How hard is it to remove a tattoo? What processes are used? Is it painful?
These easy No-Bake Oatmeal Protein Bars solve the persistent challenge of finding a healthy snack you can take with you anywhere. Thanks to ingredients like Chocolate Shakeology, egg white powder, and wheat germ, these Oatmeal Protein Bars have 12 grams of protein per bar. Not bad for a midday snack! In just ten minutes, you can quickly assemble the ingredients, refrigerate the bars, and then set and forget them until they’re ready to be enjoyed!
Don’t have Shakeology yet? Get all of the Shakeology flavors here!
No-Bake Oatmeal Protein Bars
Total Time: 3 hrs. 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup egg white powder
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 Tbsp. wheat germ
2 Tbsp. flax seed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup raw honey
¼ cup all-natural almond butter
2 ripe large bananas, mashed
Nonstick cooking spray
1. Combine Shakeology, egg white powder, oats, wheat germ, flax seed, and cinnamon in a large bowl; mix well.
2. Add almond milk, honey, almond butter, and bananas; mix well with a spatula or clean hands.
3. Place in an 8 x 8-inch pan that is lightly coated with spray. Cover with plastic wrap and press down to flatten into pan. Refrigerate for 3 hours.
4. Cut into twelve bars.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Total Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Sodium: 107 g
Carbohydrates: 26 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sugar: 10 g
Protein: 12 g
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It’s summertime, which also means it’s music festival season! If you love music and spending all day dancing with your friends, then we’re sure you’re planning to attend one – or a few – this summer.
But those long days moving and shaking can be brutal on the body. The fist pumping, the crowd surfing, hoisting your friends on your shoulders – these aren’t your everyday physical challenges! So with insights from StubHub about where attendees need the most prep, Beachbody Super Trainers Joel and Jericho have created 11 moves to help you prepare for the rigors of those high-energy days, and get the most out of your festival experience.
Endurance Boosters to Help Keep You Going All Day
With lots of walking around the sprawling festival grounds and dancing to new and favorite acts, you’ll need to build some endurance before you head out. Here are two heart-pumping moves to increase your stamina so that you don’t get left in the dust when your friends run from stage to stage.
1. High Knee Jump Rope
Holding an imaginary jump rope in your hands, begin rotating your wrists while running in place, driving your knees above your waistline. Continue the move for 30 seconds.
2. Spiderman Climbers
Starting in a strong plank position, with your hands under your shoulders and your head, hips, and heels in a straight line, jump your right foot to your right hand. Make sure your hips stay low and your right foot is flat on the ground. As you jump your right foot back to the starting position, simultaneously jump your left foot out to your left hand. Repeat this motion, alternating sides every rep, for 30 seconds.
Exercises That Double as Dance Moves
Now that you’ve made it to the festival, pitched your tent, and gathered your posse, you’re ready to hit the dance floor. Whether you find yourself shoulder to shoulder on the dance floor or in the midst of a mosh pit, be sure to practice these exercises that double as dance moves. To find more moves like these to inspire your dance repertoire, check out Beachbody’s premier MMA program CORE DE FORCE on Beachbody On Demand.
3. Alternating Clinch Knees
Similar to the running man, this move picks up the double beat of your favorite song.
Start in a staggered stance with your right foot back and your hands cupped in a clinch position at head level. Drive your right knee forward while bringing your hands to the side of your right hip. Set your foot straight down and step your opposite foot back into your start position. Continue to reach and pull, alternating sides, for 30 seconds.
4. Roll Jumps
It can get a little crazy on a crowded dance floor. Learn this move so you can quickly duck and shift to avoid flailing limbs from nearby dancers.
In your dominate fight stance with your knees slightly bent and your hands by your chin, bend your knees and roll forward, keeping your chest up and shifting your weight to your front leg. Jump. Reverse this motion by rolling back and shifting your weight to the rear leg. Jump. Continue to roll jump forward and back for 30 seconds.
5. Triple Lunge with Ginga Hop
This Capoeira move takes the sprinkler dance to the next level. Plus, you can tell your onlookers this move comes from the Brazilian martial art, which will surely boost your cool factor.
Begin this move by stepping your right leg back into a reverse lunge and bending both knees to 90 degrees. Keeping your chest up, extend your left arm to the side and bend your right elbow with your forearm across your chest. Pulse three times and push off the left leg to jump laterally to the right, landing softly on your right foot and stepping your left leg behind you into a reverse lunge. Switch the positioning of your arms to the other side. Pulse three times on this side and jump laterally to the left leg. Repeat the movement while alternating sides for 30 seconds.
6. Ground to Fighter
Here’s your sure-to-be-noticed dance move that gets everyone fired up. This move creates some space around you in case you want to throw down some breakdance moves or have a dance-off with your friends.
Starting in your dominant fight stance, bend your knees, place your hands on the ground, and jump your feet back into a plank position. Gently lower your body to the ground and push back up into plank. Jump up into your non-dominant fight stance. Repeat this movement for 30 seconds, switching stances every time.
Moves to Get You The Best View
Your favorite band is playing, but you’re in the back of the crowd and can’t see a thing. You weave your way through the grooving masses as far forward as you can, but inevitably get stuck behind the tallest guy at the festival. But, you don’t sweat it. You’ve been rockin’ your Beachbody On Demand home workouts, so you’ve been practicing your hops.
7. Squat, Squat Jump
Even if your view is blocked, catch a precious glimpse of the stage with this explosive jumping move that skyrockets you straight up.
With your feet hip-width distance, bend your knees and sit your hips back into a squat position, keeping your chest up. Push through your heels and extend up to standing. Repeat the squat, but this time use the momentum of the drive upward to jump, pushing through your heels and swinging your arms back for momentum. Land softly and repeat the move for 30 seconds.
8. Lateral Jump, Vertical Jump
You stop to get a hot dog and – boom – your friends are lost in the crowd. Try this side-to-side jumping move to scan the top of the crowd and find your friends.
Starting with your feet together, jump laterally, swinging your arms for momentum, and land in your start position. Jump straight up, raising your arms overhead and landing softly with the knees slightly bent. Repeat this movement for 30 seconds, while alternating sides.
Practice Hygiene in Your High Jeans
Festivals are rife with germs. From handrails, to benches, to port-o-potty toilets, bacteria and viruses are lurking around every corner. Protect yourself by toting antibacterial wipes or gel in your bag, pack a lightweight blanket to sit on, and practice this squat hold to avoid contact altogether.
9. Squat Holds
Add squat holds to your pre-festie workout routine so that you’ll be able to hover and hold your balance in the bathroom and not touch a thing.
With your feet hip-width distance and your weight in your heels, bend your knees, and sit your hips back until the thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep the chest up, bring your arms in front of you, and hold this position for 30 seconds, rest, then repeat.
After dancing all night, passing out for a few hours, then waking up to the sun baking your tent like an oven, you may be a little sore and groggy. You may also have a crick in your neck from a deflated air mattress or taking too many selfies. Here are two moves to stretch the neck and shoulders so that you’ll be ready to rise, shine, and do it all again.
10. Shoulder Stretch
Interlace your fingers behind your lower back with your palms together. As you roll your shoulders back, straighten your arms and open up your chest.
11. Neck Stretches
Place your left forearm on your lower back with your palm facing out. Lower your right ear toward your right shoulder and feel a stretch in your neck and upper back. For a deeper stretch, using your right fingertips lightly pull your head further down toward your right shoulder. Slowly release this stretch and repeat on the other side.
Now that you have all that you need to be “Ready,” you’re all “Set”: Now “LIVE!” StubHub’s got your back for all the tickets you need for the many festivals you might want to explore this summer. Take a break and take a look: www.stubhub.com – this doesn’t require any tricky exercise moves to plan your next festival experience!
Losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make huge, sweeping changes to your diet. Even the smallest changes, over time, can mean big results.
Regularly swapping out not-so-healthy foods (think refined sugar or salt) for healthier substitutes (like stevia or herbs), can get you on the path to healthy eating, without giving up flavor.
Try these easy, peasy, sweet-n-salty food swaps today:
Need more ideas? How about these:
Get tons of recipe ideas, weight-loss strategies, and fitness tips at the Beachbody Blog! And don’t miss our other easy, healthy food swaps: 4 Easy, Healthy Protein Swaps and 4 Easy, Healthy Carb Swaps.
The cardiovascular department at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic is cautious about recommending swimming workouts to its patients. In fact, it often advises that they don’t. The clinic’s cardiologists are concerned that the physical demands of propelling oneself through a medium that is 784 times denser than air are simply too strenuous for people with cardiac conditions.
If your heart is healthy, however, you can take their admonition as a ringing endorsement: Swimming provides one hell of a workout. So why do only half as many people swim for exercise each year as run or cycle?
Access to lap pools is one explanation. “It also feels very weird to swim with proper form,” says Los Angeles-based swim coach and masters world record holder Jacki Hirsty. “We’re not an aquatic species, so propelling oneself through water is not an innate ability.”
But the reward is worth the effort. Even a leisurely 30-minute swim will burn 214 calories for a 150-pound person. That’s 89 more calories than cycling at a similar intensity. And if you bump up the intensity to “vigorous” you can burn through 700 calories in an hour. You’ll also train movement patterns and engage muscles that are often neglected in other forms of exercise—all without the repetitive physical stress that comes from pounding the pavement, spinning pedals, or otherwise exercising on terra firma.
“Swimming is a great sport for general fitness because it’s low impact, it’s easy on the joints, and you can maintain a comfortable pace in that fat burning zone,” says Hirsty, who coaches people of all ages at the Southern California Aquatic Center, in Los Angeles.
Triathletes, of course, have no choice but to train in the pool. Swimming is the first leg of every race, and sets the tone for the other two that follow. Flub up the swim, and you’ll be playing catch-up in the bike and the run.
“A triathlete must be cognizant of pacing and be able to utilize it effectively throughout the course of his or her race,” says professional triathlete and coach Jim Lubinski. “This can only be done through practice.”
Regardless of your level of ability, the pool exercises below will help you optimize that practice with swimming workouts for beginners and seasoned competitors alike. Read on to learn how to make the most of every lap.
How to Warm Up for Swimming Workouts
Swimming is low impact, but to perform at your peak (and reduce your risk of injury), you still need to prime your muscles for action. Begin with 200 to 400 meters of easy swimming, and then do the following two drills to warm up for your swimming workout.
Kicks: Grab a kickboard and hold onto it as you swim 100 meters. Rest 20 seconds after each effort. Repeat four times total. The goal here is to warm up your legs, not tax them, so keep your effort to around 50 percent of maximum.
Pulls: Ditch the kickboard and grab a pull buoy, which is a “figure-eight” shaped piece of closed-cell foam that keeps your legs afloat. Follow the same protocol as you did for kicks (i.e., 4X100m).
4 Swimming Workouts for Beginners and Athletes
Most swimming workouts last an hour and cover 3,500 meters: One thousand for the warmup (described above), 2,000 for the main workout (described below), and 500 for the cool down, which should consist of easy swimming.
Hirsty has fitness swimmers perform four swimming workouts a week that increase progressively in intensity from a distance-focused pool session to sprint intervals. Lubinski also likes a variety of swimming workouts for triathletes, and recommends up to four swims a week. You’ll find options for both types of swimmer in the workouts below (all percentages reflect percent of maximum effort).
Swimming Workout 1: Distance
Purpose: To increase raw endurance or (in the case of triathletes) to enhance recovery and stroke efficiency
Hirsty likes to have her fitness-focused clients start the week with 500-meter intervals. We know—that sounds like speed work if you’re a runner or a cyclist. But you have to stop thinking like a runner or cyclist. In the pool (where you’re fighting water resistance) 500 meters is a respectable distance—especially if you repeat it multiple times. See if you don’t agree after a couple of 500s. “The first one will feel slow but the idea is to build up, making each 500 a little faster,” says Hirsty.
If you’re a multisport athlete, you’ll likely come off the weekend having completed a long run or bike ride (or both). As such, Lubinski recommends that the first of your swimming workouts for the week be low intensity to optimize recovery. Resist the temptation to push yourself—you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do that in subsequent workouts. This one is all about helping your body complete its repairs. It also emphasizes stroke efficiency, training you to swim faster and farther with less effort.
500m at 40% with 30 seconds rest
500m at 50% with 30 seconds rest
500m at 70% with 30 seconds rest
500m at 80% with 30 seconds rest
9 x 50m kicks of progressing intensity (3 x 60%, 3 x 70%, 3 x 80%). Rest 10 seconds between each 50m effort. Use fins if possible.
10 x 100m pulls at 70% with 20 seconds rest between them. Focus on taking as few strokes as possible to cover the length of the pool.
500m swim at 70%.
Swimming Workout 2: Tempo Training
Purpose: To enhance overall fitness and improve pacing skill
Having a feel for distance, speed, and effort (i.e., knowing how to pace yourself) is one of the keys to successful swimming workouts, let alone races. “If an athlete goes out too hard, he will falter in the latter portions of the interval or set,” says Lubinski.
The following swimming workouts will help prevent that from happening by developing your inner speedometer, tachometer, and fuel gauge. In other words, you’ll become better at starting strong and finishing even stronger.
200 at 75% with 20 seconds rest
150 at 80% with 15 seconds rest
100 at 90% with 10 seconds rest
50 at 100% with 60 seconds rest
Repeat four times total
20 minutes swimming at 70%
15 minutes pulling at 80%
10 minutes pulling at 90%
5 minutes swimming at 100%
Rest only as long as necessary between efforts
Swimming Workout 3: Race Pace Intervals
Purpose: To increase your capacity for high intensity effort
There are two primary kinds of endurance. The first is steady state endurance, which Workout 1 helps you develop. The second is speed endurance, which is when you hit the accelerator and hold it down for as long as possible. Race pace intervals focus on the latter.
You’ll be swimming 100m repeats regardless of whether you’re a triathlete or a fitness swimmer, and you’re going to swim them hard. You’re also going get very little rest (no more than 15 seconds) between efforts. Not only will that build your staying power, helping you go harder for longer, but it will also help you improve your VO2 Max (i.e., your aerobic capacity) and overall stamina (exercise tolerance).
Since this 10x100m workout falls 1,000 meters short of the typical 2,000m workout, do another round of kicks and pulls (described in “Step 1” above) at the end in addition to your regular 500m cool down.
10 x 100m at 80%. Rest 15 seconds between efforts.
10 x 100m (50m at 100% and 50m at 80%). Rest 15 seconds between efforts.
Swimming Workout #4: Sprints
Purpose: To increase swim speed and ingrain good swim technique
There’s an En Vogue song from the 90’s with a key line for swimmers: “Free your mind and the rest will follow.” That’s the idea behind sprint intervals.
“When you do distance swimming, you have time to think about technique,” says Hirsty. That often leads to overthinking, which can be just as detrimental to technique as not thinking about it enough, because your motions won’t be fluid. Sprints solve that problem by taking your mind out of the equation. “You’re not thinking,” says Hirsty. “There’s no time for it. You’re just swimming on instinct.”
These intervals are going to test your mental grit. You’ll very quickly feel the dull (but previously manageable) burn you experienced during Workout 1 blossom into a full blown, searing firestorm. And like a devoted masochist, you’ll rest just long enough to experience it again and again. Embrace the burn—it’s the feeling of becoming a stronger, more powerful, more resilient swimmer.
1X100m at 100%. Rest 4x longer than it took you to complete the 100. Repeat until your 100m time increases significantly.
16x25m at 100% with 10 seconds rest between efforts. That’s one set. Do three sets with five minutes recovery between them.
You tried the whole low-carb weight-loss strategy and — let us guess — it sucked.
You felt exhausted, your workout performances suffered, and you dreamed of nothing but bread and pasta and pancakes. When baked goods take over your daydreams, carb cycling to lose weight starts looking really attractive.
“Carb cycling is an eating protocol that consists of eating a lot of carbs on days you work out and few carbs on days you don’t,” says Wisconsin-based strength coach Pat Gilles, C.S.C.S. “It’s an easy diet because it allows you to have the carbs you like with little to no deprivation. It ensures you get enough protein and carbs to maintain the muscles you have, but it allows you to lean up at the same time.”
Before you go carb crazy, hold up: There’s a lot more to know about carb cycling for weight loss.
How Does Carb Cycling Work?
Carbs are your body’s quick-acting fuel and — apart from powering your brain, red blood cells, and liver — they are responsible for giving your muscles what they need to crush your hardest workouts, explains Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., R.D., author of Power Eating and a sports nutrition consultant to NFL, NBA, and Olympic athletes.
During high-intensity exercise, for instance, roughly 80 percent of your body’s energy comes from carbs — both those floating through your veins and arteries as blood glucose as well as those stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen, she says. So you’re going to burn — and therefore, need — more carbs on days when you hit it hard in the gym.
However, carb cycling doesn’t stop there. Instead, it gets into the fat-adaptation controversy. Let us explain: When you don’t have enough carbs on board, your body is forced to burn fat for energy. Over time, forcing your body to burn fat can theoretically increase your natural tendency to use fat as an energy substrate.
Researchers call this becoming “fat adapted,” and a 2016 Metabolism study of endurance athletes suggests that it can occur after following a ketogenic diet (generally accepted as fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day) for 20 months.
Proponents of carb cycling believe that the body can quickly become fat-adapted through periodic low-carb days, thereby allowing you to burn fat even when you’re glued to the couch bingeing on Netflix.
Gilles explains that carb-cycling dieters also believe that this approach supports healthy levels of hormones, including insulin, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, and thyroid hormones to promote healthy metabolism and lower levels of exercise-induced inflammation and hunger. However, this hasn’t been proved in the research.
Different Carb Cycling Protocols
No two carb-cycling protocols are the same. “Some protocols are easy, such as three days of low carbs followed by three days of high carbs,” says Gilles. “Other protocols can get more complex, with four low days, one high day, then two low days followed by a no-carb day, high day, two low days, two moderate days, and one high-carb day.” (Uh, did anyone follow that?)
Further complicating matters, carb-cycling protocols vary widely in terms of the quantity of carbs that can be consumed on high-, moderate-, and low-carb days, he says. High-carb days can include anywhere from 100 to several hundred grams of carbs per day.
Low- and no-carb days typically include fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day, but can often go as low as five or 10 grams. (FYI, an apple contains 15 grams of carbs.) Moderate-carb days are somewhere in the middle and usually flirt with the 50-gram mark, says Gilles.
Keep in mind that the current recommended daily allowance of carbohydrates, which specifies the minimum amount required for good health, is 130 grams per day. Low-carb diets are generally classified as those in which less than 45 percent of daily calories come from carbs. For someone following a 1,600-calorie diet, that would equate to anything less than 180 grams of carbs per day.
Can Carb Cycling Help You Lose Weight?
It just might. In a 2011 study, women who cut carbs twice a week lost an average of nine pounds over the course of four months, while women on a Mediterranean diet lost five pounds. (Both groups were on calorie-restricted diets.)
Kleiner largely attributes that weight loss to one’s ability to stick to a diet. When University of Toronto researchers analyzed findings from 59 scientific weight-loss articles, including 48 randomized control trials, they concluded that the ability to adhere to a diet was the number one predictor of weight-loss results.
That said, carb cycling is intended to be a short-term strategy for weight loss, done over several weeks or max, a couple of months, says Gilles. “You cannot eat this way forever,” he says. “Your body needs carbs to function properly. People who do carb cycle do it only until they achieve their goal.”
But even over the short term, an extreme carb-cycling approach that involves yo-yoing between ketogenic and high-carb days can put you at risk of unintended and nasty consequences, says Lori Zanini, R.D., C.D.E., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“Our brain requires a minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrates per day, and if you are physically active your needs increase even more, which is important to consider for overall health,” she says. “In carb cycling, you’re manipulating your body’s fuel sources to the point right before your glycogen stores are completely depleted and muscle protein breakdown starts to occur. That’s when you stock back up with carbs, trying to prevent long-term detrimental effects on our body’s hormone balance and metabolism. When maintained for too long, extremely low-carb diets lower thyroid hormone (T3), testosterone, leptin, serotonin, and insulin levels, while increasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”
Unless you’re getting regular blood tests, there’s no surefire way of knowing when you’ve hit that line — until you’ve already crossed it and start to see your results and health suffer.
How to Carb Cycle the Right Way
If you decide carb cycling is a plan that’s right for you for a little while, there are a few things to keep in mind: Start by knowing when to go low and when to go high.
“Match your food intake to your activities,” says Gilles. “Eat more carbs on days that you exercise or exercise hard, but you don’t need to go to extremes.”
While the current RDA of 130 grams of carbs per day will cover your body’s basic fuel needs, you’ll need roughly 60 additional grams of carbs per hour of intense exercise each day, says Donald K. Layman, Ph.D., professor emeritus of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois.
If you sandwich your exercise between those extra carbs, all the better. While, for the best results, you need to hit your workouts with plenty of carbs on board, research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition also shows that post-workout carbs help the body recover and build muscle so that you get more out of every single sweat session.
In the end, just remember that carbs are fuel. Treat them that way, and you’re on the right track to losing weight.
Love Caesar salad but are watching your waistline? We’ve created a healthier Caesar salad that still includes Parmesan cheese, garlic croutons, lemon garlic dressing! We used grilled kale, but if you don’t want to spend the time grilling it, using raw kale works too. Just massage the dressing in to reduce the bitterness of the leafy green!
Healthier Caesar Salad
Total Time: 23 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 8 min.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
2 cloves garlic, grated, divided use
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil, divided use
2 bunches raw kale, washed, dried (about 1 lb.)
4 slices low-sodium sprouted whole-grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat grill or broiler on high.
2. To make dressing, combine half of garlic, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl; whisk to blend.
3. Slowly add 2 Tbsp. oil, whisking continuously until blended. Set aside.
4. Combine remaining 2 tsp. oil and remaining half of garlic in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.
5. Remove central rib and stem from each kale leaf. Brush leaves with half of oil and garlic mixture. Set aside.
6. Brush bread with the other half of oil and garlic mixture. Set aside.
7. Grill kale for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, or until slightly brown and crispy. (Kale might need to be grilled in batches.) Cut (or tear) into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
8. Grill bread for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until brown and crispy. Cut into large cubes.
9. Combine kale and bread in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to blend.
10. Sprinkle with cheese.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Total Fat: 14 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 11 mg
Sodium: 394 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sugars: 0 g
Protein: 11 g
Body Beast Portions
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Picky eaters, you know who you are: You’re that kid who had “Mommie Dearest”-level standoffs over everything from “this tastes gross/weird/wet” to “omg the green beans are TOUCHING my noodles!”
Now you’re an adult and you want to drop some pounds. But that means you need to dial in your diet and finally face the foods that make your palate pucker.
Or maybe not?
Whole, unprocessed foods like lean proteins, veggies and fruit, and whole grains help form the foundation of a balanced, healthy diet, but pickings can get slim if your taste buds don’t mesh with the foods that can help you lose weight.
Luckily, there are ways to get around your picky palate and expand your food horizons. But first, let’s take a quick look and see how it all started.
Picky Eaters May Be Born, Not Made
Picky eating is most often associated with stubborn kids who won’t eat their veggies or try something new.
But a person’s food preferences may be genetically preset: In a 2007 study, the long-standing debate of “nurture versus nature” was applied to picky eating. For some foods, particularly produce and protein, children simply showed an innate like or dislike.
Kids are also born with palates that tend to be more sensitive to bitter and sweet flavors than adults, so what you may have hated as a child (boo, spinach!), you may love as an adult (hello, spinach and broccoli strata!).
Then again, some picky kids simply grow into picky adults. The journal Appetite reports that adult who are picky eaters have the same taste sensitivity that they had as picky kids: Picky-eating adults described sweet and bitter flavor profiles as more intense than non-picky eaters.
(Fun fact: You’re in good company, picky eaters. Carl Daikeler, Beachbody’s CEO and co-founder, does not like vegetables. Solution? His wife Isabelle and nutritionist Darin Olien created Shakeology so Carl would eat his greens.)
Bad memories can steer you away from certain foods, too: “Often times, picky eaters are remembering past likes or dislikes about certain foods that they haven’t even tasted in 10 years,” says Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., founder of BZ Nutrition.
But that doesn’t mean you have to choke down those carrots or hold your nose while you shovel greens in your mouth. Here are 10 ways to work with what you’ve got.
8 Tips to Help Picky Eaters Eat Healthier and Lose Weight
1. Translate your favorites into something else
“You’re already eating more foods than you think you are, so try to deconstruct your favorite meals and see what other foods you can be eating from that,” says Zeitlin.
“For example, if you always get your burger with lettuce, tomato, and onion, then guess what, you like lettuce and tomatoes, [which] you can add into a salad, or you can grill those tomatoes as a side dish, or create a stir fry with tomatoes, onions, and a lean cut of meat.”
2. “Retrain” your taste buds
If you’ve said “pass” on certain foods for a long time, you might be in for a surprise. “Tastes change over time, so it is important to revisit foods every so often,” recommends Zeitlin.
If you find you’re still not a fan of specific flavors, even decades later, all hope is not lost. Try cutting out many sugary/salty/fatty processed foods for a few weeks and you may be able to retrain your taste buds to recognize the natural sweetness in foods like fruit, instead of the “hypersweet” version in processed foods.
3. Take baby steps
Instead of changing everything you eat all at once, start with small changes. Instead of a side of potato chips, try a veggie-filled pasta salad instead.
Or try a different way of cooking your food: Instead of frying, try baking or grilling. “Small changes can lead to big changes but feel less overwhelming at the time,” says Zeitlin.
Remember that just as baby steps take a longer time for a child to get from point A to point B, so does making small changes with your eating. However, if you stick with it, you can gain speed and make progress.
“One of my clients was eating fast food for every meal before we met,” says Stephanie Jensen, Certified Personal Chef of La Cuisine Personal Chef Service. Worried her client would never make the switch to a healthier plate, Jensen started simple, using ingredients the client was familiar with and branching out with new items slowly and occasionally.
She also paired new ingredients with old favorites to help make meals more palatable. “Five years later, I’m still cooking for [this client],” she says.
4. Rethink your go-to meals
If Taco Tuesdays are your jam, keep the Mexican theme dinner, but give the ingredients a facelift by using lettuce wraps in place of taco shells and swapping plain Greek yogurt for sour cream.
“A picky eater could be missing out on essential vitamins and minerals they are not getting by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein,” says Zeitlin. “Looking for ways to sneak more vegetables into your meal is a great way to get more vitamins and minerals and expand your taste palate at the same time.”
A few swaps to try:
- Lighten up classic mac and cheese by pureeing butternut squash or carrots to mix into the cheese sauce.
- Trade carb-heavy white rice for cauliflower rice instead. Chop the florets very finely until it resembles rice or use a food processor. “You can then use the cauliflower just like rice — stir fry in some sesame oil and add cooked protein and veggies, or heat in a skillet and add a healthy jarred marinara sauce and some dried herbs and spices,” Jensen says. “Cauliflower rice can also be cooked quickly in a sauté pan with olive oil and fresh garlic. Add a splash of fresh lemon juice and fresh herbs and you have a quick and healthy side dish in minutes.”
- Instead of regular potatoes, Jensen recommends sweet potato or zucchini “fries.” “Cut vegetables into sticks, toss with olive oil and paprika, and roast on a baking pan over parchment paper at 425 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes or until crispy.”
- Instead of prepackaged spice blends, salad dressings, or marinades, make your own at home. They’re easy to throw together, healthier, and less expensive than store-bought varieties.
- Mix fresh fruit with plain yogurt and a touch of honey for a less-sugary version of the pre-flavored yogurt cups.
- Swap in “zoodles” in your next pasta dish, or shred spaghetti squash. But if veggie noodles are a step too far, try simply swapping out half of your regular white pasta for a bean pasta or a whole-grain quinoa or wheat pasta.
5. Order something different when eating out
Cooking with new ingredients can be tricky, especially if you’re not sure how something is supposed to taste. Leave your first bite to the professionals when ordering meals incorporating new-to-you ingredients such as quinoa, Brussels sprouts, or eggplant.
“It might take some trial and error, but in the end you may find a whole new list of ingredients that you can put into your meal rotation,” says Jensen.
6. Get cooking
The good news is you don’t have to be a master chef to master new flavors. “There is no rule that says everything must be cooked,” says Jensen, who suggests trying new produce ingredients in their raw states first. “Raw fruits and veggies come in all shapes and sizes and can make a quick snack or accompaniment to any meal.”
When you are ready to turn up (or on) the heat, “get creative with spices (not salt!),” suggests Zeitlin. “Adding spices to your vegetables, salad dressings, fish, meat, or chicken can switch up the flavor profile while still keeping things lean and healthy.”
“Many times eating a vegetable cooked versus raw changes the taste profile,” says Zeitlin. “So if you don’t like raw broccoli, you may love roasted broccoli. Don’t discount the food until you have tried it a few ways!”
7. Get inspired by social media
If it’s true that people eat with their eyes first, then a scroll through Pinterest or foodie Instagram accounts can make you very hungry, and possibly more adventurous:
- @autumncalabrese: Creator of 21 Day Fix, Autumn Calabrese shares yummy meal pics as well as bonus exercises and motivation to keep you moving toward your goals.
- @bobbycalabrese11: Chef brother to Autumn and co-host of FIXATE, Bobby Calabrese’s Insta feed is a feast for the eyes.
8. Find a foodie friend
Not sure what kind of new foods you might like? Ask a foodie friend to be your guide. “The buddy system works in the gym as well as the kitchen,” says Zeitlin.
If you’re not ready to commit to a full meal, order shared plates or family-style meals. Or steal a bite from your pal’s plate for a tiny taste test.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t get discouraged and don’t stop trying new ways to enjoy healthy food.