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.
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.
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.
Steel Cut Oats and Old Fashioned Oats cooked together with chia seeds, blueberries, strawberries and of course, peanut butter.
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.
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.
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):
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.
I just cannot get enough of the mashed chick pea/avocado combination on cinnamon raisin toast these days.
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’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.
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.
No, I never get tired of diced apple with peanut butter and yes it always hits the spot.
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.
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.
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!
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?