Like many, I have tried several different types of diets over the years. When I recently went back to school to get my degree in health coaching, with a bachelor’s in Health Solutions, I really wanted to know the “truth” when it came to healthy eating. What was the best way to eat for health? I learned that it is a highly debatable topic even amongst scientists. There are however some good rules of thumb I came away with from my nutrition classes to help me navigate eating every day based on the highest evidence-based research we have today.1
So what does this look like for me on a daily basis?
In the morning I eat anything from oatmeal with walnuts, cinnamon, and honey, to a veggie and egg scramble for breakfast. I love Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread toasted with peanut butter and sliced bananas or a banana shake with some protein powder, milk and lots of cinnamon. On the weekends we eat whole wheat or almond meal pancakes or turkey sausage with potatoes. I like tofu scrambles, blueberry almond flour scones and have experimented with banana egg pancakes. No matter the meal or snack, I try to think about how I can incorporate at least one vegetable.
Lunch will either be leftovers from dinner or a big salad. I always try to have leafy greens such as spinach and kale on hand as the base and add eggs, nuts, seeds, chicken or fish for protein, and lots of variety in veggies. I have learned to make simple vinaigrettes that only take a minute to make. My favorite is white wine vinegar, olive oil, and dijon mustard. I whip it up with a fork and pour it on top.
Dinner is usually a protein and some kind of vegetable or mix of vegetables. We do everything from stir-fries to soups, to baked or roasted meats, tofu or beans. Fish tacos, salads, tacos and burrito bowls, and homemade pizza. We sometimes have whole grains such as corn tortillas, brown rice or quinoa as part of our meal.
Snacks may include veggies and hummus, apples with peanut butter, unsalted nuts with raisins, or greek yogurt. I occasionally eat a handful of corn tortillas and salsa or some dark chocolate.
Desserts I love to make homemade banana “nice” cream (whipped up very ripe bananas), frozen or fresh fruit, and air popcorn with a little light olive oil and salt. Once maybe every few months I go to the ice cream parlor and have a scoop of my favorite ice cream. My family loves when I make oatmeal dark chocolate chip peanut butter balls with flax meal and honey.
Beverages normally consist of coffee and water. I add lemon to my water and occasionally I’ll buy mint and cucumber to put into it. When I do go out to a restaurant, I order an unsweetened ice tea with extra lemon or water.
We generally don’t eat out at restaurants. It does take a bit more planning and meal prep on a daily or weekly basis, but I think it’s worth the time. I am able to get away from added sugars, white flour, and highly refined foods. This doesn’t mean I don’t eat packaged foods, but for the most part, my focus is eating lots of fruits and vegetables each day and I feel like if I make it at home, I have a better idea of what is going into my food.
Although I have shared with you what I eat on any given day, I encourage you to find what works best for you in your life. As a health coach, I can help you brainstorm ways to discover what healthy eating means for you, but ultimately you are an expert in your own life and may have medical conditions that need further consideration. It may take time to find the right balance for you. If you want a specific plan for your dietary needs, the best resource may be going to be a dietitian.
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1. Can We Say What Diet Is Best for Health? D.L. Katz and S. Meller
Annual Review of Public Health 2014 35:1, 83-103