I wish I had a ton of fabulous food finds to share with you, or some stellar new dishes I made, but sadly I don’t, which is why I thought this was the perfect opportunity to talks a little bit about my meal plan;
So instead of a traditional What I Ate Wednesday (woot Woot Thanks Jenn!), let’s just re-title this, What I Eat Pretty Much Every Day.
(…and perhaps two fun things thrown in at the end.)
Since I have been in a few different programs, the guidelines for my eating have often been changed, but ultimately I was either on a plan that consisted of exchanges, or caloric minimums…regardless it was never less than 2500 calories on an outpatient basis. (For those of you in a more intensive treatment, you should expect a bit higher than that….I was even on 6,000 once!!!!)
I have mixed feelings on which system I prefer because when I was in the deepest phase of restriction, caloric counting was my biggest demon. It was the only way I knew how to eat and I am sad to say I feel myself reverting back to that horrific habit. I will literally let my stupid phone app food journal tell me if I am hungry and what I should have.
This is not something I want to continue because the ultimate goal in recovery, for me, is to listen to my body, be able to intuitively eat, and not let what I consumed earlier in the day impact my decisions for later meals and snacks.
So, if you are a bit obsessive like myself, caloric counting is probably NOT the best way to structure your day. I think it is a great tool to ensure that you are getting enough nutrition for your body if you can mentally handle reaching a number that might be triggering for you, but I know from experience I often tend to panic and maybe restrict or make more ED choices when I know I am close to my “daily allotment.”
That being sad, I am not the best role model for this specific plan because I tend to be very rigid. The idea behind 2500 is that it is the MINIMUM a person needs for bodily repair. I STRESS, IT IS THE MINIMUM. Those who are active, younger, have a lot of health issues or damage will most likely need way more, but calorie counting is a relatively “easy” way to start your recovery process if you do not have a professional to set up any other way.
My exchange system was actually an extension of my basic caloric plan. It was centered around diabetic exchanges and the amount of each food group needed was based on the percentages suggest by my nutritionist.
I am actually debating whether or not re-implementing exchanges because I felt it was way easier to structure meals. It helped me achieve better balance because I knew I needed 10 fat sources minimum, per day, whereas when I am just focusing on calories, I don’t always get enough, substituting something else in their place.
I personally believe exchanges are a much better idea than a simple caloric number because it helps learn skills that are essential post-recovery…how to structure meals, get the right composition of nutrients, incorporate challenge foods without freaking out as much (a cookie is essentially the same as bread and nut butter!)
Both mechanisms ar effective as long as you FOLLOW them in a healthy way; keeping in mind that 2500 is the absolute minimum someone should have for recovery. (See here for further clarification on why, because trust me, I argued this tooth and nail!)
Now in addition to the questions I get about how my meal plans are formed, I also get a lot of inquisitions about how I follow them, what my day looks like, etc.
I thought it might be helpful to show you a daily run down of how I typically opt to spread out my nutrition….
Pre-Treadmill Session (4:15 a.m.)
1 Small Handful of Nuts (Approximately 1/8 Cup)
Breakfast (6:30 a.m.)
- Greek Yogurt
- 2 English Muffins or Thick Slices of Bread
- 1/3 Cup Egg Whites
- 1 TBSP Nut Butter
- 1 Serving Fruit
Lunch (11:45 a.m.)
- Salad with protein and vinegar
- Greek Yogurt
- Large Piece of Fruit (Honeycrisp, anyone?)
- Crackers, Roll, or Pretzels (Usually 1-2 Servings)
- Handful of Nuts or 1 TBSP of Nut Butter (Barney Butter squeeze packs are fantastic for bagged lunches!!!)
Snack (2:45 p.m.)
-here I vary what I have, depending on what activity is going on after school…usually either detention or tutoring, meaning I need a little something so I am not ready to eat my arm off at dinner…
Options Include: Nuts, Greek Yogurt, Small Granola Bar, Baggie of Popcorn, etc.
Dinner (5:30 p.m.)
- Spaghetti Squash, Chicken Sausage and Veggies with 1/2 oz. Cabot 1% Milk Cheese and Marinara
- 1 Wheat Roll
- Smoothie made with 1/2 Frozen Banana, 1 Cup Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Breeze 1 TBSP of Peanut Butter and Ice
- 3 Dr. Lucy’s Cookies (See below for more information on these fabulous treats!)
Nighttime Snack (9:00 p.m.)
-Like my afternoon snack this varies as well, and is almost like a 4th meal because I at one point struggled with waking up in the middle of the night STARVING. To ensure this doesn’t happen, I feel best when I have a decent sized snack before bed.
Options Include: Clif Mojo Bar and a Smoothie, Peanut Butter Crackers and a Smoothie, LARGE bowl of cereal with berries, yogurt and a dash of milk, Popcorn Trail-Mix and a Smoothie, plus a ton more.
So now that you have a bit of a sample on how I personally space out my intake, I do have to share two things I am pretty excited about this week. It wouldn’t be a “What I Ate Wednesday,” without celebrating at least one new item!
Now, get your lunch boxes ready…because these two things need to be in them, STAT!
Um, these are pretty much amazing. Not only do they taste fantastic, have a variety of flavors, but they are also:
- Gluten Free
- No Peanuts, No Tree Nuts
- Dedicated Bakery
- Ingredients Tested
- Og Trans Fat
- Omg Cholesterol
- All Natural
I promise you I am not exaggerating! But can you believe that extensive list?
When I got a sample pack of these in the mail I was a bit skeptical. How could anything with this description taste remotely good, right?
Well one day I was jonesing for something sweet after my lunch (this is pretty typical for me) and when I opened the pantry to see if anything struck my fancy, I was staring straight at a pyramid of these cookies.
Hm, chocolate chip. That sounded pretty good so I opened the box and took out a serving (3 whole cookies, which is awesome!!!), sat at the counter with some Vanilla Almond Milk, and took a bite.
Wow! A similar crunch to the Chips A-Hoy I loved back in Kindergarten. Just the perfect amount of chocolate to satisfy a craving. And the three cookies for 130 calories was certainly enough to conquer my desert fix, at least for that meal!
…You better believe I dove into the box of chocolate ones the very next day, and just like the others, they did not disappoint.
If there was such a thing as a feel good cookie, these totally take the cake (no pun intended 🙂 ) Thank goodness I still have a stockpile of Sugar, Cinnamon, Ginger Snap, Maple Bliss and Oatmeal! Get your hands on some of these, PRONTO!
My aunt gave me the recipe for her black bean dip what seems like a hundred years ago! In college I would make a huge batch of this on Sundays and use it to top salads, put in wraps, eat with Pita Chips, even incorporate in omelets. It is super simple, amazingly delicious, and a great thing to take to a party when you are in a pinch!
(If you want to make for a crowd, you may easily double, triple, etc. the ingredients, but this was the perfect amount for a few days worth of snacks or meals for me!)
- 15.5 Ounce Can of Black Beans (Drained)
- Small Red, Yellow, Orange or Green Pepper Chopped (total of about 2, I just love color J )
- Small Red Onion Chopped
- ½ Teaspoon Fresh Garlic Crushed
- 1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar (Or more if you are like me and love it!)
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight for all flavors to marinate.
Now wasn’t that super easy?! Minimal ingredients, short prep-time, nutritious and delicious, sounds like a winner to me!
Hopefully next week I will have a more exciting run down of products or some fabulous new recipes to share (thanksgiving favorites, perhaps!?), but if you have any additional questions about meal planning, please feel free to e-mail me any time!
Happy Hump Day!