The past week I have gotten a couple of different people reaching out to me asking about meal prepping, or what they should be eating to stay healthy and meet their health goals. Since I got multiple people asking the same question I thought that warranted a blog about it. 🙂
With this being said, I am NOT a nutritionist and do not by any means try to be one. I just have read a lot of things, listened to a lot of books and podcasts, and have done even more trial and error, and this is the combo that feels best for ME. This does NOT mean that it will make sense to you, but you can give it a good ole college try and see how it makes you feel. If you like it, great! If you don’t, there is something else better for you, I promise you that. But for ME this has worked really well.
How I structure my meals every day.
1. Give me ALL the veggies.
Most of my meals are based around vegetables or have many vegetables in them. I even sneak them into my breakfast-making! Once I stopped looking at veggies as a “diet food” and focused on how good they are for my body and even more importantly how good I FELT when eating them it was an easy switch.
If I am looking at my typical plate, half or more of my plate is covered with veggies. Some of my easy go-to’s are spinach, kale, lettuce, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, green beans, peas, cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.
The “harder” vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, and sweet potatoes, I will typically bake in the over with olive oil and garlic salt. The rest I will saute, add into shakes, pasta dishes, or stir frys.
2. Fat is my friend.
I love fat. The things I do, or prices I pay, to have avocado regularly, are pretty ridiculous, but I do it because I love it.
When I was first out of college I was afraid of fats and thought too many of them or any of them would actually make me fat. But man I was wrong, kind of. HEALTHY fats are our friends. Avocado, olive oil, seeds, nuts, and nut butters, those are our friends. They will not only help keep you fuller longer, but they also keep you satiated.
I never realized just HOW important being satiated is. It is what keeps you from grabbing for the 3 pm handful of M&M’s or the sugary granola bar. Adding fats to your meal helps keep you full right until the next one. SO I make sure this is also in every meal.
In the morning I have nut butter or coconut oil in my smoothie.
For lunch, there is typically an avocado present.
Then for dinner, I cook with olive oil or avocado oil. I tend to have a heavy hand on my oils but man I love them and they love me.
3. Protein is key for me.
If you have been with me for a while, you know that I was once “kinda vegan”. I really limited the amount of cheese I ate (aka only occasional weekend cheeseboards) and no longer ate chicken or red meat and primarily ate fish and eggs.
It worked for a while, but then my hair started getting really really thin and I started needing to eat more throughout the day to keep myself from starving. I didn’t want to admit it, but it wasn’t working for me.
Then once I was pregnant I slowly started to add protein BACK to my meals and was noticing I could go for longer periods without thinking about food or needing it. It felt like a miracle. Ever since then, I kept protein as a core part of my daily plate.
So that’s it, I focus on vegetables, proteins, fats, and fibers (which is in a lot of what I mentioned).
This combo of food is what keeps me full and satisfied all day long with high energy levels.
So you may be thinking, what about the other stuff? The pasta or pasta alternatives (bean pasta), the bread, carbs, fruit, other unmentionables (sugary processed foods). The “fun” stuff!
The thing is I DON’T structure my meals around those things. Sure I will absolutely add in an occasional rice side with my salmon or will have cauliflower pizza crust on Fridays. But that’s not what my meal is based around or structured around.
I structure my meals around the vegetables, the protein, and the fats I will consume. I focus on putting those pieces together and making delicious meals with them.
I do not focus on what is not serving me.
Vegetables, proteins, fats, those things SHOW UP for me, so I show up with them to your dinner party. 😉