After polling my Instagram friends, many said they wanted to see more nutrition content. So, that is what today's post is all about!
First, I want to clarify what my hope is in this post (and for all aspects of W&F!) My hope is that I can encourage you to live a balanced, joy-filled life. But more specifically, my hope is that you'll find joy in healthy eating, in moving your body, in cultivating healthy relationships, in addressing your spirituality, in your sleep hygiene, in ultimately creating a healthy life (in ALL aspects) that you love. We are not victims of our lives, but rather we are the co-authors of our lives! My hope is that cultivating healthy habits won't be stressful or rigid.
The same hope goes with my nutrition approach. My goal is to encourage you into balanced, healthy eating: not all-or-nothing, not fad diets, not perfectionism, not calorie-counting...but in truly living a health-filled life...with freedom and balance through making small choices every day, that as time progresses will compound into a massive success. I want you looking back at your life in five years, being shocked at how far you've come, when the path to get there wasn't rigid or perfectionistic. The key to habit cultivation is starting small, and doing small things until they become a routine...and then adding in a little more, and a little more. (If you want to learn more about habit change, read this post).
So, now that you know my general approach, I will share a bit more about my daily approach to nutrition.
I start each day out with 22 oz of water. I do this before I eat anything or drink anything else. After a full night of sleep, we have deprived our body of water for as long as we've been asleep (hopefully about 8 hours!), so it's very important to replenish in the morning! Even mild dehydration can cause one to feel tired, sluggish, and moody. You will be shocked at how drinking water helps you wake up, takes away some brain fog, loosens up your muscles and joints, and helps you feel alive and ready to go! I continue to drink water throughout the day and I've found the earlier I start, the better I feel and the easier it is to continue.
You'll notice as I outline each meal below I try to have protein, healthy fat, fiber, and a little carbohydrate at each meal. Remember though, foods are complex and don't simply fall into one category.
I eat breakfast before work. My breakfast typically consists of a protein, healthy fat, fruit, and carbohydrate (which the fruit also falls into the category). The protein keeps my blood sugar regulated, the healthy fat keeps me full, the fruit/carbohydrate gives me energy...and it's my favorite thing to eat in the morning!
I typically have a snack before lunch (especially since getting pregnant!) My snacks generally consist of something that has a little bit of everything: protein, fat, carb, and fiber. A couple of favorite snacks are apple & peanut butter, raw cashews, carrots & hummus, pistachios, or high-quality jerky (free of nitrates/nitrites, grass-fed beef -- with no growth hormones or antibiotics, preservative-free, & MSG-free. However, if you are pregnant like me, you may want to avoid the jerky -- ask your doctor!)
For lunch, I like to have loooots of vegetables. You'll be shocked at how filling vegetables are if you simply eat enough of them. Additionally, vegetables provide you with lots of fiber which many American diets are lacking in. My lunch typically involves a large salad, or a big bowl of vegetables like peas, broccoli, or roasted carrots. If I'm having a salad I like to top it with a homemade olive-oil based dressing (see my favorites here), seasoning, some sort of protein source (edamame, turkey bacon, quinoa, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, rotisserie chicken, cheese...etc), and maybe some avocado, pine nuts or sunflower seeds. The healthy fat on my salad comes from my dressing, any nuts/seeds, cheese, or avocado. During pregnancy, if I am feeling a bit nauseous I will sub my salad for a nutrient-dense smoothie (lots of spinach, protein, and a little fruit [carbohydrate], and healthy fat), and some sort of sourdough toast.
For dinner, again, I'll consume lots of protein and vegetables (fiber), and some healthy fats. I tend to not have as many carbohydrates at dinner because carbs = energy, and in the evening, I do not need energy.
Post dinner I might have a little dark chocolate, Smart Sweets Sour Buddies (lots of fiber in these...although it is processed so it is not in its most natural, best form!) a citrus popsicle (a new pregnancy staple), or some fruit (carb -- yes, I don't need any energy, but it definitely appeases my sweet tooth!)
And that's all! However, I want you to know I don't worry too much if my meals don't all have protein, fiber, healthy fat, or carbohydrate. I strive to live an 80/20 lifestyle. 80% of the time I am eating healthy, nutrient-dense food, and 20% of the time I am living life and enjoying eating food with friends and family that might not be as nutrient-dense. On weekends I typically enjoy the 20% and consume some treats or meals that don't hit all my nutrient "check-boxes." By living the 80/20 lifestyle I find so much freedom and joy in my nutrition! I feel so much better when I'm eating nutrient-dense food and not restricting myself or being rigid.
I hope this post has been an encouragement to you. Much love!