Posted on April 22, 2022 by Harry Edwards
At motive8 we do our very best to give straightforward lifestyle advice and recommendations to help supplement the training you do with us. But its also really important to practice what you preach! So with April 7th, World Health Day, having just passed, I thought it would be a good idea to break down what a usual day of eating looks like for me with a view to offering some inspiration and a healthy template for you to try out. This is by no means the only or best way to manage your food, we’re all different so you’ve got to find what works for you! But after all, since you are what you eat, diet is arguably the most important part of health and fitness. So lets dive in with a personal favourite of mine and the most important meal of the day, breakfast!
For my breakfast I usually have 3 eggs and 4 thin slices of bacon. I either have them separately as bacon and scrambled eggs or all together as a fluffy omelette. I usually have this with a bit of low sugar and salt ketchup. I find this meal works well for me as it provides protein, which I make sure to have a source of at every meal, but more importantly it provides lots of healthy fat which acts as a stable source of energy to start my day. White bread and high-sugar cereals, while a staple of breakfast foods, can cause insulin spikes that leave you ravenous a few hours later. Fatty meals keep everything levelled out and are much more satiating, leaving you feeling full for longer.
An alternate meal, if I’m fancying something different, is a bowl of protein yoghurt with a handful of cereal, some frozen fruit and a drizzle of low calorie golden syrup. The yoghurt provides protein and fats, while the cereal, which I always make sure is wholegrain, provides stable carbs for energy and fibre for your gut. Finally the fruit and syrup provides a bit of extra flavour and plenty of healthy micronutrients while being low in calories. Each of these breakfast meals is low calorie, uses healthy ingredients and provides good macronutrients to start my day.
My lunches usually consist of a lean meat and vegetables. One meal I recently had for lunch that was particularly nice was a burger salad. For the salad I simply shred some lettuce, slice up a bell pepper and mix them together in a bowl. Then, using 5% fat beef mince, I make some burger patties and season them with salt, pepper, chilli powder and garlic. I made four small ones with 250g of mince, but make as much or as little as you need in order to hit your targets. I like to add a few small slices of low fat protein cheese to melt on top. Then after they are all cooked place the burgers on top of your salad and drizzle with some low sugar and salt BBQ sauce. Making dishes that emulate the foods you enjoy is a great way to increase adherence to a diet. There’s no point completely cutting out foods you like, making yourself miserable and then reverting back to bad habits when it becomes too difficult. Find ways to incorporate the things you like so that they align with your goals. This way you can be both happy and healthy!
For my dinner I again have a meal based around a lean protein source and veggies, however I always make sure to have something different than I had earlier in the day. One meal that I really enjoy is sweet chilli chicken with rice and steamed veg. I will slice a chicken breast into tenders or chunks and lightly season them with paprika, chilli powder, garlic, salt and pepper before frying it with a small amount of oil. I then boil 50g of rice while I steam a large portion of carrots, stringless beans, broccoli and sweetcorn. I find that making sure I feel full after a meal is important for me to stick to my diet. To do this I consume lots of voluminous foods, in this case the veggies, ensuring I feel full, while consuming fewer overall calories. Additionally, vegetables are full of healthy micronutrients that support your health and fitness. Once everything is cooked and plated up I lightly drizzle the chicken with sweet chilli sauce. Sauces can be packed with sugars and preservatives so be sure to apply them carefully or find lower calorie alternatives. This meal is great as it gives me plenty of protein from the chicken, a healthy source of carbs for energy and recovery from the rice and a whole bunch of micronutrients from the vegetables.
An alternate dinner, for those times where I fancy something that feels indulgent but is actually healthy, is my lean protein pizza. Using a tortilla wrap as the base, I spread a tablespoon of tomato puree over it before covering it with 50 grams of low fat, protein cheese. I then like to season it with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano before adding my toppings. I personally enjoy adding spicy chicken chunks and jalapenos but you can put whatever you like on there! If you’re a pepperoni person, a pineapple lover or just enjoy a good old cheese pizza, as long as it lines up with your targets its all good! I then stick it in the oven for 6-8 minutes and then its ready to be munched!
The important thing with both of these meals, and the most important advice I can offer on this topic, is that they taste good and are enjoyable while providing all the nutrients you need. Eating bland food for a long time will drive you crazy and before long you’ll find yourself bingeing on foods you could otherwise have incorporated in moderation into a healthy diet. Be kind to yourself while also staying true to your goals.
I have several snack foods that I use to tide me over between meals. Protein bars are a decent choice from a macronutrient point of view. I have a sweet tooth, so consuming a protein bar instead of a chocolate bar is definitely healthier, however I find I do need to limit them somewhat as it can become easy to rationalise overeating “healthy” snacks like these. A protein bar here and there will not harm you and may help you hit your daily protein target. Just make sure, as with everything, you consume them in moderation and in alignment with your other nutrition goals.
Popcorn is a great snack! A voluminous food, popcorn is a low calorie option that is very filling. Additionally it contains a lot of fat which means it will provide a more stable supply of energy for longer. I use microwaveable packs of popcorn as they are cheaper and contain less sugars and preservatives but most popcorn will be better for you than a packet of crisps or some other sugary treat. Try to pick options that are either just salted or lightly sweetened and avoid full-on toffee popcorn as this is very sugary. For a healthier alternative, lightly drizzle your popcorn with honey for all the sweetness with none of the regret!
When it comes to drinks I try to just consume water or low sugar squash. However, If I’m really craving a soft drink, I will always make sure to have a diet/low calorie version rather than a full-sugar drink. Even though there are still chemicals in these drinks that are not optimal for your health and performance, they are much better for you than the sugar and calorie dense original versions. Most of the time I find the low calorie versions taste just as good and they satisfy that craving without throwing your daily nutrition out of balance.
Finally, my favourite snack of all is fruit! My personal favs are pineapple, blueberries and watermelon but any fruits are good calls. Low in calories, full of fibre and packed with micronutrients, fruit is a great way to satisfy a craving for something sweet while giving you a stable source of energy and plenty of healthy nutrients. Try to avoid fruit juices as these are often heavily concentrated, making the sugar content really high. Additionally they are often pasteurized, totally removing the fibre that is so important to good gut health. Stick to the real thing and you’ll be much healthier and have greater flexibility with your daily calories.
So those are some examples of the kinds of foods I eat each day. Diet and nutrition can seem very daunting so often its helpful to get a sense of what other people do and what works for them, and to get some pointers on how to cover the general points of good diet like getting healthy fats and carbs and consuming enough protein. That said, its essential to remember that diet is highly individual. What works for one person could be terrible for another and visa versa. Be sure to read broadly, try out lots of different things and find what works for you. If you want to find out more about healthy eating, check out these links here, here and here. There are loads of top notch articles by our team here at motive8 or, if in doubt, come over and ask us! We’d be happy to help you in any way we can on your fitness journey!