Blue Plate Diner in Salt Lake City is one of the best places you can eat. Fresh food. Great service. They will make substitutions for almost anything and have a great selection.

Blue Plate Diner in Salt Lake City is one of the best places you can eat. Fresh food. Great service. They will make substitutions for almost anything and have a great selection.

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Things I Eat (Pt. 1: Breakfast & Snacks)

In this three part series, I will share with you some of the foods that I eat the most. This can also be used as a handy guide when you find yourself in common chain restaurants on the road such as Denny’s, Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel and Applebee’s.

Breakfast 

Egg whites: I always start my day with this high protein food. It fills you up and has very little fat and zero cholesterol. You can usually ask your server to substitute regular eggs with egg whites for a small extra charge. (Egg Beaters is a common brand name.)

Turkey Bacon: Satisfying and not nearly as fatty as the pig version. They contain good protein that your body can use. Skip the pig. Sorry.

Swiss Cheese: The leanest of the cheeses. Substitute the standard issue American and Cheddar with this to cut down on fat and calories. 

Strawberries, Blueberries: Wash them and eat. Lots of fiber, not a lot of sugar, and very good for you. They’re in season, you know.

Oatmeal: I’ll be honest, I don’t love it, but it’s very good for you and a better alternative to toast or cereal. Get the instant oats, the kind you buy in bulk. Or the Kashi instant stuff. Don’t add sugar. Try different fruit combos, or cinnamon. If you order this at a chain, friends don’t let friends order oatmeal with milk. Get it on the side. I’ve seen a lot of perfectly good oat meal drowned in tons of fatty whole milk. Gross and unhealthy. 

Snacks

Water: Ok. Not a snack. But sometimes when I think I’m hungry, I drink two glasses of water and it turns out I was thirsty. True story. 

Raw Carrots/Celery and Hummus: Eat as much of this stuff as you want. So good, and so good for you. Just wash the veggies first.

Meal Bars: Clif Bars, etc. This is a bit of a slippery slope. Most of these things are packed with bad sugar, along with all of the beneficial nutrients. But if you’re in a pinch, it’s nice to have one handy to keep your blood sugar in check. If you’re crashing, eat one of these guys SLOWLY. That way, your blood sugar won’t spike and crash, and you can sustain the temporary energy boost and get more mileage out of a bar. I’ll eat one a few hours before a meal, usually during a long rehearsal or during a session, when a meal is just too heavy for the moment. 

Greek Yogurt: Packed with protein. Get the 0% so that you don’t get tons of fat with your serving. Sprinkle cinnamon and a LITTLE BIT of sugar/Splenda, etc on and you’re in business. Also doubles as a dessert. 

Fruit: Wash and eat. Some have more sugar than others, but this is better for you than any processed, over priced crap out there. 

Trail Mix: Make your own by going to the bulk food section of your grocery store/COOP. Avoid the salted nuts, too much chocolate/candy stuff, (a little is alright), and enjoy. I like roasted almonds, dried blueberries, sunflower seeds, peanuts, cashews and dark chocolate bits. Eat this instead of pretty much everything at a tuck stop or gas station.

-Next week, we do LUNCH.

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One small change that went a long way:

I’m currently on tour with long time friend Ingrid Michaelson and band. Today we’re in Seattle, WA. Our hotel day room is located near Citizen, a comfy coffee shop located on 706 Taylor Ave. (www.citizencoffee.com). I walked in for some breakfast food. I noticed the Breakfast Sandwhich on the menu (pictured) and asked if they could substitute whole wheat or whole grain bread for the biscuit that it comes with. They told me they don’t have anything but the biscuit and a white bread baguette. They realized I was going for a healthy choice, so they offered to put the sandwhich on a bed of spinach instead of on the bread. I asked for ham instead of bacon and went with their spinach suggestion. And it tasted so good. No to mention, it cost a dollar less.

Take the initiative and ask for a healthy alternative. Your body will thank you.

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Small changes that go a long way…

Make these simple changes in these common foods and you’ll avoid hundreds of useless calories and dozens of grams of fat immediately:

Skim Milk All The Way: Drinking Skim Milk instead of Whole milk with your cereal, oatmeal, coffee or PB&J will cut out a significant amount of saturated fats and calories from your everyday intake. Remember, Skim Milk still has all of the vitamins and minerals as whole milk and studies show that people who drink Skim Milk on a regular basis build muscle faster (which burn more calories per day) and maintain strong bones that beat osteoporosis. The fat is replaced with water. Relax, think of the benefits and you’ll get used to this change fast.

Dressing and Condiments On The Side: Salad dressing, mayo and even ketchup are pretty bad for you. Dressing is full of fat, sugar and plenty of artificial colors and flavors. Your Caesar salad probably drenched with it. Mayo is a great way to give any reasonably healthy sandwich the fat content of a greasy slice of pizza. Ketchup is full of sugar and sodium. Ask for these items on the side when you order a salad, a sandwich, or a burger. You can put them on yourself in small amounts for to flavor the food that is already eating. The less the better. Also, try Balsamic Vinaigrette instead of Ranch of Bleu Cheese. Try spicy mustard instead of ketchup or mayo.

Skip the Bacon. You’ll do yourself and your heart a huge favor. Bacon is not rich in protein. It’s usually fried in a pan and served with it’s own grease and fat. Ask for Turkey bacon. It’s a better cut of meat and more satisfying. Not to mention, it’s a good source of protein and not nearly as greasy.

Cut off the Fat: Beef, Pork and even poultry are often served with some excess fat. Eating this fat is like putting a spare tire directly onto your tummy, because that’s where it’s headed. Cut off the fat, and save yourself A LOT of unnecessary work at the gym.

Low Fat Cheese or Bust: Cheese is rich in protein and calcium, but also fat. If you’re like me, you love cheese. But most food already tastes good without it. Ask for lowfat cheese if you must have it. Even then, try to keep your weekly portions to a mimimum. I suggest buying an extra fine cheese grater. That way, is seems like you’re getting the same about of cheese to cover the same amout of real estate, but it’s actually much less.

Lose the Soda, watch out for the Juice: The main issue here is sugar. Soft drinks are loaded with it. Excess sugar is converted to fat. There’s a whole involved science behind blood, sugar, and fat but the moral of the story is that excess sugar in your diet is not only unnecessary, but unhealthy. Orange Juice and other Juice Drinks main contain vitamins and minerals and help keep you hydrated, but they also contain too much sugar. Drink an 8 oz cup of OJ and be done with it. Better yet, eat a full orange. That way, you also get the valuable fiber with helps regulate body functions.

Baked, Grilled, Boiled: Yes. Fried, No.: Avoid all fried meat, vegetables and desserts. If you must get something fried, make sure it’s with olive oil.

Whole Wheat/Whole Grain Bread Only: Bread should serve a function in your life. It’s a source of fiber. White bread does not fall into this category because it’s ultimately processed at sugar and stored as fat. You don’t need a lot of bread in your diet, so ask for whole grain or whole wheat breads and wraps whenever possible. But remember, not all whole wheat bread is created equal. Check out the fiber content, calorie content and other nutrition information. You want low fat, low calorie and high fiber. (Turns out wraps are NOT healthier than a quality whole grain slice of bread.)

Say no to refried beans: Refried beans are essentially mashed up beans that are mixed with lard and cooked. Ask for black beans, or any other substitute and give your stomach, heart and arteries a break. Real beans, sans lard, are very nutritious.

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