Breakfast, lunch, dinner and a few snacks throughout the day; what does a healthy 24 hours of eating actually look like?
To get an idea, Global News asked Kate Comeau, spokesperson for the Dietitians of Canada, to share what she eats in a typical day. Comeau is a Halifax-based registered dietitian.
“I aim to eat a mostly plant-based diet that is minimally processed. I’m realistic about my time, however, and do lean on foods like canned beans and no-salt added canned tomatoes, which save me time and money,” she said.
“I am a huge believer in planning meals in advance. Things fall apart for me at the grocery store if I don’t have a list,” she went on to explain. Hardboiled eggs and portioned out steel cut oats are what she likes to prep in advance while she’ll whip up scrambled eggs or work with leftovers if she needs to feed herself on a busy night.
Here’s what a day of meals looks like for Comeau:
“I try to workout in the mornings, either yoga or a high intensity interval style workout. This is a typical post-gym breakfast, a bowl of steel cut oats with chopped apples, frozen cranberries and pumpkin seeds.
Because steel cut oats take longer to cook, I make a batch on Sunday and freeze ¼ cup portions in silicon-lined muffin tins. In the morning, I reheat two or three “pellets” and top with fresh fruit, nuts or seeds and milk.
Cranberries are quite tart, but I’ve learned to love them over dried cranberries, which are usually sweetened. I also drink a café au lait each morning.”
“I like salads for lunch, but they have to be hearty with nourishing ingredients, including healthy fats and protein. Leftover potatoes and steamed snap peas make this a niçoise-inspired salad.
I often have canned chickpeas and hardboiled eggs in the fridge that I’ll add to salads. The vinaigrette is a simple Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Chickpeas are a great source of plant protein. They add fibre to the salad as well. I buy no-salt added canned chickpeas most of the time because they are more convenient.
Potatoes are surprisingly nutritious and inexpensive. I like finding new ways to cook with them.”
“I’ve been trying to eat away from my screen… I fall into a routine of working and forget to take a minute away to eat mindfully. When we’re looking at a computer screen or television we tend to eat more because we’re not noticing hunger cues or visual cues of how much we’ve eaten. It’s been a tough challenge in the afternoons when work is busy.
I like to make small homemade muffins for an afternoon snack. Store bought muffins are massive and much more like a cake than a muffin. When I make muffins at home, I use grated apple or mashed banana to cut back on added sugar and whole wheat flour, flaxseeds and oats to boost the fibre content.
I don’t count calories, instead I follow my hunger. I think this is easier to do when you’re eating minimally processed foods.”
“This fish stew is a go-to supper at our house. It looks fancy, but it is very simple, fast and affordable. I modify this recipe to include local, sustainable fish and usually serve it with whole grain bread to soak up the broth. Tonight, I’ve made it with haddock and mussels.
Mussels are an excellent source of Omega-3 fats, vitamin B12 and iron. They are also a great source of zinc. I love to serve them with white wine and butter on a special occasion, but this stew is a great everyday alternative.
At our house, we serve food from the stove and I use a lunch-sized plate most of the time. My eye can be bigger than my stomach so these strategies help. I’ll get up for seconds if I’m still hungry after my first serving.”
Photos courtesy Kate Comeau. Graphics by James Waters/Global News