How I eat healthy daily on a busy schedule
I've just recently been asked on Instagram how I usually eat to stay healthy and train effectively. Personally, I eat vegan and try to follow the 80/20 rule of eating "healthy" foods 80% of the time and whatever else I feel like eating 20% of the time. I define healthy foods as ingredients that have a high nutritious value while keeping the caloric density relatively low. I also have bumped up my calories from 1400 in the beginning and eating very restricted, to 2000-2300 and eating more relaxed and more intuitively. That was a whole different journey though, so let´s refocus: how do I usually eat when I am on a busy schedule?
I will start with oatmeal most days: it´s cheap, fast and convenient. About .75 cup of it (since I was asked about how much exactly, but of course you should adjust that to your own body) but I eyeball it, with whatever fruits are in season. What I also love is the combo of an apple and frozen berries that I heat up and then I mix all that up with either almond milk or soy yogurt.
Every now and then I´ll have a peanut butter and honey sandwich and some fruit instead.
Usually, I will eat breakfast relatively late, so that I don´t feel the need to snack until lunch, but that´s of course preference, and it also depends on how much food you need during the day. If you´re hungry then drink some water and eat something. Your body is pretty clear about stuff like that.
For lunch, I usually have beans (I like black best, but whatever suits your fancy) or lentils. I cook them in the pressure cooker the night before in big batches that last up to three days. I will mix that with a variety of raw and cooked veggies. Usually, my broccoli and green beans that I always have on hand, are steamed or boiled, and I´ll add bell pepper and tomato raw, to give some examples. As for the dressing of the vegetables, I use hummus, half an avocado or balsamic vinegar. And then I´ll also cook some tofu. If you don´t have the time or don´t want to marinate your tofu every single day, then you can do the following: get some veggie stock (I get it in a cube or powder form) and crumble up your tofu, get that in a pan with some water and the veggie stock and heat it up until there´s no water left.
And naturally, if you prefer to eat meat, then swap the tofu for chicken or salmon or whatever you like.
Snack time in the afternoon: rice cakes are one of my favorites. I switch between topping them with spreads or just eating them as is. And then for my second snack, I go for fruit or raw veggies and a protein shake with almond milk.
Finally, for dinner I will bake sweet potatoes or normal potatoes (or I´ll cook whole wheat pasta or brown rice, depending on the day) and have some veggies with that, too- mushrooms and carrots and whatever else I feel like. Seasoning is, as always, key.
After dinner, I´ll grab some dark chocolate and about two spoonfuls of peanut butter. If I´m extra hungry, I´ll have some more fruit (I´m a sucker for sweet stuff).
And that´s it. Sometimes I switch lunch and dinner, sometimes I have something entirely different, but the principle mostly stays the same, even though the veggies and fruit change or the bean type or whatever. It remains the same because I found that those are, for me at least, quick, cheap and easy meals that always taste great and can be modified easily. And those foods are the ones that my body likes best, so this might work great for you or it might not- this was a trial and error process for me, too.
On the weekends, when I have the time, I like to experiment and cook Indian, Italian or Greek food. I love to get to know all types of cuisines and I adore cooking, so when I have the time I try to find my own versions and have fun with it.
It may also seem now like I never eat anything that could be deemed "unhealthy" (although I try to not think in those terms anymore), but I do. If I crave something I try to just have it instead of suppressing a craving and then bingeing later on. Or feeling like I am limiting myself constantly. I´ve done that for long enough. That feeling of craving something like that just doesn´t come up that often anymore, because I know I could eat anything any time I wanted to. It´s not forbidden anymore, so my body doesn´t need the "forbidden fruit" anymore. Plus, most things that are generally a bit less nutritious can be cooked at home and modified to be healthier, if you prefer to keep things healthy at all times (fries, burgers, and pizza for example or chocolate desserts). I don´t want this to be a diet anymore. Eating should be fun and pleasant and it definitely shouldn´t be something that you can fail at or do wrong. I try to see it as an act of self-love.
I hope this helps a little! Any questions, just ask. Have a great day...