5 MORE Quick Calorie Cuts

For the first article click here: https://mgfitlife.com/2017/02/28/5-quick-calorie-cuts/

Still looking for more tips and tricks to cut back on those calories huh?

Well, just remember that if you aren’t consistent with your day to day intake, these “simple” cuts won’t make much of a dent, but they could help you get started.

1. When eating out, NEVER clean your plate

I stole this from a friend I had dinner with last night who said he has lost about 10 pounds recently by just cutting back on fast food, and by never cleaning his plate when he eats out.

I loved this idea. If you think about it, even if you leave a few french fries and a few bites of a ‘sammich, that could easily be 300 calories. If you eat out daily, this would be cutting out 2100 calories per week!

Not to shabby.

2. Slow DOWN When You Eat

Set a stop watch next time you eat. See how long it took you. Now double that time the next time you eat a meal.

Yes, I know we are all super stressed and crunched for time – but if you aren’t currently measuring your food, and have no clue how much you eat – then eating too quickly can really add up fast.

By taking your time, you are giving your hunger signals more time to tell your brain that you are full.

3. Use a smaller plate at home.

Still load it up with protein and veggies, and then the rest of the space with “other” stuff.

By reducing the volume of food you eat – you will reduce your calories (go figure!)

Plates and serving sizes have actually gotten bigger over the years, and so has your countries average waistline (also, go figure)Image result for portion sizes over the years

4. Set a time frame to eat. Also know as intermittent fasting.

 While this may not work for all, intermittent fasting has is proponents.

Essentially you just set a time window that you eat, and a time window that you don’t. Usually the feeding window is anywhere between 4 and 8 hours.

I would recommend starting with 8 hours. So say you wakeup at 6AM, then as soon as you have your first bite of food, then you start your “8 hour clock” when you can eat. As soon as your 8 hours is up, no more eating.

5. Feel Hungry Before Eating

This is a big one, as many people have never experienced hunger.

It is important to eventually get to the point of intuitive and mindful eating – when you don’t have to track things, and can maintain your progress made.

Feeling physical hunger before eating is a big step towards mindful eating.

So, give it a try – no matter what time it is, if you don’t feel hungry – then don’t eat. Wait until you FEEL physical hunger.

*PHYSICAL HUNGER comes on slowly, feels like a dull stomach ache, then leads to a little headache, and eventually dizziness. (don’t get to THIS point – but when you start feeling it in your stomach, wait about 30 minutes – then eat)

*STRESS HUNGER comes on quickly, and often comes back quickly after eating, because food doesn’t fix your problems.Image result for physical hunger

Hopefully one of these might give you the extra push you need – or some ideas to try.

However, if you are already trying one tactic (say tracking macros) don’t think you need to jump to a different strategy right away. Things like fat loss and muscle gainz take time – and consistency (AGAIN WITH THAT WORD!)

Make sure whatever strategy you are trying works best for YOU, and you do it with consistency and to completion.

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Stay healthy my friends,


Add Tons of Flavor, and NO Calories With These Seasoning Combos

Plain chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and brown rice…aka “The Bodybuilder Diet”

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be this boring and bland. Food is supposed to be enjoyable, pleasurable, and believe it or not, it’s easier to eat when it tastes good.

The following blends of herbs, spices, and other flavor boosters will give your chicken, beef, fish, or veggies a kick that will make them much more palatable.

There are two ways I recommend using these blends; as a large marinade/dry rub or on a “per meal basis”. You can either cook up a ton of chicken using these flavorings, or do what I prefer – make a ton of plain chicken breasts with a little salt and pepper, then add the flavors when you reheat the chicken for the given meal.

If you decide to add the flavors to the individual meats/veggies at the meal, you will obviously cut down on the portions to your liking. To do this, I like making different dry blends and storing them in labeled Tupperware containers, so all it takes is one little spoonful every time you want that flavor. You will then add a squirt or two of any of the liquid flavorings to the pan you are using to reheat your meat in.

Lets get to the flavors.

The Basics

Minced Garlic

Garlic adds a ton of awesome flavor to anything. I personally use it in a ton of dishes, and it works with any cuisine. You can buy jars of minced garlic at the grocery store. Simply add a teaspoon to your roasted veggies with some olive oil, salt and pepper and they become 100x better.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper can also be added to anything to give it a little kick. If you are looking for something quick, just do some cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt and you instantly get a little more spice in your life. Awesome on eggs.

Lemon Juice and Lemon Zesthttps://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjq1MXXo4zPAhVL02MKHfUpCskQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thefreshloaf.com%2Fnode%2F45079%2Fbest-lemon-zest&bvm=bv.132479545,d.dmo&psig=AFQjCNF6GAsGr97ocvAQ2IoZGWyZ3vYowg&ust=1473853874812125

Lemon juice and zest adds a little bit of sour to your meats. Combine with black pepper and you have a nice lemon pepper blend that goes well with chicken or white fish. For zest, you can just use a small cheese grater to get some of the lemon rind to add more intense lemon flavor.

Killer Combos (4 servings per)

 Southwest Blend

 Combine 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl, stirring well.

 Chinese Marinade*

Combine 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, ½ teaspoon onion powder, pinch red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, pinch sugar.

*If making for just one dish, add this at the end of cooking/reheating, so the garlic doesn’t burn in the pan.

Thai Flavor*

 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 Tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons of diced cilantro, 1 tsp. Thai chili oil (this can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores)

This chili oil is my #1 favorite thing to add to cottage cheese as well, just a 1/4 tsp changes the entire game!

*If making for just one dish, add this at the end of cooking/reheating, so the garlic doesn’t burn in the pan.


Italian Blend

 Dry blend: 1 tablespoon garlic, 1 tablespoon basil, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 tablespoon thyme,

For cooking, add: 2 Tablespoons red cooking wine, 1 tablespoon olive oil, diced cherry tomatoes. Cook down into a very light red sauce. 

I use this combo often when making vegetables to add to a pasta dish, or if trying to limit carbs, go with a spaghetti squash.

Indian Blend

 1 Tablespoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon ginger powder, 1 Tablespoon garlic, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder

Mexican Blend

1 tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon garlic, 2 teaspoons paprika, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Use this blend with ground turkey or 93/7 beef for some amazing, lower fat tacos.

Give these a try, and stop eating boring, bland food!

Dinner Tonight? Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!

“I do great with breakfast and lunch, but dinner’s are tough, especially when all this kids are home.”

Heard it a million times…

Admit it, you have said this and thought this before. This is such a common theme in my consults and just talking with clients in general. Dinners can be daunting. You have been at work all day, you have to run the kids to soccer, and your husband or wife is no where to be seen (convenient, right?)

Never fear, I have a secret weapon that will save you time, won’t bust your wallet or your belt, and will taste pretty damn good too.

Rotisserie Chicken to the rescue!


Rotisserie chicken can be found at almost every grocery store, and even at convenience stores and gas stations these days.

We all know how healthy chicken is, and cooking it tends to be the longest and hardest part of the meal. RC takes all that work from you, and puts it back into your energy and time bank. Score.

Check out the following three awesome recipes that your whole family can enjoy, and they will save you a ton of time!

Stay fit my friends.

BBQ Chicken Tacos

bbq chi




2 c. shredded skinless rotisserie chicken meat

0.33 c. barbecue sauce

1.50 c. fresh corn kernels (1/2 cup per ear)

2 plum tomatoes

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

8 flour tortillas

3 c. thinly sliced iceberg lettuce

0.50 c. reduced-fat sour cream



In large bowl, stir together chicken, barbecue sauce, corn, tomatoes, and lime juice.

Just before serving tacos, place stack of tortillas between paper towels on microwave-safe plate; heat in microwave on High 10 to 15 seconds to warm.

To serve, divide lettuce and chicken mixture among tortillas; fold over to eat out of hand. Serve each with a dollop of sour cream.

Source: http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a30016/bbq-chicken-tacos/

Nutrition Facts

Serving = 2 Tacos

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 376

Total Fat 11 g

Saturated Fat 5 g

Total Carbohydrate 56 g

Protein 17 g

Sesame Peanut Noodles



0.33 c. creamy peanut butter

0.25 c. lower-sodium soy sauce

3 tbsp. rice vinegar

1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1 clove garlic

2 c. shredded rotisserie-chicken meat

1 small red pepper

1 lb. spaghetti (PRO TIP: Try substituting Black Bean Spaghetti noodles here to ramp up the protein and fiber!)

1 large cucumber

1 c. fresh cilantro leaves

Sriracha (hot chili sauce)



Heat large covered saucepot of salted water to boiling on high.

In large bowl, gently whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, and garlic.

Add chicken and red pepper, tossing to combine. Set aside.

Cook pasta as label directs. While pasta cooks, cut cucumber in half lengthwise and thinly slice into half-moons.

Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Drain pasta. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Add pasta and cucumber to bowl with chicken mixture. Toss until well coated. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with Sriracha, if desired.

Source: http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a36337/sesame-peanut-noodles-recipe-ghk0314/

Nutrition Facts

 Servings 6.0

Amount Per Serving

Calories 247

Total Fat 11 g

Saturated Fat 2 g

Total Carbohydrate 29 g

Protein 11 g


Low Carb – High Protein Chicken Salad

(pair with roasted potato/sweet potato for a carb)




4 slice bacon

2 tbsp. cider vinegar

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. olive oil

0.25 tsp. salt

0.25 tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper

1 bag cut hearts of romaine

2 c. shredded skinless rotisserie chicken meat


In 2-quart saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes or until browned.

With tongs or slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon drippings from saucepan.

With wire whisk, add vinegar, Dijon, oil, salt, and pepper to drippings in saucepan and heat to boiling over medium heat. Remove from heat.

Place romaine in large serving bowl. Pour hot dressing over romaine; toss until coated. Add chicken and toss until well mixed. Crumble bacon; sprinkle over salad.

Source: http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a23735/rotisserie-chicken-salad/

Nutrition Facts

Servings 2.0

Amount Per Serving:

Calories 244

Total Fat 17 g

Saturated Fat 3 g

Total Carbohydrate 4 g

Protein 17 g




How to Survive a Long Weekend Food Fest, and Still Enjoy Yourself


  • Portions still matter, calories still matter
  • Maintain healthy eating patterns
  • Be active, however you can
  • Return to your routine as soon as the trip is over
  • Enjoy your vacation guilt free

Reuben Sandwich with fries, authentic Mexican fajitas + 20 oz. margarita, Denny’s Grand Slam* and Gino’s East – Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza. (*The Grand Slam was custom, more about this later*)



What do all these foods have in common?


I consumed them all this past weekend on my road trip to Cedar Point (the rollercoaster capital of the world) with my lovely fiancée, Amanda. You know what also rocks? After just one day of being back, my weight was right back to where it was before I left. (I’m not a huge fan of the scale, but I weighed myself purposely before the trip because I wanted to prove this point)



Now before you think I am trying to rub it in your face and brag about how much crap I ate, let me make it perfectly clear that I sorta am. That may sound harsh, but at the same time I want it to. I want to get rid of this notion that you have to starve yourself, forgo enjoying foods that you want to enjoy, and make all these terrible sacrifices while going on what is supposed to be a fun, and enjoyable vacation.

This being said I also want to make two very clear points:

  1. I am not overweight, obese, or really trying to lose weight right now. However, I do not want to gain weight either with my wedding coming up in 5 months (HOLY S#!T)
  2. I realize how hard it is to lose weight, I know that it is not easy, and I know this post may come off as offensive to people who really struggle with their weight. I work with people every day who struggle with their weight and body image. I was once there. I was once 260 lbs. (45 more than I am now) and I lost it and kept it off now for over 6 years.

20 oz...

20 oz…

In no way do I mean to offend, rather, I want to help people regain control of their lives without obsessing over food while trying to enjoy their lives.

Now, how the hell did I consume this food, along with riding in a car for 14 hours over the weekend, and not gain a single fraction of a pound? This is where the magic happens…

First off, go back to the word: vacation. This should be a time of enjoyment, relaxation and plenty of fun. It doesn’t mean pure gluttony. The foods I listed at the start may sound like pure gluttony, however I will argue they were purely part of the vacation. The follow-up to that reasoning would be; how are those foods not gluttony?

Gino's East...pure enjoyment, only 350 cals per slice!

Gino’s East…pure enjoyment, only 350 cals per slice!

This brings me to point numero uno:

1) Maintain Portion Control and At Least Match Calorie Goals

Yes I ate some less than “healthy” foods, but no I did not eat ONLY those foods nor did I eat ridiculous quantities of those foods. Here are the quantities of the foods I ate:

  • The whole reuben sandwich, half the fries, water for beverage
  • The entire plate of fajitas, and the 20 oz. margarita, water for beverage (this was the day we spent at the park, in which I tracked over 16000 steps, and had a tiny sandwich for lunch to avoid puking all over my fellow riders)
  • A build your own Grand Slam (2 eggs, 2 egg whites, 2 chicken sausages, and whole wheat pancakes) coffee as beverage
  • 2 slices of Ginos East deep dish

All of these meals (except the fajitas) were right around 700 calories, which for me, is my goal per meal to maintain my current weight. Yes, they weren’t very nutritious, but calorically they were “controlled” and consistent with my caloric intakes prior to the trip. I could have easily ordered a full Grand Slam or had a third slice of pie – making these meals closer to 1200 calories each.

"Healthified" Grand Slam

“Healthified” Grand Slam

This is where mindful eating can be huge. Slow down, and listen to your body. Eat until you are satisfied, but not bursting at the seams.

If you have NO CLUE how to guesstimate your calories, use an app like MyFitnessPal to check out your meal options BEFORE ordering them.

You can even use the strategy with fast food joint. Yes they aren’t optimal, but it also doesn’t mean you need to pound 1500 calories in one meal. Do your research BEFORE you eat it, or plan out a cute car full of healthy meals and snacks, like my good friend and fellow RD, Jen, suggests here on her awesome blog.

*All other meals on the trip were very light, because I knew we would be going on rides, or eating hardy later in the day.

2) Maintain normal eating patterns

I am not a big snacker throughout the day. If I do snack, it is usually a protein shake or another source of protein and maybe a little healthy fat. Therefore, the only snack we brought in the car for the drive was beef jerky. The big goal again is to maintain some consistency.

People tend to go crazy with snacks in the car, why, I have no clue. You are literally setting yourself up for boredom eating. Car rides suck, especially when you have nothing but flat ass northern Indiana and Ohio to drive through.


If I would have brought M&M’s, sodas, chips, trail mix, etc. I can guarantee I would have pounded those foods like nothing. Only bring snacks if you are a snacker, and you know you snack responsibly. If so, only pack portions that you normally would eat so you can’t devour an entire bag of almonds in one sitting (almonds are healthy, but are still easy to over consume)

3) Physical Activity is a MUST

Notice I didn’t say exercise here. It doesn’t have to be an actual workout, but move around when you have the chance. Go explore the local areas. Find some state parks that are close by and walk, climb and hike them. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, then you may have to get a little more creative, but just don’t sit around all day. Find something of interest and go walk around. A museum, art gallery, shopping mall, anything to get you moving after sitting in a car or on a plane all day.

Lake Erie shore, precious.

Lake Erie shore, precious.

Every bit matters.

As I stated earlier, we got about 16000 steps in while at Cedar Point. The night before, we went up to Johnson’s Island and walked around the Lake Erie shore line, and checked out the area. As soon as we got back from our trip, I got in a quick bodyweight and band workout while Amanda went for a run.

It was just returning to the norm. Which brings me to my final point:

4) The SECOND Vacation is Over, Get Back to Your Routine

This is assuming you already have a good routine in place. You don’t need to go on some detox, or starve yourself, or workout for 3 hours the day after. Just get back to your routine. As soon as I was unpacked I was itching to workout (or maybe it was that I hadn’t showered yet…) It felt great to get a workout in as soon as I could.

Normal Breakfast

Normal Breakfast

Standard Lunch

Standard Lunch

Typical Dinner

Typical Dinner

Then the next morning I started my day off with my usual workout day breakfast, followed up with a standard lunch and dinner. No big deal.

If there were one word to sum up the process here it would be: consistency.

Anyone who takes their health seriously needs consistency throughout it. From your meals, to your workouts, to your sleeping patterns. Consistency is huge.

On the flip side, anyone who takes their LIFE seriously, also needs to know how to enjoy it, guilt free, knowing that they will return to their consistent patterns as soon as the vacation is over.

Mindful Eating: Slow Down!

How did Thanksgiving go? I will be 100% honest with you all; I did not eat very mindfully.

Overweight Indigestion Man

Mindful eating is one of the best practices that you can do to control your weight, and still enjoy foods that you like. Every time we are distracted, or rushed while eating, we tend to put more food in our bodies than we really need – or the wrong kinds of food that don’t quite match up with our goals.


Are you eating while reading this? Mindlessly munching away on your sandwich, or maybe some chips from the vending machine at work? Cramming food in while trying to get caught up on emails, work projects, or other things that seem to be piling up in life?

I want you all to consider being more “mindful” when it comes to eating. This is a practice I have used with some clients, along with patients while in my residency for my RD. Slow down your eating, and just eat – rather than eating, texting, tweeting, web browsing, etc etc. Focus on your food. Slow down and chew your food more.


By taking more time to eat, we also give our bodies the appropriate amount of time to recognize that we are becoming full. This is when it is time to stop eating! By slowing down, our satiety hormone (leptin) has time to move through the body (along with another hormone, CCK, which is released by the intestines when full) and let the brain know that we are satisfied with our food and do not need to eat more. When we eat FAST, the release of leptin is too slow, so we keep eating and eating, and by the time leptin reaches the brain, we have already over consumed! Click here to read more about mindful eating!

Take your time to eat, listen to your body, and really think about the food you are putting in your body. Is it really worth what it could be doing to blunt your progress?


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Trying to Burn Fat? Who Isn’t?

Who doesn’t want to loss some extra fat? One of the biggest “myths” in the workout/exercise community is that if you exercise in the the morning on an empty stomach, you will burn more fat. The logic behind this claim makes some sense. You have already been fasting for hopefully 7 to 8 hours (sleep) and your body is primed to keep burning adipose tissue.

However, researchers in Italy recently found that eating at least a small breakfast consisting of protein and some healthy fats actually lead to more body fat oxidation for fuel during and for another 24 hours after the workout (compared to the fasted group). The group that ate breakfast also burned more total calories throughout the day through post-exercise oxygen consumption.

Some good things to try would be eggs, avocado, meats, or even a low sugar yogurt with some walnuts or other unsalted nuts.


Paoli, A., Marcolin, G., et al. Exercising Fasting or Fed to Enhance Fat Loss? Influence of Food Intake on Respiratory Ratio and Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption after a Bout of Endurance Training. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2011. 21(1), 48-54.

SNAP Challenge: Summary

First things first, I want to note that yes, I did not do a full 7 days of eating, but I can promise that I had plenty of food left at the end of day 6 to make it through one more day. The reason I did not complete the final day was because unfortunately I came down with Strep Throat and was not able to eat much the last 2 days.

Some of my final thoughts on this past week of eating off of $32.00…

  1. It was hard…but very feasible
  2. It was a boring diet…but healthy
  3. My average breakfast prep time was about 7 minutes
  4. My average lunch prep time was about 4 minutes
  5. My average dinner prep time was 10 minutes

And in the end, I only lost 1 pound.

I feel like with adding a little more variety week by week, and using some foods as “carryover” foods from week to week, there would be so many more options through out the week of eating healthy. Over time, I know I have acquired many different spices, seasonings, sauces, etc. that have easily lasted me months (some spices probably close to a year….)

The biggest key in saving time when making these meals is BULK PREP. Take advantage of time that you do have to make large batches of rice, beans, quinoa, oats, etc…which will last you through out the week and can be eaten hot or cold.

I feel that with just a little more education and awareness of healthy eating on a budget, it can be done with a little perseverance and creativity…

Maybe I’ll blog one of MY “normal” eating days just to compare…once I’m back to 100%.

SNAP Challenge – Day 6: Dinner and Final

Unfortunately, I have come down with a wicked cold, possibly the flu. I woke up this morning with an even worse sore throat. Since this my last day, I will stick it out an finish it up. MY dinner last night was 2 tilapia filets, and 1 medium sweet potato. It was pretty basic prep. I just pan seared the filets and microwaved the sweet potato.


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Calories: 374

Carbs: 35 grams

Fat: 4 grams

Protein: 49 grams

Final Day Stats:

Calories: 1550

Carbs: 184 grams

Fat: 27 grams

Protein: 146 grams

Cholesterol: 749 milligrams

Sodium: 1698 milligrams


SNAP Challenge Day 5: Lunch and Dinner

On Friday, I ended up going back home for the weekend, but was stil able to eat according to my SNAP foods. Before hitting the road on Friday, I had 1 cup quinoa, and 1 cup red kidney beans. When I got home for dinner, we were actually having fish, brocoli and rice. Pretty standard meal for my family, and it just so happened that these were the same foods I’ve been exclusively using for the past week. I dont have a calorie count on my day since I was away from my computer and not able to enter my data into a program. I should take this moment to say, I have been using MyFitnessPal.com as my calorie counter. It is a great database for everything weight loss and nutrition, I highly recommend checking it out!

SNAP Challenge – Day 1: Dinner


Todays dinner consisted of 1, 4 oz tilapia filet, 3/4 cup steamed brocoli and 1/2 cup of kidney beans (prepared earlier in the day)and of course 3 cups of water.

For the tilapia, I went with a recipe from the bag for poached tilapia in the microwave. It was very simple and tasted okay. I took the filet out at lunch and put it in the fridge to thaw. To prepare, all I did was put the filet in a dish with 1/2 cup of water and some onion, pepper and salt (with a little added lemon juice) and microwaved it for 5 minutes.

Tilapia topped with some frozen onion

Tilapia topped with some frozen onion

While the tilapia was getting nuked, I put 3/4 cup frozen brocoli into my steamer for the same amount of time (5 minutes).

3/4 cup brocoli

3/4 cup brocoli

DSC00048I then covered, and steamed the brocoli for 5 minutes. Lastly, I measured out 1/2 cup of kidney beans from before. I ate them cold, but you could always heat them up.



The fish broke up quite a bit in the microwave, and didn’t look so good, but honestly it tasted pretty good for how basic it was.

Dinner Stats:

Prep time: 7 minutes (pretty darn quick)

Calories: 240 (this was pretty low, and I will need to get more later tonight)

Carbs: 24 grams

Fat: 3 grams

Protein: 35 grams

This meal was on the light side, but filled me up decently. I would have liked it to be closer to 350 calories, but I will add a snack later.

Looking back, I probably would’ve added some sort of grain to the meal, but you live and learn.