For those who have difficulty eating healthy meals (whether breakfast, lunch or dinner), you aren’t alone. As our specialty is skincare, primarily skincare products, we turned to an expert in the world of nutrition. Meghan De Jong, a registered holistic nutritionist, was kind enough to share her daily eating routine. If nothing else, hopefully this will give the rest of us a push in the right direction.
What to Incorporate in Your Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
De Jong says she focuses on “blood sugar balancing” at each meal.
“This means I do my best to incorporate a mix between protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats along with tons of vegetables, and sometimes fruit at breakfast,” says De Jong. “I love to mix up my meals so I don’t get bored of what I am eating.”
Currently, her favorite meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner are:
Breakfast: A piece of whole grain sourdough toast with ½ a mashed avocado; 1 to 2 sunny side up eggs along with sautéed broccoli and kale.
Lunch: Collard green wraps with quinoa, hummus, alfalfa sprouts, slivered red bell peppers, and shredded carrots, which she dips in a homemade ginger tahini sauce.
Dinner: Grilled wild salmon or tempeh (fermented tofu) alongside a fresh arugula salad with sautéed onion, fresh dill, brown rice, and baked yam all drizzled with cold pressed olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt.
Eat at a Specific Time, Or when Hunger Strikes?
“When I am in a steady routine, I find myself eating at regular times throughout the day as my body gets used to eating at these times,” De Jong says.
When it comes to her daily eating routine, De Jong’s body tells her when to eat breakfast, which she says is around 9 am; lunch is at 1 pm and dinner at 6:30 pm. Between each meal, she does enjoy snacking.
“However, often my schedule changes and my eating adapts to that,” De Jong says. “With that being said, I always make meal times a priority. I have learned that as a nutritionist, I need to practice what I preach for the good of my own well-being and my clients’.”
In De Jong’s daily eating routine, she practices and preaches:
- Don’t skip a meal
“Skipping a meal is certainly not something I advocate for!”
- Listen to your body
“I do tell people to listen to their bodies. I always say that if you’re hungry, it’s your body telling you it needs some more energy. Nourishing it with whole foods is the best way to provide it with what it is asking for!”
- If you aren’t hungry, don’t eat a big meal
“If you don’t feel hungry – don’t force yourself to eat a big meal. Perhaps your body isn’t burning as much energy,” says De Jong, “and feeding it more than it wants only adds to increased stress and toxicity levels. In summary, eat when you’re hungry, don’t eat when you’re not!”
Eat Breakfast Like a King, Lunch like a Prince, Dinner like a Pauper?
We all know the old adage to eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. But is there much validity to that? Some strongly believe it (depending on your culture), but according to De Jong, she believes in listening to one’s body.
“I do like this saying, as getting maximum amount of nutrients to fuel your body first thing in the morning is important,” explains De Jong. “However, that being said, I believe more in listening to your body! If you don’t feel like a huge breakfast first thing in the morning – eat something light instead! One thing I always remind people about is the importance of lunch.”
De Jong’s advice is not to put lunch “on the back-burner” because you have a hectic schedule. This can leave you feeling depleted and hungry by dinner. Here’s why that’s a problem:
“This then causes low energy levels, unstable blood sugars, and unwanted caffeine and sugar cravings,” says De Jong. “Eating a balanced plate with quality whole foods at every meal is what is truly important! The amount one eats during these meals is completely up to them and their hunger levels.”
Because De Jong approves of snacking between meals, she says it’s the type of snack that’s important.
“I like to tell people to have a carbohydrate with a fat or a carbohydrate with a protein,” explains De Jong. “This helps to re-stabilize blood sugars and keeps the body feeling energized. Some of my favorites include: apple or banana with sunflower seed butter and cinnamon, carrots and cucumber, or Mary’s crackers with hummus.”
She also enjoys healthy home baked goods with dates, whole grains and nuts/seeds.
“I have tons of recipes on my Instagram with no refined sugars! In terms of a good store bought (health) bar, I like to recommend Nomz Bites, Prima Food Bars, and Lara Bars, all available from Whole Foods.”
Advice on Consuming Water
Many of us struggle when it comes to drinking water. The daily intake that is most commonly recommended is eight ounces of water a day. That’s a lot of water! Furthermore, this is an outdated concept. The actual amount of water to take is 15 cups for the average adult male and 11 cups for the average adult female. Worse, right? The good news is, this includes water that we consume in foods, such as fruits.
While De Jong’s water intake changes depending on the season and her activity level, she strives to drink 12 cups of water a day. She understands that not everyone can do this, so she offers some advice in that area.
“For people who don’t like water – try flavoring it! It’s so simple to add a squeeze of lemon, some fresh watermelon and mint, or a few cucumber slices. Flavoring my water was a game changer for me when I was first trying to drink more. The good part is – once your body gets used to being properly hydrated it will actually crave water!”
To add onto De Jong’s advice, try coconut water and reap the benefits of this delicious fruit.
She also recommends drinking herbal tea, as it hydrates the body while offering therapeutic benefits. Her favorites are licorice, peppermint and chamomile. Choose your favorite teas, and slowly incorporate them into your day along with more water.
You can find more health information on De Jong’s website, Sprouted Nutrition.