As a Dietitian, it’s probably no surprise to you that I carefully curate my ‘day on a plate’ to ensure my meals and snacks are nutritionally balanced and satisfying, at least most of the time I do. However, despite being a health professional, I will be the first to raise my hand and admit that my diet isn’t perfect and quite frankly, I don’t want it to be. Why? Well I think we can all agree that food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and a ‘perfect’ diet to me is one that makes space for our favourite ‘feel-good’ foods, regardless of their nutritional profile.
For me (and for you I hope too), the way that you eat and the dietary practices that you follow should be enjoyable and sustainable, and allow for a balanced combination of foods that are good for your body, but also good for your soul - yes, that includes ice-cream, chocolate and wine.
I usually don’t write about my ‘day on a plate’ because I would hate for you to compare your diet to mine or change what you eat to mimic my eating style, but I’m going to make an exception today because I want to inspire you to potentially try something new. It’s important to remember that we are all so different and have vastly diverse nutritional requirements based on our age, gender, activity levels, medical history, food preferences and health goals, which is why no two people will ever have the same diet. News flash - that is also why generic meal plans on the internet don’t work!
For sure, take the following as inspiration, but never forget to listen to your body and eat in a way that best suits you, your lifestyle and your goals.
First up, coffee! A soy latte to be exact.
After becoming an ‘able being’, I’ll start to think about breakfast. Every morning I have the ‘sweet vs savory’ debate, you too?
For me, breakfast is what sets me up for a day of success. It’s a great opportunity to consume a wide range of nutrients. Giving careful consideration to each element of your meal can provide you with an energy-boosting, immune-supporting and gut-loving breakfast.
With that in mind, my breakfast will usually be avocado on multigrain toast with smoked salmon, a nutrient-dense smoothie made with a combination of fruit, milk and yoghurt or a bowl of porridge with fresh fruit, nut butter and seeds.
What do all of these meals have in common? A source of carbohydrates, a source of healthy fats, protein and fiber, or in other words, everything a satisfying and nutritionally balanced meal should consist of.
Is it just me, or is lunch the hardest meal of the day? Phew, glad I’m not the only one. My solution - LEFTOVERS! Seriously though, leftovers will change your eating game because let’s be honest, dinner is the best meal of the day so Imagine a day with two dinners, life-changing!
Making a few extra serves at your evening meal is the best way to ensure you have a nutritious (and delicious!) lunch the next day. All you need to do is roast or sauté some extra vegetables, boil additional rice or pasta or slice some extra meat/fish/tofu.
Dinner doesn’t have to be hard, I seriously mean that.
My favourite dinners are always the ones that are most simple. I’ve learnt that from my Dad, who has owned restaurants for >40 years and tells me that world class chefs around the globe eat the most basic meals, who would have thought?!
My go-to dinners are:
- Pasta: usually with tuna, broccoli and cherry tomatoes (and copious amounts of parmesan cheese)
- Grilled Salmon: with sautéed greens and brown rice
- Roast Chicken: with roast potatoes and a side salad.
Snacks sometimes make their way into my day, other times they don’t. How do I decide if I want to eat a snack? By listening to my body and tuning into my hunger.
If I’m choosing a snack, it will usually be a piece of fruit, a handful of olives or nuts, a small tub of Greek yoghurt, a fruit smoothie, dip/cheese and crackers, a muesli bar, oat bar or nut bar or a home-made banana bread, nut-based slice or chocolate cookie.
Peppermint tea and chocolate, always!
Happy cooking (and eating!).