As a nutrition and kinesiology major I get a little peeved by this. There are so many crazy misconceptions out there about the "healthiest" or "optimal" way to eat, and the people asking me "What do you eat without beef" or "Where do you get your protein" are victims of massive misinformation.
So here's a little look-see into what I eat (hint: a lot. I eat a lot. Just ask my room mate or my boyfriend.)
First, I'd like to knock down a few misconceptions.
- You need tons of protein to get lean. FALSE. This will be a post in itself. If you're not an elite athlete (meaning if you "work out" 30 minutes to an hour most days instead of TRAINING 1.5+ hours a day), you need .8 grams of protein max per KILOGRAM (pounds/2.2) you weigh. That would put a 130-pound girl at 47 grams of protein and a 170 pound guy at 62 grams of protein.
- Protein comes from steak and lean chicken breast. While these items contain protein, they also contain fat and cholesterol at high concentrations and are WAY more calorie dense than other, more whole-foods, plant-based protein sources (quinoa, beans, lentils, almonds). According to the American Heart Association, these cholesterol-ridden foods ARE linked to higher risk of heart disease, especially any red meat consumption in men.
- Vegetables are gross. FALSE. You're not cooking them right, bro. Brussel Sprouts are honestly my fave and I can make them taste fan-freakin-tastic. Recipe to come.
- Pinterest gives the best nutrition advice. FALSE. If you're getting your diet tips or nutrition know-how from the "Must-try Skinny Rules" or "Do this to Bust Fat in 5 Days" list typed in meme font over an image of a photo-shopped thigh gap, you're probably not eating a wholesome and all-inclusive diet. Just sayin'.
Now that we've got that out of the way, here's what I eat.
Disclaimer: I'm not a dietician. I'm a nutrition and kinesiology student and have spent years researching healthy vegan diets!
Breakfast: Is the most important meal of the day. Whoever said that breakfasts should be 150 calories or something is wack.
I usually have either unsweetened rice Chex and almond milk or plain gluten free oatmeal. If I'm at the dining hall I'll also grab some fruit and walnuts.
Coffee is non-negotiable.
If I eat dining hall lunch, it's ALWAYS a big salad. I get spinach or shredded lettuce, tomato, peppers, carrots, maybe some black beans, and dress it with either balsamic vinegar or yellow mustard. I'll also grab some hummus and celery sticks, and drink two big glasses of water.
Usually I eat at least one or two apples throughout the day. I snack on almond or coconut milk yogurt (if I'm craving dessert I stir in cocoa powder and half a Starbucks Via pack) and celery and peanut butter, sometimes protein bars (if I'm SUPER hungry) and rice crackers (I love Food Should Taste Good.) Coffee. Either from the AeroPress or the Starbucks.
Also I always have a sweet tooth that I MUST satisfy. On good days, it's with fruit. Bad days? Naked Juice or candy.
I absolutely love chips and salsa, like way more than I should.
For me dinner varies more than any other meal. Sometimes it's just another huge salad which is fine cause I love salad.
Other options I alternate between:
Cooked veggies (Sweet potato, squash, broccoli or carrots)
Chipotle (I just get a bowl with no meat, sour cream, or cheese)
Pita Pit salad
Of course there's more, but there's the things I eat most often
I'm super active -- walking a ton, usually jumping around because I try not to ever sit for more than an hour straight, and running, cycling, and weight lifting most days so believe me when I say I'm usually hungry and eating!
I try not to deprive myself when I'm hungry but I also really ask myself: Am I hungry, thirsty, or bored? I usually start with a glass of water or some change-up in activity before seeing if I REALLY need that extra (healthy) snack.
So there you have it, what I eat as a vegan gluten free college student in a very un-vegan town (I see at least one "Eat Beef" license plate a day. I kind of want an "Eat Tofu" plate.)
I get enough protein, am weight stable, don't have a vitamin B12 deficiency, have tons of energy, can run long distances pretty fast, and have good skin and hair.
The veganism thing is no joke. It works for me and I don't have any pigs on my conscience.
I'll be back later this week with some info on protein!(hopefully, it's midterms time..)