Finally!... my attempt at answering all your Nutrition questions

 

I have been pushing off doing a post where I talk about any and all the questions I get about food for a REALLY LONG TIME. I have avoided it because of a few reasons..

  1. I am NO expert. What I know, is just what I know from my own experience. I haven’t properly studied nutrition, and I’m not here to tell you what to eat and what not to eat.

  2. What works for me, may not work for you!

  3. I am not the “healthiest” girl on the block. My diet definitely has lots of room for improvement.

  4. I DO believe genetics and your individual metabolisms have a big impact on how your body responds to certain foods\ and how much food you eat.

with that being said, I am here to dive into all the questions I have received - (for over a year now, I have been avoiding it!).. here goes nothing!

WHAT DO YOU EAT IN A DAY

I am a very “habitual” eater. I have several go-to favorites that I come back to time and time again. If I get tired of a certain meal or food, I’ll move on to another that I like and will typically add that into heavy rotation! Right now my current go to’s are:

Breakfast-

Egg sandwich: (Toasted Ezekial or Trader Joe’s Sprouted Grain bread typically although sometimes I will buy bagel or sandwich thins) with black bean spicy hummus and a scrambled egg or egg whites

Sautéed Sweet Potatoes, Zuchinni, Mushrooms, Broccoli with scrambled egg, and Everything but the Bagel seasoning and half of a Trader Joe’s Chicken Sausage (I love the sweet apple ones) - (made into a “scramble bowl”)

If I work out in the morning, and have to be somewhere shortly after, I will do a smoothie on the go ( I don’t have time to go home first many times) Recently that has meant a T.Loft Funky Monkey smoothie, or a Starbucks cold brew protein blended coffee. (I know..thats probably not the best meal substitute but it gets me some protein (and caffeine) for a busy morning. ALSO! did you know you can ask them to add a banana to blend up with it? Yum!

Lunch-

-Salads: I love salads! I typically try to get some greens in most every day for lunch. It’s quick and easy, and I can honestly say a salad is one of my favorite lunchtime meals! We typically have spring mix on hand at all times, and I can chop up whatever we might have in the fridge at the time. Cucumbers, red pepper, avocado, chicken breast, strawberries, feta or goat cheese with balsamic dressing is one of my favorite combos if I am home for lunch since I usually have a supply of those things in the fridge. Other add-ins if we have them: roasted sweet potato, cut up apples, almond slivers or walnuts. Eating out at a restaurant, I will order salads a lot (again I know it sounds crazy but I really do love salads) - I always get the dressing on the side so I can control how much I am putting on. I hate when I order one and it comes drenched in dressing. My favorite places with good grab and go salads: Whole Foods has a GREAT salad bar with tons of options, and I also love Chik-fil-A’s market salad with the Chili Lime vinaigrette.

-Toasted Bread with hummus spread and topped with Turkey, Avocado and sprouts.

-Banza Pasta (pasta made from chickpeas and it has more protein than regular pasta!) with roasted veggies (like broccoli/zucchini). I like to use hummus as my “sauce” but also love just olive oil and sprinkling fresh parmesan on top.

Dinner:

When it comes to dinner, we have been so bad at both trying new things, and eating a proper sit-down-together meal. (this summer we have been eating out quite a bit too) I keep saying that we need to start trying some new recipes, but then make the excuse that since we are so busy, we just don’t have the time…working on it.

Stirfry: If were home.. a stirfry is in heavy rotation. I do a combo of riced cauliflower & regular rice - or sometimes JUST the cauliflower - with whatever veggies we have on hand. all sauteed (I like to put a bit of soy sauce + siracha on it!)

Flatbread pizzas: I love the Flatout brand pizza crusts that you can buy at the store- typically found in the deli area. (PS just discovered when looking for a link to this product that they have a ton of recipe ideas!) Brandon and I each make our own- I am a roasted veggie type of pizza girl, Brandon goes for olive oil, mozzarella, prosciutto and arugula.

Turkey Burgers: I buy the 99% lean ground turkey breast and make patties out of it. Toasted sandwich thins are great substitute for a regular bun, and I like to top my burger with grilled onions, lettuce & mustard. Sometimes I will cut up a sweet potato or two and roast them for a side!

Roasted Veggies as a side as much as possible!: Broccoli, zucchini, sweet potatoes, mushrooms are some of my favorites.

DO YOU COUNT CALORIES?

Short answer- No.

But I did for a long time! Not because I was trying to lose weight or limit calories - I just got used to it a few years ago when I started doing research about weightlifting and trying to build muscle. (and I am a numbers person that liked keeping track!)

I used MyFitnessPal and would track my calories - mainly just to monitor macros (I'll talk more on macros below..)

And because I know I’ll probably get the question.. “How many calories do you eat?” I’d say anywhere between 2,000 and 2,300 daily. (ESTIMATE only!)

DO YOU EAT A LOT OF PROTEIN

I thought for a really long time I needed a lot more calories from protein than I actually do. I have done SO MUCH research on macros (again I’ll discuss more about that in the next question) and a few years ago, when my interest in building muscle and lifting heavy first started I used a couple resources to determine how much protein I should be eating. I am not that big of a meat person, and never really have been, but I would try to eat more of it by adding chicken or egg whites to everything and cut way down on my carbs by just eating a meat + veggie for most meals (so boring!).… I also would do protein shakes, protein bars as snacks, protein waffles.. etc, etc. Looking back I just always remember thinking I was still hungry, nothing satisfied me. I didn’t really plan this - but after I had Jett I just started eating intuitively. I was drawn to more healthy fats (aka give me all the almond butter & avocados) and ate carbs as I pleased. And when I started incorporating more exercise, and slowly increasing the intensity, I found that my energy levels were better than EVER. I don’t have any research or facts to back this up, but my conclusion is just that my body responds better to more carbs and fats with a moderate level of protein. (Keep in mind, I DO work out pretty intensely 5-6 times a week so the carbohydrates are really put to use!) When I fuel my body with the right nutrients, I believe I’m able to work harder in workouts, and ultimately gain muscle and strength, increase endurance… and ultimately my body composition changed. I can confidently say that I have the best body and best relationship with food than I have ever had in my life. I owe this to pushing myself in my workouts and eating what fuels my body best.

DO YOU TRACK MACROS (/ what is a Macro!?)

Again, not anymore!! I did for probably 2 years (again, data person here, so I enjoyed looking at the data and tracking it) but now I eat intuitively from what I learned about food in those few years. I don’t see myself going back to tracking anytime soon, but I am GLAD I did in the past because I really learned how to build better meals and that skill will last me a lifetime.

If you aren’t familiar with what “macros” are - Macros stands for macronutrients which are all of the nutrients that provide calories from food. You have proteins, fats, and carbs.

If I had to put an estimate on how much protein/fat/carbs I eat in a day, percentage wise I would say:

20% protein {around 100g}

30% fats {around 67 g}

50% carbs {around 250g}

If you are interested in reading more about macros, I will let someone more experienced tell you!

https://www.katiesfitscript.com/macros-for-newbies/

^Here you can find a ton of easy to understand blog posts & articles that can navigate you through this world of “Macro- counting” if you are interested. This is one of the places I really learned a lot in my early days of lifting weights.

WHAT DO YOU EAT BEFORE/AFTER A WORKOUT

It depends on the time of day I work out. If I work out in the morning (my favorite workout time slot is 7 AM) I typically just have coffee before (which hasn’t always been the case - before having Jett there was no way I could have drank coffee before a workout - I’d get too jittery - but now it doesn’t seem to bother me)

Afterwards I might have a protein shake or my typical breakfast - egg sandwich on toasted bread. After Health House workouts in particular I find that I need to refuel pretty quickly because I worked so hard in class and am HUNGRY!

If I workout late morning 8:30 - 9:30, I eat a small breakfast BEFORE I workout, which is almost always almond butter toast. Afterwards - its- you guessed it! A protein shake or egg sandwich (told you I was a predictable eater!)

If I workout in the evening - before dinner (very rare for me, I am not an afterwork work out person, I need those endorphins to kick start my day!) I just avoid eating anything too heavy beforehand.

WHAT DID YOU EAT AFTER HAVING A BABY

After having Jett, is when I really started intuitively eating - I really craved healthy foods and meals, but I didn’t restrict myself from anything I felt like having. I had the mantra “hey you just had a baby, if you want a cookie, have a cookie!” Before getting pregnant I was so strict on my eating habits, that I would stay away from “the bad stuff” like cookies and ice cream and french fries, etc. But that always ended in once every week or so where I would go crazy eating all “the bad things” because they were off limits and of course the moment I had a little bit - I would think … oh well, might as well keep going! For me it was just a really difficult lifestyle to keep up. I never felt balanced!

My diet post pregnancy hasn’t changed much for the past year. If I had to name how I eat, I would call it the 80-20 diet. Most of the time I eat pretty healthy, but still have treats like a cookie or some ice cream at night. I think because I allow myself to do it more often, I never feel like I need to binge on it. It has really taught me good self-control to eat everything in moderation.

WHAT HEALTHY SNACKS DO YOU LIKE

Eeeek. You caught me. I am a snacker. BIG TIME. Brandon can tell you that I am the Snack Queen. I would say this is the number one thing I do struggle with in my diet. I try to keep it on the healthy side but I’d be lying if I told you I never snacked on cereal right out of the box (favorite snack of all time - dry cereal.. totally void of nutrients, heh) Have you ever heard of Donut Crunch.. it’s made by Capn’ Crunch and I am just thankful they don’t sell it at very many grocery stores because that is my weak spot.

Anyways… HEALTHY SNACKS:

-One of my favorites is sliced apples and almond butter in a low-carb tortilla. (Mama Lupes tortillas are the best but I believe they only sell them in Kansas/Missouri as I have lived other places and never seen them.)

-Rx Bars, Kind Bars, Perfect Bars

-Greek Yogurt with mix-ins like slivered almonds, berries, almond butter

-”mini” protein shake - If I am really feeling hungry between meals, I’ll make a protein shake, but a small one. They really tend to fill me up, so if I’m not making it as a meal replacement, I’ll make one about half the size I normally do.

-Almond Butter on everything. I’m obsessed. I go through more nut butters than anything else! Almond butter on top of a rice cake or dip apples in it!

-Carrots and Hummus

RESOURCES!

So since all I have for you is answers based on my own experience, here is a list of some of some great resources if you want to know more!

~ I reached out to my friend, registered dietician and the coolest health & wellness blogger ever - Shanna at Wellness for the Win for her input and she recommends the website Intuitive Eating Moms - Lindsay, the founder - focuses on .. you guessed it Intuitive Eating! She has a podcast, a free video/audio series, or you can just work with her as your coach! Like I mentioned before, Intuitive eating has really been a game changer for me, and I highly recommend checking Lindsay out!

~ Shanna’s website and Instagram is GREAT in itself.. if you don’t follow her on Instagram you are missing out! Healthy recipes, grocery hauls, positive body talk - just all kinds of uplifting & helpful information!! She has a pumpkin bread recipe that looks AMAZING and the ingredients are currently on my grocery list for the weekend!!

~For more recipes (and fitness, and cute fitness clothes!) Check out Kalekouture.com Aubrey’s Blog and Instagram.. again amazing recipes like Creamy Cauli Chicken Bake, grocery hauls, fitness motivations and more!

Thanks guys!! Thanks for being curious in topics that I love to share more about! If you have any more questions, please feel free to reach out via e-mail: megcusickblog@gmail.com, or DM on Instagram!