In my quest towards healthier and happier living, I thought to start with lifestyle’s absolute basics ~ food.
Food is such a big part of our lives, so making sure I eat nourishing and quality food is very important to feel good and have the energy to live my best life.
I experience lots of highs and lows in my everyday life, but one thing I’ve managed to keep steady is the healthy eating habits my mom instilled from day one. As a parent, I work very hard to instill those same habits in my kids! During my mid 30s, when I struggled with Alex’s food sensitivities, I searched for recipes he could learn to love, and as a result, also learned to appreciate the taste of all kinds of foods and fell absolutely in love with the experience of creative cooking and eating.
So here’s my food-philosophy:
First and foremost, food is a necessity. Food’s main purpose is to nourish my body, so, out of respect for my body I choose to eat nutritious and quality food.
Second, food is fun. I joined the ‘foodie’ movement for Alex’s sake, but quickly realized how delicious, adventurous, and pleasurable the experience of exploring different foods and enjoying the process of eating could be!
There are a few rules I have that ensure I don’t sabotage this food philosophy. Of course, like Alice in Wonderland famously said, “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.” I do break my own rules sometimes, of course, but in general they keep me in check.
1. Eat Every Meal, Seriously.
Usually, my eating schedule looks like this: 6AM Breakfast, 10AM Lunch, Noon Snack, 3PM Dinner, 6PM Tea and dessert.
Now, skipping snack or lunch is NEVER a good idea, but because I am always rushing late everywhere, it is my biggest challenge. Last Thursday, I was late to my afternoon case in Adelanto detention which is two hours away from home, so I had to postpone my lunch. But by the time I was done, I was running seriously late to pick Alex up from school. I was stressed, hungry, and irritated to say the least. I could not stop to grab food because that would delay me even more. These are the times I wish I kept snacks in my car!! By the time I got back home with Alex, it was almost dinner time, and I could care less about eating a healthy dinner to nourish my body. All I cared is to have a ‘feel good’ food that would just feel so satisfying… which, as usual, followed by bloating, thirst, and guilt. Not missing that meal earlier in the day, even if it was a something small I’d packed from home, would have made my meal at home later a healthier one.
2.Taste your food & whenever you can, take your time.
If you work or a mom or both, I don’t need to explain this. During quick-bite types of meals, I try to take the time to be mindful about the food I’m eating, even if I’m forced to eat in a time crunch.
3. Don’t keep junk food at home.
I am pretty good at this one. Unless it is a Super Bowl weekend, you will never find sodas, chips, or sugary cereals in my house!! My choice of drink is water, water, and more water.
4. Indulge in junk food once in awhile, but not 3 days in a row.
Back in January I happened to be at the New York’s JFK airport two days in a row. And when there, I always order my fave shroomburger from ShakeShack, with curly fries and milkshake. And yes, two days in a row. I swear, on the third day I was craving a burger and fries again. So no junk food more than, preferably, two days in a row!
5. Keep a food diary on hand ~ it’ll help you stay motivated and focused.
Here’s a peak into yesterday’s food diary. Of course it doesn’t look like this every day, but give and take, it is a pretty accurate menu of my typical day.
6AM Breakfast: half an organic banana, 1/2 tsp almond butter, 1/2 cup greek yogurt,1/2 flux seed, 1/4 cup granola. Coffee with vanilla almond milk.
I never EVER! skip breakfast! It gives me energy for my most productive morning hours. I truly rely on those hours.
11AM Lunch: A slice of multi-grain bread, half an avocado, feta cheese, thyme garnish, splash of lemon. Water with lemon.
Usually by 10AM I am ready for lunch. I was craving this sandwich yesterday. I got introduced to this sandwich at Cafe Arvo in Honolulu recently and I love it. Their presentation also included a pretty edible flower, but I thought that thyme would do this time.
12Noon Snack: Strawberries, a handful of almonds, tea with honey and lemon, and a piece of dark chocolate.
I have never been big on snacks, so I usually grab some roasted almonds and hazelnuts (V is the best at roasting almonds!!). In the winter I go for something more substantial, like toast with jam, but now that fresh berries are back in stores, I go for that. I love berries, so that works well for spring and summer. If I am not home, I try to go for a pressed green juice. I don’t like salads, so it is a good way for me get veggies in.
3:30PM Dinner: Okay, don’t get jealous. For dinner I had Moroccan-spiced lamb and beef with brown rice and pita chips. And a glass of wine.
Recently V and I felt that our dinner ideas were turning out flat, so we decided to try Blue Apron services. They deliver the recipes and ingredients and for the last three weeks we’ve had it, we’ve been loving it! I like that the ingredients are a perfect balance of lean protein, veggies, and whole grains. I will try a few more weeks and then will post a complete review. So far, our dinners are quite different from what we’re used to. (Sorry, I took pics before I cooked the meal, and totally forgot to take pics after and ate it!)
5:30PM Snack: Tea with lemon and two macarons.
This is typically my last meal of the day. I start my day early, and usually I am in bed by 9PM. On the days we go out for late night dinner, I end up eating one more meal. But since it doesn’t happen too often, an extra meal is okay with me hehe. I get these macarons from the frozen desert section at Trader Joe’s. My favorite ones are vanilla, caramel, and pistachio. So good!
So that’s my food philosophy, rules, and daily food diary. I hope you enjoyed it and found it helpful. What is your food philosophy or rules? Share your thoughts and tips! Would so love to hear from you!!