When I sat down to draft ‘what I eat in a day’ for this blog, my initial thought was, “wow, kinda boring” …lol! It also spurred the notion that what I eat hasn’t really changed much over the last 6-8 years since finishing up grad school and living and working in a city where I needed to follow a somewhat structured budget to save a little for travels and extra fun (+ student debt!!).
That said, what I eat on any given day does vary a lot between weekdays and weekends. Sometimes, it’s a “leftovers for breakfast, have a snack lunch and grab a salad on-the-go with a side of wine” kind of day. But a healthy diet is about what you eat most of the time, not 100% of the time. So, disclaimer! This is by no means a template for how to eat the “right” way, but rather it is a consistent eating pattern that helps me feel my best. Here is what I eat in a day as a dietitian on a budget (who is now an ‘adult part 2’):
Breakfast is a meal that has been the most variable since working from home on occasion – usually now my mornings give a little more leeway to cooking, which I sometimes take advantage of, but I also like to have some things prepped so it’s not 45 minutes to make an extravagant breakfast on a workday-regular thing. I usually lean into more of a ‘sweet’ breakfast in the week and savory-brunch-type meals on the weekends.
Pictured here is a variation on a favorite – overnight oats topped with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit and lil bucks sprouted buckwheat clusters. I love that I can pack in some healthy fats with the oats (chia or flax seed) and that the protein comes in good dosage through the yogurt on top. If I know I have an extra-long morning, I’ll sometimes also add protein or peanut butter powder in the oats or sprinkle some nuts on top. The fruit varies between fresh or frozen – sometimes I prefer frozen because when it melts, the juices start to flow over top and add another non-sugar added pop.
From there, sometimes I will have a little pang of hunger (I lean into intuitive eating as best as possible!) and follow-up with a late morning snack of a hardboiled egg with everything but the bagel seasoning and second cup of coffee.
Lunch is sometimes the first time in my day that I will have a veggie around, so I make sure it is jam-packed with ‘em! Big, hearty salads are my go-to, especially into the summer months. I had a little extra time on my hands this week (or maybe I subconsciously knew I was doing this post…), so I threw some salmon in the airfryer and put it over a big bed of greens with mashed avocado, primal kitchen avocado lime sauce, olives, sunflower seeds, mozzarella, pickled red onions and some microgreens for extra nutrition! If I am really low on motivation or groceries (or both), I will make a “snack plate”. Slice some cheese, get a big serving of vegetables and fruits, add nuts or deli meat and maybe some hummus or yogurt dip and wa-la: we have a meal.
Throughout the day, I work on my water intake the best I can. I’m addicted to my large Stanley tumbler, so I’m convinced the pretty color, large size, and straw help my intake stay high and run for refills isn’t as frequent…! I like a little flavor in my water, so I will use Ultima packets, LMNT hydration, or just infuse with a little fresh lemon or lime juice. My goal is 80oz, but this isn’t always possible! I’m a big fan of spindrift, so these are frequently an after-lunch treat.
Afternoons vary, but I’m definitely in need of a post-work and pre-workout snack, so this week, I’ve leaned on my homemade protein bars. To make these more ‘Pure 21’-friendly, I will use just almond butter and almond flour and a monk fruit sweetener instead of the honey/maple syrup. I’ll usually always also have an appetizer of veggies, some cut carrots or celery just before for a little more fiber.
Usually, my goal is to incorporate a protein-source that I didn’t already have with breakfast or lunch. This particular meal was a spin on a Buddha or grain bowl that utilized a few leftover components I had around. Chicken cooked in a simple Trader Joe’s chili lime seasoning and edamame are my ‘filling’ components with the remaining components varied based on whatever leftovers I have – roasted brussels and sweet potatoes with some mixed long grain rice (for week 3+ beyond!), air fryer broccoli plus some roasted red onion (trust me…if you’ve never had a roasted or grilled onion, gamechanger!!), with some avocado and sauerkraut to finish. Not pictured: the frank’s red hot that I usually end up sprinkling over the top!
After dinner, I usually finish off the day with a little something sweet (unless I’m really feeling full and satisfied from dinner!), so Lily’s chocolate squares or these homemade peanut butter cups are stocked up in my freezer!
So again, to sum, nothing crazy complicated or fancy, but it works for me and it’s consistent! Whenever I feel bored of my meals or in need of a little recharge, I search around for a new, fun sauce or seasoning and sometimes visit Whole Foods to get some inspiration from the salad bar on things I can easily recreate from my own home.
Hopefully this gives you some insight and inspo for your next grocery run or meal planning session!