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About this time of year, I buckle down with my regular diet – and try to eat as smartly as possible.  I know the summer is coming – and everything in me wants to be in the best shape that I can be.

But, the truth is, I hate to diet.  I hate strict eating patterns that devoid my life of chocolate and cheese.  Yep.  I really can’t live without these two – and most diets are pretty anti-my-chocolate-cheese-addiction.

My goal, then, is to add some foods to my diet that seem natural and practical – and become sustainable.  I want to WANT healthy foods EVERY day – and not force myself to eat kale if I don’t want it.  And, honestly, the best way I have found to do this is to make sure I eat protein in EVERY MEAL.

I have done this the last few years – and every time I focus on protein, protein, protein – my body starts losing that “bloat” and begins to feel healthy again.  I am telling you – even if you don’t exercise regularly – protein will force your body to build muscle instead of fat.  As they say, “abs are made in the kitchen”.

Please note that I do count calories – otherwise all this protein could really cause me to add weight.  The good thing is, all this protein fills me up for hours, so I eat fewer “meals” a day.

BREAKFAST // Currently I am eating one hard-boiled egg and two homemade Protein No-Sugar Bites every morning.  I am addicted to this breakfast – and prepare everything the Saturday before.  This helps me cut carbs (bagels, cereal) and allows me to eat a FAST healthy breakfast.  Another favorite breakfast is to eat Kefir and Kashi cereal.  I love pouring Kefir in a bowl (you can get this kefir at almost any store) and topping with a protein-rich cereal.  I wrote about it here.

SNACKS // Again, I am kinda addicted to my Protein No-Sugar Bites, even for snacks.  I love that I turn to these before cheese and chocolate.  Other favorite snacks are: almonds, almond butter and sliced apples, string cheese, hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, and kefir.

LUNCH // I am currently rotating between Greek yogurt and my Mexican Quinoa for lunches.  Quinoa is full of protein – and I love having a whole tub of this Mexican Quinoa in the fridge for a fast lunch.

DINNER // Because my husband often quotes my sometimes-least-favorite phrase “Where’s the meat?”, we eat a lot of chicken and beef in our house.  When I do get away with a meatless meal, our dinners are usually chock-full of beans.  If you follow the “No Plan” Menu Plan, you will know that protein takes a front seat in these meals.

Please leave a note telling me your favorite way to eat protein.  Here’s to eating off that winter bloat before the summer!

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photo credit: miltedflower via photopin cc