Nutritionist Know-How: Alina's Food Diary For a Week

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How I eat in a week is all dependent on whether I’ve grocery shopped on Sunday or not. When I don’t, it’s kind of a snowball effect of bad choices, calorie-dense options, and spending far too much money per meal (i.e. $17 on one lunch out, instead of spending less than that on ingredients to last me all week). We happened to start this food diary tracking on a week when I’d stocked up at Trader Joe’s, so my fridge was full of healthy and convenient options and I ate a lot healthier than I normally would because of it. (A typical weekday breakfast when I haven’t grocery shopped is a pastry or bagel with cream cheese + latte; while breakfast with groceries in the house is instant oatmeal). 

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{Monday's snack: brown rice cake with peanut butter and jelly} 

{Monday's snack: brown rice cake with peanut butter and jelly} 

11 a.m. - Packet of instant apple cinnamon oatmeal and a banana. 

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1 p.m. - Half a pre-made Trader Joe's turkey swiss cheese and spinach wrap on a tortilla and a handful of Pita Bite crackers from Trader Joe’s. I like TJ’s ready-made wraps because they’re inexpensive ($4) and convenient.

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3:00 p.m. - The other half of the wrap plus a few more pita chips.

4:30 p.m. - Creamy peanut butter on brown rice cakes with a little bit of strawberry jam. My best friend’s go-to healthy snack is rice cakes with PB so she got me into this. It’s fast, filling, and you get a lot of mileage out of a package of rice cakes + a jar of peanut butter.

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6:00 p.m. - String cheese with another handful of pita chips as a pre-dinner appetizer.

7:30 p.m. - I made some white jasmine rice with black beans and garlic, and baked kale with olive oil and sea salt, and layered these three items in a bowl for dinner. 

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{Tuesday's snack: berry granola cereal with almond milk} 

{Tuesday's snack: berry granola cereal with almond milk} 

10:30 a.m. - We were working from home today so I had a packet of instant apple cinnamon oatmeal. Monday I was too busy to grab coffee (I don’t make it at home, so always get it out), and this morning was equally crazed, so I decided to keep the trend going and impose a cold-turkey coffee moratorium on myself. I periodically do this (the longest I’ve made it is 14 days), because I notice a clear difference in my skin when I stop drinking coffee, even though I hate doing it because I’m Cuban and coffee runs in our veins. It’s also not good for my sensitive stomach. But I love the taste so much.

1:00 p.m. - Turkey roll-up with mozzarella and whole grain mustard on an Ezekial sprouted tortilla at home. 

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4:00 p.m. - Was hungry so heated up some rice and kale from the night before. There were no beans left which made it kind of a sad snack but I was determined to make use of my leftovers. 

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5:00 p.m. - Bowl of berry granola cereal from Trader Joe’s with almond milk, as a pre-yoga snack.

6:30 p.m. - After yoga I had two rice cakes with peanut butter and jelly to refuel with some protein and carbs.

9:45 p.m. - I started dinner really late tonight, which isn’t ideal because I never like having a meal at 10:30 and then going to bed right after, but it was what it was. My Blue Apron delivery had come earlier that day, so I chose the salmon with kale and yogurt sauce because it was the quickest to make (the other options were stew and burgers). I was trying to cut down the cook time as much as possible to eat even quicker, so I opted out of making the fekeh (a grain) that went with the meal and just had salmon over a bed of kale with dates and toasted almonds and the lemony-mint yogurt sauce. It was incredible, and I had a second portion to save because Blue Apron comes with two servings per meal. 

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{Wednesday's treat: white chocolate bar from Compartés} 

{Wednesday's treat: white chocolate bar from Compartés} 

9:15 a.m. - Packet of apple cinnamon instant oatmeal - though I couldn’t wait to indulge in a decadent brunch at Gaby’s event.

11:00 a.m. - I went a little too hard at this brunch as I left feeling as full as I last did on Thanksgiving, but it was all so tempting. I had a mini chai tea coffee cake, a blood orange mimosa, two vegetable quiches, a whole wheat english muffin with veggie cream cheese and lox, crackers with cream cheese and lox, a few bites of french toast bread pudding, and fresh berries with ricotta cheese and honeycomb. Funnily enough, they weren’t serving coffee at the brunch so it was now officially day three of no coffee.

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3:00 p.m. - We got gift baskets with Compartes white chocolate cake bars (they have rainbow sprinkles in them), so I broke into that and finished it by late afternoon. Guess I wasn’t too full for some craft white chocolate.

7:45 p.m. - I went to an event at Chateau Marmont this night, so I had a bunch of passed appetizers for dinner and some cocktails. To be exact, two pigs in a blanket, a few crispy kale parmesan crackers, three folds of prosciutto, some hard and soft cheeses, crudites in veggie dip, and a few too many mojitoes. I felt mildly guilty that I didn’t have my leftover salmon. 

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{Thursday's breakfast: bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel + Mexican Coke} 

{Thursday's breakfast: bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel + Mexican Coke} 

11:00 a.m. - Had a bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel from Sam’s in Larchmont (which I wrote about in my guide to L.A.), and a Mexican coke over ice. A packet of instant oatmeal just wasn’t calling my name after a night of appetizers-for-dinner and cocktails.

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4:00 p.m. - The dense bacon egg and cheese kept me full for hours. Around 4 I got hungry, but didn’t know if I could eat my salmon from two nights ago, so I googled it. This article had my answer (YES), so I heated it up as dinner over a bed of the leftover white rice I’d made Tuesday night, and had a string cheese and sea salt pita crackers while I was waiting for it to be ready.

10:00 p.m. - My high-protein "dinner" again kept me full for hours, but around 10 I was hungry so I had a string cheese, pita crackers, and 2 clementines.

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{Friday's breakfast drink: venti iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks} 

{Friday's breakfast drink: venti iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks} 

10 a.m . - Emily texted in the a.m. to let us know she and G were bringing breakfast in, so I was once again free from my instant oatmeal prison. Then Maya, our intern, texted: “anyone want Starbucks?” At this point I’d gone four full days sans coffee but, I couldn’t say no to that offer so I got a Venti iced caramel macchiato (#TGIF). When we got into the office, Emily had brought a box of Bottega Louie pastries so I had a pain au chocolat (my favorite) + my coffee order.

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11 a.m. - Beignet from the box of pastries.

12 p.m. - I ordered my favorite healthy downtown meal from Cabbage Patch to the office for a working lunch - salmon with greens and yam wedges + garlic aioli. 

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7 p.m. - My friend Kat came over to make my second Blue Apron meal of the week together -shiitake burgers with miso mayonnaise and sweet potato wedges. She brought over a bottle of red wine to split, and we were trying to get funfetti cake from Magnolia for dessert after I saw this Instagram, but sadly the West Third location of Magnolia doesn’t carry it so it wasn’t possible. Wine for dessert worked just fine.

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You are seriously Emily’s food soul mate. I love how honest and real you are, and how willing you are to be introspective. Overall, it sounds like you are super busy, and because of that, many of your food choices are being dictated by your environment (i.e. office goodies and blogger-events) rather than your own conscious decisions. Some of this is unavoidable--given your job, you will naturally be out more, at meals where you didn’t necessarily order your food. Because of this, it’s important to take more of a lead on what you can control. Think ahead about the upcoming week and when your events are scheduled. If you know you’re going to a luncheon courtesy of Gaby, aim to have a clean, high-protein breakfast with some healthy fat (like eggs with a slice of avocado toast), so that you’re not famished when you arrive. That way, it’s much easier to take a beat and check in with yourself, to figure out what you really want. I recommend keeping some no-brainer dinner options on hand as well: high-quality rotisserie chicken, prepared soups, and maybe even some pre-sliced veggies so you can whip up a stir fry at lightning speed if you need to.

P.S. - check out Emily's food diary from the same week, and keep up with Shira until next month's column. 

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