One of the most sought-after topics my patients want to discuss is meal planning. A patient recently asked me in exasperation, what do you eat? I hesitate to share this with patients, because everyone has unique preferences and restrictions- and every day is different!
Some registered dietitians (RD) may eat mostly the same thing every day, but for my spontaneous personality, this would never work. I love some variety! But my fear relative to this self-disclosure is that people may assume this is THE way to eat, and that simply isn’t true. This is just one day of my particular style of chowin’ down.
But given that I myself learn by visual cues and seeing examples, there is usefulness in illustrating my meal planning process. So when Rachel asked me to write a guest nutrition post, I thought this was the perfect way to help you find some new ideas or innovations in your own menus.
I chose to highlight a typical Thursday in the office. I was at work by 9 and I left by 5 to head to a favorite part of the week- belly dancing class! Then I was home for a dinner sans-husband who had a work event so dinner was made for just me. Let’s dig in!
Had leftover quinoa and pre-prepared hard-boiled eggs which was perfect for a lemon-mint quinoa bowl
with blueberries and avocado. Blueberries provide a great source of anthocyanins, quinoa is a complete protein and good source of fiber, avocado rocks some excellent monounsaturated fats, eggs add quality protein and fat to help with satiety, mint leaves for flavor and digestion, and hemp seeds provide protein, fiber, omega-3s, iron, magnesium, thiamin, and 110% of your daily manganese. They are nutrient bombs! I also added about 1 oz or a tablespoon of walnuts for good measure- can never have too many omega-3s from plant sources, and an oz of nuts a day is great for blood sugar stability.
Super easy to prepare a batch of hard boiled eggs and some quinoa for the week when you have extra time on Sunday. I try to not eat leftovers past 4 or 5 days. Breakfast really-srrrrrsly- is the most important meal. Set yourself up for an energetic day!
Of course, I couldn’t forget my coffee! I love this flavored variety from Fresh Market- it smells heavenly. It’s loads easier to save the calories and forgo cream and sugar when there is a bit of flavor in the brew. I also don’t like artificial sweeteners, so I learned to adore the taste of a solidly strong cup of black joe.
I never forget my daily morning dose of probiotics to support my gut microbiome, pump up my immune system, and keep me feeling my best. Research is getting stronger and stronger in support of the important role of probiotics for our overall health.
Alternate breakfast: For a grab and go breakfast, I usually reach for a smoothie. I have a special place in my heart for a good pumpkin pie smoothie. My husband thinks I’m crazy for craving pumpkin all year round, but love is love, right?
Here is a shot of this beauty:
Reduce, reuse, recycle! For lunch, there is nothing better than repurposed leftovers. I had kale and Brussel salad with leftover mustard crusted baked tilapia and homemade avocado dressing. My husband’s recent trip to Costco yielded a large amount of avocado, blueberries, and a hefty bag of kale and Brussels sprout precut salad.
I typically don’t eat the same foods over and over, but when we have a lot of fresh food to deal with, I try to not be wasteful. Other good choices for fruit on salads are chopped up apples, raspberries, or an oz of dried fruit. I also like to add more vegetables to my salad typically, but the precut salad had enough roughage for one meal.
Other good veggies to include though are roasted cauliflower or beets, any type of bean, peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, yellow squash- the list goes on. Anything that is in season or on sale!
I couldn’t finish it all! I was definitely satisfied with all the good, lean protein from the fish and healthy fats from the dressing. Was delish!
This time is always when I start to get a bit stomach-grumbly. I don’t like to go more than 4 hours without eating, and I usually workout after work. Getting some good nutrition about 2-3 hours pre-workout is vital for my energy levels. I aim for a bit of protein mixed with some quality carbohydrate and a little fat for energy sustainability.
I don’t typically eat too much dairy, but a well-placed natural yogurt is always a welcome choice. I paired with some organic dried two-ingredients apple (only apple and cinnamon!) from our CSA bag. Delectably divine.
I like to Iron Chef It- in other words, throw together some variety of whatever with what I have on hand. We had a ginormous sweet potato in our bag, and I was craving some yummy sweet potato wedges.
But deciding on the main event was a bit more difficult. I took a scan of my 4Pfoods bag and decided to throw the tomatoes, kale, shallots, and mushrooms in to a tasty sauté with garlic, olive oil and black pepper. Mushrooms yield some good protein and antioxidants, but I also decided to add a half pack of tofu for an added punch. Tofu is a good source of complete protein, and I’ve been doing a lot more weight lifting lately so I’ve upped my protein game.
Hope you enjoyed my day as much as I did. Thanks for sharing a few good meals with me!
~ Joanna Pustilnik @bodaciousrd
Joanna is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Personal Trainer, and Health Coach who works for Evolent Health and Blast DC, providing one on one nutrition consults. You can contact her at BodaciousRD@gmail.com.