I love cooking and experimenting with new foods and flavors – I think it’s so fun to treat cooking like painting in a way, adding a dash of this and a glug of that to create something tasty is so satisfying! I thought I’d share some of the ways I come up with meals and what meals are my go-to favorites to make.
I was vegetarian for about 5 or 6 years before deciding to incorporate fish into my diet. I’ve been pescatarian for about a year and a half and have been loving it – sushi, in particular, has been life changing. Overall, I eat mostly plant-based, and incorporate fish and shellfish whenever I feel like it.
I don’t count calories, but I try and balance macros. I used to use the MyFitnessPal app to track macros, and I highly recommend trying that out if you are curious about the carb, protein, and fat contents of your foods. I stopped using it because it started to consume the way I thought about food – so now I just try and eat healthy, create a balance between macros, and avoid certain foods that I know don’t make me feel great. That’s about it – it’s all about balance.
Swaps I’ve Made
+ Greek Yogurt (Light & Fit) instead of Regular Yogurt (Yoplait)
Greek yogurt typically has more protein and less carbs than regular yogurt. It’s still not great for sugar. Here’s where you have to watch out – a ton of brands will market their greek yogurts as reduced fat, but they pump in a ton of added sugars. Greek yogurt is a great addition to lunch or even a snack, but I do avoid having it daily.
+ Almond Milk (Unsweetened) instead of 2% Milk
I’m not saying almond milk is healthier for you than 2% milk – do your own research and figure out what works best for you. I prefer almond milk in my tea and protein shakes because I think it tastes better, and it leaves me less bloated. Nutritionally, it does have less sugar than 2% milk so that’s also a plus.
+ Tofu Noodles or Chickpea Pasta instead of Regular Pasta
I love pasta, but I hate the way it makes me feel after eating it. I also know that my portion sizes could be better to help with that, but the Banza Penne Pasta has helped alleviate that bloated feeling so much. I haven’t completely stopped having pasta or noodles, I just try and throw in some less carb heavy options once in a while.
+ Homemade Salad Dressings and Sauces instead of Store Bought
Store bought dressings and condiments have tons of added sugars and a stupid amount of high fructose corn syrup. If I can make my own, not only can I easily adjust the salt and spice, but I know what’s actually in it. I’ve been making my salad dressing for a while now, and it’s so easy to do! Olive oil, lemon and pepper seasoning, some salt, and chile lime seasoning or red pepper flakes – and you’re good to go.
You don’t need supplements to “live a healthy lifestyle” – but I know that I needed some help getting iron and protein, so here’s a couple things I take to help me out. I highly recommend talking with your doctor/nutritionist about your needs before just jumping into something “trendy”.
+ Collagen Peptides
I take this daily in the morning to help with my skin and also muscle recovery. It’s supposed to help with joints, but I haven’t noticed anything about that.
+ Xtend BCAA’s
A new addition to the kitchen. I only take this when I need an energy boost. Sometimes after a workout, I feel exhausted – so this really helps me stay productive for the rest of the workday.
+ Orgain Protein Powder
My favorite protein powder at the moment. The chocolate flavor doesn’t taste chalky and it has a pretty good amount of protein. Tastes great with some PB2, a banana, and some almond milk.
+ Nature’s Bounty Protein + Vitamin Powder
Sometimes, I’ll throw this into the mix when I’m bored of the Orgain. I like the vanilla flavor with some frozen fruit and water or almond milk. It’s a great way to get in some B Vitamins.
+ Daily Multivitamin
This is essential for me to make sure I’m getting my iron, in particular. For some reason, brands love to pump in the Biotin in daily multivitamins, and Biotin can clog your pores so I try and find brands that don’t have Biotin.
These aren’t really true supplements, but I have been loving nutritional yeast and liquid aminos – they taste great and are so easy to incorporate into your meals!
Most of the time, I improvise meals based on what I have in the kitchen – which is really fun for me because I get to experiment with flavors. I use a basic formula for figuring out what to make.
I aim for some sort of protein, a large amount of veggies, and then some sort of carb. This opens a lot of options for meals, while making sure I’m staying somewhat balanced in terms of nutrition.
Also, seasoning is imperative to any and every meal. I love seasonings and will create my own blends for specific meals.
Here’s a couple of meal ideas, broken down into that rough formula of carbs, protein, and vegetables.
01. Tortillas + Beefless Ground Beef/Cheese + Lettuce/Tomato/Avocado
02. Rice + Thai Red Curry Shrimp/Chickpeas + Asian Veg Blend
03. Cheddar Biscuits/Bread + Veg Burger + Side Salad/Lettuce/Tomato
04. Veg Tots + Popcorn Shrimp + Side Salad
05. Long Grain Wild Rice + Tilapia/Trout/Haddock + Roasted Veg
06. Rice + Veg Chili + Side Salad
07. Veg Tots + Grilled Salmon + Salad
08. Rice/Quinoa + Homemade Chickpea Falafel + Cucumber Salad
09. Rice + Veg Orange Chickn + Asian Veg Blend
10. Potatoes + Eggs + Roasted Veg
I also make an effort to balance my lunch and dinner in terms of nutrition. If I’ve had a slightly carb + protein heavy lunch, I’ll skip the carbs for dinner and have some sort of vegetable heavy meal.
Here’s a couple examples of meals I’ve made before –
I’m not great at this whole eating healthy thing – I definitely give into cravings and will have Taco Bell or McDonald’s without feeling too bad about it. I think it’s about prioritizing where you want your macros to be and not worrying all the time about restricting yourself. I’m not trying to cut or bulk or anything in particular, I’m just trying to eat things that are better for me and make me feel better throughout the day.
Also, don’t feel like you have to make “healthier swaps” if you genuinely don’t like the taste of them. I don’t like sweet potatoes, and I’m not going to force myself to eat them just because they’re trendy and “healthier” than regular potatoes.
All of us have different needs, different ways our bodies digest food, and I think if you are considering changing your lifestyle – do your own research and speak to a professional who can help you reach your goals.
I’d love to do a blog post about meal prep ideas and how to balance nutrition when your work schedule is insane – so let me know if you’d be interested in that type of post- either down below, or on Instagram! Thanks!