As a qualified nutritionist, there are certain questions I get asked a lot.
Is fat bad for you? Does fruit have too much sugar? Should I cut out gluten? [just an FYI, the answer to all of these is usually no..] Without doubt the question I am most commonly asked is “what do you eat?” Or, more accurately, clients saying “just tell me what to eat!!”. So I’ve compiled a full day’s menu for you so you can see that eating healthy doesn’t need to be expensive, difficult or tedious. Here is the answer to “What Does a Nutritionist Eat In A Day?”.
I usually cycle between a few familiar, easy recipes for weekday mornings and save the fancy stuff (pancakes, baked oats, waffles etc) for the weekends. Mornings are always busy in our house so quick breakfasts are a must. On warmer days I’ll have a smoothie made with coconut water, frozen bananas, berries, baby spinach, chia seeds and almonds, or a bowl of creamy overnight chia oats I prepared the night before. Cooler mornings are either porridge with fruit and nuts or scrambled eggs with tomato and avocado on wholemeal toast.
I’m usually hungry again mid-morning, and prefer sweet things in the morning rather than savoury, so morning tea is usually fruit with greek yohurt, coconut and honey or some homemade protein balls and a banana. Combining carbohydrates with protein and/or healthy fats is a great way to slow the digestion of the natural sugars and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Lunch is always one of two things – a serve of leftovers from the previous night or a big salad. Not just a boring garden salad though, JL Fit Nutrition salads are always packed with protein, fibre, fats and flavour. I love tabbouleh made with the addition of chickpeas, quinoa, tuna, chilli and pumpkin seeds or a winter salad of roasted vegetables, grilled chicken, avocado, baby spinach and rocket covered in homemade dukkah. Salads shouldn’t be boring – there are so many delicious ways to make them interesting and delicious. Check out this How-To Guide detailing what to do to build a better salad.
The time between lunch and dinner is when I get the most hungry, a pattern echoed by a lot of people I talk to. This time is also usually filled with grocery shopping, after-school sport, homework and dinner prep so snacks need to be quick, portable and easy to eat on the go. I love cottage cheese or hummus on rice crackers, a protein-packed smoothie if I’m at home (the kids love this one too) or thinly-sliced turkey breast and vegetable sticks. If my sweet tooth is in full swing I love these no-bake quinoa muesli bars.
Seasonality heavily dictates what we eat for dinner; whatever is in season and on special forms the basis of our weekly meal plan, which I write each Sunday night in preparation for the week ahead. Carbohydrates are wholegrain choices, meats are lean and we often have 1-2 vegetarian dinners per week. My family love burrito bowls packed full of salads and avocado, chicken or tofu stir-fry served over brown rice, one-pot pasta dishes made with wholemeal penne and lots of vegetables (like this one-pot chicken pasta) or Indian curries flavoured with lots of spices (like this slow cooked massaman curry lamb shoulder).
What is life without dessert?! I love dessert and have a massive sweet tooth, so after dinner is my time to chill out and have something sweet. I love homemade peanut butter cups, chocolate lava cake or cinnamon-stewed apples with yoghurt (or ice-cream if I really feel like it!). There is no need to deny yourself a small indulgence if the rest of your diet is providing you with enough nutrients and you’re eating within your own caloric requirements.
Some people are coffee mad but my drug of choice is tea – English breakfast with lots of milk. I’ll also sometimes have green tea in the afternoons and in between meals I try to drink 1-1.5L of cold water (I carry an insulated bottle everywhere to make this easier). I normally steer clear of fruit juices, soft drinks and sports drinks as they are usually energy-dense but nutrient poor.
Healthy eating makes a huge difference to my energy levels, sleep quality and general health and well-being. Don't get caught up trying to make complicated meals full of expensive "superfoods"; the first step is making small but sustainable changes - wholegrain carbohydrates instead of white, increasing your vegetable and fruit intake, eating lean cuts of meat instead of processed meats like sausages and salami and replacing sugary snacks with more nutrient dense choices.
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