By Morgan Kline
Hi, it’s Morgan! I’m here to fill up your cup with my weekly recap of Coffee & Kettlebells. For our very first episode, I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Julie Fagan, the author and founder of the PBFingers blog.
What I love most about Julie is that she keeps things real and relatable. Her lifestyle is focused on health and fitness but she doesn’t claim to be perfect: “I try to live a healthy, balanced life but also enjoy my favorite indulgences (like a peanut butter finger or two… or five),” she says.
Her message truly touches me because I once lived with absolutely zero balance when it came to healthy eating. I counted every single calorie I consumed, permitted only perfectly clean foods in my house and never spoiled myself with my favorite treats. I found myself losing my mind and constantly craving unhealthy foods.
Since then, I’ve realized that being less restrictive has brought me greater success in achieving my health and fitness goals—and also in keeping my sanity. I no longer obsess over every little thing I put into my mouth. I’m not afraid of treating myself to a big breakfast out with my husband on a Saturday morning. I allow myself to enjoy my favorite indulgences from time to time because I know I will get back to clean eating with my next meal.
If you struggle with food obsession, like I did, you’ll be inspired by Julie’s approach to finding balance between clean eating and indulging: “Have a day that is just for you! Have a day where you allow yourself to eat what you want, let it be fine and don’t feel bad about it. If you love ice cream, stop secretly eating a spoonful here and there, and instead have moments of indulgences and splurges that just feel fun. Go out and simply enjoy a big ice cream cone! Why not? If your priority is healthy living, and it is your lifestyle, then you have room for those fun moments and celebratory things without guilt.”
Julie’s top three health tips for developing balanced eating habits:
1. Stop cooking boring meals. Try exciting new recipes and experiment with fun spices and ingredients. (Aren’t you sick of salmon with broccoli and a sweet potato?) You’re more likely to continue eating healthy if you thoroughly enjoy the foods you eat and actually have fun while cooking them.
2. Meal prep without actually meal prepping. Meal prep saves time during the week, but sometimes it’s hard to find time during the weekend to actually do it. Thankfully, there are ways to make your weekday dinners easy to whip up—without having to fully prep them beforehand.
Julie suggests making a list on Saturday of the healthy meals you plan to cook throughout the upcoming week, along with the exact ingredients needed for each recipe. On Sunday, cook all your lean proteins in a crockpot and chop all your raw vegetables. This helps minimize cooking steps during the week. You’re then able to quickly assemble a salad, throw some veggies in the oven to roast or toss everything into a pan for a killer stir-fry.
2. Keep dinner simple. Avoid overthinking your meals. You don’t need a thousand ingredients and different spices to create something delicious. Cooking dinner and meal prepping are less likely to become habits when the recipes are time-consuming and difficult to follow. You’ll be surprised by how just a few herbs and spices can amplify your meals with amazing flavor. Julie loves finding inspiration for great-tasting simple recipes in Clean Eating magazine.
Julie’s favorite healthy recipes:
One Pot Chicken Cabbage Bowl with Sesame Ginger Broth
This is Julie’s go-to dinner. It’s super easy and can be made paleo-friendly and gluten-free (replace the soy sauce with coconut aminos). It’s the perfect recipe for a busy weeknight!
Your kids will love these muffins! And you will too because if you store a batch in the freezer, you’ll always have a healthy snack on hand. (They’re ready with just 20 seconds in the microwave!)
Need a protein-rich breakfast but short on time? Julie has the solution, and it’s chocolaty! This recipe is a great option for a go, go, go kind of morning.
Tune into the entire Coffee & Kettlebells podcast to hear how Julie creates balance for healthy living in other aspects of her life, from fitness and work to being a full-time mom and wife! Check out the live stream of Episode 1: Creating Balance with Eating, Fitness, Motherhood and Life, and don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes to get notifications for future episodes!