Sometimes it is difficult to do a lot of planning and prepping food in advance. I had that problem this week. I made sure that my meal plans for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks will be quick, mindless, and done without cooking. I will eat the same things every day this week. Are they perfect choices? Nope, but life isn’t perfect either. I’m setting myself up for success regardless of my circumstances.
Ideally, I like to include protein with every meal, but that is a challenge because I do not care for meat. I eat it because of the protein, but it is not my favorite. Fortunately, there are alternative and tasty ways to include protein that are healthy.
My breakfasts this week do not include protein, but I did that for a reason. I will eat them before I workout, so I will have energy from the carbs in my whole grain waffles. Eating foods made with whole grain matters because of how the body breaks complex versus simple carbs.
While my waffles were toasting, I microwaved a frozen fruit medley until it was warm. I mashed it up just a little, then put it on top. It prevents me from using maple syrup and also adds vitamins and fiber.
I have protein post-workout because it helps to fuel muscle recovery. A lot of people use protein shakes afterward because the body absorbs the protein quickly. I do that sometimes, but this week I am blending Greek yogurt with frozen peaches, mango, strawberries, and pineapple. A tiny splash of milk will turn it into the same consistency as ice cream.
I used 1 cup of Greek yogurt and 1/3 of the bag of mixed fruit. I blended it in two batches. The strawberries were in the blender in this pic, but when it was all mixed together it was more of a peach color.
My lunches this week are as simple as it gets. I’m having a very thin layer of peanut butter on whole wheat crackers with two pieces of string cheese.
The protein in these foods might be surprising. My preferred protein bars have 180 calories and 21 grams of protein. They are great for when I’m in a pinch. I carry one in my purse so that I always have protein with me. I don’t think that they are the best choice, but they are better than fast food.
This might be surprising; string cheese is a good source of protein. Each stick has 7 grams of protein and 50 calories. If I ate three pieces of string cheese, then it would be equivalent to the protein in a bar, but it saves 30 calories. Trust me, 30 calories doesn’t sound like much, but 30 calories per day over a year adds to 10,950 calories. Most experts agree that it takes around 3,500 calories to burn a pound of fat. Eliminating just 30 calories a day is about three pounds a year.
Greek yogurt is the star in the protein category. I feel like I’m eating ice cream when I mix it with fruit. My bowl of frozen yogurt goes further toward satiety than the protein bar. It’s more food, takes longer to eat, and when blended with frozen fruit, it adds fiber and vitamins. One cup is 160 calories and has 20 grams of protein.
I used approximately one tablespoon of peanut butter on my crackers, which is half of a serving. That added an additional 3.5 grams of protein.
I am not a dietitian, but I have learned a few things along the way to making the best choices from what is available to me at the moment. It’s all about setting myself up for a good day by planning in advance, even when I know that I will be away from home or won’t have time to do a ton of meal prep.
Make the best of it.