The Secret to a Summer Stomach
Summer Vacation Checklist:
Beach towel? Check.
Lean summer body? D’OH!
Don’t you just hate when you forget something on your checklist? Well the good news is that you still have time to pack, er, “unpack” some of those winter lbs. Leave those extra lbs in a suitcase in your closet, where they’ll be waiting for you once holiday season comes back around ;)
I’ve got 2 key secrets to getting yourself ready for summer, which are both very reasonable to stick to:
1.) Clean Up/Cut Down Your Carbs
2.) Choose Leaner Proteins
CLEAN UP/CUT DOWN YOUR CARBS
Carbs primarily come in 2 forms: simple (bad) and complex (good). By substituting your simple carbs with complex carbs, you’ll immediately trim down some “fluff.”
Simple carbs are higher in sugar like white rice/pasta/bread, candy, desserts, juice, soda, and even fruit.
Complex carbs are higher in fiber like brown rice/pasta/bread, beans, and vegetables.
If you have a little more than just “fluff” to lose or if you already eat pretty clean on your carbs, I’d suggest cutting down your carb intake altogether. Vegetables are still fair game and you can eat all you like. But reducing the rice/pasta/bread, even if it’s brown or wheat, will train your body to start burning its fat for fuel rather than relying on carbs.
A good target for carb intake? Somewhere under about 25% of your calories. Or a simpler calculation would be keeping your daily carb intake under 80-100g. And if you’re real serious about it, you can attempt to be in a “ketogenic” state by keeping your carbs under 30-50g per day.
As a result of reducing your carbs, you’ll need to replace those calories with more healthy fats and proteins. Which leads us into our 2nd secret ingredient to summer…
CHOOSE LEANER PROTEINS
All those fatty steaks, burgers, and ribs sure taste great but they ain’t helping your bid for the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.
Instead, the lean meats you should be eating are:
1.) Skinless turkey/chicken breast (98% lean)
2.) Ground turkey/beef (85-100% lean)
3.) Pork/beef loin (90% lean)
Skinless turkey/chicken breast is the healthiest, leanest meat you can eat. Make it your choice of protein often. And avoid the temptation to slather it in barbeque sauce. But let’s face it, you need some variety and flavor in your life.
Pork and beef cuts are tasty, just make sure you are opting for the “loins” for the leanest cut.
But today we’re going to spend the most time talking about lean ground turkey/beef and all the wonderful ways you can eat it to keep your meals fresh, tasty, and healthy!
First off, there are typically a few options at the store as to how lean your ground meat is. Obviously, you should be picking the one with the highest lean% and the lowest fat%. 90% lean and higher is your goal!
When it comes to turkey vs beef, there’s a few small differences. Beef has a little more saturated fat, whereas turkey is slightly higher in sodium and cholesterol. The differences are minimal enough where I’d suggest just going with whichever has the higher lean % (turkey has a fat-free, 100% lean option).
The best thing about ground meat is that it’s extremely versatile and you can mix all sorts of different flavors and sides together.
Here are some of our favorites:
-Meatballs (read below)
-Taco Meat (tacos or salad)
-Meat Pasta Sauce
-Brown Rice Bowls
And here’s an easy, delicious meatball recipe from my favorite cook (tied w/ Mom), my girlfriend!
Good luck having a nice, lean summer!