So, as many of y’all know, I love making desserts. Obviously. BUT. I actually live a pretty healthy lifestyle. Why, you may ask? Well. Part of it is due to rowing. You know, that whole lightweight deal during the spring. And surprise to many, but I was not always a lightweight rower. I, indeed, had to become one at some point last year. But SINCE then, I have discovered how much more interesting it can be to eat healthier foods. The things you can do with simple, healthy food are endless. I know I have had some questions about nutrition in the past, and I am by NO means a pro nutritionist (although that is basically my dream job) but I am thrilled to help out any one wanting to lead a healthier life. So on this page, you will find some yummy ideas for meals/snacks, and some descriptions of foods you may not have heard of! If this portion of the blog expands so much that I have to create a separate URL for it, so be it, but I figured I’d just do this at first to kick off some of my ideas 🙂
Let’s start off with breakfast ideas-
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY. I don’t care if you’re not hungry in the morning. Eat breakfast. It will wake you up and it will give your body the fuel it needs to tackle the day ahead. Plus, it’s a really fun meal to experiment with (mostly because I have a sweet tooth…). In the summer days, I have been doing my fair share of experimenting. Here are some things I always have in my pantry for breakfast:
- Oats- 0.5 cup dry=150 calories
- Chia seeds-1 TBS dry=60 calories
- Kashi go lean crunch-1 cup= 200 calories
- Kashi warm cinnamon cereal- 1 cup=160 calories
- Better n’ peanut butter-1 TBS=50 calories
- Almond butter-1 TBS= 90 calories
- Blueberries-1 cup=80 calories
- Bananas-7ish inches in length= 100ish calories
- Fage total 0 Greek Yogurt-6 oz or 3/4 cup=100 calories
- Eggs- 1 egg=80 calories
- Veggies (broccoli, spinach, mushrooms…)- they’re veggies, they’re good for you, don’t calorie count on veggies….
- Unsweetened vanilla almond milk- 1 cup=30 calories
- Whole wheat toast- 1 slice=90 calories
Mix and match! Some great combos are:
- Oats, chia, banana, better n peanut butter
- kashi go lean crunch, almond milk, blueberries
- kashi warm cinnamon cereal, greek yogurt
- 3 egg veggie omelet
- Almond butter banana sandwich
Remember that if you’re trying to go lighter on carbs, BREAKFAST is the time to have them! You burn them throughout the day, giving you a constant stream of energy.
Ahh..what a beautiful time of the day. Lunch time. The time where you can eat such a variety of food depending purely on your mood. Where it is socially acceptable to eat both sweet and savory things. Here are some foods that are easy for lunch; especially if you’re at work or school or something. I’m not including the calorie counts on these because they’re really just mix and match items that are very specific to how much you add and how hungry you are.
- Raw spinach salad with chicken, quinoa, chick peas, shredded carrots, and balsamic dressing
- Sandwich with whole wheat bread, turkey, avocado, tomato, lettuce, then a small veggie salad
- Whole wheat bagel with natural peanut butter
- Whole wheat pita bread with chicken, hummus, and feta
- Brown rice with a combo of veggies like broccoli and peppers, then a protein like chicken, turkey, fish, or tofu.
- Basically a carb, a protein, and a veggie.
The key for lunch is really just to make sure you’re eating well-balanced portions. Have a smaller lunch if you snack more often. If lunch is your only time to eat, make sure it’s big enough to last and to fuel you for the rest of the day. If you’re like me and eat at like, 6 different points in a day during the school year (true fact) then lunch is usually filled with nutrients, but not SUPER filling. This is because I just had a snack 2 hours ago, and in two more hours, I’m going to snack again.
Much like lunch time, instead of giving specific meals with calorie counts, I’m just going to list off some ideas that my family and I always cook up. Traditional dinner usually includes a meat, a veggie, and a starch. However, sometimes it can be difficult to choose the healthier side of meats and starches. Red meats can be very rich in fat depending on the type of meat and the cut of meat you get. Starches can also spell trouble for those trying to go easy on the carbs. Since it’s dinner time and you are at the end of your day, unless you’re an athlete, don’t go crazy on the heavy carbs (aka starches). I mean, we all need a good Italian pasta dish once in a while but not like three times a week. Anyhoo, here are some tips for eating healthily at the end of the day:
- Stir fry chicken breast or pork chop with quinoa, broccoli, mushrooms, and peppers. Light on the heavy carbs, but super filling with all the leaner veggie carbs and meat
- Turkey burgers with salsa, mushrooms, low calorie bread, and your favorite type of cheese. Have with a small side salad.
- Grilled chicken smothered with pesto and sautéed veggies
- Pork chop with lime marinade and side of quinoa
- Grilled skirt steak with salad
- Breakfast for dinner! 3 egg veggie omelet with a piece of whole-wheat toast 😀
- Baked tilapia with sautéed spinach, part skim ricotta, and sprinkled with pine nuts
- Bell peppers stuffed with ground turkey, brown rice, mushrooms, and some cheese (see link below)
- Poached and shredded chicken breasts with black beans, mushrooms, green chiles, and peppers (all mixed together. Poach the chicken first, shred it, then once the beans and veggies are cooking on the stove with the green chiles, add the chicken in and stir together until the chicken in at the last minute.)
- Some sides: sautéed veggies, sweet potatoes (much healthier than regular potatoes), brown rice, tomato salad, snap peas, green beans…
Bell Peppers with ground turkey: https://neeksnotes.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/bell-peppers-stuffed-with-ground-turkey/
Basically, just go easier on the bready things as you get later into the night. Eat a lot, but eat lighter carbs. This will make you full, happy, and healthy.
I have forgotten a lot when it comes to snacking. Because this summer I’ve mostly been home/at rowing/at summer school (whooo summer gov course!)/ in colorado, I just snack on what we have around continuously. The only time I actually NEED snacks are when the school year starts and I get really hungry between breakfast at 7am and lunch at 12pm. Snacking is super important. To keep your metabolism going throughout the day, you should snack every 2-3 hours and eat a meal every 4-5. It’s better to eat smaller amounts of food more often than huge meals only 2 or 3 times a day. Also, it is super important for athletes to have a snack about a half hour before exercising. Your body needs fuel to burn. If you don’t fuel it, your body will start eating away at your muscles for energy.
- Kashi go lean granola or Kashi warm cinnamon cereal (see above in breakfast section)
- Homemade Nut&Seed Granola- 1/4 cup= 101 calories; see link below
- Kashi dark chocolate cherry granola bar- 1 bar= 120 calories
- Blueberry Pomegranate v8- 12 oz bottle=150 calories
- Mixed salted nuts- 1 oz= about 170 calories
- Chia bars-1 bar=100 to 110 calories
- Kale chips- depends on how you make em. Recipe below.
- Clif bars-1 bar=230-260 calories
- Knockoff Embody shake-1 shake- about 270ish calories (link to come soon!)
Some dessert ideas…yes, dessert!
- Sleepy milk (see link before)
- Nonfat frozen yogurt (sparingly)
- Frozen blueberries
- Frozen grapes
- Pitted dates with a touch of better n’ peanut butter
- mug cakes***
***Note: I haven’t tried mug cakes, but I see them ALL THE TIME on health blogs! They are basically little cakes you microwave in a mug, pop them out, and tada! You have a one-person cake. I will include some of my very favorite health blogs below where mug cake recipes are abundant!