A Day in the Food Life of Andrea

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I received a request last week asking me to write a post detailing how I manage to fit all the carbs/protein/fats into my diet over the course of a typical day. So I thought why not?

For starters, I tend to focus more on fitting the appropriate amount of each food group in (i.e. veggies, fruit, milk/dairy or dairy substitute, protein source, whole grains, healthy fats) with the right amount of the macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) being secondary. So here goes.....

In the Morning
I usually exercise in the A.M. I like to get it out of the way so I don't have to worry about it the rest of day. I don't want to exercise on an empty stomach but I also don't want to exercise after eating anything too heavy. I have a date roll around 120 calories) and a glass of 1/2 and 1/2 coffee and chocolate soy milk (I personally like my coffee cold). This gives me enough glucose to get through the workout without dragging me down.

The food group countdown starts:
1 cup soymilk (1 cup dairy sub)
1/2-1 cup equivalent fruit (date roll)


Then I am ready for breakfast. Here's my opportunity to get some whole grains in. Usually I mix whole grain "O"s (like Cheerios or Joe's Os") with Wheatabix and/or some kind of shredded whole wheat squares (sometimes I get the sweet ones), add raspberries and/or blueberries and top with original flavor soy milk.

Countdown continues:
2-3 ounces whole grains (cereal)
1 cup milk/dairy substitute (soy milk)
1/2 cup fruit (raspberries and blueberries)


In the afternoon
For lunch often I have leftovers from the night before, or a sandwich or soy cheese quesadilla. A typical sandwich for me is on 100% whole wheat bread with 3 slices veggie turkey (or tuna), 1/4 of an avocado, 1/2 medium sliced tomato, and 2 slices soy mozzarella cheese. I'll have some baby carrots and/or sweet pearl tomatoes on the side.

Countdown continues:
2 ounce equivalents whole grain (bread)
1-2 ounces protein source (veggie turkey)
1 heart healthy fat (avocado)
1 cup equivalent milk/dairy substitute
1 - 1 1/2 cup veggies (sliced tomatoes, carrots)


If I'm jonesing I may have a cookie or tofutti cutie to satisfy my sweet tooth. Pretty much empty calories but you gotta enjoy life right.

Afternoon snack:
Either some kind of whole fruit (1 fruit) or
94% fat free microwave popcorn (1-2 whole grains) or
Carrots or mini pearl tomatoes - if I didn't have for lunch (1 veggie)or
Handful of almonds (healthy fat and protein source)


In the Evening
Dinner varies of course night to night. Here's one of my faves:
1 seasoned salmon filet, steamed broccoli with olive oil, lemon juice and a little salt, whole wheat couscous (or quinoa) with pine nuts and dried cranberries, and a glass of original flavored soy milk.

Countdown continues:
4-5 ounce protein source plus bonus omega-3 fatty acids (salmon)
1 1/2 -2 cups veggies and healthy fat (broccoli & olive oil)
1-2 ounce whole grains, heart healthy nuts (couscous w/ pine nuts)
1 cup milk/dairy substitute (soy milk)


And that about does it. According to my calculations I've had
* 4 cups milk/dairy substitute (I don't always have the night time glass or soy cheese on my sandwich so it evens out over the course of a week)
* 2-2 1/2 cups fruit (I for sure have fruit for my snack if I know I won't be having any with dinner and was short earlier in the day)
* approx 6 ounce equivalents grains and whole grains
* approx 3 cups veggies
* approx 6 ounces protein source
* plenty of heart healthy fats (if you want me to calculate it exactly I will.. this was just off the top of head)
(* 1 dessert)

I'm not always on track; weekends are a bit harder to control since they tend to be less structured and revolve around socializing. But I do try to eat fairly balanced during the week as much as I can. If I were to give myself a grade, I'd say I'm earning between a 'C' and a 'B', I eat fairly healthfully 70-80% of the time and indulge in the less nutritious fare 20-30% of the time.

Now I want to hear how you all fit it in. Send me your ideas and meal plans.

Have a fruit and veggie filled day!
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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