Questions I am asked most often when I tell people I am a dietitian:
- “So, are you like, the food police?” — Yes, as a matter of fact. Now excuse me while I rummage through your pantry and give you a written citation for those Hostess cakes.
- “What should I eat?”
- “What do YOU eat?”
Since #2 is very personalized, I decided to expand on #3 and go through an entire day of what I eat. I’m going to lay out every meal and every snack, include information on meal timing and portion sizes, and provide calorie and macro-nutrient information.
I always eat at least three meals and three snacks per day. My meals and snacks are never more than 2-3 hours apart or my appetite will overpower me and I’ll start gnawing on my lower extremities. Ha.. ha… but really.
I always like to give the analogy of your metabolism being like a log fire. If you don’t put anything “on” it, it’s going to be measly flame burning very little calories and giving you very little energy throughout the day. Your body is a machine that runs on the fuel that nutrients provide it with. By refueling your body every few hours, you’re providing it with the resources and energy it needs to function optimally.
So let’s get to it!
5:00 AM – Pre-workout:
1/2 banana and ~1/3 scoop of protein powder mixed with ~3 ounces of coconut water. My two go-to protein powders are Perfect Fit in chocolate and Select Protein in Snickerdoodle. This particular day I went for chocolate. This has been the magic combination for me for early morning workouts.
Bananas are an ideal source of quick-digesting carbohydrates and are packed with potassium, aiding in the maintenance of nerve and muscle function. The small amount of protein powder provides some essential branched-chain amino acids to promote muscle-protein synthesis. Pairing a quick-digesting carb (such as a banana) with a source of protein helps slow down the digestion of the banana while keeping me satiated and energized throughout my workout.
Not pictured: 1/2 cup of black coffee….. or else I’m a walking zombie.
Calories: 85; Fat: 0 gms; Carbohydrates: 17 gms; Protein: 5 gms
7:30 AM – Breakfast:
The most important (and my favorite) meal of the day! Breakfast is inhaled ~30-45 minutes after I complete my morning workout. At this point, I’ve entered my “anabolic window” and it’s time to refuel those depleted glycogen stores. Including carbohydrates post-workout is crucial to replenish the muscle glycogen that you burned during your workout.
I try to keep my breakfasts/post-workout meals relatively low in fat, high in protein and relatively high in carbs. This day I toasted a Thomas Double Protein English Muffin and topped one half with 2 egg whites, 1/4 of an avocado and Sriracha. The only half was topped with 1/2 tbsp of Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar Peanut Butter, half of a banana and a drizzle of sugar-free maple syrup.
Calories: 340; Fat: 9 gm; Carbohydrates: 42 gm; Protein: 19 gm
10:00 AM – Mid-morning Snack:
A tall Americano (espresso mixed with hot water) from Starbucks with a splash of half & half paired with one gloriousssss chocolate chip cookie dough Quest bar. Quest bars are the only protein bars I eat and they make snack time my favorite time. My day doesn’t feel complete without one. #addict.
Calories: 230; Fat: 14.5 gm; Carbohydrates: 29 gms; Protein: 29 gms
12:30 PM – Lunch:
1/2 cup of brown rice mixed with 4.5 ounces of grilled chicken, 1-2 cups of mixed vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli and carrots), 1/4 of an avocado and of course, Sriracha.
I cooked the brown rice in half low-sodium chicken broth and half water and seasoned it with a dash of low-sodium soy sauce, garlic powder, ground ginger, cumin and black pepper. I usually prepare batches of brown rice and/or sweet potatoes, assorted vegetables and chicken over the weekend so I have some ingredients on hand to throw together quick, well-balanced meals during the week. Preparation is SO key!!!!
Calories: 375; Fat: 9 gm; Carbohydrates: 39 gm; Protein: 36 gm
3:00 PM – Afternoon Snack:
1 small apple with 1 tbsp of Skippy natural peanut butter. I find it is much safer for me to portion out my peanut butter ahead of time or else I WILL find my fingers back in that damn peanut butter jar. Danger zone.
Calories: 195; Fat: 8 gm; Carbohydrates: 29 gm; Protein: 4 gm
5:30 PM – Indulgence/Kryptonite/Treat:
Yanno what they say…… sweat daily, indulge often ;)… or is it just me that says that?
My apologies for the blurry car photo. Though if you want to get weird looks and be silently judged by people around you, just sit in your car during rush hour traffic and gnaw on your Reese’s Christmas Tree while taking selfies.
Calories: 170; Fat: 10 gm; Carbohydrates: 18 gm; Protein: 4 gm
7:00 PM – Dinner:
4 ounces of chicken seasoned with Himalayan sea salt, loads of black pepper and fresh lemon juice pan-seared in coconut oil, one baked sweet potato topped with 1 tbsp natural peanut butter and cinnamon, and sautéed green beans topped with slivered almonds and Craisins. This is one of my staple dinners. It’s simple, well-balanced and includes a serving of peanut butter – just how I like it 😉
I bake my sweet potatoes in tin foil for 1 hour at 500 degrees F and they come out like perfection every time! They’re so soft, you could scoop them out of the skin and turn them into mashed sweet potato’s for an alternative side dish. The peanut butter + cinnamon combination is also mighty delicious if you haven’t tried it yet.
Calories: 415; Fat: 12 gm; Carbohydrates: 44 gm; Protein: 45 gm
8:30 PM – The Holy Grail (aka DESSERT):
A beautiful, decadent vanilla mug cake topped with vanilla maple “frosting” (aka jazzed-up Greek yogurt). I use any and all opportunities to “healthify” desserts because it’s one of life’s great pleasures that you shouldn’t have to go without. Can I get a AMEN?
- 1/3 cup oat flour
- 1.5 tbsp coconut flour
- 1/3 cup liquid egg whites
- 2 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 tbsp 0% fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp Stevia
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup plain 0% fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 tbsp sugar-free maple syrup
- Optional toppings: Dark chocolate chips, slivered almonds
- Mix all ingredients for the mug cake and whisk until smooth. Pour batter in a greased big mug or bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds.
- Mix topping ingredients together until smooth. Flip the mug cake on a plate, top with “frosting” and add toppings of choice (I used dark chocolate chips and slivered almonds).
Calories: 280; Fat: 7 gm; Carbohydrates: 30 gm; Protein: 24 gm
9:00 PM – Bedtime
Daily totals: Calories: 2090; Fat: 69.5 gm; Carbohydrates: 248; Protein: 166 gm
That’s going to conclude it, folks! Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions on meal planning, portion sizing, etc. Hopefully this provides a little insight and you find it helpful in embarking on your own meal escapades.
Please keep in mind, I plan my nutrition plan around my goals which are currently to increase strength and add a little muscle (operation: no more twig legs). Everyone’s needs are going to be different based on age, height, weight, gender, activity level, etc. For a personalized nutrition plan, please refer to my services/contact page 🙂