Welcome to the start of a new year. If you are like most, you have been a bit indulgent over the holidays and now you’re starting to get rid of the holiday weight gain and moving back on track.
At the beginning of the year more than any other time, I frequently get asked, “What do you eat to stay healthy?” The truth is, my diet stays very similar all year long. I try to eat mostly seasonal foods along with lean proteins.
In a nutshell, I like to eat delicious, healthy food that’s easy to prepare. I promise you, I do not starve myself or my family, and those types of foods do exist.
As with most families, we are constantly on the go.
My day begins at 6 am with hot lemon water. On a cellular level, this wakes up my body and gets it functioning. My body begins to hydrate and is ready to start the day.
By 6:30 am, my morning cup of organic green tea has brewed and I am slicing up some banana, and mixing it with other fruits, such as berries or peaches, grapes, apples… really anything that’s available and in season. I sprinkle a teaspoon of chia seeds and hemp seeds for some added protein, omega 3s, and omega 6 fatty acids and antioxidants. I might throw on a tablespoon or two of Greek yogurt and chop up some fresh mint and basil. Now, that’s what I call breakfast.
If my morning is a little rushed, I throw it all into my favorite blender with some coconut water (sans the yogurt) and I’m off with a delicious smoothie on the go. My favorite smoothie is made with frozen mango, banana, spinach, kale, and coconut water.
Snacks and lunches are generally pre-packed the night before and include some raw, unsalted nuts. An apple, some carrots and cut up celery, and on occasion, some hummus. I munch on my snacks throughout the day.
For lunch, sometimes a can of tuna mixed with pureed white beans, (in place of the mayo. Try it—you will be pleasantly surprised and you get some added protein and fiber.) lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sea salt, and pepper. I always add some mixed greens or spinach with tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red and green bell peppers. I bring a small container of a balsamic, red wine or apple cider vinaigrette, some mustard and fresh herbs, too, and give it a good shake before I pour over the greens.
Dinner consists of a lean protein—we tend to eat a lot of fish in our house—some roasted or grilled veggies, Quinoa, or other whole grains, and a big salad simply dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and, pepper.
An evening snack for me is usually some seasonal fruit: grapes, cherries or watermelon, apple slices with some honey or raw nut butter. And a cup of green tea always ends the night blissfully.
I try to keep it simple, clean, healthy, organic, and local when available. Don’t forget to add fresh herbs and spices to your foods—they add tons of flavor. Keep a bottle of water with you to make sure that you are hydrated throughout the day. Choose the foods you enjoy and don’t deprive your body of the nutritional benefits of real unprocessed foods. If you are consistent with a healthy diet over time, your body will crave the benefits of healthier foods.
By: Chef Gary Appelsies, Director of Healthy Eating