Foods To Fuel Your Goals


We’ve all heard the saying, “food is fuel.” But what does that really mean? Regarding food as fuel is the idea that different foods will fuel your body differently. Makes sense right? Different octane levels fuel cars differently just like different chemical breakdowns of food fuel our bodies differently. For example, four RedVine licorice twists have very similar macronutrients to 150 grams of baked sweet potato. Now, you will never hear me tell you to quit eating candy. Alabanese Gummy Bears run in my bloodstream at this point! But with that being said, when we need our food choices to fuel us toward our health goal, being mindful and careful about which option you choose 80% of the time is crucial.

Let’s be real. There's nothing I want to do less than waste time (and precious calories) eating foods that could potentially push me further from my goals. I know you feel the same way. We already know what foods are considered generally “healthy” or “unhealthy”, but that doesn’t give us much guidance does it? The good news? I have created an Eat More Eat Less guideline that will help you choose foods to fuel you forward so that you can feel confident in your food choices.

But first, before we dive into what you should and shouldn't be eating to achieve your goals, I want to share a few important mindsets that are essential to develop when it comes to making good food choices. Trying to simplify the habit of what food choices we make is, in my opinion, a waste of time. There are so many deep emotions, memories, cultural aspects, and underlying deeply ingrained reasons as to why we choose to eat what we do. But, utilizing these mindset hacks will benefit you in becoming more aware so that you can break poor food choice habits and replace them with successful new ones. Let’s get into it!

  1. Be Realistic.
    Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Setting goals like, “I’m done eating sugar” or “I’m going to eat 100% clean” sound great on paper, but they are unrealistic and not to mention, unpleasant! You do not have to be eating “healthy” or “clean” foods 100% of the time to see results. Knowing that you will have times where making the lesser choice is okay will take the pressure off and give you more motivation to stay on track. My recommendation is that you try to make the best choice 80% of the time and give yourself the other 20% to eat foods that you love but may not fuel your body.

  2. Real Food Matters.
    Focus on real food to hit your macros. If the majority of your food comes from a box or can, you are likely not going to get the kind of results you hoped, regardless if your macros/calories are spot on. The truth of it is, if the majority of your intake is pre-packaged and processed, you will feel start to feel less-energetic, bloated, and wonder why you are retaining so much water. The sodium and sugar content start to skyrocket as soon as you reach those middle aisles of the grocery store. In addition to not feeling great, you won't get any of the essential micronutrients your body needs to operate at peak performance. Stick to the outskirts of the grocery store (meat, deli, bakery, produce, and dairy) for the majority of your food.

  3. 80/20 Rule.
    Develop the habit of eating 80% clean healthy foods and 20% craving foods. This practice will help you to not feel restricted or deprived and gain food freedom! The healthy clean foods I’m referring to will be mostly 1-ingredient foods. For example: chicken, eggs, apples, black beans, avocados, etc. Your craving foods might be your favorite dark chocolate, your go-to mint ice cream, your must have wheat wraps, etc. Whatever it may be, try to limit those foods to 20% of your daily intake. The best way to succeed at the 80/20 rule is to plan what you are going to eat each day. Try not to make a habit of 'winging-it' by eating whatever fits your macros or allotted calories each day.

  4. Don't Buy Trigger Food.
    We all have trigger foods whether we think we do or not. Trigger foods are foods that, for one reason or another, we cannot control ourselves around. For me, it's Nutter Butter Cookies! I cannot buy them, and I mean under no circumstance, because I will eat them all. Figuring out what your own trigger foods are will help you stay on track. If it triggers you, don't buy it. No matter how “good” you think you can be or how easy it will be to fit just a few into your macros. It never works that way, does it Nutter Butter?

  5. Create A Food Faves List.
    Find the foods that you love most (fuel or not) and create a favorite foods list. Eating foods you love is key to staying on track with any diet or nutrition program. It's best to include mostly clean, versatile foods that can be made and or added to a variety of meals and recipes. Add your favorite foods to your weekly grocery list! A few food items that made the cut for my Food Faves List are: 92-96% lean ground beef, jasmine rice, cilantro, salsa, hummus, blue corn tortilla chips, spinach, chicken, avocados, apples, freshly ground almond butter, etc. Mmmmm, now I’m hungry!

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Using my 80/20 approach, this food recommendation guide gives you an idea of what to eat more of and what to eat less of to fuel yourself toward achieving your health and fitness goals. Some of them may surprise you! After signing up for my newsletter, you will immediately receive my Food Recommendation Guide in addition to helpful diet and fitness information delivered to your inbox weekly!

Cali Larsen