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BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
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Emily Zaler's ingredient for guilt-free food: protein powder

October 18, 2011|By Rene Lynch, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog

“I'll just get an idea and make it for myself, and if it's great, then it works; if it doesn’t, it goes in the garbage.”

She tests her recipes on friends and relatives and admits there have been a few duds. “I made an ice cream once and I thought it was great, and I served it to my brother and mom and they were like, ‘This is terrible.’ Since then, I’ve developed a new ice cream recipe,” she said.

A personal trainer and certified nutritionist, Zaler says she tries to design her recipes to appeal to everyone.

“My recipes are not just for extremely fit people,” she said. “The majority are either people looking to lose a lot of weight -- like 30 or more pounds -- or people who are very serious about fitness or figure competitors who are getting ready for a show and don’t want to be stuck on these miserable diets.”

Zaler pursued competitive bodybuilding briefly but gave it up, in part because of those miserable diets. Now, she says she eats about 2,000 calories a day that are heavy on protein, but she certainly doesn’t skimp on carbs. (Zaler, who is about 5-foot-10, doesn’t weigh herself because she says it’s not an effective way to measure progress. If she fits into her 28-inch-waist jeans, she knows she’s on track.)

Breakfast is usually one of her protein pancake recipes, followed by almonds or egg whites or another protein source. Lunch is a huge green salad with five ounces of lean protein -- think tuna, turkey or chicken -- and a healthy fat like avocado.  She has a protein shake mid-afternoon, and dinner is another serving of five ounces of protein and lots of green veggies. An EZ Whey protein dessert caps off the day.

“I eat constantly,” she says, adding that several small, balanced meals throughout the day are the key to weight control. To the doubters out there, Zaler suggests just trying it for a few days and noticing whether eating small, balanced meals and petite snacks throughout the day curbs your hunger. She said it has been the single most important nutritional change she made in her own diet.

“Once I started six times a day, I thought, ‘How did I only eat three times a day?’" she said. "I’m not eating huge meals, but I am never hungry.”

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