Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Candid Look At My Diet

Many of you commented on my last post about how you eat more fruits and/or veggies than the recommendation. Some of you also asked me if that was ok to do, and my answer is YES! The only thing I will say is that if you eat more than 3 servings (cups) of fruit you need to consider the sugars, especially if you are diabetic. It's definitely true that the sugar in fruit is a much better form of sugar than that added to foods ("added sugars") but it will still affect your blood sugars and I wouldn't go much over 3-4 servings of fruit per day. The same is true with starchy vegetables. Since the starchy veggies (corn, beans, peas, potatoes, etc.) have more carbohydrates, you should watch your intake, but still remember they are much better sources of starches than let's say...white bread or white rice. Remember, there are no "bad foods" only "bad food patterns". Look at your diet as a whole, and don't judge it on one specific food or type of food. If you haven't read the new dietary guidelines yet, I really encourage you to check them out. It will take about an hour to get through the entire document, but it's really easy to understand and filled with some fabulous information that will help you for years to come!

This brings me to the topic of today's post. In the (almost) two years I've had this blog, I have posted a day of my eats only one time. I think it's great that some people like to take photos of everything they eat, but it's just not for me. However, I do find it to be fun, a while, and even then I don't take a picture of everything that goes in my mouth. I like to use these "day of eats" posts as an opportunity to teach! I do actually practice what I preach, so these posts are meant to help explain how I decide what to eat every day, and how I make sure to get all of my nutrients in each day. I also thought this would be a great follow-up on my previous post about volumetrics and nutrient density.

So I'll start from the beginning of my day, when I wake up around 6:30am. I typically workout in the morning, before work, so I eat a little granola (~60 calories worth) and about 3 cups of half decaffeinated coffee. I used to eat my entire breakfast before working out, until I realized my workouts were just as effective when I consumed only about 60 calories (and some caffeine!) to get me going.

After my 60 minute workout, I eat my favorite meal of the day, breakfast!

I'm addicted to oatmeal in the morning, because it's the best way to get multiple servings of whole grains (16 grams of whole grains = one serving and one serving of oatmeal contains 2-3 servings of whole grains!). And of course I like to get some dairy and a fruit or vegetable, so I top my oats with pureed pumpkin (or cooked sweet potato!), 2% yogurt, and walnut butter for some essential fatty acids (and more protein). Breakfast typically my largest meal of the day (~350-400 calories).

I pack my lunch every single day, so I'm not tempted to eat at work. The food at work is amazing, but I don't want to spend the money, and I rarely sit down to eat while I'm working, so I graze all day on what I have packed in my lunch.

Check it out! Can you tell what I pack?

1 cup yogurt

~1/4 cup granola (homemade)

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

2 clementines

~1 ounce veggie chips

~1/4 cup carrots

Almond butter

I tend to eat the yogurt and granola first. The yogurt gives me another full serving of dairy for the day, and the granola adds to my oil and protein intake (it contains almonds, walnuts, and peanuts) and of course my whole grains.

I eat my clementines (2 clementines = 1 cup fruit), and tomatoes (1/2 cup tomatoes = 1/2 cup vegetable) around 1pm, and my vegetable chips and carrots (carrots + chips = ~ 1 cup vegetable) around 4pm. I always dip my carrots in almond butter!

I work at a place that gives out food to customers just about every day, all day, therefore I tend to take a couple samples throughout the day, adding to my food intake. I only do this if a) I'm hungry and all of my lunch food is gone, or b) they are sampling a food I want to try! Just yesterday they were sampling maple and brown sugar fried bacon. You better believe I tried that!! Heavenly.

When I get home I usually have a glass of unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze (1 cup = 1 cup dairy/dairy alternative).

At around 7pm Nick and I sit down for dinner. I usually have 3-4 ounces of a protein, and then tons of vegetables. I will add cheese or yogurt to my meal if I think I need more dairy.

I eat a lot of egg whites because they are easy. Sometimes I mix one egg with my egg whites, other times I don't. On this particular night, I didn't.

Underneath all that green is about 3/4 cup of egg whites (~ 3 ounces protein), some canned tomatoes (~1/2 cup vegetable), 1 handful of raw organic spinach (~1/2 cup vegetable) and 1/2 cup spaghetti squash (1/2 cup vegetable). I added parmesan cheese and Frank's Red Hot for flavor. Sometimes I add a dollop of plain 2% Greek yogurt.

This is a large volume dinner with not too many calories and loads of nutrients (putting into practice the concept of volumetrics and nutrient density!).

I have a beer with dinner 2-3 nights a week :)

My nighttime eats typically include:

- 1/2 cup frozen berries blended with 1/2 cup almond milk
(1/2 cup fruit, 1/2 cup dairy/dairy alternative)

- 2 plain rice cakes + 2 T nutritional yeast + 1/2 T walnut butter
(1 whole grain, 1.5 ounce protein, ~ 2 tsp. oil)

1 piece of Lindt's 85% dark chocolate

The following is my estimated intake (based on of servings for each food group:

Grains: 3-4 ounces whole grains

Vegetables: 3.5 cups

Fruits: 1.5 cups

Dairy/Dairy alternatives: 3 cups

Meat and Beans: 4 ounces

Oils: 6 tsp.

Calories: ~2000-2200

This is pretty close to what is recommended for my age, height, weight, and activity level. I may be a little low in grains and protein, but on average I think I get plenty! This was also a very rare day for me in the vegetable category. I usually get about four or five servings a day.

Question: Do you eat the same thing on most days or do you like to change what you eat daily? I typically eat the same breakfast and lunch, but switch up my dinner and snacks. I really don't mind eating the same thing every day (for a while at least). I tend to change my "obsessions" with the seasons!


  1. wow you have got it all covered! i eat the same breakki and a similar lunch (wrap with different fillings and fruit) my snacks are similiar but not ALWAYS the same!

  2. I'm like you and have a range of things I usually eat for breakfast and lunch pretty regularly and then dinner is always something different!

  3. Thanks for sharing all your eats. Very impressive. I should probably take a better look at my eating over the course of the week because like you I get a little stuck in food patterns and I wonder if I get enough variety.

    Also I eat a lot of starchy vegetables, so I should look at that as well.

  4. Yummy eats! I don't necessarily eat the same thing everyday, but it may be similar. Breakfast is either oatmeal, a yogurt bowl, pancakes or a smoothie, and lunch is almost always leftover dinner from the night before.

  5. I agree. It's fun looking at what people eat once in a while, and I like of course that you explained why you eat what you eat!

    I eat the same breakfast pretty much every day: oatmeal, non-fat plain Greek yogurt, and walnuts. Sometimes I add some berries. Lunch is usually leftovers, which I love! And dinner is always different.

  6. I get on bi-weekly food kicks. However, my obsession with a bowl of pumpkin puree and Nature's Path Mesa Sunrise cereal are constant!

  7. Thanks for sharing! I tend to get in food ruts depending on the season. In the summer I cant stop eating zucchini and the winter Ive been hooked on all kinds of squash. I eat the same breakfast everyday though regardless...oatmeal, greek yogurt and an apple. Fills me up! I pack my lunch, snacks and dinner too so I dont have to eat at work. I tend to eat the same things because its easy..Right now Im looking at some massive overtime coming up so it will be the same things, but once I get more free time I try to pack a variety..mainly just mixing up my veggies. They are my favorite food!

  8. I noticed few things.
    You really have sweet tooth. I could never eat sweet thing for a meal (breakfast excluded)..
    I eat way more servings of veggies.
    You are like me, night snacking is a must.

    I eat pretty much similar everydaey when i eat at home. Breakfast varies, either savory oatmeal or bread with butter.

    And then I have one of the two main meals in form of a stirp fry of probably 6-8 serving of veggies, some protein, either egg or tofu. And the other meal varies, pizza, one pot meal or fish.
    Snack is usually fruit, corn, kabocha and dark chocolate.

  9. Great post! I love think it's prob the most accurate nutrition site out there! Servings (like what you posted on) is SO much easier to calculate than percentages--and you get just about the same percents as if you actually calculated the actual percents...if that made any sense at all :P
    Love your blog! I don't usually post my eats either, but I do a recipe here and there once in a while and occasionally an eats post :)
    Follow me!

  10. I really liked what you said about there not being bad foods but "bad eating patterns". That makes a whole lot of sense! We should all be allowed to eat a variety of food in moderation. Your diet seems very healthy!!! I also love oatmeal but I usually have it on weekends when I have more time to prepare it in the mornings.

  11. samesies!! we eat kind of the same way hahaha :) love my egg whites too! lately i've been LOVING either a hard boiled egg or one of my turkey muffins with lentils on a huge salad. i love the creaminess of hard boiled eggs lately!

    i keep meaning to do a post on FODMAPS because i'm pretty much following it just like you! i want to give you all the credit in the world for saving my life hahahaha so i will someday i promiiiise :)

  12. I eat most of my calories in my breakfast meal as well. But I love oatmeal, my only problem with it, is after eating it I feel terribly sleepy/tired. I tried adding FC milk to it, eating it with some nuts also some days I eat it with boiled eggs on the side but I still get the tired feeling...sigh!. Anyway do you pre-portion the yoghurt or buy the 8 oz sized yoghurt?

  13. It's fun every now and then to see your eats. I tend to get stuck in food ruts way too often.

  14. Love this post, interesting to see how RD's eat given we "know it all". Impressed with your lunch packing. I follow a similar template in my days but vary the specifics. I need a high protein BF in my day.

  15. Thanks for posting your eats...I am going to steal your frozen berries and almond milk mix

  16. I love looking at what other people eat, especially dietitians :) I think your intake looks delicious! Especially the granola!! Delicious!

    I eat differently every day, nothing is ever the same - I get bored very easily!!

  17. i love the look into your day to day diet, Gina! thanks for posting!

    i LOVE breeakfast too, I wake up and SO look forward to it every single day...canned pumpkin is the best addition

    WALNUT BUTTER??! where do I find this? I love walnuts but have never tried it in a butter form!

  18. My b-fast is usually the same, but I switch up lunch and dinner. And I know I could do better in the protein/calcium department for sure!