Breakfasthas been shown to have many health benefits. In addition, the 4 g of sugar per serving is considerably lower than your average cereal, and the Nature's Path brand voluntarily labels their foods as GMO free, which I love! In order to add a little bit of sweetness, I mix in just a dash of Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax Granola, but not too much because it has more added sugar than I would like to have first thing in the morning. On top of all this, I sprinkle some crushed walnuts, which provide me with more Omega-3s, as well as some pomegranate seeds, which add additional fiber, vitamins C and B5, potassium, and several natural phenols, which appear to have antioxidant effects in humans. I didn't used to be a huge fan of pomegranate seeds, because I thought they were too sour-tasting, but when mixed with the cereal, it really dilutes the sourness and all that's left is a burst of flavor with each bite...yum! Getting the seeds out of the fruit can be a challenge (here's how I do it: How to cut open and remove pomegranate seeds), but once it's done, I just put all the seeds in a container and I don't have to do it again for a solid week! Finally, I pour some almond milk over everything, which I prefer over milk because it's gentler on my stomach (but you can use regular skim milk if you prefer!).
For lunch I've been using my brand new Breville panini press (a Christmas gift...thanks, Mom!) to make yummy grilled cheese sandwiches! They vary depending on what I have on hand, but I always use my favorite bread-- Genesis 1:29. I find it in the freezer section of my grocery store, and I highly recommend it as a healthy and tasty bread choice. It's chock full of all kinds of whole grains, and is coated with crunchy seeds on the outside, which makes for a great textural experience. Between the two slices, I'm provided with 8 g of protein, 6 g of fiber, and ZERO grams of sugar. I coat the outsides of each slice (the sides that will be in contact with the grill) with a thin layer of Earth Balance Organic Whipped Spread, then I use 2 slices of whatever cheese I have on hand (recently I used a slice of light provolone and a slice of gouda...excellent!), add a generous handful of fresh spinach (rich in antioxidants and several vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, folic acid, and vitamins C, E, K, and B2), and grill that sucker on the panini press for 5-7 minutes...so good and so simple! And a great way to sneak in some veggies at lunch time!
There are lots of different foods I like to snack on, but one of my all time favorites is fruit, cheese, and crackers. In the above photo, I have some manchego cheese, an apple, and Trader Joe's Rosemary Raisin Crisps. I get some calcium and protein from the cheese, vitamins and fiber from the apple, and a yummy crunch from the rosemary raisin crisps (plus, they actually have some protein in them too!).
Veggie Side Dish
As I said, I've already shared many of my favorite dinner recipes here on this blog (including the Swiss Cheese, Turkey Bacon, and Kale Quiche, the Tart with beets, figs, and chevre, and my simple stand-by, Blondie Pizza), so I'll just share a veggie side dish that I've been loving lately: Oven-roasted Brussel Sprouts. I will admit...I was a little frightened by brussel sprouts, so I understand if you're hesitant to try these, but I assure you, they are fantastic!! And the best part is that they require no recipe and very little preparation. Just slice the brussel sprouts in half, toss in a bowl with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper (use your judgement on how much of these to use!), then dump them onto a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 40 minutes, shaking the pan and/or turning the brussel sprouts every 10-15 minutes or so. I'm telling you...these taste like candy when they're done cooking!! I can't get enough of them! And besides being delicious, these will provide you with fiber, tons of vitamin C, as well as sulforaphane, a compound thought to have anti-cancer properties.
So that's a glimpse of what this nutritionist likes to eat these days. To some of you, this might sound super healthy, while others of you might be thinking that my diet isn't healthy enough (I mean, grilled cheese for lunch? Say what?!). For those who think it sounds really healthy: Please keep in mind that I also enjoy chocolate, ice cream, cookies, and all that other yummy "play food" (a better word than "junk food" that describes food with little to no nutritional value) when I feel like it, but generally speaking, the bulk of my diet consists of foods that make me feel my best, while also satisfying my taste buds. To those who think it's not healthy enough: You're right, I'm not perfect, but just like everyone else, I try my best. I realize that there is evidence that some of the stuff I eat may not be the best for my health (some people think dairy is the devil, for example, but I'd rather not live without cheese, thank you!), but I try not to stress about it and instead focus on eating a balanced diet using my intuition as my guide (which is driven not only by my taste buds, but also my whole body and how it feels in the hours and days after I eat).
How about you? Do you have any simple, healthful meals you like to eat? Please share below!