Recently I’ve had a couple requests for some healthy recipe posts. The other afternoon when I was visiting my dad, he asked me how to make a smoothie and what I typically ate in day and I knew this meant it was time for me to write something up! I'm also completing The EveryGirl 30 day challenge and it has been my challenge to be 'creatively healthy' every single day. So I present to you a healthy living post mixed with what I eat and why I eat it. Now, let me be clear: I am not a cook and I say this to you with a completely serious look on my face. I’m not even remotely close to somebody that knows her way around the kitchen. I strongly believe, however, that eating healthy requires two things, and being able to cook a gourmet meal isn’t one of them.
So, what’s my secret to eating whole and nutritiously?
- Keep things as simple as possible. Like I said, cooking is not my thing and it will probably never be my thing. Heck I made meatloaf from a recipe I found off of a Quaker Oatmeal box the other night and I hooped and hollered for hours! Simplifying your cupboards and your meal plan is the real trick. For example, when I make my smoothie in the morning, I use half of a banana and freeze the other half for the following day. I use a quarter cup of dairy free yogurt and throw the rest in a tupperware for the following days. At lunch, I alway always always add protein to my salads or I would devour our entire pantry by the time 3:00 came around. I snack at least twice a day and if I know I’m not going to be at home, I pack snacks to bring with me (a lot of them). I’ve never been the type of person that ‘meal preps’ every single Sunday because, to be honest, it completely stresses me out and makes me think that eating healthy and preparing meals is more work than what it actually is. Foods, healthy foods, are readily available and if we really think about it, they don't require hours of prep work. Slicing an apple takes 30 seconds, preparing quonia takes 15 minutes, washing and slicing vegetables takes a minute or two. Nutrition and all that entails, can be found all around us and I find it easier to live each day freely by listening to my body and what it wants during a specific time. I spent many many years ignoring what my body was trying to tell me and I think that accepting that cravings and stomach growls are a very good thing completely changed my life. Once you learn how long things take to prepare and what you typically like to eat on a daily basis, grocery shopping becomes a breeze and meal times become so enjoyable.
- Discover what works for you. Eating healthy is trial and error. Whether you’re an experienced chef or a 25 year old wife googling how to pronounce ‘Mignon,” healthy eating is 100 percent experimenting. In addition to this, every [body] is different and therefore requires different things. Yes, general health requires the consumption of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water, however the details of nutritional requirements for all of us personally varies. For example, we know that dairy is high in calcium, potassium, Vitamin D, and protein but for someone like me who is very intolerant to this food group, they have to get these nutrients elsewhere. This also applies to Gluten and those who have Celiac’s Disease. Some people can’t have nuts, which provide us with healthy fats and protein. If you are pregnant or nursing, again, your nutritional requirements are going to be different than someone who is not, and the list goes on. We all need to discover what types of foods respond well with our bodies. Eventually you will find a plan that works and if you stick with that you can avoid all sorts of digestive, weight, and general health problems for your future. I would also like to add that if you are one of those people that hasn't quite figured out what 'works' quite yet: don't give up. Don't look at food negatively (I've been there and it is a terrible feeling). Start fresh with each day, or each meal even. Swap out your bag of chips for some carrots, just this once. Or even better, slow the heck down. Eat your meal off a plate - a real plate - and visually see how much of each food item your are consuming.
What do I eat on a typical basis? Below you will find my sample meal plan on a typical day where I’m both at home and running errands.
7 AM: Half caffeinated coffee with cream. 20 oz. of water.
8:30 AM: Berry Protein Smoothie (1/2 banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup frozen cherries, a few frozen blueberries, one scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup ice cold water. Every smoothie turns out with a little bit different consistency so I either add more water or add ice depending on what it needs). Sprinkle the top of the smoothie with a few chia seeds and you’re good to go. Hello Antioxidants, hello.
11:00: Handful of raw nuts from my parent’s pantry or trail mix because I have a dangerous obsession with it, or a honey rice cake with peanut butter and an apple. Water.
1:30: Salad with Quinoa and Beans (Handful of Organic Spinach, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, grapes, tomatoes, 1/3 cup drained and rinsed pinto beans, 1/3 cup cooked quinoa. I usually bake a large batch of the quinoa first and then use it through out the week. I like the pinto beans and the quinoa heated up and then put on top of my salad. I use Simply Dressed balsamic dressing or olive oil and lemon). Water
2:45: Iced Coffee while I’m running errands.
3:45: Caffeine free tea, water, 1 cup of strawberries, couple bites of quinoa.
7:00: Meatloaf and Steamed vegetables. (I used grass fed beef, added oatmeal, and used as much organic products as possible (onion, etc.). As for the vegetables, broccoli is my favorite and Nick likes cauliflower so I do a mixture of them both. I also made some dinner rolls for Nick (I’m not the biggest fan of buns or anything that tastes like them because dough kind of grosses me out. But my husband could eat them all day).
9:00: Spoonful of dairy free ice cream and a Dove dark chocolate just because.
As you can see, what I typically eat on a day to day basis does not require any sort of cooking skills. Even the meatloaf was a huge mile stone for me as there are a lot of nights that Nick just grills me a veggie burger and I have it with a sweet potato or again, steamed vegetables. Like I said earlier, nutrition is both trial and error and discovering foods that work well with your body. Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain strength, or cure a sickness with Mother Earth’s medicine, your diet will directly impact your goals. My advice to you would be to start slow. For the first week, maybe focus on discovering a breakfast food that gives you both energy and satiation in the mornings. I was with a girlfriend this morning who had oatmeal for breakfast for the first time in a while and she was hungrier much much sooner than usual. She learned that a protein smoothie works better for her in the mornings in that very moment. For another person, however, oatmeal might sit better with them, or for another maybe it's eggs and toast. The next week focus on lunches and so on. Never restrict your calories, please please PLEASE! And disregard any diets that are currently trending; they are your one ticket to failure. Real foods and a balanced diet with consistent meals and snacking can save you from many physical, mental, and emotional problems and the minute you start listening to your body and what it wants is probably the same moment that you’ll be able to call yourself a ‘foodie.’ A beautiful and happy foodie.
I wish you a day that is filled with knowledge and an open mind, the happiest and healthiest kind.