Top Tips And Tricks For Successful Trim Healthy Mama Baking

I’ve loved to cook and bake ever since I was a child, but nearly 5 years ago, when I dove head first into the  Trim Healthy Mama plan (read my testimony here), I traded in all I knew about working with all-purpose flour and white sugar for a whole new world of healthier baking with different ingredients.

It took some time for me to get comfortable baking with alternative flours and sweeteners, but through a lot of trial and error, I’ve come to love baking the Trim Healthy Mama way even more than I previously enjoyed baking off-plan. There are few kitchen experiences more wonderful than making a scrumptious cake that not only looks and tastes divine, but does your body good, too.

Flourless, protein-filled Mocha Roll | THM: S

If you’ve been disappointed trying to bake on-plan, I hope these tricks will eliminate the learning curve.

Here are my top tips and tricks for successful Trim Healthy Mama baking!

Cookies and baked goods made with Trim Healthy Mama approved sweeteners are not nearly as shelf stable as baked goods made with sugar. They should be stored in the fridge or freezer in an air tight container.

Trim Healthy Mama baking tastes the best the next day. This gives alternative sweeteners a chance to lose any cooling effect or aftertaste.

A very filling, but delicious Peanut Butter Cheesecake that will feed a large crowd!

Trim Healthy Mama baking is typically much more filling than traditional baking with empty carbohydrates.  It contains more protein and fiber, and the ingredients are usually more dense, so you can serve smaller pieces and get more servings out of a recipe!

For fluffier cakes, I use a stand mixer to whisk the eggs for a solid 5 minutes until they’re very light and airy before adding in my dry ingredients.

Less is more when it comes to alternative sweeteners. Trying to increase the sweetness of a baked good by adding more stevia or a sugar alcohol typically results in an unpleasant aftertaste or cooling effect. It’s important to follow recipes as they are written for the right balance. Adding a pinch of salt or extract can enhance the flavor of a recipe without increasing the sweetener.

Trim Healthy Mama Xylitol

Xylitol tastes the closest to sugar, in my opinion, and measures nearly the same (I use approximately 3/4 cup of xylitol for every cup of sugar). It also has a nice, granulated consistency (a bit larger than real sugar), which gives volume and substance to baking. Some people use a coffee grinder to decrease the size of the granules, but I never have. Xylitol doesn’t dissolve quite as well as real sugar though, so you will need to whip or beat it longer in your recipes to get it fully incorporated. As much as I love using xylitol, it is not a good choice if you have pets; it can be fatal to furry animals. Xylitol can also cause digestive distress in some people if they consume excessive amounts.

Trim Healthy Mama Gentle Sweet

If I could purchase Trim Healthy Mama’s xylitol-free Gentle Sweet locally (shipping is very expensive in Canada), this would be my sweetener of choice. You can use it in any recipe that calls for xylitol, but in half the amount. It also adds necessary substance and volume to baked goods.

Trim Healthy Mama Super Sweet

Trim Healthy Mama Stevia

Super Sweet and stevia are great choices if money is tight. These sweeteners are very potent, so you only need a very small amount. Super Sweet can replace xylitol in 1/4 of the amount (or 1/2 the amount of Gentle Sweet). Stevia can be tricky to use in baked goods because it lacks volume and has a very detectable aftertaste if you use too much. It’s better saved for things like puddings, custards, mousses, and sauces. Adding a pinch of salt when you use stevia will cut down on or eliminate its aftertaste.

Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend

Trim Healthy Mama-friendly baking blends tend to be more thirsty and drier than whole grain flours, so you cannot substitute cup for cup with all-purpose or whole wheat recipes. THM flours are also missing the gluten that holds wheat-based recipes together. This means that, when substituting with a THM-friendly Baking Blend in an off-plan recipe, you will need to add more liquid (ex: eggs, butter, coconut oil, or nut milks for S; egg whites, nut milks, 0% fat Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, mashed banana for E), and you’ll need a binder (like eggs or egg whites, xanthan gum or gluccie, pysllium husk, oat fiber, or whey protein powderto keep your baked good from falling apart.

If you can’t afford the Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend (a Fuel Pull flour suitable for all baking fuels), you can make your own by using equal parts of coconut flour, almond flour, and golden flaxseed meal. However, this substitute is an S and will turn your E baked goods into Crossovers. Alternatively, Briana Thomas has a Fuel Pull baking blend recipe with a few more specialty ingredients that you can also make yourself.

Lily’s Chocolate Chips

Lily’s and Trim Healthy Mama chocolate chips are wonderful, convenient, sugar-free chocolate chips that work well in recipes, but if finances are tight or you have a large family, chopping up a bar of 85% Lindt chocolate, or melting down unsweetened Baker’s Chocolate squares, adding in your own sweetener, and pouring the mixture into a chocolate chip mold or honeycomb shaped silicone trivet is an easy, frugal alternative.

Almond Flour Pound Cake | THM : S

Almond flour is on plan as an S ingredient, but be careful of using it in large quantities as it is very calorie-dense and too much of it may cause a weight loss stall for some people. You can often replace 1/2 a cup of almond flour with 2 Tbsp of psyllium huskor 2 Tbsp of coconut flour.

Blueberry Sour Cream Cake: a delightful coconut flour based coffee cake.

Coconut flour is also on plan as an S ingredient. It is a very absorbent flour, so you will only need a small amount in recipes that call for it. It’s very hard to substitute for coconut flour in recipes because of its unique thirsty properties, but sometimes you can replace half a cup of coconut flour with 2 Tbsp of pysllium husk mixed with 1/2 cup of almond flour.

Boston Cream Pie: this cake uses psyllium husk powder as a high-fiber binder in the cake layers.

 

Pysllium husk is extremely high in fiber and can absorb a lot of liquid. It has a tendency to gel, and works well as a binder, holding dough together much like the gluten in wheat flour does. You only need a very small amount (1-2 Tbsp) in a whole batch of dough. It is carbohydrate-free. You should be able to find it in the laxative or supplement aisle of your grocery or health food store.

Trim Healthy Mama Oat Fiber

Oat Fiber is a carbohydrate-free ingredient that is nearly impossible to purchase locally, but you can buy it online and use it to flour your pans, and as a fiber-enhancer and moisture-absorber in homemade baking blends.

Xanthan Gum

Glucomannan

Xanthan Gum and Glucomannan are interchangeable in recipes. They act as thickening agents and binders. You can use them in sauces and puddings you might have previously thickened with white flour or corn starch, but you will need much less with these two. Glucomannan (or “gluccie”) tends to be slimier than xanthan gum.

Trim Healthy Mama Gelatin

Gelatin is such a wonderful and interesting ingredient. In addition to being a relatively tasteless, dairy-free source of protein, it has the ability to set liquids into delicious desserts and treats that are firm enough to slice. You can read more about it and find 44 Trim Healthy Mama-friendly gelatin recipes here.

Peach Cobbler | THM: E

 

E baking can be tricky since little to no fat is used. I’ve found the best fat-free ingredients to use for moisture are egg whites, unsweetened applesauce, pumpkin puree, 0% fat Greek yogurt, nut milks, and mashed bananas. 

Trim Healthy Mama Pristine Whey Protein Powder

Trim Healthy Mama Collagen

Aside from giving baked goods a protein boost, protein powder and collagen can often act as a Fuel Pull flour and a lifter in Trim Healthy Mama-friendly cakes, breads, and muffins. Example: Candy-Cane Cake from Grace-Filled Homemaking

Egg yolks can accumulate quickly on Trim Healthy Mama since only the whites can be used in Fuel Pull or E dishes. My favorite use for extra yolks is turning them into these Lemon Squares which use up 7 of them!

Pure Vanilla Extract

Pure extracts are a big part of Trim Healthy Mama baking and beverages, so they are well worth investing in. I can hardly wait until Trim Healthy Mama’s Natural Bursts line of extracts becomes available (which should be very soon!). The extracts I use most are:

  1. vanilla
  2. orange
  3. almond
  4. caramel
  5. peppermint
  6. rum (for in eggnog-flavored recipes)
Low-carb Pumpkin Muffins: replace the butter with coconut oil and leave off the whipped cream frosting for a wonderful, dairy-free muffin!

 

Coconut oil, eggs, cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, and butter are readily available and essential Trim Healthy Mama-friendly baking ingredients. In most recipes, you can replace butter with coconut oil and heavy cream with canned coconut fat for dairy-free alternatives.

Trim Healthy Mama Himalayan Salt

Baking soda, baking powder, and salt are regular baking ingredients that you can still use with any Trim Healthy Mama Fuel type. Consider switching from refined salt to Himalayan salt and from regular baking soda to aluminum-free to increase the nutritional benefit of your baking and decrease the toxicity.

I hope that was helpful to you! If you have Trim Healthy Mama baking related question that I didn’t address, feel free to ask in the comments and I will do my best to answer. 🙂

All About Gelatin + 44 Trim Healthy Mama Gelatin Recipes!

Gelatin is such a wonderful and interesting ingredient. In addition to being a relatively tasteless, dairy-free source of protein, gelatin has the ability to set liquids into delicious desserts and treats that are firm enough to slice.

Pink Strawberry Delight | THM: S | Still one of my favorite Trim Healthy Mama desserts! Like all the desserts in this round-up, it’s set with gelatin.

 

Gelatin is actually a cooked form of collagen; cooking collagen-rich foods (like the bones, skin and scales of animals) extracts the gelatin from them. This is why you end up with a thick gelatinous glob on top of your pot of chicken soup after its been refrigerated! That is good stuff!

Trim Healthy Mama Just Gelatin

Trim Healthy Mama Collagen

Both gelatin and collagen provide you with protein and the same over-all health benefits, but since their chemical properties are different and gelatin needs hot water to dissolve, they serve different purposes in culinary creations. Unlike gelatin, collagen does not have the ability to gel liquids. This is why you often see collagen used in drinks and gelatin used in desserts.

You can replace collagen with gelatin (as long as your recipe stays hot), but you cannot substitute collagen for gelatin. If gelatin is called for in a recipe, it is most often because of structure it gives the dish after its been cooled.

Great Lakes Gelatin

Trim Healthy Mama Just Gelatin

Knox Unflavored Gelatin

My favorite brands of gelatin are Great Lakes and Trim Healthy Mama. Both of these companies use grass-fed beef to make their product, so you can be sure you’re getting a very pure form of protein. You can also use Knox unflavored in any Trim Healthy Mama-friendly recipe that calls for gelatin. It is a pork-based product and a less pure, but frugal and effective form of dairy-free protein. As a rule of thumb, you need approximately 2 1/2 teaspoons – 1 tablespoon of Great Lakes or Trim Healthy Mama Just Gelatin to replace 1 packet of Knox unflavored gelatin.

No-Bake Cappuccino Cheesecake via Northern Nester – S

Here are 44 Trim Healthy Mama Gelatin Recipes!

Low-Carb Black Licorice via Northern Nester – S

5-Ingredient Peanut Butter Pudding via My Montana Kitchen – S

Bejeweled No-bake Cream Cheese Bars via Briana Thomas – S

Best Brownie Delight via My Montana Kitchen – S

Blueberry Cheesecake via Briana Thomas – S

Blueberry Jam via Briana Thomas – FP

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie via Northern Nester – S

Briana’s Peanut Butter Cream Pie via Briana Thomas – S

Brianafinger Truffle Fudge via Briana Thomas – S

Blueberries and Cream Jello Ring via All Day I Dream About Food – S

Chewy Peanut Butter Protein Bites via Briana Thomas – S

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies via Joy-Filled Eats – S

Key Lime Pie via Northern Nester – S

Chocolate Pie via Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen – S

Creamy Vanilla Tapioca via Briana Thomas – E

Cinnamon Roll Cookies via Joy-Filled Eats – S

Jiggly Cranberry Orange Salad via Briana Thomas – E

Lemon Squares via Briana Thomas – S

Coconut Cream Pie via Northern Nester – S

Lemon Turmeric Gummies via Oh Sweet Mercy – FP

Milk Chocolate Pudding via Briana Thomas – S

No-Bake Berry Cheesecake Pudding via Nana’s Little Kitchen – S

No-Bake Cheesecake In A Jar via Lots A Little Lambs – S

Orange Creamsicle Gummies via Joy-Filled Eats – FP

Dark Chocolate Cream Dessert via Northern Nester – S

Peanut Butter Fat Bombs via All Day I Dream About Food – S

Peppermint Delight via Briana Thomas – S

Pipable Whipped Cream Frosting via Briana Thomas – S

Pumpkin Delight via Briana Thomas – S

Pumpkin Mousse Pie via My Table of Three – S

Eggnog Dessert via Northern Nester – S

Red Hot Cinnamon Gummies via Joy-Filled Eats – FP

Ruby Cherry Delight via Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved – E

Strawberry Freezer Jam via Briana Thomas – FP

Simply Scrumptious Ginger Marmalade via Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved – FP

Strawberry Mousse via Northern Nester – S

Panna Cotta Flag Cake via Northern Nester – S

Sugar-free Blackberry Jelly via Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved – FP

Sugar-free Cinnamon Jelly via Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved – FP

Double Chocolate Almond Cake via Northern Nester – S

Sugar-free Peach Preserves via Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved – E

Sugar-Free Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie via Nana’s Little Kitchen – S

Watermelon Gelatin Dessert via Oil of Joy – FP

How To Roast A Whole Chicken

Knowing how to roast a whole chicken is an incredibly easy skill that can save you oodles of time and money! There are a variety of different methods, but this is probably the simplest and virtually fail-proof.

The trick to getting a whole chicken evenly cooked all the way through (without burning the top), is to bring the bird to room temperature before you put it in the oven. This will result in crispy, golden skin and succulent chicken breasts. Take your whole chicken out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for an hour before you intend to roast it.

You’ll want a nice small roasting pan or dish for your bird; big enough so there’s at least an inch of space all the way around, but not so huge that your chicken is “swimming” inside your container (don’t use a turkey roaster for roasting a chicken).  If you don’t have an actual roasting pan, a rectangular casserole or baking dish will work just as well.

Your chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 180 F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can also tell by piercing the thickest part of the bird with a fork; the juice will run clear when it’s been cooked all the way through.

We like to remove the skin and eat it with the dark meat and a copy-cat Swiss Chalet sauce (recipe coming soon!) when we have a Trim Healthy Mama-friendly S meal (this Creamy & Crunchy Broccoli Salad makes a great side). I remove the chicken breasts and reserve them for an E or FP salad another day.

Yield: 6-8 servings

How To Roast A Whole Chicken

How To Roast A Whole Chicken

Knowing how to roast a whole chicken is an incredibly easy skill that can save you oodles of time and money! There are a variety of different methods, but this is probably the simplest and virtually fail-proof.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 55 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 3.5lb chicken
  • 1 Tbsp butter softened
  • mineral salt
  • black pepper
  • paprika
  • dried thyme
  • dried rosemary

Instructions

  1. Remove gizzards from chicken. Lightly rinse the bird and pat dry with a paper towel. Allow the bird to come to room temperature on the counter for an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375.
  3. Rub chicken with butter all over and season well with salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, and rosemary.
  4. Place chicken breast side up in roasting pan. Roast chicken on the center rack in the oven for 1 hour, rotating halfway through.
  5. Chicken is done when its juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 180 F. Allow bird to rest for a few minutes before carving.

Which Trim Healthy Mama Book Should I Buy?

I’m so proud of Pearl and Serene; in 5 short years, they have published 4 books that have changed and are changing thousands of lives worldwide. The original whopper: Trim Healthy Mama; the revised plan: Trim Healthy Mama Plan; the first professionally published, color-photo cookbook, Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook; and the brand new Trim Healthy Table – I have them all in my collection and love each one for different reasons.

If you’re just starting out on Trim Healthy Mama and can’t afford them all right away, I hope this break down of each book will help you better decide which one (or two, three, four!) is the best choice for you.

Let’s go from youngest to oldest.

Trim Healthy Table

What’s in it?

  • 3 full chapters concisely summarizing the Trim Healthy Mama Plan
  • NSI (No special ingredient) substitutions for almost every recipe
  • Less calorie-dense S meals than in the original Trim Healthy Mama book
  • Gorgeous color-photos with almost every recipe
  • A Fuel Pull white bread. (Yes, really!)

Who should have it?

  • Brand new THMs. Everything you need to know to get started with Trim Healthy Mama is right here in this book. If you want to delve more deeply into the science behind Trim Health Mama, you can always read the Trim Healthy Mama Plan later.
  • Seasoned THMs. If you’ve worn out the first Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, Trim Healthy Table offers you a whole new set of recipes that are at least as wonderful.
  • Your skeptical friend
  • People with diabetes
  • People with gluten in tolerances (most recipes are gluten-free)
  • Busy moms (loads of fast and easy recipes)
  • Inexperienced bakers (no complicated stuff in here; a lot of dump-it-all-in-the-blender style recipes that turn out looking like you bought them at a high-end bakery!)
  • Everyone

Trim Healthy Mama Plan

What’s in it?

  • Thorough, concise explanation of how and why Trim Healthy Mama works
  • Menu plans
  • Time-saving tips
  • Pantry-stocking help
  • No recipes or pictures

Who should have it?

  • People who understand the basics of Trim Healthy Mama as outlined in Trim Healthy Table and want to delve deeper into the science behind it
  • The well-rounded Trim Healthy Mama (mentally, I mean)
  • People who love to read
  • People who want a complete understanding of Trim Healthy Mama
  • Science fanatics
  • The skeptic

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

What’s in it?

  • Over 350 family-pleasing recipes
  • Stunning color photos for almost every recipe
  • Most ingredients can be found locally
  • A completely different set of recipes from Trim Healthy Table
  • Plenty of both single-serve and family-serve recipes
  • No explanation of how the plan works

Who should have it?

  • Trim Healthy Mamas. This cookbook will add a huge selection of favorites to your recipe repertoire.
  • People with diabetes
  • People with a gluten sensitivity or allergy (most recipes are gluten-free)
  • People who like to cook with real food

The Original Trim Healthy Mama Book

What’s in it?

  • 600+ pages of both recipes and the science behind the Trim Healthy Mama plan
  • Fun, sisterly banter
  • Recipes without pictures, precise measurements, or directions
  • A lot of rabbit trails
  • A more wordy explanation of Trim Healthy Mama

Who should have it?

  • Experienced Trim Healthy Mamas
  • People who like to read novels
  • People who enjoy the Trim Healthy Mama podcasts (this book is like a transcript of The Poddy)
  • Experienced cooks; people who can follow “a little bit of this, and a little bit of that” recipes
  • Trim Healthy Mama fans who want the complete collection

In summary, if you’re brand new to Trim Healthy Mama, The Trim Healthy Table is the best book to start with.

If you’re well on your way and want to understand the depth of the science behind the plan, you’ll enjoy the Trim Healthy Mama Plan.

If you want to expand your recipe collection, both the Trim Healthy Table and the Trim Healthy Cookbook will not disappoint!

If you’re an experienced THM, love to read, and love the informality of The Poddy, you’ll love the original, self-published, Trim Healthy Mama whopper!

 

Trim Healthy Mama Thanksgiving Dinner Two Ways | E & S

Last weekend in Canada, we thoroughly enjoyed our Trim Healthy Mama Thanksgiving Dinner without feeling a wee bit deprived! In fact, even though Crossovers are on-plan and something I would feel no guilt about indulging in on special holidays like this, I felt completely satisfied without crossing fuels. We had an S meal (because, Pumpkin Chiffon Pie!), but it’s easy to enjoy a Trim Healthy Mama Thanksgiving Dinner in an E setting, too.

For my Trim Healthy American friends planning their Thanksgiving Dinner (and for my Canadian friends who can always find another good reason to feast), here are two different Trim Healthy Mama Thanksgiving Dinner menus for you: E & S. Neither menu requires the use of special ingredients (except for the Wonderful White Blender Bread in the E menu from Trim Healthy Table)!

Trim Healthy Mama Thanksgiving Dinner | E

 Wonderful White Blender Bread pg. 242 in Trim Healthy Table | FP

Butternut Squash Soup | THM: E

Kale & Berry Salad from Rohnda Sue | FP

Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Gravy | FP

Fried Green Beans from MamaShire | FP

Peach Cobbler | E

Peach Melba GGMS | Sipper

Trim Healthy Mama Thanksgiving Dinner | S

Tomato Spice Soup | FP

Curried Cucumber Salad | S

Chicken Cordon Blue | S

Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower with Parmesan & Bacon | S 

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie | S

Shrinking Southern Sweet Tea ‘shine | Sipper

Fats or carbs, it’s easy to stay on plan through the holidays with your fuel of choice! Tell me, is it S or E for you this Thanksgiving? Or will you enjoy a Crossover? Either way, Trim Healthy Mama makes it easy to feast on healthy food that will do your body good!

Trim Healthy Mama Testimony

Is Trim Healthy Mama sustainable?

Approximately 5 years ago, when I was on bed-rest with our third child, a dear friend mailed me a copy of a huge (600+ pages, ya’ll!), newly released book entitled Trim Healthy Mama to help me pass the time. I read it cover to cover and determined that once I was back on my feet, I was going to give this sugar-free lifestyle a try. I wanted to start right away, but I had serious complications with my pregnancy that resulted in our daughter’s premature birth, so cooking and doing my own grocery shopping was out of the question.

For most of my pregnancy, I couldn’t exercise and I wasn’t eating well. I gained 45 pounds, even though our baby was born at 34 weeks gestation. I had lost much of my muscle tone and was exhausted and chubby from consuming so many refined carbohydrates and such limited mobility. I started putting Trim Healthy Mama principles into practice the day we came home from the hospital, and I’ve never looked back.

It took me 4 months to get down to goal weight, eating consistently on plan, and, with the exception of two more pregnancies and my post-partum recovery, I’ve been maintaining my weight for the last 4 years.

I’ve eaten off-plan from time to time, but have always gotten on track. I feel so much better on plan than off; nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. 4 1/2 years and 2 more children later, I’m in better shape with more energy than I’ve ever had. This is why I do Trim Healthy Mama. Not to mention:

  • I love the food
  • I love the THM community
  • I love that I can eat on plan without any special ingredients
  • I love that I can enjoy all of the food groups
  • I love that I can eat until I’m full and stay trim
  • I love that I can exercise if I want to (and I do!), but I don’t have to in order to keep the weight off
  • I love the mental clarity and emotional stability Trim Healthy Mama gives me

Trim Healthy Mama rekindled my love of the kitchen, too. Hence, this recipe blog (I’ll list our family’s top 10 favorite THM-friendly meals below). There is something very satisfying about putting ingredients together to make a dish that the whole family enjoys, but even more than that, I’ve come to love creating food that I know is good for their taste buds as much as it is for their bodies.

…these books can change your life.

I hope you know you’re worth the investment.

10 Things That Help Me Maintain My Weight

ONE. If I stick to simple, basic dishes instead of trying to pull out all the stops with time-consuming recipes that require special ingredients, I’m much more likely to succeed at staying on plan. Also, I don’t usually have the time to make two separate meals (one for me and one for the rest of the family) each time we sit down to eat, so it helps to serve dishes that require no extra effort to adapt.

Take lunch, for example. The family usually enjoys sandwiches on sprouted bread (Canadian THMs, Loblaw stores and Goodness Me sell wonderful sourdough and sprouted breads made by Stonemill that have been fermented for 48 hours. They are delicious!) made with butter, mayo, mustard, ham, cheese, and lettuce. This is a great Crossover for my husband and the kids.

  • If I want a fat-based lunch (S), I skip the bread and layer the toppings inside a Romaine lettuce boat.
  • If I want a carb-based lunch (E), I replace the ham with leaner chicken breast, skip the butter, and limit my mayo to a teaspoon, and have an apple dipped into 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cheesecake in a Bowl.
  • If I want a Fuel Pull, I eat the Romaine lettuce boat stuffed with chicken breast, mustard, and a small smear of mayo, and eat my 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cheesecake in a Bowl with raspberries (tastes like PB & J!)

No special ingredients or extra preparation is required for me to eat on plan; I just need to pick my protein, and make the choice between fats or carbs.

(All of the recipes on this blog are special-ingredient free.)

TWO. I’ve also noticed that it’s much easier to avoid temptation if you have an on-plan version of your favorite treat available. I have a weakness for cheesecake, Boston Cream Piecoconut cream pieboterkoekpudding, and chocolate just as much as the next girl, but I can be fully satisfied, feel well, and not a wee bit deprived when my sweet tooth aches and one of the above is in the house.

THREE. Having a large pot of soup or chili that can stay in the fridge for a week makes a quick lunch or dinner, if you don’t mind eating the same thing for several days in a row. Butternut Squash Soup and Chicken Soup are wonderful E soups that can be accompanied by a slice of sprouted bread; Tomato Spice Soup is a Fuel Pull that can be turned into an E or an S by serving it with either sourdough bread (E) or cheese and nuts (S). Cream of Broccoli Soup is my favorite S, and Pizza Chili is a complete S meal on its own.

FOUR. Doubling up a recipe and throwing half in the freezer for emergency purposes also helps to stay on plan when life gets hectic. I love storing meals and baked goods in these glass containers. They’re clear (I can see what’s in them), the lids seal tightly (no freezer burn), reusable (cost effective and environmentally friendly), non-toxic, and freezer, oven, and dishwasher proof.

FIVE. One of the most significant things I noticed when I slide off plan is how dehydrated I became. When I eat sugar, I crave sugar. This often leads to a carb-binge and drinking too much coffee when I’m actually just thirsty for something hydrating! My goal is to drink at least one GGMS (We love the Shrinking Southern Sweet Tea ‘Shine) or a Singing Canary a day.

SIX. It’s important for me to have breakfast on plan. It sets the tone for the whole day. If I let breakfast slide, the temptation to let the rest of the day follow suit is much stronger. I find E meals are the easiest to incorporate in the morning (because, oatmeal!), so I’ll often bake a peach cobbler enjoy a piece for breakfast with 0% fat Greek yogurt until its gone, or eat something like Apple Pie Oatmeal.

SEVEN. If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it. When I go off plan it’s almost always because I allowed contraband foods in the house. If I don’t buy it, I can’t it. If your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak, don’t put yourself in temptation’s way!

EIGHT. Making a point of flipping through the Trim Healthy Mama Plan and Cookbook (I can hardly wait to get my hands on Trim Healthy Table next week!), keeps me inspired. Surrounding yourself with people who will motivate you and keep you accountable is equally beneficial; I highly recommend joining the Trim Healthy Mama main group on Facebook. THM Recipe Bloggers is another fantastic page to follow; it will bring a stream of the latest free, on-plan recipes to your feed.

NINE. Listen to The Poddy. That’s the name of Trim Healthy Mama’s podcast. Each Wednesday, a new podcast is released where the sisters (and a guy name Danny) answer questions about the plan and provide a load of laughs, inspiration, and sometimes, a much needed kick in the pants. I usually listen to it while I’m cooking supper or when I go for a walk. It’s a great way to get inside the sisters’ heads.

TEN. Change your mindset. Pearl talks about this often in The Poddy. If I remember that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and the means through which I can serve my family, I am more likely to stop and consider whether the food I’m about to eat will nourish me or cause regret a few hours later. It also means that I don’t need beat myself up and call myself a failure because I ate off plan. It means I remember that 3 hours later, I pick my protein, decide on my fuel, and hop right back on track. Trim Healthy Mama is sustainable when it’s a state of mind.

OUR FAMILY’S TOP 10 FAVORITE THM-FRIENDLY RECIPES:

 Veggie Pizza | THM: S 

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cheesecake in a Bowl | THM: FP

Shrinking Southern Sweet Tea ‘Shine | THM: Sipper

Pink Strawberry Delight | THM: S

Creamy & Crunchy Broccoli Salad | THM: S

Peach Pie Smoothie | THM: E

Chicken Cordon Blue with Dijon Cream Sauce | THM: S

Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Gravy | THM: FP

Peanut Butter Cheesecake | THM: S

Trim Healthy Mama-friendly S, E, & FP Protein Sources

If you’ve been a Trim Healthy Mama for any length of time, you already know that having protein with every meal is a crucial part of the plan. God has given us both lean and fatty protein sources, which means we never have to sabotage our S and E meals on account of our protein intake.

Knowing which foods contain high amounts of protein can be challenging enough to learn; knowing which sources of protein are appropriate to pair with S meals or E meals can be even harder. I hope this post helps you figure out what foods to pair with each fuel type to ensure you’re getting enough protein without crossing fuels and stalling your weight loss accidentally.

3 important things to remember:

  1. S protein sources can only be used in S meals or Crossovers. These protein sources are naturally high in fat, so you’ll want to avoid using them in your E (carb-based) or Fuel Pull meals.
  2. E protein sources are very few in number. Not many foods are high in both carbohydrates and protein. Small amounts of E protein sources can be used in an S meal to create an S Helper or a Crossover, but if you’re trying to lose weight, you should only eat E protein sources in an E setting.
  3. FP protein sources are lean and contain little to no carbs, which makes them acceptable in any setting. You could pair them with low-fat, non-starchy foods to make a complete Fuel Pull meal, healthy carbohydrates to make a complete E meal, or fats and non-starchy vegetables to make a complete S meal.

For example: chicken breast  in a salad made with mixed greens, non-starchy vegetables, and a light vinaigrette dressing would make a tasty Fuel Pull; chicken breast paired with brown rice and carrots would make an excellent E; chicken breast paired with bacon, cheese, and spinach would make a delicious S.

There are many other foods besides the ones I’ve listed here that contain protein, but I’ve tried to limit this list to those foods that are significant sources of it. The authors of Trim Healthy Mama don’t want us to obsess about numbers, so instead of counting the grams of protein in each meal, focus on consuming a good source of it instead. Your main concern should be to incorporate a Fuel Pull or S protein in and S meal, or a Fuel Pull or E protein in and E meal, or a Fuel Pull protein in a Fuel Pull meal. If you can do this each time you eat, you’re golden!

S protein sources (fat-based):

E protein sources (carb-based):

FP protein sources:

What other protein sources would you add to this list?

 

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed after reading this summary of Trim Healthy Mama, here’s my 4-week NSI (No Special Ingredient) Menu Plan, The Slim And Satisfied Handbook, to help you get started. It contains gluten-free, sugar-free, high-protein recipes for every meal of the day and alternates low-carb and low-fat meals for the optimum metabolism boost.

The Slim And Satisfied Handbook
Stuck in a rut? Tired of menu planning? Wish someone would just tell you what to eat when?! The Slim and Satisfied Digital Handbook is a 4-week, low glycemic menu plan is complete with recipes for every meal of the day! Alternating low-fat and low-carb recipes for the ultimate metabolism boost, these gluten-free, sugar-free, high-protein family favorites will leave you feeling slim and satisfied.
Price: $12.99
Price: $9.99

 

Help! I Want To Do Trim Healthy Mama, But I’m Overwhelmed!

Lately, I’ve been receiving some exciting emails and messages. They all sound similar to this:

Help! I want to do Trim Healthy Mama, but I’m overwhelmed! Can you help me understand it?

How is this exciting? It tells me that people are taking their health seriously. It’s a wonderful thing when people begin to treat their bodies as the temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells. From eternity, the Lord has all of our days numbered and we cannot surprise Him with an additional second by choosing to eat better; but, we can use our life on earth to serve Him with the energy, clarity, and joy that caring for our bodies affords.

I think the overwhelming feeling people get when they look into Trim Healthy Mama is largely due to the impending lifestyle change. We like the comfort and stability of our routines, but sometimes we become too comfortable with unhealthy eating habits and it shows in our waistline, energy levels, hormones, and even our mental health. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer if “easy” means continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results. Power to change starts with the mind; if you truly want to be a Trim Healthy Mama, you need to be willing to give some things up…but I promise you’ll gain a whole lot more (and I’m not talking pounds).

…Stabilized blood sugars

…clearer skin

…the ability to feel satisfied for hours after a meal

…more energy

…increased mental clarity

…balanced hormones

…a trimmer waistline…

…these are the things hundreds of thousands of women have gained by adopting the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, myself included, and we’ve done it while enjoying from all the food groups, and healthy versions of all our favorite meals that certainly don’t taste like diet food.

Cheesecake?

Chicken Wings?

Pancakes?

Yep, we eat it all!

(Just to give you an idea of how well Trim Healthy Mamas eat, I’m going to litter up this post with photos of some of our favorite recipes, all of which you can find here.)

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, and serious about getting healthy for life, I want to offer you a simplified explanation of Trim Healthy Mama, on the condition that you’ll buy the Trim Healthy Mama Plan (or borrow it from the library if finances are tight!), and allow yourself 5-10 minutes of devotion to the most thorough explanation of the plan, written of course by Serene and Pearl themselves.

Keep a highlighter and a notebook handy, and read it word for word. You owe yourself the best explanation of THM.

Below is my personal summary of this sustainable, healthy lifestyle based on biblical principles and backed by science that has helped me discover what Food Freedom really is and rediscover my love of cooking.

Pink Strawberry Delight | THM:S

First, let’s take a look at what Trim Healthy Mama is NOT.

  • Trim Healthy Mama is not a quick weight loss program. You might finder faster, more immediate results with another program, but if you’re looking for life long trim, THM offers that with principles you can apply any time, anywhere.
  • Trim Healthy Mama does not count calories, points, or grams of fat. Trim Healthy Mama recommends keeping your “E’s” (healthy carb-based meals) to 45 grams of carbs and a maximum of 5 grams of fat in a sitting, but the authors don’t want you to obsess about these numbers. In 4 years of doing THM, I have never counted a single carb, even though I have lost 45 pounds post-partum on plan. I prefer to keep things simple and focus on separating fuel types (fats and carbs) instead of counting numbers. I’m sure there have been many times where I have had 6 or 7 grams of fat instead of 5 in my E meal, but it’s the consistent application of Trim Healthy Mama principles that makes this plan work and gives meaning to the term “Food Freedom.”
  • Trim Healthy Mama is not expensive. You can eat on plan very frugally using only foods that you grow or can purchase locally, or you can invest in the wide variety of specialty ingredients found online or in health food stores. The plan is completely doable on any budget. It’s as expensive as you make it.
  • Trim Healthy Mama does not require the use of special ingredients. By “special ingredients,” I mean things you can’t find locally. Even here in Canada, I can find every single ingredient for all of the recipes on this blog in my own town.
  • Trim Healthy Mama is not just for Mamas. Countless men and children are enjoying the THM way of life too. What makes this plan special is that it’s adaptable to pregnant, nursing, and menopausal women and has proven to work and even eradicate female related health issues such as PCOS, endometriosis, and menstrual irregularities, etc. Trim Healthy Mama was created by two busy mothers with the goal of helping other mothers become healthy and strong for their families like God created them to be. As a result, whole families are benefiting from physical and mental improvements in the Queen of her home, and even more so if they participate in the THM meals she prepares.
Trim Healthy Mama S & E lunch platters

Now, how does Trim Healthy Mama work? What do you have to do?

Remember, this is meant to be a lifestyle. Please don’t view it as something you have to do; it’s something you get to do! You get to eat fat! You get to eat carbs! You get to get healthy! This is a blessing, a gift! You’re about to learn a few principles that will equip you to loose or maintain your weight and heal your body from the inside out for the rest of your life. You can do this in any place, any time, on any budget. Ready?

  • Choose good fats (S’s) or good carbs (E’s) for each meal. Do not eat both together unless you’re pregnant, nursing, or need to gain weight. Eating both fats and carbs together is called a Crossover. These are excellent meals for growing children and men who have very physical jobs. Fuel Pulls, another term you’ll hear a lot, are meals that have a lean protein source and not enough fat or carbs to be considered either an S or an E. These types of meals can be helpful for stubborn losers who have trouble shedding pounds, but they shouldn’t be eaten too often by those who are at or near goal weight.
  • Always have a source of protein in your meal that fits your fuel type. Fat-based S meals can have a fat-based protein source like beef, cream, nuts, and cheese. Carb-based E meals need a lean protein source like chicken breasts, beans, collagen, broccoli, 0% fat Greek yogurt, egg whites, and 0% fat cottage cheese. Having protein with each meal keeps you feeling full, boots your muscle mass while you shed excess fat, improves your mood by helping to stabilize your blood sugar levels,  maintains strong bones, protects your heart, and improves your mental clarity. In other words, it’s a very important part of every meal.
  • No sugar.  In addition to cane sugar and its various forms, this includes all other blood sugar-spiking sweeteners like syrups, nectars, and honey (use xylitolGentle SweetSuper SweetErythritol or SweetLeaf Stevia instead).
  • For your E meals, skip refined or empty carbohydrates or starches. No white potatoes, white flour, cornstarch, or rice flours. Choose healthy carbs like fruit, root vegetables, oats, and sprouted grains, etc., pair them with a lean protein source, and don’t combine them with fat.
  • Wait 3 hours between each meal (unless you’re pregnant or nursing; then you can enjoy a meal every 2 hours, if needed). This gives your body enough time to burn through its last fuel source. (Your two fuel sources are fats and carbohydrates).
  • Alternate fuel sources. I eat mainly fat-based meals (S’s), but it’s important to throw a carb-based meal (E’s) in there every once in a while to keep my metabolism guessing and revved up. If you eat too much of one kind of fuel, you may notice a weight-loss stall, gain, or find yourself irritable if you’re not getting enough carbs (especially during PMS).
Chicken Cordon Bleu | THM: S

What do all the letters mean?

S’s, E’s, XO’s, FP’s, GGMS, DST, MIM, ACV…if you’ve been lurking around the official Trim Healthy Mama Facebook page for a while, you might think learning Trim Healthy Mama is like learning a whole new language, but I promise you it’s not that hard. These are just short-forms or acronyms for popular THM terms.

S stands for Satisfying meals.

These are fat-based meals, desserts, or snacks that contain protein and fat, but no sugar and little to no carbs or starches.

A good example of an S meal would be: bacon, eggs, peppers fried in butter, and a coffee with cream.

E stands for Energizing meals.

These are carb-based meals, desserts, or snacks that contain a lean source of protein and up to 45 grams of healthy carbs, but no sugar and little to no fat (1 tsp or 5 grams of fat is acceptable).

A good example of an E meal would be: grilled chicken breast, roasted root vegetables, and a salad with a vinaigrette dressing.

XO stands for Crossover meals.

These are meals that contain both fats and carbs. These types of meals are not conducive to weight-loss, but they are wonderful options for men who have physically taxing jobs, growing children, and can be enjoyed as a treat by those who have reached their desired weight and are in maintenance mode.

A good example of a Crossover meal would be: A sandwich made of  heavily buttered sprouted bread, a smear of mayo and mustard, sliced meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato.

FP stands for Fuel Pull meals.

Fuel Pulls are meals that contain a lean source of protein (the same as you would find in an E meal), and very little fat or carbs.

A good example of a Fuel Pull snack would be the Cottage Berry Whip on page 374 of the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, made by blending a low-fat cottage cheese, frozen berries, and on-plan sweetener together.

SH stand for S Helper.

These meals are S meals with a enough carbs in them to push the meal out of S mode, but not enough carbs to be considered a Crossover. These types of meals aren’t talked about as often since they’re more frequently utilized by diabetics and the same people who benefit from Crossovers.

A good example of an S Helper would be grilled steak, broccoli with cheese sauce and 1/4 cup of brown rice.

ACV stands for apple cider vinegar

ACV is the main ingredient in one of Trim Healthy Mama’s most famous drinks, the Good Girl Moonshine.

Shrinking Southern Sweet Tea ‘Shine

GGMS stands for Good Girl Moonshine.

This is a delicious non-alcoholic, drink with numerous health benefits (improves digestion, clear up skin, boosts the metabolism, gives you energy, etc.) that my husband and I enjoy every single day! I kick myself for waiting so long to try it because I was so put off by the thought of drinking apple cider vinegar! Don’t be like me! GGMS can be made in all kinds of flavors (here’s a great list from MamaShire) and none of them taste anything like ACV. My current favorite is the Shrinking Southern Sweet Tea ‘Shine!

DTS stands for Drive Thru Sue.

This is a term of endearment for Trim Healthy Mamas who often need to eat on the fly, with little time or ability to prepare their meals at home. The beauty of THM is that Drive Thru Sue’s can still eat on plan at virtually every restaurant!

MIM stands for Muffin In A Mug.

These are fabulously quick muffins (most of them low-carb) that can be cooked in a mug in just a minute in the microwave. The Volcano Mudslide Muffin from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook on page 274 is one of my favorites. It tastes like a molten chocolate lava cake!

Want to make your own quick MIM? I’ve got a list of 22 favorite THM Muffin In A Mug recipes, right here

These are the most popular THM (Trim Healthy Mama 😉 ) acronyms. If you’re wondering about one I haven’t listed here, feel free to ask in the comments.

Key Lime Pie| THM: S

What Do I Need To Get Started on Trim Healthy Mama?

One thing.

That’s all you need to get started on the Trim Healthy Mama way, and you might even be able to find it at your library:

As I said before, this is book is a must. There are thousands of free Trim Healthy Mama-friendly recipes online (I’ll list some of the best THM recipe blogs to follow in a bit), but there is only one wonderfully detailed, accurate, humorous, authentic plan, and it’s 100% worth the investment.

Edited to add: Since its recent release, I now recommend Trim Healthy Table to start. It contains a summary of the whole plan in the first 3 chapters, along with over 300 recipes to get you started. For a thorough break down of what’s included in each of the 4 Trim Healthy Mama books, please check out this post.

For clarification purposes, ff you’re just starting out with Trim Healthy Mama, you want the Trim Healthy Mama Plan, OR Trim Healthy Table. Either one will explain all you need to get started. Trim Healthy Mama Plan is just a lot more in depth. 

If you’re purchasing through Amazon, you may see copies of the original, 600+ page book entitled Trim Healthy Mama: No More Fads, also by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison. This is an enjoyable read and contains hundreds of wonderful recipes, but the revised edition, Trim Healthy Mama Plan, is much more succinct and simpler to follow. Once you feel you’ve got a good handle on the plan, rewarding yourself with a copy of the original manuscript for reaching a personal goal, is a fun idea, but not a absolutely not necessary to starting the plan.

Aside from the Trim Healthy Plan, there are a couple of other very helpful things, I would recommend to every Trim Healthy Mama at the beginning of her journey:

  • The Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook – this is the first official recipe book published by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison. Our family has tried and loved almost everything I’ve made from it (currently, my book is permanently opened to the Trimtastic Zucchini Cake recipe, as the kids bring in several cake loads of zucchini from the garden each day!)  and the vast majority of the recipes can be made without the use of special ingredients.
  • Trim Healthy Mama’s Trim Healthy Table by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison. This cookbook isn’t even published yet, but it’s already on Amazon’s best seller list! Coming out in the Fall of this year, Trim Healthy Mama’s Trim Healthy Table is promising to be just as helpful for new and seasoned cooks alike as the first cookbook. It’s on my wishlist!
  • The Poddy podcasts. “The Poddy” is the name of Pearl and Serene’s raw, unfiltered, unedited podcast host by “a guy named Danny.” Every Wednesday, a new Poddy is released. I listen to them on Podbean via Bluetooth during my daily walk, and I cannot even begin to express how much I enjoy getting inside the sisters’ heads. They are a wealth of wisdom, and full of grace, humility, and honesty, with tremendous knowledge regarding physical, spiritual, and mental health. These podcasts are free and I highly, highly recommend listening to them as soon as you can.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed after reading this summary of Trim Healthy Mama, here’s my digital 4-week NSI (No Special Ingredient) Menu Plan,The Slim And Satisfied Handbook, to help you get started.

It contains gluten-free, sugar-free, high-protein recipes for every meal of the day and alternates low-carb and low-fat meals for the optimum metabolism boost.

The Slim And Satisfied Handbook
Stuck in a rut? Tired of menu planning? Wish someone would just tell you what to eat when?! The Slim and Satisfied Digital Handbook is a 4-week, low glycemic menu plan is complete with recipes for every meal of the day! Alternating low-fat and low-carb recipes for the ultimate metabolism boost, these gluten-free, sugar-free, high-protein family favorites will leave you feeling slim and satisfied.
Price: $12.99
Price: $9.99

Apple Flapjack Pancakes | THM: E

Anything else I should have on hand to start off?

Absolutely! Here’s a list of things I use almost everyday to make the Trim Healthy Mama plan work for us.

Indian Spiced Chicken Skewers | THM: FP

Do you have any tips for Beginners?

Yes! I so wish somebody had told me these 5 things the day I started:

  1. Don’t wait until you have everything figured out before beginning. Start by making one THM-friendly meal at a time, and then make another 3 hours later. You are not a failure if you make Crossover by accident. Every 3 hours you have the opportunity to re-set and start again!
  2. Drink at least one GGMS every day. I usually have two. They are so hydrating and life-giving. They help with digestion and will keep you “regular.” Tweak the amount of sweetener and ACV in your moonshine until it’s exactly how you love it, and then drink, drink, drink!
  3. S meals are the easiest and, in my opinion, the most delicious. I aim for 2-3 meals a day, and try to eat E snacks, or 1 E meal a day. Just remember to switch up your fuels and not eat too much of one type. Keep your metabolism guessing and enjoy all the food groups!
  4. If you give in and eat off-plan, you don’t need to eat 27 cookies just because you ate 3. Your day does not have to end off-plan just because it started off-plan. As the sisters say on The Poddy, practice your comeback!
  5. Stick with easy, no-special-ingredient recipes at the beginning. There’s a small learning curve to baking with different flours and sweeteners; we don’t want you giving up on THM just because you’re learning your way around a few new ingredients in some seriously delicious (but a bit complicated) new recipes.
Salted Almond Coconut Squares | THM: S

Where can I find free, on-plan Trim Healthy Mama recipes?

Allow me to introduce you to some of my dear friends and their amazing Trim Healthy Mama-friendly blogs. You’ll have so much fun looking through all the plan-approved dishes they’ve created for us to enjoy!

A couple Facebook pages and groups you may want to join:

You can find yours truly posting at Northern Nester on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I hope this was a helpful summary; don’t be shy if you have any questions!

The Slim And Satisfied Handbook
Stuck in a rut? Tired of menu planning? Wish someone would just tell you what to eat when?! The Slim and Satisfied Digital Handbook is a 4-week, low glycemic menu plan is complete with recipes for every meal of the day! Alternating low-fat and low-carb recipes for the ultimate metabolism boost, these gluten-free, sugar-free, high-protein family favorites will leave you feeling slim and satisfied.
Price: $12.99
Price: $9.99

How To Stay On The Trim Healthy Mama Plan

December was awful. Diet wise, I mean.

With tins of sugar-laden treats coming in and out of the house, I felt my resolve and discipline dissipate. Chicago popcorn, sugar cookies, fudge, toffee bars, chocolate – by Christmas, I was completely undone. The wonderful thing about Trim Healthy Mama is that even if you completely blow it, you can be back on plan in 3 hours. I had multiple opportunities to start over, but I didn’t. I’ve been doing Trim Healthy Mama for the better part of 4 years – I had absolutely no excuse for this!

I told myself I would shape up in the New Year, and since 2017 is just a few days away, I’ve come up with a plan to keep myself on plan.

Several things happened when I fell off the wagon. I think it’s important for me to write them down so I can remember if cheating for an extended period of time is really worth it when temptation arises.

  • I was more tired
  • My skin broke out
  • I felt and looked bloated
  • I felt weaker
  • I drank less, which led to dehydration and extremely low blood pressure, especially in the mornings.
  • I often binged on sugar when I was actually just thirsty.
  • I drank a lot more coffee because I needed the extra boost.
  • I wanted to EAT ALL THE CARBS.

Getting back on plan is less overwhelming when you break Trim Healthy Mama down into 6 main principles:

  • No sugar or other blood sugar-spiking sweeteners like syrups, nectars, and honey (use xylitol, Gentle Sweet, Super Sweet, Erythritol or SweetLeaf Stevia instead).
  • No refined carbohydrates (Choose healthy carbs, keep them under 45 grams and limit to E meals).
  • Choose good fats (S’s) or good carbs (E’s). Do not eat both together (unless you’re in maintenance mode and can afford the odd Crossover).
  • Always have a source of protein in your meal that fits your fuel type (Fat-based S meals can have a fat-based protein source like beef, cream, nuts, and cheese. Carb-based E meals need a lean protein source like chicken breasts, beans, collagen, broccoli, 0% fat Greek yogurt, egg whites, and 0% fat cottage cheese).
  • Wait 3 hours between each meal (unless you’re pregnant or nursing). This gives your body enough time to burn through its last fuel source.
  • Alternate fuel sources. I eat mainly fat-based meals (S’s), but it’s important to throw a carb-based meal (E’s) in there every once in a while to keep my metabolism guessing. Plus, God made fruit. Praise Him.

If I stick to simple, basic dishes instead of trying to pull out all the stops with time-consuming recipes that require special ingredients, I’m much more likely to succeed at staying on plan. Also, I don’t usually have the time to make two separate meals (one for me and one for the rest of the family) each time we sit down to eat, so it helps to serve dishes that require no extra effort to adapt.

Take lunch, for example. The family usually enjoys sandwiches on sprouted bread (Canadians, Loblaw stores sell a wonderful bread made by Stonemill that has been fermented for 48 hours. It’s delicious!) made with butter, mayo, mustard, ham, cheese, and lettuce. This is a great Crossover for my husband and the kids. If I want a fat-based lunch (S), I could skip the bread and layer the toppings inside a Romaine lettuce boat. If I wanted a carb-based lunch (E), I could replace the ham with leaner chicken breast, skip the butter, and limit my mayo to a teaspoon. No special ingredients or extra preparation is required for me to eat on plan; I just need to make the choice between fats or carbs.

(By the way, all of the recipes on this blog are special-ingredient free.)

I’ve also noticed that it’s much easier to avoid temptation if you have an on-plan version of your favorite treat available. I have a weakness for cheesecake, brownies, coconut cream pie, boterkoek, pudding, and chocolate just as much as the next girl, but I can be fully satisfied, feel well, and not a wee bit deprived when my sweet tooth aches and one of the above is in the house.

Having a large pot of soup or chili that can stay in the fridge for a week makes a quick lunch or dinner, if you don’t mind eating the same thing for several days in a row. Butternut Squash Soup and Chicken Soup are wonderful E soups that can be accompanied by a slice of sprouted bread; Tomato Spice Soup is a Fuel Pull that can be turned into an E or an S by serving it with either bread (E) or cheese and nuts (S). Cream of Broccoli Soup (recipe coming soon!) is my favorite S, and Pizza Chili is a complete S meal on its own.

Doubling up a recipe and throwing half in the freezer for emergency purposes also helps to stay on plan when life gets hectic. I love storing meals and baked goods in these glass containers. They’re clear (so I can see what’s in them), the lids seal tightly (no freezer burn), reusable (cost effective and environmentally friendly), non-toxic, and freezer, oven, and dishwasher proof.

Raspberry Zinger GGMS Painting available through Thistle & Co.

One of the most significant things I noticed when I slid off plan was how dehydrated I became. When I eat sugar, I crave sugar. This often leads to a carb-binge when I’m actually just thirsty. My goal is to drink at least one GGMS a day. My husband loves the Raspberry Zinger and the Caramel Apple, and he’s happily agreed to keep me accountable.

It’s important for me to have breakfast on plan. It sets the tone for the whole day. If I let breakfast slide, the temptation to let the rest of the day follow suit is much stronger. I’m not very hungry first thing in the morning, but I know my body needs to be fueled after a night of rest, so a small S or Fuel Pull breakfast works well for me. Like most families,  I don’t have a lot of extra time in the morning to prepare a big meal. Make-ahead single serves (like Strawberry Mousse), 0% Greek yogurt with berries, or a Muffin-in-a-Mug from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook with a cup of collagen-infused coffee are a great way to start the day. (I’ve also been known to eat cheesecake, Trimtastic Zucchini Cake, and Pavlova for breakfast. What”s not to love about THM?!).

If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat itDo you know why I went off plan so badly? It’s because I allowed contraband foods in the house. If I don’t buy it, I can’t it. If your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak, don’t put yourself in temptation’s way.

To recap, here are the 8 steps I plan to take in order to stay on plan this year:

  1. Don’t get caught up in the details; just remember the 6 main principles.
  2. Stick to simple, no-special-ingredient dishes.
  3. Keep an on-plan version of a favorite treat on hand.
  4. Have a large pot of soup in the fridge for easy lunches.
  5. Double up recipes and throw half in the freezer.
  6. Drink at least one GGMS a day.
  7. Eat breakfast on plan to set the tone for the day
  8. Don’t allow tempting off-plan foods into the house.

How about you? Do you have a plan to stay on plan this year? I’d love to hear your best tips and tricks for THM success!

10 Easy Tricks To Staying On The Trim Healthy Mama Plan

Alternate titles:

  • 10 Easy Tricks To Getting Back On The Trim Healthy Mama Plan If You’ve Fallen Off
    The Lazy Busy Person’s Guide to Trim Healthy Mama
    The Simple Way To Do Trim Healthy Mama

After a complicated pregnancy that required bed-rest and moving in with my dear in-laws for a few months, the healthy birth of our fourth child, moving our family to another home, and breaking out in shingles, I’ve finally had enough of my own excuses and gotten back on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.

trim healthy mama book

I need it.

I was addicted to sugar (still detoxing!) and my lack of nutrition was evident in the white spots on my nails, thinning hair, and pure exhaustion.

I’m keeping things very simple, so there’s less chance of me burning out or giving up. Today I’m sharing 10 easy tricks to staying on the Trim Healthy Mama plan (or getting back on it!).

lemon water

1. Do something healthy as soon as you wake up. For me, I like to start off the day with a Raspberry Zinger GGMS. This helps flush my body of toxins, and then I tell myself, “You’ve already detoxified! Don’t go ruin it now by eating sugar!

2. Brush your teeth. This sounds so silly, but it works! If I’m hungry before my three hours are up (the THM plan recommends waiting that long between meals or changing fuels), brushing my teeth can often ward away the munchies! Who likes eating right after they’ve polished their mouth? My new habit is brushing my teeth after dinner to help me keep from late night snacking. It’s too much effort to do the job twice. 😉

Bonus: Your dentist bill will be lower and your teeth will be whiter, too!

3. Chew gum. Similar to brushing teeth, a mint-flavored mouth feels fresh and actually requires a conscious effort to ruin. Plus, it keeps my mouth busy when I just want to chew! There are several sugar and aspartame-free gums available including Homeofresh, PUR, and Glee Gum.

trim healthy mama prep work

4. Prepare as much as you can at the beginning of the week. And hour or two of chopping vegetables, meat and cheese, rinsing and drying my greens, and hard-boiling eggs, saves me so much time the rest of the week. I’m far less likely to go off plan knowing that the time consuming parts are already finished. At the very least, I’ll be able to whip together a protein-packed salad.

 5. Stick to no special ingredient recipes. (Like the ones on this site, for example 😉 )
6. Reward goals with something other than food. I’m on THM because I was addicted to sugar, not because I need to lose weight. My BMI is perfect, but that doesn’t mean I’m healthy. My goals probably look different from someone who wants to shed a few pounds (more energy, healthier nails and hair, clearer skin, balanced hormones, etc.) but regardless, I’ve found rewarding myself with something other than off-plan food is a little more conducive to my purpose!

A new haircut, dress, book, lovely smelling hand-soap, pretty earrings, running shoes, or kitchen gadget are great ways to celebrate, but if you simple must celebrate with cheesecake, make it the Peanut Butter Chocolate kind! 😉

easy chicken parmesan trim healthy mama

7. Keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients to at least 3-5 memorized main dish recipes that are quick to prepare. Much like point #4, this helps me be able to stay on plan even if I’ve had a crazy day (5-Ingredient Chicken Parmesan is one of my go-to’s).

8. Exercise. I can’t always find the time for deliberate exercise, but when I do, I know I make a much more concerted effort to eat carefully. I figure, “I’ve already burned ‘X’ amount of calories today! I don’t want them back!” Trim Healthy Mama isn’t a calorie-based diet, but you get my drift, right?

trim healthy mama lindt chocolate
9. Have something you look forward to every day. For me, it’s a coffee after the kids go down for their afternoon naps, and a square of Lindt’s 85% Dark Chocolate after dinner. I look forward to that piece of chocolate all. day. When I’m tempted by other off-plan sweets, I tell myself, “You get a piece of rich, creamy, smooth, chocolate tonight, remember?” Looking forward to something on-plan makes it easier to say “No” to something off-plan that I’ll regret later.

10. Find an accountability partner. It could be your husband, a friend, the Trim Healthy Mama Facebook group, or even an app on your phone, but the idea of having to ‘fess up to someone or something does wonders to keeping yourself on track!

Do you have any additional ideas for keeping yourself on plan? I’d love to hear them! I need all the help I can get. 😉