Wondering what I’ve been eating to lose weight and stay strong? You’re not alone! I get more questions about what I eat to lose weight than I ever thought possible. I’ve gone over it before and I’ll keep going over it because it matters, what you put in your body matters. It shows on the outside, fill it with junk and you’ll have junk, fill it with healthy nourishing foods and you’ll have a healthy nourished body.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune, you don’t need to buy special diet foods, in fact I’ve lost over 60 pounds eating regular, nutritious foods that come straight from the grocery store. For breakfast it’s water and almonds or walnuts, I’ve never cared for breakfast, so I choke down a snack in the morning and call it breakfast. And I eat what everybody else in our home eats for dinner, so this post is specifically about what I eat at LUNCH when no one is around. Obviously I have to eat, this is a danger period for me, no one is watching, what will I eat??

 

Well I figured out what works for me and it’s nothing diet-y, nothing special, it’s regular food that costs no more than 2 dollars a day. To some that may seem expensive but to me, my health and well being are worth it and lets face it I’d gladly spend more that 6 times that to go out to lunch with friends. Now we hike for free instead and I eat before or after that, I can’t believe how much my life has changed in the last year!

On this year long journey I’ve discovered a few things I can do to maximize weight loss while staying strong and healthy. I started out eating small meals, like 5 crackers and 4 slices of lunch meat but that seem so woefully small and pitiful on a tiny little plate, that I could not fathom eating like that every single day, forever. I made it about 2 months, eating little bits like that, mostly because were finishing our remodel and I didn’t have time to really analyze WHAT I was consuming. I lost weight, mostly because I was suddenly limiting calories to around 1100-1300 per day, moving 20 minutes a day, 3X a week and I had a lot of fluff weight I’d just recently gained. (I blame it on remodel misery!)

One day I looked at the meager offerings and just thought “No more! I need more food!” so I started making a big salad for lunch, all the veggies I could cram in and some protein. A couple of weeks before all this happened, a friend brought over lunch one day and she made this amazing chicken curry salad with grapes and nuts and curry powder. I riffed on it all week as a dinner side dish, everyone loved the Curry Coleslaw with Apples, after a week they were kind of done with it, I felt like I could eat it everyday. Once I started making a salad for lunch everyday I realized I could make that salad, just for me, everyday if I wanted it. So I did, almost everyday, and lost weight continually for an entire year, 60 pounds in one year. Will it work for you? I don’t know, it’s something you’ll have to try, experiment with and make your own, but there it is, I eat, what I call, a Power Salad almost everyday for lunch. 

And I’ve been eating a version of my Power Salad almost every single day for the last year. Boring? No, not really, I change it up with various veggies or dressings but the base salad is very much the same. I can make a 300 calorie salad that fills a mixing bowl, gives me 3-4 servings of vegetables and a nice healthy protein punch for under 2 dollars a day. I use half a bag of pre sliced coleslaw mix, half a 5 1/2 ounce pouch or can of tuna fish, 1 TBSP of mayonnaise, a dab of milk or hot sauce to make a dressing and a wide a varied assortment of other fresh veggies. I add nuts or a fruit if I can or need to, and I’m set. I pair it with a quart of water and off I go. 

Here are a couple versions I really like

#1 the original Curry Coleslaw Tuna Power Salad

1 TBSP mayonnaise, 1 TBPS of milk, a sprinkle of curry powder, half a can of tuna fish, 1/2 a bag of coleslaw mix, 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, a grated or chopped carrot and 1/2 an apple chopped–toss to combine and sprinkle with 10 walnut halves salt and pepper to taste

#2 Smoky Spicy Coleslaw Power Salad

1 TBSP mayonnaise, 1 tsp Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp (or so! add and decide how much you like) Spanish Paprika, half a can of tuna fish, 1/2 a bag of coleslaw mix, 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, 2 stalks of celery chopped, toss to combine sprinkle with 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds salt and pepper to taste

#3 Hot Egg Roll Power Salad

brown 2 ounces of 90/10 super lean ground beef, pour off any fat, reduce the heat to medium add 1/2 bag of coleslaw mix, 3 grated carrots, 2 stalks of chopped celery, stir to wilt sprinkle on a 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce and 1/4 cup of salsa remove from the heat and stir to combine 

Those are probably my top three favorite versions of the Power Salad. I also like a ranchy version with dill and onion powder and buttermilk and sliced roasted chicken. I add as many veggies as I can to the salad every day to make sure I’m full and I get enough essential vitamins and minerals. I strongly believe that vegetables are the reason I’m successfully losing weight, so I happily eat 6-8 servings every single day, more if I feel extra hungry. I never think I can’t have a big fat steak or cheeseburger either, in fact eating a lot veggies means, to me anyway, that I can eat a fairly large or high calorie meal once in a while and not worry about gaining weight. Likewise I can have a cookie or two and not obsess about that choice, I ate it, it was good and I’m moving on. 

There you have it, my secret is out and it’s VEGETABLES, ha! Next week I’ll be sharing my workout routine because next to the “what do you eat??” questions, what do you DO to lose weight is the next big question.