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Food and Nutrition

Food Diary: Simple Eats With Nutrition Specialist Vanessa

Vanessa Martin, RD | Nutrition Specialist
/ March 23, 2023
food journal

What does meal planning look like for Enara Nutrition Specialists? Simple eats: join Vanessa for a week of staple meals and impromptu treats!*

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that this post contains content that some readers may find triggering. This is not intended to be dietary advice. Anything written here is not necessarily appropriate for the Enara program you are on or consistent with your particular goals.


Today was President’s Day, so I had the day off of work, which changed my routine slightly. What did not change is my morning workout. I aim to prioritize my workouts first thing in the morning so that life does not get in the way! I usually exercise after taking a natural pre-workout supplement. After my workout, I typically drink a protein shake mixed with water. Breakfast was my usual: scrambled egg whites with ham over spinach paired with one slice of low carb toast with peanut butter and ½ banana.

Simple eats - scrambled egg whites and toast with pb and banana

Today I had an appointment for maintenance of my car (ugh, I do NOT enjoy car related errands). I waited at the dealership for 2.5 hours, so by the time I left I was very hungry! I drove to my mom’s house to pick up my son and ate whatever was available. I always try to pair my meals with a vegetable, so I ended up having leftover flank steak with a salad. She had ordered a pizza with cheese bread for my son and I had 3 slices of that cheese bread from Papa Johns. When I got home, I had ½ banana as a snack. I try to keep dinner simple most days and I did not feel like cooking today, so I had leftovers of baked chicken breast with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.


Back to work today. This means that I woke up earlier to get my workout in before I started the process of getting my kids ready for school. After dropping off the kids, I came back home and made breakfast before I started my work day. You will notice that I eat pretty much the same breakfast daily, and most days I have the same lunch. I try not to vary my meal times / food choices much because this saves me time as well as from having to make another decision. Again, my breakfast was the same from Monday: scrambled egg whites with ham over spinach paired with one slice of low carb toast with peanut butter and ½ banana. Work was crazy busy today and I had appointments with members back to back. When my break time came, I went ahead and created my typical weekday lunch which is a huge salad! My salad consists of romaine lettuce, chopped red onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, feta cheese, black beans and canned chicken (that I heat up on a skillet quickly and add spices depending on my mood — today I added turmeric and ginger). I add a drizzle of sugar-free BBQ sauce over it. I feel like the ingredients in this salad are pretty random, but I love it! 

When it was time to pick up my daughter from school, I went to pack her a snack of Sunchips. Today, I ended up eating a handful of these chips. I try really hard to NOT pick, graze, or eat mindlessly but sometimes it happens. During the car ride from school to my daughter’s dance school, I had ½ banana as a snack. When I got home it was time to prepare dinner. I tend to gravitate towards ease and convenience when it comes to cooking. Tonight I decided to make a BBQ pork loin in the pressure cooker which always yields many servings of tender, pulled protein! I paired the pulled BBQ pork with broccoli and ¼ cup white rice.


Today was another day at work albeit a shorter day for me. I did my usual early morning workout and post workout protein shake. After school drop off, I made my usual but left out the ham today. Breakfast was egg whites over spinach and one slice of low carb toast with peanut butter and ½ banana. I had my huge salad again today with romaine lettuce, chopped red onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, feta cheese, black beans and canned chicken as the quick, heat and serve protein source. On the drive between school pick-up and dance drop-off I had ½ banana as a snack. I don’t have as much time on Wednesdays to cook, so I rely on quick-cook protein options for easy meal prep. A big staple in my house is ground meats, whether it is beef, chicken, or turkey. Today, I decided on ground chicken seasoned with low sodium taco seasoning which cooked in less than 15 minutes. I added the ground chicken on top of a low carb tortilla and topped it with some spinach and mozzarella cheese. I always try to include veggies so I steamed up a bag of frozen broccoli in the microwave for a simple, quick veggie side.


My day started out in the usual manner with me getting my workout in and then taking the kids to school. Today I was not in the mood to cook breakfast so I decided to have my favorite no-cook protein option, which is Greek yogurt. I had one cup of Greek yogurt topped with strawberries and one slice of low carb toast with peanut butter and ½ banana (this PB and banana toast is something I seriously never get tired of!). 

I also decided to switch it up for lunch today and instead of my usual huge salad, I warmed up leftovers – pulled BBQ pork, black beans, rice, and steamed broccoli topped with feta cheese.

My daughter’s school had a fundraising event this evening at a small, fast-casual pizza restaurant and my daughter really wanted to go. So for dinner, I had ½ veggie topped pizza with a side Greek salad. 


Yay, it’s Friday! Nothing really changes for me if it is a work/school day though, at least for my breakfast and lunch. Breakfast today was 2 eggs and ½ cup egg whites and the usual slice of low carb toast with peanut butter and ½ banana. Yesterday’s lunch left me feeling hungry too soon afterwards, so today I decided to go back to my usual — my huge salad! If you recall, my salad consists of romaine lettuce, chopped red onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, feta cheese, black beans and canned chicken with 1 tbsp dressing. On Fridays I usually have dinner later than I do during the week, so to tide me over, I had a cup of nonfat Greek yogurt. This was also not a typical Friday night for us. My husband was working late and my daughter was going to sleepover for her dance company at the dance studio, so instead of having sushi dinner (which is our norm), my son and I went to my mom’s house where we had shredded beef, rice, and broccoli. I also enjoyed 2 glasses of wine.


Today started like any other Saturday with me getting in a cycling workout. As far as my meals went, it was certainly different, and not my usual choices! My daughter’s dance studio held a breakfast picnic and that is where my first meal was. There were a lot of options! I stuck to scrambled eggs, fruit, and 2 mini croquettes. When I got home I had a cup of yogurt and ½ banana. In the afternoon, we decided to go out to have some drinks and maybe an appetizer before dinner. At the restaurant, I had 2 drinks, a couple of waffle fries from my son’s plate and 2 fried pork and rice balls. It was delicious, but for sure an unusual choice for me. Dinner was more in line with my usual and we had home cooked sirloin steak with salad and broccoli. I did enjoy another glass of wine with my meal. 


Today was another unusual day of eating for me. By Sunday, I like to make something different and lately I’ve been wanting pancakes. Who doesn’t love a good pancake on Sunday morning, right? I have been trying to find the right whole food pancake recipe that I like, but so far have come across more fails than wins. So lately I have been using a pre-mixed paleo pancake mix from Birch Benders, and topped it with Greek yogurt topping as well as ½ banana with PB.

After breakfast, I was helping my daughter with her hair and makeup as she was getting ready for her individual photo shoot as part of her dance company. When we got to the studio (without snacks or lunch packed), we found out that the photo shoot was running 1.5 hours behind schedule! Being that we had not had lunch, we decided to go to the nearest location to eat something. Of course, my 8 year old daughter chose McDonald’s. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I avoid fast food places like McDonald’s but because I was also hungry and didn’t prepare for a delayed event (which I honestly should have known better) I decided it would be better for me to have something at McDonald’s than try to hold out until afterwards. I looked at the menu and decided on a McDonald’s double cheeseburger sandwich (no fries, no beverage). I think I made the right decision because we were in the studio for 3 hours. By the time we left, I was hungry again so I had a large apple as a snack when we got home. On Sundays we usually go to my mother in law’s house for dinner so I don’t have as much control over what is served. Today she served chicken and dumplings. I made sure we had a large salad as well so I can have my fill of veggies. Overall, my weekend was incredibly unusual for me but that’s life sometimes! Tomorrow is a new day and a new week and I know I will go back to my routine. 

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