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Week 2: Countdown Your Calories & Clean Up Your Plate


If you’ve been following along with our #10PoundCountdown challenge, you learned last week to start adding resistance training to your routine to make your workouts more effective, burn more calories even after your workout, and help shape your body into its best form (and function!). 

This week we’ve got some quick nutrition tips that can help you get back on the right track of eating healthy – to fuel your body’s needs as well as your need for something satisfying.

#1 Keep it Simple

Meals don’t have to be complicated. Start re-thinking breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks as fueling time, not feeding time. What does your body need? Protein? Think lean meats like grilled chicken – make enough for the whole week to add to salads, grains, or just by itself. Fruits and vegetables? Choose the kind you can prep ahead – sliced carrots, celery, cucumbers, peppers – and eat whole, with hummus, or in a salad. Prepping simple items in advance makes throwing a healthy meal together easy – and prevents you from reaching for “quick fix” pre-packaged and processed foods. 

Trainer Tip: Kerstin makes a simple salad with chopped spinach, turkey, nuts and avocado. Avocado is a great substitute for calorie-heavy cheese, and you can swap out the protein, greens, and nuts for whatever you might have available.

#2 Keep it Whole

Whole fruits, vegetables, grains, meats – anything you eat that is in it’s natural form (or as close to it as edible) is almost always nutritionally superior to a more processed version. Whole foods not only retain their nutrients and leave out additives like salt, sugar and preservatives, but you also keep the fiber which helps keep your digestive system healthy. 

Trainer Tip: Lee recommends his clients try hummus as a way to get more vegetables in each day. His simple, healthy recipe (provided below) makes it easy to create a delicious meal or snack with fresh sliced vegetables.

#3 Keep it Clean

 Start reading labels – not just on what you are buying but what you already have in the pantry. You might be surprised how much extra salt is added to a can of green beans, or how much sugar is in that granola bar with the “healthy” packaging. Don’t pay attention to the marketing, pay attention to the ingredient list. If it’s long and full of things you can’t pronounce, find something else to eat! 

Trainer Tip: Melissa keeps some clean, healthy staples in the kitchen for quick, healthy options. Her top picks are: Aldi’s organic spaghetti sauce, Amy’s Black Bean and French Vegetable Soup, Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, and Justin’s Almond and Peanut Butters.

In addition – drink more water. You’ve heard this before, but water does amazing things for you body, from keeping your skin healthy to assisting with digestion, not to mention it’s calorie-free. Try replacing some of your daily beverages with water. If you struggle with soda, try carbonated water beverages that contain no artificial sweeteners and are sugar-free. 

Trainer Tip: To make sure she drinks plenty of water each day, Liz fills a gallon jug of water at the start of each day. “It makes it fun to watch it disappear,” she says, and helps her keep track of how much water she takes in. 

Woodside Personal Trainer Lee Clark’s Famous Hummus Dip Recipe:

2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 Tbsp tahini paste
1 head of roasted garlic
1 Tbsp chopped onion
Juice of 1 lemon
2-4 Tbsp olive oil (depends on desired consistency)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Add all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and blend well. Slowly add olive oil as needed until desired consistency is reached. Serve with fresh sliced cucumbers, peppers, carrots, celery, or any vegetable!

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