A day in the life of a health freak

Recently, I was asked to post what I eat on a normal given day. So here it is! I’m warning you, this is long, but packed full of useful information, so sit back and read on!

I work a desk job, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5…always makes me think of Dolly when I say that!


I have a pretty regular eating schedule during the work week which stays mostly the same throughout the weekends too.  I’m up around 7am and the first thing I do (after I feed my puppy) is get a glass of water with sliced lemon. I’ve already talked about the numerous health benefits to incorporating lemons into your diet every day, but in case you missed it, click here.

Next is breakfast. I can’t stress how important it is to eat breakfast!! It IS definitely the most important meal of the day. It kicks starts your metabolism and gives you the fuel and energy you need to start your day. Eat breakfast within the first 30 to 60 minutes of waking up. If you don’t, your body goes into starvation mode and the first thing you eat will be stored as fat as your body doesn’t know when it will get its next meal – no one wants this!  If you are not a breakfast person, start small with a glass of juice, or a piece of fruit and toast.  Before you know it, you’ll wake up hungry and get excited for the first meal of the day, like I do!  If you are always in a rush, make some healthy muffins ahead of time and grab one to go or blend up a smoothie. Either way, make the time, you’re worth it!

I eat 5-6 times a day, every few hours.  I have 3 meals and 2-3 snacks which add up to about 1400-1500 calories a day. This keeps my metabolism and energy levels up. I am not a morning person AT ALL, so I go to the gym immediately after work before going home because once I get in my comfy clothes and on the couch with Vampire Diaries, I’m not moving!

Team Damon all the way!

Team Damon all the way!

Currently, I go to the gym about 5-6 days a week for 45-60 minutes (when I was trying to lose weight I went for about an hour and a half).  My workouts consist of a mix of cardio and weight training.   I’ll elaborate more on my workout schedule in a later post 🙂

Here is a rough idea of what meals I have every day…

Breakfast – 250-300 calories

  • ½ cup gluten-free oatmeal with half a banana (about 50-60g), one tablespoon of PB2 (or stir in one tablespoon of all natural peanut butter) or ½ scoop or protein powder, sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Overnight oats like this one or this one
  • Nature’s Path gluten-free cereal, with 3/4 cup almond milk, 3/4 cup of berries or half a banana
  • Egg white omelette – 1/2 cup of egg whites with spinach and 1/2 serving of Daiya mozza shreds, one slice gluten-free toast (very lightly buttered), 1 tablespoon of salsa, half a banana or 3/4 cup of berries
  • Protein pancakes like this one or this one
  • Breakfast smoothies, like this one, this one, this one, this one or this one!

Snacks – 150-200 calories

I have 2-3 snacks a day. The first one around 10:30am, the second one around 3:30pm (this is usually my pre-workout snack) and I sometimes have one in the evening.  It’s important to have a combination of a complex carbohydrate and a protein to keep you feeling full and your energy up and try to keep it between 150-200 calories. Stay away from the packaged snacks like granola bars, low-cal crackers, fruit cups, etc. I know these are convenient but it’s just as easy to cut up some fruit and veggies or make your own healthy snacks – c’mon, don’t be lazy people!

  • Almond/Soy yogurt and 1/2 cup of  fruit, try berries or half an apple sprinkled with cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of hummus and veggies (celery, carrots, snap peas, red & green peppers, cucumber, zucchini, or cherry tomatoes)
  • Homemade Larabars
  • Protein bars
  • 15 almonds and half an apple
  • 1/4 cup unsalted soya nuts or roasted edamame and 1/2 cup of fruit
  • 1/2 cup of grapes and gluten free crackers
  • Gluten free crackers and dairy-free cheese (or regular cheese)

Dinner/Lunch – 350-400 calories

I grouped these together because I always make enough dinner to have as my lunch the next day.  My dinners and lunches vary but they always consist of 3-4 ounces of lean protein (such as chicken, turkey, fish or beans), a small serving of carbs, a healthy fat and LOTS of veggies. In the summer we BBQ every day! Actually, we start early, as soon as there’s a clear path to the BBQ area 🙂  BBQ’ing or indoor grilling is a great way to cook without all the fat.

  • 3- 4 oz of ground turkey or diced chicken with canned tomatoes, low-sodium taco seasoning, diced onion, peppers and celery served on top of ¼ cup of cooked quinoa or ½ cup brown rice  (I often sub in black beans for the meat and add spinach or kale to it)
  • 3-4 oz of ground turkey or diced chicken with organic spaghetti sauce, peppers and onions on top of 1/2 cup of brown rice pasta – I often substitute spaghetti squash for pasta
  • Bean burgers topped with goat cheese or ½ avocado, salad with 1 tablespoon of homemade vinaigrette and sweet potatoes or roasted parsnip on the side
  • Roast turkey with cauliflower mash, sweet potatoes and broccoli topped with a few tablespoons of gravy
  • Pita pizzas – chicken and veggies (spinach, red peppers, onions) on a gluten-free or whole wheat pita with a few tablespoons of pizza sauce topped with Daiya mozza
  • Big Salad” with grilled chicken, topped with ½ avocado, 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds and 1.5 tablespoons of homemade vinaigrette
  • Grilled chicken and veggie kabobs, salad with 1 tablespoon of homemade vinaigrette and sweet potatoes
  • Turkey burgers on half a pita or half an Ezekiel wrap with salad and 1 tablespoon of homemade vinaigrette
  • Fish (salmon, tilapia, or haddock) wrapped in foil on the BBQ with grilled asparagus and sweet potatoes

Desserts/Treats

I don’t often eat dessert, but I have a hubby with a sweet tooth so I look for healthy alternatives. Check out my dessert recipes for some delicious, healthy options. My favourite is chocomole. Delish!!  And sometimes you just have to go for the full fat version but have it in moderation – heck, you only live once!

Dark chocolate – my fav! It should be at least 70% cocao.  It’s hard to stop at 1 oz but try to keep it below 200 calories.

Air-popped popcorn (not the kind in the bag). I pop it on the stove in a pot with a bit of olive oil or you could use an air popper machine, with no butter, or very little if I’m sharing with the hubbs 🙂

I try to stay away from packaged food but these chips are really light and tasty – Pop Chips. They are gluten-free, vegan and have only 5 ingredients, all of which you can pronounce!

Pita chips (gluten-free if you can find them!) with salsa. Pita chips are so easy to make at home. You simply cut a pita into 8, tear apart each triangle so you have two pieces (one pita will make 16 chips), drizzle with a bit of olive oil, add your favorite spices and bake at 350F for about 4 minutes a side or until crisp. Where I live, gluten-free pitas are hard to find; I am in the process of perfecting a gluten-free pita recipe, so stay tuned!!

Please check out the recipe tab in the menu bar for a complete list of my recipes.

Alcohol

I had my fair share of partying back in the day, but now that I’ve grown up a bit I’ve realized that yes, you can have fun without alcohol (kind of)! I know everyone needs a drink now and then – ok, maybe two, three, four, the key is to not go overboard – you’ll pay for it the next day – who am I kidding, you won’t listen to me!!  So if you must, here are some low-cal options:

  • Beer – Molson 67 – 67 calories, 2g Carbs per bottle
  • Spirits – gin or vodka with plain or flavoured soda water, add fresh lemon or lime – 70 calories for 1 oz (soda water has zero calories)
  • Dry white/red wine – approx 100-120 calories per 4 oz glass

Tips to help you stay on track:

  • Remember your serving sizes! I highly recommend getting a food scale. They are inexpensive. You might think it’s tedious to weigh everything but I swear, it really isn’t! If you don’t have one you can also use this guide.  If one change you made today was portion control you would see a drastic difference!
  • Eat breakfast every day! Didn’t I say this already?!?
  • Pack your own lunch. I make mine every night right after dinner, it takes 5 minutes – for reals. Not only does it save you $$ but you know what you’re eating.
  • Stock up on healthy, easy to grab snacks so you’re not tempted to go for the bad stuff.
  • Take the extra time to chop up veggies and wash fruit, keep it at the front of your fridge so it’s the first thing you see when you go looking for a snack.
  • I keep all the “bad snacks” way up high so I can’t see them or even reach them – out of sight, out of mind.  Even better, don’t buy them (yeah right!) and you won’t be tempted!
  • Eat every 3 hours to keep your energy levels up.
  • Drink water often. Water has no calories, quenches your thirst and helps you feel full.
  • Grocery shop every week so that you are always getting fresh fruits and veggies.
  • You don’t need to fully plan out ALL your meals (although that would be helpful) but have a rough idea on what your meals are going to be for the week.  If you plan ahead you are more likely to stick with it.
  • I don’t believe in “cheat days” or “cheat meals” I think it causes people to overindulge and abolish the hard work you did all week. Instead, don’t deprive yourself, just have a treat in moderation.  Once you reduce your intake of sweets/refined sugars and bad carbs, you’ll find you stop craving them.
  • Weight loss takes time. It won’t happen overnight. Start implementing small changes today and before you know it you will be living a healthy lifestyle. It’s not be a fad diet or a quick fix – it is a lifestyle change! You can do it!

I know people might groan and say “eating healthy is too expensive” and sure, you can go to any fast food chain and spend $5 for a meal but your body will NOT thank you! We spend about $150 a week on food for two people. That works out to about $10 a day per person, still much cheaper than going out – even to McDonald’s. Take the time and effort to put yourself first. Your body is your temple, treat it right!

before afterPlease remember I am not a doctor or nutritionist, this is just what worked for me! Please consult your doctor before you make any changes to your diet.

4 Comments

  • Laura April 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Fantastic post! My husband and I make it our mission to cook all our meals for 95% the week (we don’t really have ‘cheat days,’ but weekends are always harder) – it’s definitely cheaper and healthier than buying prepared food!! Side note: I’m obsessed with Vampire Diaries! Just finished season 3 and about to begin the fourth! 🙂

    Reply
    • thehappyhealthfreak April 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      Thank you!! I love to cook and have no problem cooking all our meals at home. Sure, it’s great to get out on a date night but is it bad that half the time we go to a restaurant I think “I could have made this at home” or “I wonder how they cooked this?” I know I drive my husband crazy!! Weekends are a bit harder, but who can resist a good bowl of popcorn and a movie or Vampire Diaries, am I right!?! You’ll love the next season 🙂

      Reply
  • Christina April 5, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Great post, I lost 18 lbs doing this a couple of summers ago and it definitely works if you’re strict about it…just wanted to let you know that coconut oil on air popped popcorn is amaz…and it doesn’t act on your body like butter and other saturated fats, your body metabloizes it better!!! Delish!

    Reply
    • thehappyhealthfreak April 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm

      That’s awesome!! I’ve recently started using coconut oil a lot more…on popcorn too!! It is delish 🙂

      Reply

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