Nutrition: Diet and Meal Options

nutrition |njʊˈtrɪʃ(ə)n|noun [ mass noun ]the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth: a guide to good nutrition.

Nutrition and health are very important to me, but sometimes feel unattainable when I’m trying to balance a busy life with two young children, a growing career and the many demands in a day. To obtain a healthy lifestyle, I have to plan my week ahead of time. I organize our meal menus on Sundays, grocery shop on Mondays and keep only healthy food options in the house. It’s easy to come home and eat whatever is quick and available just because you’re tired and hungry.

I rarely have time to cook, but want my family to eat wholesome food–so I I keep my meal prep very simple with hands-off methods like croc pot recipes and sheet-pan baking options. This gets dinner on the table quickly and makes clean up easy and minimal.

I follow a high-protein, low-carb diet. For breakfast, I have a healthy smoothie, and either oatmeal or egg whites with chopped deli turkey meat. Breakfast is important. It gives me the energy I need to work hard all day and keep up with my kids! Maintaining a healthy diet is all about balance. It’s not about depriving yourself, but planning ahead of time for what your body needs. If you can’t plan every meal, then opt to have a heavier lunch and a lighter dinner.

Getting greens in is very important. I try to eat at least two servings of leafy green vegetables every day. If you find it hard to get your greens in, start your day with a green smoothie (kids love these too!). I always add veggies (such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus and green peppers) to my meals. Basically, try to make your plate as colorful as possible! I like fruit, trail mix or raw almonds between meals as a yummy and filling snack. I go for leaner cuts of fish, chicken, and ground turkey. I stay away from high-calorie frappuccinos and sodas. I replace those with water. Drinking a lot of water daily helps me to avoid overeating because it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger.

I do have a sweet tooth. I enjoy dessert, but try to be reasonable. I indulge in smaller portions and opt for dark chocolate as opposed to milk chocolate. My favorite are dark chocolate almonds. After giving birth to each of my babies, I banned all sugar for 3 months–and stay pretty strict with my diet during that time. I don’t eat diary, red meat, fried or salty foods. I’ve banned bread and carbs from dinner, and that really helped me lean out my stomach. I cut out all sugar. Beware of sneaky sources of sugar like ketchup, salad dressings and non-fat yogurt.

My Favorite Nutrition Book:

“It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole 30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways” written by nutritionists Dallas & Melissa Hartwig.

For the last 15 years or so, I’ve loved reading and learning everything about nutrition. This is my latest read and had to share. It explains and reiterates a lot of the nutritional wisdom that is currently out there and also outlines a clear, balanced plan to change the way you eat forever. I’ve never been a fan of diets, deprivation, and calorie counting. I think this is the most realistic, healthy plan to follow for life. The nutritional plan outlined in this book challenges readers to cut all alcohol, sugar, grains, diary, and legumes for an entire month. While I hated having to deprive myself, it was completely worth it. I shed pounds quickly, had more energy and looked leaner in my clothes after removing these things from my diet.

It Starts with Food

Simple Daily Meal Examples:

Breakfast:  Oatmeal (with fresh fruit), egg whites and chopped deli turkey or I love this particular oatmeal from Vigilant Eats! It’s amazing and so nutritious.

Lunch:  Green salad with vinaigrette and salmon. Dark chocolate almonds for dessert

Dinner:  Chicken or 99% fat free ground turkey with steamed veggies and quinoa

Below is a great guideline to healthy grocery shopping!  This shopping list outlines nutritious options for protein, vegetables, fruit, and fat.

Whole30 Shopping List