nutrition 101

If I asked 100 people of all genders, ages, sizes and fitness levels to tell me in one sentence what eating healthy means I would probably get 50 different answers. Because if you had asked the 17 year old me, a month before my senior trip to Cancun when I wanted to lose 10 pounds, my answer would have been, “well, like, I eat only two roast beef sandwiches at Arby’s instead of three, and um, like, I only fill my plate up twice when we eat chinese food, and then like, I’ll have 2% milk instead of whole milk and I’ll only drink one gallon every week instead of three.”

I’m serious poodles, that is EXACTLY how that silly lil blonde would have answered that question. And I really did drink three gallons of whole milk every week.

It wasn’t until my second daughter was born, when I decided to lose weight, that I really started learning about nutrition. I started with the book Body for Life, as I have referenced several times and that is where I first read the concept of frequent, small meals, portion control, and learned how protein, carbs, fat and sugar break down.

“So a quarter pounder with cheese and fries, my favorite meal, the bun is the carb, the meat is the protein, and the two slices of cheese are the fat? Okay, got it.”

I kid, I kid. I always felt like Bill Phillips was talking to me when I read his book. He explained it in such a matter of fact, easy to understand language that it made sense enough for me to try it.

A protein and a carb the size of your fist makes a meal. Add veggies a few times a day. Do that every few hours and try to eat 6-7 meals every day.

It’s really that simple.

Where it gets complicated and hard to advise a broad audience is that everyone is different. Everyone weighs different, has different goals, different likes and dislikes, different schedules, and different preferences.

When I was training women in the gym, the first thing I always did was run their numbers on a nutrition calculator, which you can find here.

Then I had them start tracking calories, because as I have said before, if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you cannot know how to get where you are going if you don’t know where you are. Is it time consuming? At first, yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. In the end, tracking calories in the beginning will only save you time later once you get the hang of things. My new preferred calcultor is myfitnesspal, as they have many updated foods already in the system which makes it easy to plug them in.

Jamie Eason’s approved foods list is, in my opinion, the guide to clean eating. I have copied and pasted it below, but if you want to print it, you can do that from her website,, or from the LiveFit Trainer at:

I try to post food pictures as often as possible, and get lots of request for sample meals, but in reality, what works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for you. I have been eating this way for quite some time, it’s the way I’ll eat forever actually, and my meals depend greatly on what my goals are at that time. Right now I am building muscle, so my protein is really high, fat is pretty low, and I don’t eat carbs after a certain time. When I am finished with the trainer, it will change again.

There are so many different ways of eating that with these things as a guide, it’s really important for YOU to figure out what works for you. I use artificial sweeteners. I don’t eat a lot of fruit. I sacrifice a longer ingredient list for less sugar. That is a decision I make for myself based on my goals and my personal preferences, but it’s definitely not for everyone and I respect everyone’s food choices.

Hopefully this list will help you navigate the grocery store and remember that practice makes perfect. Nothing happens overnight and we are all human. Take baby steps instead of trying to overhaul your entire eating program overnight and you WILL get there!


  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Tuna (water packed), or White Meat Chicken (water packed)
  • Fish (tilapia, cod, halibut, and on occasion salmon and sea bass)
  • Shrimp
  • Extra Lean Ground Beef or Ground Round (92-96%)
  • Buffalo steak (lean)
  • Protein Powder (lactose free)
  • Egg Whites or Eggs
  • Rib eye Steaks or Roast
  • Top Round Steaks or Roast (aka Stew Meat, London Broil, Stir Fry)
  • Top Sirloin (aka Sirloin Top Butt)
  • Beef Tenderloin (aka Filet, Filet Mignon)
  • Top Loin (NY Strip Steak)
  • Flank Steak (Sir Fry, Fajita)
  • Eye of Round (Cube Meat, Stew Meat, Bottom Round , 96% Lean Ground Round)
  • Extra Lean Ground turkey, Turkey Breast Slices or cutlets (fresh meat, not deli cuts)

Complex Carbs

  • Oatmeal (Old Fashioned or Quick Oats)
  • Sweet Potatoes (Yams)
  • Beans (pinto, black, kidney)
  • Oat Bran Cereal (watch sugar, less than 6 grams)
  • Brown Rice
  • Ezekiel Bread (frozen healthy section of Kroger’s or Whole Foods)
  • Farina (Cream of Wheat from box)
  • Multigrain Hot Cereal
  • Pasta (Whole Wheat, Ezekiel brand – watch serving, very dense)
  • Rice (jasmine, basmati, Arborio, wild, brown)
  • Potatoes (red, baking, new)
  • Kashi Low Sugar Cereals (less than 6 grams of sugar)
  • Whole Wheat Pita (Low Carb Variety – Joseph’s Pita Bread, or Food for Life brand)
  • Carbdown Flatbread (Wal-Mart)
  • Corn Tortillas (Food for Life Brand is best, microwave to make crispy)
  • Whole Wheat Tortillas (Food for Life brand)
  • Rice Cakes (lightly salted only)

Fibrous Carbs & Vegetables (Fresh first, frozen second, canned last choice)

  • Green Leafy Lettuce (Green Leaf, Red, Leaf, Romaine)/Bagged Salad
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • String Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Spinach
  • Bell Peppers
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Mushrooms
  • Pickles
  • Cabbage
  • Sprouts
  • Cucumber
  • Green or Red Pepper
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash (my fav)
  • Pumpkin


  • Berries (blueberries and raspberries)
  • Lemons or Limes
  • Melons (not watermelon)
  • Grapefruit
  • Apples
  • Dates
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Eat bananas, strawberries, peaches or plums sparingly (lots of natural sugar)
  • No dried fruits, including raisins (loaded with sugar)

Healthy Fats

  • Natural Style or Organic  Peanut Butter, even better, Peanut Wonder (Whole Foods Market)
  • Olive Oil  or Safflower Oil
  • Nuts (peanuts, almonds)
  • Flaxseed Oil
  • Avocado

Dairy & Eggs

  • Low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Low or Non-Fat Milk (eat dairy only occasionally)
  • Non-fat yogurt (look for low sugar only)
  • Fat-free String Cheese
  • Fat-free Cream Cheese


  • Bottled Water
  • Iced Tea (decaf)
  • Coffee (decaf)
  • Diet Soda
  • Crystal Light or Wal-Mart Brand Sugar-Free Drink Mixes

Condiments & Misc.

  • Fat-free Mayonnaise (on occasion)
  • Ketchup (Heinz One Carb brand only)
  • Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Reduced Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Balsamic or Raspberry Vinaigrette (Farm Grove)
  • Salsa or Fresh Pico De Gallo
  • Splenda
  • Steak Sauce
  • Sugar-free or low-carb Ketchup
  • Sugar Free Maple Syrup
  • Sugar Free Jelly (Polaner or Smuckers)
  • Chili Paste
  • Tomato Paste (low sugar)
  • Mustard (yellow or Dijon)
  • Extracts (vanilla, almond, etc)
  • Low Sodium fat-free beef or fat-free chicken broth
  • Plain or reduced sodium tomatoes sauce, puree, paste (look for low sugar)
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Fat-free cooking spray
  • Sugar-free applesauce for baking

Herbs & Spices

  • Chili powder
  • Mrs. Dash (all varieties)
  • McCormick’s (all varieties)
  • Butter Buds
  • Cinnamon
  • Allspice
  • Basil
  • Bay leaf
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Dill
  • Ginger
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Paprika
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Curry Powder
  • Red Pepper
  • Marjoram
  • Tarragon
  • Dry Mustard
  • Cumin
  • Saffron
  • Nutmeg
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Black Pepper

Other Items to Purchase

  • Fat-free Cool Whip
  • Tofutti fudge pops (my fav)
  • Sugar-free Jell-O
  • Sugar-free Popsicles (Philly Swirl are awesome)
  • DaVinci Gourmet Sugar-free Syrups ( – my best kept secret!)  Add to oatmeal for breakfast or to make a variety of different muffins, cookies or pancakes.
  • Tacori Sugar-free Syrups (World Market)


2 thoughts on “nutrition 101

  1. Hi! I’m having a problem finding something big enough to put a weeks worth of food in to take to work and I don’t want to bring in my food every day. I like the idea of bringing it on Monday and it being there all week. Any suggestions on what to use?

  2. Hi! I love your blog! it is so helpful- i am in phase two of the live fit program and this is great information. i was wondering from your experience, with the program do you need all the rest days? I took only two rest days for phase 1 and can i only take one rest day for phase 2? also do you eat your protein shake on your rest days?? thanks so much! love the blog

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