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WIAW – Counting The Nutrients

 

How often do you really eat something completely different from the day before?

What I Ate Wednesday posts are always fun for me to do and definitely point out to me just how much peanut butter I consume on an hourly basis.

These posts also help me to see that most of my diet is pretty clean, vegetable loaded and yeah, basically the same meal in different forms at different times of the day.

I like to eat what I am in the mood for and since I strive to be as real and as me as possible through my words and pictures, I am not going to suddenly revamp my menu or force myself to eat things just for the sake of showing you something totally different each week.

That’s not reality.

wiawphotobutton

This week I thought it would be interesting to take a deeper look into the nutritional benefits of my favorite foods.

Notice I didn’t say calories.

There was a time when I paid attention to calories but have come to realize over the last several years that the focus shouldn’t be on the numbers but rather, on the nutrients.

The numbers on a package may be useful at times but they don’t tell the whole story.

granny smith apples

Can you believe the size of these apples?

I think it is more important to eat a giant apple for the vitamin C, dietary fiber and the power antioxidant quercetin which is linked to reducing your risk of multiple diseases (and possibly halt the storage of fat in fat cells) than care about how many calories are in such a ginormous granny smith.

I am sure that it clocks it well more than a 100 calorie pack of cookies but the nutritional value of the apple far outweighs the processed pre-portioned cookies making it a better choice for my body regardless.

The thing is, most produce doesn’t have a label. It doesn’t really need one. It is basically telling us forget the calories, eat it because it is good for you. Eat it without thinking how you can enter it into your Fitness Pal app but because it will offer your body multiple health benefits, fuel your functions and satisfy your appetite.

It may take some time to adjust your thinking but once you start focusing more on nutrients and less on calories, you will be more satisfied from your food choices as well as happier and healthier overall.

Breakfast:

Steel Cut Oats and Old Fashioned Oats cooked together with chia seeds, blueberries, strawberries and of course, peanut butter.

oatmeal with berries

Oatmeal is a terrific source of dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble) which can help reduce cholesterol levels, contains phytochemicals which may provide cancer-fighting properties and gives you a dose of vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium.

Chia Seeds do more for you than just thicken up your bowl of oatmeal. Chia provides us with Omega-3 Fatty Acids, protein, antioxidants and a ton of fiber.

strawberries

Did you know that a cup of strawberries contains more Vitamin C than a medium orange?

Berries are a nutritional powerhouse. Loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, all of our favorites help protect us from various cancers and diseases as well as offer us anti-aging benefits (hello beautiful skin!) by fighting off the free radical damage which occurs without us knowing naturally over time.

peanut butter

Unless you have a peanut allergy, no need to fear the peanut butter. People shy away from nut butters due to the fat content but we all need fat in our diet. When eaten as part of a balanced diet it also gives us protein, fiber and Vitamin E.

Post-Workout Snack (second part of breakfast):

greek yogurt

I add greek yogurt to a mix of oatmeal and fruit (and yes, more peanut butter too). Greek yogurt is considered a better choice than regular yogurt due to it’s lower sugar content and higher protein level. The protein found in greek yogurt is great for the muscles and some studies have shown greek yogurt to help in the reduction of abdominal fat.

Lunch:

I just cannot get enough of the mashed chick pea/avocado combination on cinnamon raisin toast these days.

avocado chick pea on ezekiel bread with salad

I know I rave about Ezekiel Bread all of the time but let’s take a look at why I eat it beyond the simple reason that it is delicious:

  • Increased Digestibility – Sprouting breaks down starches in grains into simple sugars so your body can digest them easily.
  • Increased Absorption of Minerals – Sprouting breaks down enzyme inhibitors, so your body can more easily absorb calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.
  • Increased Antioxidants – Sprouting releases more antioxidants that are naturally stored in the grains and seeds.
  • Increased Vitamin C – Sprouting produces vitamin C.
  • Increased Vitamin B – Sprouting increases the vitamin B2, B5 & B6
  • No GMO’s, no flour, refined sugars or artificial preservatives.

I don’t even know where to begin with the health benefits of avocados.

avocado

Avocado’s are packed with 25 essential nutrients and because of this, they promote eye health, reduce our risk of various cancers including oral and breast cancer, contain fiber, anti-inflammatory properties and somehow balance our hormones.

Avocados are the best fruit source of Vitamin E and contain a ton of potassium and folate, helps to prevent birth defects, controls blood pressure, sugar levels  and when eaten with salads, helps to absorb the nutrients found in other foods.

I know avocados contain fat but it is okay – we need fat, especially the healthy fat found in avocados.

Click here for more on avocados.

Chick Peas, also known as garbanzo beans, are my favorite bean and a great source of plant-based protein. They contain a good dose of fiber as well as folic acid, manganese, iron, zine and magnesium.

garbanzo beans

Lately I prefer the organic Whole Foods chick peas versus the Organic Trader Joe’s version. I don’t know exactly why but such is the case.

Plum tomatoes (which give us plenty of lycopene) have been my thing recently; I swear I could slice one up and eat it with just some avocado on top and call it lunch.

I must have an after lunch dessert.

diced apple with peanut butter

No, I never get tired of diced apple with peanut butter and yes it always hits the spot.

Dinner:

power bowl

You know I love sweet potatoes. I also love easy to throw together meals that take little planning and preparation yet hit the spot every time.

Plant-Based Power Bowls of roasted vegetables mixed up together with my sweet potato wedges, topped with avocado some type of bean or quinoa and then flavor it all either with barbecue sauce or Asian sauces such as sweet chili sauce and soy sauce.

Sweet potatoes are just ridiculous in the nutrition department. A complex carbohydrate that is oh so good for your muscles, packed with vitamins A, C and E, potassium, magnesium, beta-carotene, protein, fiber and anti-inflammatory galore.

Not to mention, they taste really good.

Dessert:

I love dessert. I can always find you a health benefit to consuming chocolate fudge cake and rationalize why you need an ice cream sundae simply because I feel it is crucial to balance the diet with your favorite sweets.

I love how I feel consuming a ton of the healthy stuff but sometimes you really do need some serious chocolate fudge and cookies or whatever it is your heart desires.

It really is critical to survival. At least to mine.

On a routine weeknight basis though, I have been back to warmed apples with dark chocolate and peanut butter.

warm apples with chocolate and peanut butter

I can justify the dark chocolate for it’s antioxidants blah blah blah but when it comes to dessert, it is all about food for my soul.

Chocolate makes me smile. Always has and always will. Combine it with peanut butter, throw it all on top of warm apples and we are talking a balanced bowl of happiness.

Be sure to check out what everyone else is eating today!

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Are you are calorie counter or former calorie counter?

Do you find you eat the same things every day or at least the same foods in different ways every day?

Favorite weeknight dessert?

 

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  • Tina Muir May 14, 2014, 6:25 am

    I am so glad you posted about nutritional benefits rather than calories. I totally agree with that, and it is worth being a few pounds heavier to get the nutrition you need from those good fats. I also love the GIANT apples, and of course my day is filled with peanut butter…..although recently it has been a trail mix from target that I have alllllll the time!

    Thanks for the information 🙂
    Tina Muir recently posted…Secrets to Success as a Runner; StridesMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 14, 2014, 12:36 pm

      I can’t really eat trail mix due to the nuts but apples I have found a way to consume and they bigger the better in my world. I can’t eat a small apple, I must seek out the largest available in the grocery store lol.

  • Susie @ SuzLyfe May 14, 2014, 7:33 am

    Such a great reminder to eat for your health rather than to eat for your weight/shape/whatever. We focus so much on quantitative values in today’s society that we forget to look at the qualitative–and I think that goes for everything, food or otherwise.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Virginia Tea Party #WIAWMy Profile

  • Amanda @ .running with spoons. May 14, 2014, 7:39 am

    I had to laugh at the intro to your post because I feel like the issue of eating the same thing all the time came up not too long ago 😆 But you’re right — it’s reality. Actually, it’s funny… Back in the day when I was a hardcore calorie/macro counter, I used to spend HOURS a day coming up with new meal plans because I was obsessed with getting a lot of variety into my diet. It was exhausting and it did me no good since I ended up unhealthier than ever. No more counting for me, and no more focusing on numbers of any kind. I just want to be healthy 🙂
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. WIAW … this AND that, take 3 .My Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 14, 2014, 12:34 pm

      So true- it’s exhausting coming up with a true variety of meals. In fact, I pin such a variety of recipes and still end up sticking to my own ideas.

  • Heather @ PrettyHealthyMostoftheTie May 14, 2014, 7:40 am

    I just posted today about how I keep eating the same things! The heart knows what it wants!

    I eat a handful of enjoy life chocolate chips almost every night! It not that some other form of chocolate.
    Heather @ PrettyHealthyMostoftheTie recently posted…WIAW #7 The Almond Butter That Wasn’t.My Profile

  • Davida @ The Healthy Maven May 14, 2014, 9:48 am

    Nope, not a calorie counter! Drives me nuts when people tell me how much fat there is in avocados or sugar in fruit. Like I legit just want to die inside as they eat their chemical-filled snack bars. Yes, I am acting superior! Our bodies need fat and sugar!!! Wah. Don’t get me started…

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 14, 2014, 12:32 pm

      Haha – we are sooo on the same wave length…I have learned to stay out of conversations where I here the calorie topics, protein bars and why someone eliminated fruit due to sugar. It kills me inside to stay silent but it is better than getting into verbal fit of rage.

  • Leigha @ Minougirl May 14, 2014, 10:06 am

    This. is. great. Calorie counting is just too much work! Why can’t we all just eat lots of fruits and veggies with some chocolate thrown in for good measure?! Nutrients are so much more important than calories! I really lie the theme of recurring foods. I totally fall in this category. Oatmeal for breakfast, salads and sandwiches for lunch, some form of CARBS for dinner! Great post!!
    Leigha @ Minougirl recently posted…WIAW – Black Bean Mango Quinoa SaladMy Profile

  • Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl May 14, 2014, 11:29 am

    I crack up every time that I see your PB collection. It is seriously fantastic! 😉
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted…WIAW: May 14, 2014My Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 14, 2014, 12:30 pm

      In all honesty my supply is dwindling and I need to retock. I am totally being serious lol.

  • Frank May 14, 2014, 12:25 pm

    This is an excellent post; a nice succinct guide to healthier eating.It’s crazy how lots of people don’t even eat ONE serving of each of the items you mention even once a WEEK.

  • Jaclyn @ BumpSweat May 14, 2014, 12:34 pm

    Mmm, your power bowls sound really yummy! I’m a lot like you in that I eat the same foods over and over again. It’s easier and less expensive, in my experience. Plus, I typically like the food I make and so am happy to get to enjoy them again and again 🙂
    Jaclyn @ BumpSweat recently posted…Expert Q&A: CrossFitting While PregnantMy Profile

  • Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures May 14, 2014, 1:12 pm

    It is SO true how much more important nutritional value is vs. fat, calories, all that stuff. While it is important to be mindful (you can’t eat nut butter all day e’rryday and be healthy) of the fats and calories you consume, you needn’t shy away from foods with GOOD fat in them! I eat an avocado every day, and likely some form of nut or nut butter every day! And I LOVE IT! And your daily eats are similar to mine! #lovevegetarianism!

  • Jordan @ The Blonde Vegan May 14, 2014, 2:07 pm

    Ok, this is officially my favorite WIAW post that I have read in a long time! We have so many of the same philosophies when it comes to food– count nutrition not calories, don’t fear nut butter/dark chocolate, treat yourself to balance out your diet, eat lots of yummy veggies and fruits (yay for that plant-based power bowl!! YUM!), and be real with your eats and don’t fancy it up for the sake of a post. Love, love it!!

  • Kim May 14, 2014, 6:21 pm

    I’ve never been a calorie counter – I’m too lazy!!
    I don’t always eat dessert but if I do, I like to have Gobstoppers with my wine – super classy!!
    Kim recently posted…The Day I Gave UpMy Profile

  • Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl May 14, 2014, 7:49 pm

    I love the idea of this post…. may have to steal it! 😉 I try to eat a variety of foods each day, but some foods I eat every day….. eggs, apples, bananas, and peanut butter.
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl recently posted…Winner Winner Chicken DinnerMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 15, 2014, 11:47 am

      I can’t remember the last day that passed where I didn’t have peanut butter.

  • GiGi Eats May 14, 2014, 11:15 pm

    LOL! I could NEVER do a WIAW because I literally eat the SAME EXACT THING every day (ok it varies a tiny bit… But it’s all very weird food) ! AHH HA AH! And it’s boring to others, but DELICIOUS TO ME 😉
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Exclusive Invite to the Party of the SummerMy Profile

  • jill conyers May 15, 2014, 5:52 am

    I’m a former calorie counter. This is one of those “if I only knew then what I know now” situations. I focus on nutrients and feel stronger and healthier than I’ve ever felt before! Proof!
    jill conyers recently posted…Obstacles Don’t Have To Stop YouMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 15, 2014, 11:45 am

      Amazing, isn’t it? Takes time to switch in our heads but once we stop counting and focus on whole foods, so much better for us mentally and physically.

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