Due to technical difficulties I tried to post this from the airport yesterday but that didn’t happen! I also had a three hour flight delay, my puppy is still at the dog-sitter’s and I am under water at work! This will be another double-post day, but just pretend you are reading this yesterday 🙂
If you aren’t like me- Type-A meal-planner who writes out dinner menus & grocery lists, shops once per week, and preps ahead of time- eating healthy can be confusing. What should I eat, what shouldn’t I eat? If I don’t want to meal plan, what the heck do I buy??
There is no definitive answer to this as it all depends on your personal tastes. However, I’d like to provide some guidance on foods you should feel free to eat every day and others that maybe you should cut back on. I will also provide how I incorporate or don’t incorporate these foods! Looks like I have my grocery list planned out for me already then, right?
Every day, you should eat dark, leafy greens (like spinach which is the base of my salad for lunch every day), nuts (I eat them as a snack or sometimes with breakfast), carrots (in my salad and sometimes as part of dinner), green tea (I have a mug either pre- or post-lunch), whole grains (occasionally with breakfast and sometimes with dinner), and fruit (occasionally with breakfast and as snacks).
Whole grains are rich in fiber and will keep you fuller longer- we talked about this when I shared with you ways to ADD to your diet instead of subtract. The healthiest whole grains you should be eating are whole wheat (like in sprouted wheat bread), whole oats like in oatmeal, brown rice, whole rye, freekeh, whole-grain barley (beer doesn’t count), buckwheat, bulgur, quinoa, whole wheat couscous and corn. Nuts are a great source of protein and contain many other awesome benefits- almonds and pistachios are the healthiest choices but every kind of nut brings some benefit to the table. Greatist has a great infographic to help you decipher. Greens & carrots are both vegetables that are low in calories and chock-full of vitamins and minerals, as are fruits and green tea. They are especially high in antioxidants that can help you live longer!
Once you’ve hit those bases, then there are the foods you should aim to eat a few times a week. Those are yogurt (I opt for low-fat plain Greek yogurt as a snack or part of breakfast), cauliflower & broccoli (usually part of a dinner recipe), sweet potatoes (also usually part of a dinner recipe), avocados (I have to sit this one out- I hate them), oily fish (honestly, most oily fish I can’t stand the taste of besides tuna so I choose tuna as much as I can when out to eat if it’s affordable), and tofu (if I brought tofu home my BF probably would strike so I don’t have much experience cooking with it but everyone should experiment!) Obviously, everyone is going to have their likes and dislikes and also you need to mix it up a bit. I don’t eat broccoli and cauliflower every week, but if you’re having trouble getting started with a meal-plan those are great veggies to start with as they have tons of antioxidants. If you like salmon and sardines, eat them!! They’re high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids which are so good for your heart & skin. About once a month, I’ll splurge on smoked salmon to scramble into my eggs- I can’t stand cooked salmon. Tofu is a great low calorie protein source that is crucial if you’re vegetarian or don’t eat red meat. Yogurt is also a great protein source and has calcium for your bones.
Foods you should limit to about once a week include red meat, white starch (like that croissant splurge at brunch), desserts and alcohol. Remember my alcohol ban? Maybe it’ll be more like a drink a week limitation…Love it, savor it, and be smart about your portions. But remember this also means that YES you are allowed to have a dessert once a week! And no, I don’t mean fruit. Personally, I would choose something low-sugar which might mean making something homemade, or there are tons of lists on-line of healthy, low-calorie, packaged desserts at the grocery store (except follow my rule below).
Now the foods you should never eat- just cut them out! They have no place in a healthy diet. Soda, processed meals, canned soups, or anything labeled “diet”. Sodas, diet drinks or diet foods mostly contain artificial sweeteners- these may be even more addictive than real sugar! (See yesterday’s post.) Canned soups and processed meals usually have sodium levels FAR beyond what you should be consuming in a day and can lead to bloat. So I hope this provides some guidance and for those of us who have maybe veered off the healthy eating road- like me after last weekend!!
Sunday’s food journal
Breakfast- We went to Union Fare for brunch. I had coffee and then my friend and her boyfriend split 3 “smash toasts” with me. Then I had a breakfast sandwich with chicken sausage, egg and cheese on a cinnamon roll.
Dinner- A 12 inch white pizza at Speedy Romeo’s (didn’t eat most of the crust). Then we went to 10 below Ice Cream which is a Thai-style ice cream roll shop and got the Nutella-banana flavor with pretzels and whipped cream that we shared.