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Bigger Breakfast, Smaller Waist?

13 Aug

If I had to play favorites, I’d pick breakfast as my favorite meal of the day, hands down. I always wake up looking forward to brewing the coffee, blending the green juice, and building the main course.

I am always telling my clients that “diets don’t start at breakfast”. First thing in the morning, when our bodies just fasted for 7+ hours and need to be refueled the most, ย is not the time to cut calories or skimp on nutrition!

A recent article from The Wall Street Journalย gave me more ammo to back my broken-record breakfast advocating ๐Ÿ˜‰ A study of overweight and obese women found that those who ate the bulk of their calories in the first part of the day lost more than 2x the weight, waist circumference, and BMI percent compared to those who ate the bulk of their calories toward the end of the day. The women in the breakfast group also showed improvements in markers for cardiovascular disease and diabetes including triglycerides, cholesterol, and insulin responses.

We find even more support for “breaking the fast” from theย National Weight Control Registry, which tracks successful “losers” to help us better understand how to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Of the 10,000+ successful individuals tracked, 78% eat breakfast every day and 88% eat breakfast at least 5 days per week!

Now that we know eating breakfast is a good idea, let’s talk about what that breakfast looks like.

3 Keys to Building a Better Breakfast

  1. Invert the Pyramid: Rev your metabolism by aiming for at least 20% of your daily calories in your morning meal.

  2. Pick a Protein: Protein will give your breakfast staying power and keep you from reaching for the break room goodies before lunchtime. (eggs, yogurt, nut butter, Sunwarrior, cottage cheese, beans, soy milk)

  3. Choose a Complex Carb: Fiber-rich carbs provide a dose of energy for your brain and body and keep you feeling satisfied. (oatmeal, whole grain cereal/bread/tortilla, fruit)

Bonus:ย add a fruit! Give your body a healthy serving of antioxidants and fiber.

Some breakfast favorites:

Cereal w/ soy milk, fruit, and nut butter


Fruit, yogurt, and granola parfait


Oatmeal (try these make-ahead steel cut oats in the crockpot!)


Overnight oats (perfect way to enjoy oats in the summertime)


Scrambled eggs with veggies and toast (also great as a sandwich)


Homemade energy bites for those who are pressed for time in the morning


Fruit and protein smoothie (try my go-to recipe!)


Whole grain waffle with nut butter and fruit (great transition breakfast if you don’t have an appetite in the morning)


Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚


Healthy Snack: Crispy Roasted Edamame

3 Dec

Monday is certainly NOT my favorite day of the week. When my alarm goes off and I realize that the weekend is over and a full week stands in front of me, the sadness/grumpiness sets in. This is an ongoing goal of mine- to start the week on a positive note and schedule my weeks so they are a little moreย bearable. I have a bad habit of cramming as much as I possibly can into 5 days and then completely crashing on the weekends. This way of life does not serve me well! Recently, someone gave me the analogy of the safety instructions that are given on an airplane. They tell you to put your mask on first before helping the person next to you. Why do they tell you to do this? Because you are are much more capable of taking care of others when you take care of yourself first. This really resonated with me and is something I need to work on! Anyone else suffer from “caretaker syndrome”?

Lately my Sundays have focused on pressing the reset button, self-care, and getting myself in the zone for the week ahead. I started yesterday with a very challenging hot yoga practice. We spent the first 10 minutes of the practice doing back-to-back core exercises. My abs were screaming in pain for the remaining hour of the practice! Savasana with wide open windows completely made up for the torture. Still can’t believe the windows were open on Dec. 2nd!


I followed up yoga with oatmeal chocolate chip pancakes. I was ravenous so pictures did not happen ๐Ÿ™‚

The rest of the day was spent situating our Christmas tree,


Veggies for our tree!


getting work done, and spending some time in the kitchen concocting snackage for the week!


Roasted Edamame


  • 1 bag frozen shelled edamame
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Thaw shelled edamame and spread on towel to dry.
  • Toss shelled edamame with olive oil and seasonings and spread on a baking sheet, lightly greased or covered with parchment paper.
  • Roast for about 40 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  • I like mine extra crispy, so I turned off the oven at 40 minutes, but left the edamame in the warm oven for an additional 20 minutes to continue to dry out.


The perfect high-protein snack to keep you on track and energized this week.

Take care of yourself this week! Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Video Post: The Sunshine Smoothie

26 Jun

Hello, friends!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. JWD and I enjoyed an amazing weekend of wedding festivities. Love was certainly in the air.

Now, back to the purpose of this post.

I am a die-hard, heart fluttering, boy band-style fan of smoothies. We already know this. I have a Vitamix. Special smoothie straws. Special smoothie cups to be used only for smoothies and if they are seen being used for anything other than smoothies or, worse, being put in the dishwasher (I’m lookin’ at you, JWD) you will receive a death glare. I know all the best smoothie places in the city. I have seven, yes seven, smoothie recipe books.

But I don’t know why I bother with all of this because I always come back to the same recipe: the Sunshine Smoothie. Watch and learn, my friends.

Don’t I look tired? If you answered “no”, you are lying. I filmed this a few months ago when the internship was still in full swing. I look much less like a zombie today.

A few more smoothie tips:

  • My friend came up with the fabulous idea of using frozen spinach instead of fresh. Not only is it cheaper and lasts longer than fresh, it also adds thickness because it’s frozen. Genius!
  • Bananas going bad on you? Stick ’em in the freezer and they’ll be perfect smoothie additions. But don’t forget to peel them first! Otherwise, the peel basically freezes shut. It’s okay, don’t be embarrassed. We’ve all done it ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Add less liquid for a thick soft-serve style smoothie. I love to put thick smoothies in a bowl, top with a sprinkle of granola, and eat it with a spoon.

I really love the video posts (and I think you do too?), so I want to do more. Any ideas? Do you want lunch ideas? Breakfast ideas? Workouts? Want to see what’s in my fridge? Q & A? Leave a comment here, on Twitter, or on the Running on Sunshine Facebook page to tell me what you want to see!

Have a fantastic week! Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

19 Jun

A little plant-based diet humor for you ๐Ÿ™‚

This is the cliche question that every “meat as a condiment”-eater dreads. I actually enjoy answering this question because it gives me a chance to address a very hot topic. It’s no secret that Americans love their protein. Especially in the Midwest, a hunk of meat is the star of the show at most meals. But many myths and misconceptions surround protein, so today I’m going to set the record straight.

What is it?

Protein is one of the “big three” nutrients along with carbohydrates and fat. It plays many roles in the body including immunity, skin, hair, nails, and metabolism. But the one most pertinent to this conversation is its role as the building blocks for our body and muscles. You can’t reap the health rewards of lean muscle mass without adequate protein.

How much is “enough”?

You’ve probably heard all sorts of things about how to figure out how much protein you need. The general recommendation for a healthy person is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. If you are trying to lose weight, 1 gram per kilogram of body weight may help kickstart the weight loss. One easy way to get a rough estimate is to take your body weight in pounds, divide it by 2 and subtract 10. So if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 65 grams of protein a day. I rarely recommend more than that unless it’s for an athlete who is constantly breaking down and rebuilding muscle in strenuous workouts.

Can you eat too much protein?

Many people say “no”, but I say “yes”! This is not a “more is better” situation. More protein does not equal more muscle. Our bodies are very smart. If we give them more protein than they need, they simply dispose of the excess. This disposal process can be hard on our kidneys, especially for people susceptible to kidney issues. Also, the excess protein may cause other systems to go awry. A few studies have actually shown that high protein diets may decrease testosterone (a hormone that contributes to muscle growth)- I assume that’s not the effect those body builders are looking for ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, high protein diets are being investigated for a possible link to cancer. The documentary Forks Over Knives talks about this quite a bit. Moral of the story: more is not better!

When should I eat protein?

It’s important to spread out protein foods throughout the day because our body cannot absorb it all at once. Try to include a protein source with each meal and snack. Protein is especially important after workouts, but IT MUST BE PAIRED WITH CARBOHYDRATE! Carbohydrate is like a key that lets the protein into the muscle. So add some fruit to that low-carb protein powder and turn it into a smoothie.

Where do you get your protein?

I’m sure you’ve heard foods called “complete proteins” and incomplete proteins”. This refers to the amino acids they are made of. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. A good analogy for this is a long train with many individual train cars. Not all trains (proteins) are made of the same cars (amino acids). Some amino acids have to come from food and some can be made by our body out of other amino acids. A “complete protein” contains all amino acids that our body needs. An “incomplete protein” is missing one or more of the amino acids our body needs. All animal foods (meat, dairy) are complete proteins.

Is animal protein the best protein?

This DOES NOT mean that animal foods are the best proteins. Our bodies can store amino acids until the right combination comes along. The key is to be sure you are eating a variety of protein foods throughout the day, whether from plants or animals. One downside with animal foods is they usually come with a big dose of unhealthy saturated fat. With plant proteins, saturated fat is not a problem!

Protein rule of thumb: Lean and clean, the less legs the better.
I picked this up from another dietitian and it’s a great rule! “Lean and clean” refers to the amount of fat, so choose lower fat sources. “The less legs the better” is just a fun way to remember which sources are lowest in unhealthy fats: fish and plants have 0-1 leg, poultry has 2 legs, and cows and pigs have 4 legs.

Protein Foods

Do I need a protein powder?

You most certainly do not need one and no matter what the packaging claims, a powder will not make you healthier or thinner than eating real foods. A protein powder is a supplement, so it should be used to supplement your diet and not to replace whole foods in your diet. If a protein powder works for you for convenience reasons, then go for it. But keep in mind that these powders are usually heavily processed and typically low-carb, so use sparingly and pair with a carbohydrate food. My favorite protein powder is Sun Warrior. It’s plant-based and minimally processed.

So back to that initial question, where do I get my protein? I like a variety of plant-based foods with a few animal sources sprinkled in. Stay tuned for a video of my favorite protein-packed smoothie!

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

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