Question:

I saw this email address at LA Fitness and was hoping you could help me out with dieting which is my major downfall.  I lift 3-4 times a week but am seeing no results due to my eating. I’m a very picky eater and can’t force myself to eat chicken every day. I need help!!! Please!!!

– Missy

Answer:

Not knowing what you will eat, it’s difficult to provide guidance on suitable meals. Strictly speaking of protein sources – alternatives include pork tenderloin, turkey breast, fish, 7% ground beef, extra lean ground turkey, sirloin or tenderloin beef, and shellfish in nearly an equal ounce to ounce replacement for chicken. Non-flesh proteins include eggs & egg whites, low fat plain Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, legumes/beans, and lite tofu. Amounts of these equaling 3 oz. chicken vary due to volume measurements. Nuts, nut butters, and cheeses aren’t as diet-friendly since they’re higher in calories with a significant amount of fat for the same amount of protein.

If personal preference (or a strict dietary, philosophical or religious restriction) limits the variety of foods you consume then you need to experiment with textures, cooking methods and flavor combinations to increase palatable options. Some people that dislike whole peas can eat split pea soup with ham or a pea-hummus. Many vegetables can be replaced by purees or baked vegetable crisps. Did you know that temperature brings out the aroma of foods? By serving foods that are less desirable cold, the perceived flavor is muted. This works particularly well for meats and grains. If a hot chicken alfredo with fettucine, broccoli, and peppers as an entrée is overwhelming try it as cold chicken pasta salad side dish to other preferred foods.

Hopefully, with a little experimentation and substitution, you can find suitable foods for your weight loss goals. For long term success, enjoying what you eat is better than just tolerating it – you’re more likely to make permanent lifestyle changes.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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