you eat (with a special emphasis on green veggies). A great rule of thumb when it comes to produce is to consume at least one green item AND as many other colors as possible at each and every meal to get the most health benefits.

2) Eat a wide range of lean proteins at each meal. A great rule of thumb here is to consume at least a fist-sized portion of anything that had a face, that ran, flew, or swam at some point (sorry, doesn’t sound as appetizing this way, but it’s one way to remember!). Protein is the only macronutrient responsible for building and repairing lean muscle.

3) Eat a wide range of healthy fats at each meal (olive oil, coconut oil, beef, salmon, whole eggs, avocado, mixed nuts, flax, full-fat cheese, etc.). Sufficient dietary fat intake is critical to beneficial hormone production. Hormones are designed to help us, not hinder us. They actually make everything else run smoothly and correctly.

As a nutrition coach, one of the most common statements I hear is “I eat really good but….”. Then the blank is filled in with the challenge that person is facing.

We all have challenges and issues when it comes to eating healthy. Instead of focusing on what stops you from success, place your priority on these three things when you eat.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Garlic Roasted Broccoli

I love broccoli, but I can't eat it plain every time! This is a great way to add some flavor to your broccoli but still keep the prep and cook time simple. It comes out delicious!

  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss the broccoli florets with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until florets are tender enough to pierce with a fork and the edges are browning, about 15 minutes. Turn once halfway through the baking process and add red pepper flakes, if using. After baking, squeeze lemon juice liberally over the broccoli before serving.