Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Nutrition & fitness: a days worth of food

Nutrition & fitness go hand in hand, everyone knows that right? But I see so many of us confused about nutrition. I see so many of us being a slave to food. That's not how it should be. 

I thought I'd share a typical days worth of food so you can see how this coach & athlete eats. It's my hope that if you've been a slave to food, something in this post will ignite something in you so you will no longer have to be enslaved to food. Food should be enjoyed, without guilt, no matter what size shape or fitness level you are.

Before I share today's meals, I'd like to discuss some habits I have:

  • I rarely think about deleting food. Instead, I enjoy looking for ways to add in foods that will make my meals healthier. That's a mindset shift from 'can't have' into a more positive thought of how can I include something to bring balance.
  • I eat chocolate, donuts, cookies etc without guilt. If I'm going to eat it, I'm going to fully enjoy it.
  • That being said, I strive to eat 80% wholesome, nutritious foods & 20% discretionary. A healthy diet can - and should - include 100-400 calories of discretionary foods a day (depending on how many calories one can have per day). I say should because having those treats is real & it's unreasonable to try and cut out treats altogether. Unless you want to feel deprived, overindulge, have guilt, over restrict & repeat. No fun, no thank you!
  • While I strive to eat nutritiously, I do not want to be a slave to food. This isn't how God intended. I spent several years in my teens enslaved to food & I can tell you that I'm much happier, well rounded and optimally fit than I was when I had harsh restrictions.  And honestly, restrictions are very seldom about health are they? Oftentimes we do it to punish ourselves because we think we're fat. Right?
  • I very rarely measure things out. I do, however, keep track of general serving sizes of each food group. I go for a balanced diet.
  • I try to eat at least 3 food groups per meal and 2 per snack. Again with going for a balanced diet.

When you see the food below, you may see ways I could have made better choices. I agree. I'm not going for perfection & I hope you don't either. On the other hand, you may think this is not enough food for you, not enough chips or chocolate. I'd like to remind you of two things 1) When I see these pics I agree it doesn't look like much. But I was full & satisfied & couldn't have eaten more. 2) There are certainly - certainly days that I have more chocolate or potato chips. I sometimes eat a donut for breakfast. Yep! Just not every day & I try to space things not chips and donuts all in one day. Please remember that. 80/20 folks. 

Breakfast: whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, babybel light & berries, was thoroughly enjoyed. I've been on a cream cheese kick lately, but I'll also have peanut butter or cottage cheese on my bagels. This gave me plenty of energy for my morning sessions & my own swim workout. 
Whole wheat bagel had 8g of fiber. I always look for
a minimum of 2g per serving.
The Babybel gives some calcium & protein plus it's fun to play
with the red wax :) Berries are loaded with goodness.

Lunch: Single serve hummus with baby carrots & crackers plus a veggie salad topped with an egg, low fat cheese, tomatoes, avocado, cauliflower, low fat dressing and a few more crackers. Might not look like much but I was quite satisfied. Great refuel after my workouts.
Single serve hummus is convenient & delicious.
I like to have at least some veggies with it because it's
an yummy way to get more veggies.
Egg atop the salad gives me another food group, and I have to really work
to get enough protein so always keeping this in mind.

Mid day snack: Easy. Small smoothie I made with a bit of soft tofu, strawberries & half a banana plus soy milk & stevia. Just enough to get me to dinner so I don't crash. 
Yet another way to get more produce, calcium
& protein which are things I have to work at. Sweet enough I don't
want cookies anymore! Holds me over so I don't crash & eat the world.

Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce (I added fresh tomatoes) & 95% lean ground beef. Side salad. We had a coconut fruit bar for dessert. 
We really need to eat more meat. I know that's unusual but
in our household, we need to. The pasta gives me energy & nutrients that fruits & veggies
don't have in them. Carbs are important as long as they're not over eaten..just like
anything else. Always looking for ways to add in more produce, hence the salad (& tomatoes in the sauce). If not for the salad I'd probably had seconds of pasta. Instead I kept it more balanced. The fruit bar was delightful.

Night time snack: Half a Clif Builder Bar. Chocolate! These few calories will help me not to wake up and overeat. 
I ate half because I wasn't terribly hungry. The chocolate was satisfying. 

There you have it: full disclosure! I pray that this gives you an idea of what an imperfectly healthy day looks like. 

If you want to learn more about balanced nutrition, there are some resources I recommend., read Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Mindless Eating & Eating Mindfully. These are great starts to learning more on your own. If you need more guidance get in touch with a professional & make sure they're a Registered Dietitian. Contact me if you have questions. - Coach Emily