Ever since I posted pics from my Mexican beach vacation, people have been asking for my exercise routine and my diet routine, so today I’d like to share my diet routine by showing you what I eat in a typical day.
It’s easy for me to write it down because I eat the same things just about every day. I’m really boring that way, but it helps me to keep my cholesterol in check. For me, food falls into the category of “health” rather than “fun”. I think of food as a tool to help me be healthier, have more energy, to look better and maybe even look younger.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of “super foods” lately (they’re all over news these days). Whether they’re talking about heart health, weight loss, anti-aging, mental health, or skincare, the foods seem to be the same in for each health benefit. They all mention salmon, olive oil, legumes, nuts, leafy greens, blueberries and anti-oxidant fruits. The things you never see on these lists are junk foods (shocker!!) like potato chips, french fries, mayonnaise, donuts, brownies, and lots of cheese, and that’s because they’re just not very good for you.
Junk food and desserts for me are for special occasions, not for eating multiple times a day or even multiple times a week. But unfortunately it’s become so prevalent at grocery stores and restaurants that it’s hard to avoid junk food and hard to find healthy options. Believe me, it’s not easy for me to stay on a healthy diet, but I find that if I stick to my low fat, low cholesterol diet most of the time, then I don’t feel guilty about having something less healthy on occasion.
I eat a bowl of cereal every day with skim milk, a small glass of orange juice, my vitamins & supplements, and a cup of tea with skim milk and sugar. I’m currently enjoying Post “Great Grains” cereal. It comes in a few flavors, but they all have whole grains, low sugar, and some dried fruit or nuts. I like the “Protein” blend which has honey, oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds and the “Raisins, Dates & Pecans” blend.
Portion size is always important, so when I say I have a bowl of cereal, I have a small bowl (usually about 1/2 -3/4 cup of cereal). I choose the cereal I eat because it contains healthy carbs and nuts that give me energy and keep me full until lunch time (I work out after breakfast and the cereal gives me energy for that too)!
Vitamins & Supplements:
I take One-A-Day Women’s 50+ multivitamin, Move Free Advanced glucosamine chondroitin supplement (for creaky knees), Mega-Red krill oil (for cholesterol and anti-aging), NeoCell Resveratrol (for cholesterol and anti-aging).
Since salmon is featured prominently on all those super foods lists, I try to eat as much salmon as possible. I prefer wild salmon to farmed salmon. Most days I have a salmon salad sandwich with lots of lettuce. I use Bear & Wolf canned salmon that I get at Costco, it’s wild alaskan salmon and one can is usually enough for 3 sandwiches. I use multi grain flat bread like Joseph’s flat breads, or whole wheat pita pockets.
Instead of potato chips, I have fruit with my sandwich, whatever’s in season, I love it all!
For my lunch drink I have a “cran-bubb” which is 2 oz. of Ocean Spray 100% Juice (dark berry blend) mixed with 6 oz. of Poland Spring Sparkling Water in “Mandarin Orange” flavor. The sparkling water has no sugar, no sodium, no calories, so it dilutes the high sugar in the Cranberry juice.
People are always surprised at how much I snack… I have a fast metabolism so I need to re-fuel every few hours. I usually don’t have anything between breakfast and lunch besides water, but between lunch and dinner I’ll have 3 or 4 snacks.
For my sweet tooth I eat 6-8 Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms (if they didn’t have the candy coating they’d be the perfect snack). I friend just told me that Trader Joe’s has Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds so I might switch to those.
For added antioxidants I drink a cup of green tea every afternoon along with a handful of baking almonds (not roasted and salted). I get the nuts at Costco in the baking aisle.
Late in the afternoon I’ll have another more substantial snack like a fresh fruit & yogurt smoothie, plain greek yogurt with fresh blueberries, hummus dip with carrots, or an apple with peanut butter. I drink water throughout the day (usually 2-3 glasses).
The evening meal is where the variety comes in to my eating plan. I cook most nights and I love to cook and try new healthy ways of preparing foods (check out the recipes section under the Health tab above). We eat a lot of fish like salmon, tuna, cod, or swordfish. We hardly ever have beef (my poor family feels so deprived) but I substitute ground turkey for everything that would take ground beef like burgers, loafs, chills, meatballs etc., or sometimes I use ground Bison which is healthier than ground beef. We have chicken a few times a week in stir fry with fresh veggies or chicken caesar salad (without creamy dressing of course)!
For grains and starches, I substitute brown rice for white rice. We eat quinoa, faro, couscous, whole wheat orzo, sweet potatoes instead of potatoes, added fiber pasta. I rarely use the box mixes because they’re really high in sodium so I make rice in a rice steamer and then add my own spices, salt, and veggies.
I try to work vegetables into everything as well as having them on the side. I put grated zucchini into burgers, meat loaf and muffins, I use mashed cauliflower in place of potatoes or to thicken “creamy” pasta sauces, I grind up white beans into a paste and use it instead of cheese in lasagna or sour cream in dips. My kids have grown up eating steamed or pan seared veggies like asparagus, broccoli, and brussels sprouts cooked in olive oil with a little salt and pepper. They don’t need veggies to be disguised in cheese or fattening dip for them to eat them (and I’m proud of that)!
I’ve been eating this way for over 5 years now and I’ve never felt better or been healthier even though the clock keeps ticking and I’m 5 years older. I know a lot of people take the attitude that middle age spread and health problems are inevitable so they can just “let themselves go”. For me, it’s just the opposite. My body was better at metabolizing junk food when I was younger and I could get away with more. At my age it takes work to keep the belly fat from forming and the arteries from clogging, but it’s work that I’m willing to do so I can be a healthy, active, vibrant older person now and over the next 20-40 years.