no added sugar week

taking a break from sugar

Hi there friends!

Tomorrow, February 18 thru February 24 I am doing a no added sugar week. My kitchen is full of sugar too, rough.


But WHY?! You might be asking. And before you shun sugar as the devil, or get on your intuitive eating high horse, hear me out.

This came about via my usual text thread with my good friend and fellow dietitian Becky (follow her on IG here). We were both complaining about sugar. Some of our common complaints include: eating more sugar than feels comfortable; post-sugar intake digestive distress; feeling trapped in a sugar habit; finding comfort in sugar.

It seems like since the new year started it has been worse. We both have a lot going on personally and professionally, but just like turning to alcohol won’t solve your problems, neither will turning to sweets. Talk about a reality check. We both know these things. We are both active, we eat well, prep food for the week, and take care to get as much sleep as we can. We treat ourselves well, yet we were letting sugar run the show more often than we cared to admit. We decided we would hold each other accountable to a little break.


The intention of our added sugar break is this: to stop using sugar in ways it shouldn’t be used. When we’re upset or stressed, instead of reaching for that sweet, we will be literally forced to try another avenue. We will stop, think (this is huge), and make an intentional choice. Instead of reaching for whatever chocolate is in the cabinet, we will choose from more intentional, and honestly more helpful habits like calling a friend, going for a walk, meditating, doing a face mask, or taking a bath. We don’t think sugar is the devil. But, we prefer to have the ability to make the choice to eat sugar out of mindfulness and choice, not stress.



Once our followers expressed interest in joining us we knew we had to write a post in case more people wanted to join. If you feel like you turn to sweets for any reason other than pure enjoyment I hope you will join us this week. See our guidelines below.

  1. No added sugar for 7 days. We are doing Feb 18- Feb 24 but feel free to pick seven days that work better for you. No added sugar includes things like maple syrup and honey.

  2. Fruit is okay. Fruit has natural sugar, use it for dessert, post workout refuel, or a more natural way to settle a true sweet craving. Dates are an unsweetened fruit, so use these as you wish!

  3. Carbs are okay. Just need to remind everyone of this tidbit. We aren’t doing a Whole 30 or anything dramatic. Literally, just tuning in before we use sugary sweet treats to tune out. Basic components of a nourishing diet should stay put.

  4. Alcohol is okay - in moderation. We decided on no more than 2 drinks at a time and no more than 2 days this week. Cutting out alcohol didn’t make sense to us because we enjoy our social life and seeing friends. If you prefer to cut it out totally, you do you.

  5. Get a friend to join you, an accountability partner, and someone to call when you’re having a freakout stressful day, is super helpful.

  6. No artificial sweeteners. I won’t get into why I despise artificial sweeteners here. Just know that they are definitely out.

  7. Be mindful. Thats the point of this challenge after all. To think before you eat. See what comes up for you. Is your trip to the cookies after work truly a desire for cookies? Or maybe it has become a way to decompress after a hard day? Are the never ending sweets at work really impossible for you to say no to? Or do you use that as an excuse to eat things you don’t even really like that much?

If you are ready to join us on this challenge and take control of your cravings then comment below and share this post with your friends. Remember, enjoying sweets isn’t a bad thing, but most of us use sweets outside of pure enjoyment and instead to play some role or manage some emotion that could be better filled and managed elsewhere. Lets reconnect to what is really going on in our mind, and to what our body truly needs.

Can’t wait to see your journey!! You can tag us on social media @realfoodcourt @becka_rd on Instagram to share how your week is going.

Post-Workout Nutrition: Refueling with Beef (sponsored)

It’s that time of year where new workout routines and gym memberships are motivating us to get moving. Remember, building a new lifestyle requires consistent commitment to habit changes. While small changes are key, it is important that as we succeed, we build on the habit. For instance, maybe you are really loving your fitness goals, but haven’t quite figured out the food piece. I often hear clients express their frustration at increased hunger related to their workouts and frequently the sub par eating habits that persist. Unfortunately, working out on its own isn’t enough to change your body and health. What we eat, particularly after we exercise, matters.



Post-workout we want complex carbs which will help to refill our energy stores, and preserve muscle from being broken down. Complex carbs might include whole grains, or starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, or fruit. Of course, protein is key for building strong bodies. Protein helps us maintain muscle we have and build new muscle. Quality protein also helps with meal satisfaction, which can help limit nighttime snack cravings.

When it comes to eating post-workout, I love refueling with beef. Beef is a nutrient-dense food that provides 10 essential nutrients including iron and about 25 grams of quality protein to help us recover.

Important note: Beef can only be claimed as “LEAN” if the cut of beef is less than 8.5 grams (g) total fat, 3.8g or less saturated fat, and less than 80 milligrams of cholesterol per 85g serving (about 3 ounces by weight).
Find out more about beefs nutrient profile here.


With your new workouts taking up more of your time, you want meals that are simple and easy to make ahead. Here are some ideas to keep you fueled and strong.

Lightened up spaghetti and meatballs

Protein: Use a lean ground beef (at least 95% lean ground beef) mixed with defrosted frozen spinach and italian spices to form simple meatballs that you can bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Carbohydrate: Balance a serving of whole grain or legume based pasta (~1c cooked) with plenty of vegetables. I like to add spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles to keep my carbohydrate portion moderate.

Top with your favorite marinara sauce and cheese for a satisfying meal.

Pair lean beef meatballs with veggie noodles mixed with whole grain noodles

Pair lean beef meatballs with veggie noodles mixed with whole grain noodles

Taco salad

Protein: Use a lean ground beef with your favorite taco seasoning! Talk about satisfying!

Carbohydrate: Add brown rice (~½ c) to the salad for your carbohydrates.

Add plenty of veggies including leafy green lettuce, corn, peppers, and avocado! This satisfying meal is the perfect refueling meal you will actually look forward to eating!

Here are some great snack ideas

Beef jerky + mixed nuts. This is my favorite daytime snack, especially after a morning workout. I know my body is constantly rebuilding all day long, and even more so after a tough workout. Including some protein from beef jerky into my snacks helps me support that process.

Fruit and cheese. A cheddar cheese stick provides about 8 grams of protein. Pair that with fruit can serve as a great post workout snack to tie you over until your next meal, or a great midday snack after a tough morning workout.

So let me know, how do you prefer to refuel after a tough workout?

Post content is sponsored by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. All opinions and meal ideas are my own.

reflecting on 2018

Hi everyone! We are almost a month into 2019, which is crazy.

This first month has already been hectic!! I shared a post earlier in the month about prioritizing health in the new year. I hope you found it useful. While I still do intend to write about my 2019 goals, I have not quite gotten to the point of writing them out yet (key!!). Today I am reflecting on 2018; reminding myself of what worked, what didn’t work, and of course, all that I achieved. Getting out last years planning sheet is really motivating me to sit down and create notes for 2019. I hope this post helps you see the power of writing something down or confiding in a friend. Sharing your goals can help you manifest those things. You need to believe it, see it, feel it, to have it be.


2018 goals

Over the last few years I have shared new year goals and thoughts. Last year I didn’t focus on health related goals but did focus on other happiness related factors. Let’s see how I did…

  1. Exploring more in the kitchen by trying at least 2 new recipes per month. No super proud of this one. While I spent more time not stressing in the kitchen and had a few weekends where I did some intentional (fun) cooking, it still isn’t where I want it to be. Getting an instant pot has helped me explore more, but the joy factor in spending my time cooking does need to be greater.

  2. Improving my relationships by using my planner to help me align my time with priorities and... Well, I would say I did well here. I have said no to more, tried to be realistic about what I can and can’t attend and say now off the bat instead of bailing last minute. My biggest achievement here was setting aside one evening a week I spend time with my sister and nephew. In the past I would have thought I ‘couldn’t’ possibly do this, yet here I am. That is a win!

  3. Completing the 40 day May Cause Miracles guidebook and continue to work on mindset shifts. I didn’t do this. But I spent several seasons focusing on meditation and am happy to report I am now meditating (almost) daily and even getting some mental health help.

Here are the 2018 goals I didn’t share with you guys in last year’s post, but I wrote down for myself in my goal planning chart:

  1. Work less, or get a new job. SUCCESS!! Resigned from my former job just around Christmas.

  2. Fitness certification. SUCCESS!! I became a NASM-CPT in August and started teaching group fitness in October. This was a very long held dream, we are talking almost a decade. Taking the steps to pay for the course, study, and utilize my credentials is something I am truly proud of.

  3. Sponsored TV with 1 new partner. I started working with 2 new partners!

  4. Travel. YES! We went to PNW and a weekend trip for my birthday!

  5. Invest in good makeup and skin care. SUCCESS!!

  6. Blog 2x/month. I would say I waxed and waned with this one.

  7. Create a stand alone nutrition online program. Didn’t even get close here, but I realized my energy was needed elsewhere and that is okay.

How i approached it

All of the above were written down in a chart (courtesy of a Day Designer printable) at the beginning of the year. It helped me think about the 3, 6, 9, and 12 month marks. The power of writing things down is huge. Not only does it help you visualize reaching your goals, but it serves as an accountability tool. Its so satisfying to look back and think, “Wow, I did all of this.”

So here we are into 2019, and I have taken a slower start to setting some goals. Revisiting 2018 sure is motivating and I can’t wait to think about this new year, my new job, and how I can spend more time on me this year. Imagine what you can do when you set a vision for yourself!!

What are you most proud of from 2018? What are you looking forward to this year?