I’ve told you before that I love to eat. I eat often. I eat well. I eat, not only frequently, but probably in a quantity that would surprise some of you. One of the misconceptions about healthy eating is that you have to only eat “rabbit food” or tiny portions that leave you still hungry and unsatisfied. The key to sticking to a healthy diet (to avoid becoming so bored and dissatisfied with it you’re ready to head to the nearest convenience store and strap on the potato chip feedbag) is to incorporate variety.
Okay, so you’ve got that, but a comment I frequently hear is, “I know what’s healthy, but just don’t how to plan a well-rounded daily menu.” So voila! Just for you, a five-day menu was developed based on how and what I eat daily and weekly. This menu is balanced, has all the nutrition you need in a day and has plenty of protein and fiber, which help keep you fuller longer, helps build lean muscle mass and keeps your digestive system moving along nicely. The meals are quick, easy and use ingredients that you can find at any grocery store.
You may see some things on the list and say to yourself, “I don’t have that in my pantry. I need things I can grab out of the pantry and make on the fly.” I can argue that, because I have made all of these myself and they are indeed, as promised above, easy to come home and throw together or make ahead for the next day. Also, as we discussed in week one, one of the steps to healthier eating was to rid your pantry of some of the processed, pre-prepared foods and other unhealthy items and begin swapping them on your weekly shopping list for healthy choices. If you do that, you’ll have the items on hand when you need them. If you haven’t taken the first step yet to make those small little changes, wait no longer. Do it now. Commit to swapping two unhealthy items per week for something healthy. A God-pleasing physical lifestyle isn’t going to happen on its own or by any magic pill, potion or diet.
As you review the menu, if you see something you don’t like, swap it for something similar. When choosing fruits and vegetables choose fresh, not canned. Remember, fresh is best! You don’t have to follow this menu to the letter. Customize it to your own taste (healthy, of course!), make it your own!
You also need to make sure you’re keeping to the recommended portion size. Until you are able to “eyeball a serving, always measure. If you’re unsure about portion sizes, you can Google it or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll also be glad to answer individual questions on specific ingredients, brands that I use and why I choose those brands.
Helpful hint: When cooking your meat protein for a meal (chicken breast, for example), cook more than you need to use in other recipes later in the week. This saves time and you’re not constantly in the kitchen, you just have to put it together.
Breakfast: Peanut Powder Oatmeal
Directions: The night before, in a bowl mix one cup whole-grain oats, ¼ cup yogurt, ¼ cup peanut powder, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, ¼ cup fruit such as blueberries, strawberries or raspberries, stevia to taste, dash of salt, cinnamon to taste. The next morning heat and eat! I like to add a little more almond milk to mine the next morning and eat as a cold cereal. One year ago I didn’t like oatmeal and I crave this, honest!
Morning Snack: One cup of fresh fruit
Lunch: One serving of raw vegetables with hummus, one chicken breast (I like to pan-sear chicken breast in olive oil and sage)
Afternoon Snack: Fruit Smoothie
Directions: Blend 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1 serving of fruit, stevia to taste and any extract you like. Drink immediately or, if you make it in advance, pour in a container and refrigerate. Shake well before drinking. My favorite combinations:
- Strawberries and coconut extract
- Peanut powder and coffee extract
- Blueberries and a splash of fresh lemon juice
- Grapefruit and coconut extract
Supper: Salmon or chicken pan-seared in olive oil, quinoa, steamed vegetables seasoned with herb of your choice (ex: steamed cauliflower, broccoli, carrots with basil)
Breakfast: 2 – 3 scrambled eggs, whole-grain toast (I use Ezekiel Bread) with a tiny bit of butter
Morning Snack: Kind Healthy Grains bar
Lunch: Salad with blueberries or other fruit (1/8 cup dressing if desired), chicken breast
Afternoon Snack: ½ grapefruit
Supper: 3 ounces of steak (cook extra for lunch tomorrow), sautéed green beans with almonds, baked sweet potato
Breakfast: Peanut Butter Rollup
Directions: Spread 2 tablespoons organic peanut butter (not regular or all natural, loaded with added sugar and other ingredients!) onto whole-grain tortilla, then ¼ cup plain yogurt (can add sweetener if you like), handful of blueberries (or other low-sugar fruit), a sprinkling of cinnamon. Roll up, cut in half, devour!
*Note: You can also make several ahead of time, keeps well in refrigerator and ½ of rollup is a snack. Have you noticed yet I love peanut butter?
Morning Snack: 1 (4-oz) container low-fat cottage cheese, 1 cup fresh fruit
Lunch: Steak, Bacon and Broccoli Slaw Wrap
Directions: On one whole-grain tortilla, layer 1 slice bacon (no nitrates, low sodium if you can find it), cubed chicken (cooked on Monday), broccoli slaw (http://inperfectunity.com/index.php/2016/05/06/broccoli-slaw-apple-cider-vinaigrette-dressing/), roll, cut in half, eat! Option: Substitute lettuce, tomato and julienned fresh red pepper for the Broccoli Slaw
Afternoon Snack: Kind Healthy Grains bar
Supper: Chicken Parmagiana, steamed vegetables
Breakfast: 1 slice whole-grain toast with almond butter, 1 serving fruit (ex. small banana)
Morning Snack: 1 cup plain, Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, stevia to taste
Lunch: Chicken breast or salmon, quinoa left over from Monday’s supper, small side salad
Afternoon snack: Handful of almonds
Supper: One pork chop (pan-seared and seasoned with salt and herb of your choice), Broccoli Slaw
Breakfast: Unity Power-up Smoothie: Blend 1 scoop whey isolate protein powder, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, small handful of fruit and a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt
Morning Snack: Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon and ¼ cup Unity’s Trimmed-Down Fruit Dip (http://inperfectunity.com/index.php/2016/04/29/unitys-trimmed-fruit-dip/)
Lunch: Hard boiled egg, salad
Afternoon snack: 1 serving of fruit
Supper: Salmon or chicken and vegetable stir fry (or use any leftover meat from earlier in the week)