Although I mostly talk about fitness here because that’s my real passion, there’s no denying the importance of nutrition when trying to meet your goals, whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or improve your athletic performance.
I really, truly believe that if you follow the 80/20 rule and focus on including protein and veggies in nearly every meal, you’ll be able to naturally regulate your weight and start focusing on other more interesting things, such as doing your very first pull up. But, I realize that some people want more detail than that.
So that’s why I decided it might be helpful for those of you struggling with determining portion sizes and how much protein, carbohydrates and fat you should really try to include in your diet to record my own eating habits for a typical day.
I will warn you ahead of time: I am a vegetarian. I don’t talk about it a lot on the site because I’m not an evangelist, and believe everyone can make their own choices when it comes to what they want to eat, and that not every diet works for every type of person. I became a vegetarian when I was six years old because I was a big animal lover, and have stayed that way ever since.
So, carnivores and pescitarians, feel free to just think about substituting a meat version of any of the weird hippie veggie proteins you see here if you’re trying to figure out your own portion sizes.
Here is my food log for Tuesday, March 24th:
Meal #1: Breakfast
1/2 serving protein pancakes
1/3 cup 2% Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup blueberries
1/3 Tbsp almond butter
Sprinkle of cinnamon
8 ounce cup green tea
Protein pancakes are one of my favorite breakfasts of all time. Not only do they feel like a treat and have become something I look forward to every morning, they’re fairly easy to make and I always enjoy listening to the morning news and gathering my thoughts for the upcoming day while making them. Plus, they’re pretty much the perfect combo of carbohydrates and protein first thing in the morning to give me energy for the day ahead. I typically add some peanut butter or almond butter so I get some healthy fats in as well.
Total calories: 280
Meal #2: Pre-workout
Pre-workout energy drink
1/2 small banana
Total calories: 90
Although I’m usually still semi-full from breakfast, I like having a pre-workout drink and something easy to digest like a half of a banana before my workout to give me enough energy to push hard. I’m partial to Advocare’s Spark, because I like the taste and it’s full of B vitamins and other good things to keep me going, but I have nothing against most other pre-workout drinks if they work for you.
Meal #3: Post-workout
One serving Cellucor whipped vanilla whey protein
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup coconut water
1/2 Tbsp crunchy organic peanut butter
Total calories: 270
The PB & J smoothie is one of my favorite smoothies ever and is incredibly satisfying after a tough workout. There’s a good amount of carbs and protein to promote recovery, and the coconut water will help with that as well. The peanut butter makes it taste extra delicious and helps to keep me from being completely ravenous before lunchtime.
Meal #4: Lunch
Chipotle burrito bowl
1 scoop (1/2 cup) black beans
Sofritas (yes, meat eaters, please go ahead and get the chicken or steak)
Pico de gallo
Hot salsa (I put on extra after they make it)
1/2 serving corn salsa
Chipotle is probably the best and most reliable healthy fast good option around today, and I pretty much count on it as a healthy option whenever I’m out and about or traveling. One thing that’s so awesome about Chipotle is that no matter what your dietary restrictions are—vegan, paleo, slow carb, you name it—you can always get something that’s healthy, filling and, most importantly, actually tastes good.
Total calories: 485
Meal #5: Snack
Cookies & Cream Quest protein bar
Iced green tea (unsweetened)
Since I’m not always home yet always hungry, I tend to carry snacks with me wherever I go. Although most protein bars are really just glorified candy bars, I really like Quest bars because they have 20 grams of protein, are really low in net carbs, and contain a good amount of fiber to help fill you up.
Warning: if you’ve never tried them before, you should know that most Quest bars taste absolutely terrible until you heat them up (you can either stick them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds or put them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 3 minutes). The only Quest bars I actually like cold are the White Chocolate Raspberry and Cookies & Cream ones.
Total calories: 240
Meal #6: Snack
2 Tbsp hummus
10 baby carrots
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1/4 cup blueberries
1 walnut, crumbled
I often get hungry before dinner, and rather than waiting until I’m lightheaded, dizzy and crazy grumpy from not eating, I try and eat something healthy. Veggies and hummus, greek yogurt and nuts are all good snack options any time of the day.
Total calories: 240
Meal #7: Dinner
1/2 cup red/purple potatoes
1/3 cup brown rice
2/3 cup tofu
1 cup kale
1/2 cup broccoli
1/2 cup cauliflower
1/2 cup asparagus
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp avocado
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 ounce goat cheese
I try and cram as many veggies as possible into dinner, and baking them is one of my favorite ways to eat them. Take whatever veggies are in season, toss them in a little olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and whatever other spices you like, and bake them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (the individual time you cook the veggies will vary). This is one of my favorite meals ever!
Total calories: 550
Meal #8: Post dinner snack
Two peanut butter protein balls
1/2 cup raspberries
Total calories: 245
Overall thoughts on the day:
Here are my totals for the whole day:
Total calories: 2,400
Carb/protein/fat ratio: 50%, 31%, 19%
I felt pretty good about my eating habits today—my ratios weren’t quite where I would have liked them to be (I was aiming for 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fats), but they were pretty good considering that vegetarian sources of protein tend to be higher in carbs.
I was honestly surprised at how little fat I ended up eating throughout the day, since I made a conscious effort to include some healthy fats in pretty much every meal. Guess I can pile on more almond butter and avocado next time!
As for the overall calorie count, that’s right about where I want to be on a daily basis—I tend to burn anywhere from 2,400 to 3,000 calories a day, so on a fairly normal activity day like this one this was just about right.
Obviously you’ll need to adjust the portion sizes and macros to your own goals, but I hope this gives you an idea of what an active person eats on a daily basis.
And remember, food is fuel! Feed your body right and you’ll excel at your workouts and be happier and healthier because of it.
15 thoughts on “Food Logging: What I Eat On a Typical Day”
How do you know how many calories you burn in one day? It’s hard for me to figure out if I’m getting the right amount. I’m still in weight-loss mode, so I don’t want to consume too many calories, but I also don’t want my body to eat away my muscle! I’ve been in maintenance mode before and it was easier to eat healthy foods when I was hungry without gaining weight. Now, I want to make sure I’m getting the right amount for weight loss (well, really inches lost because I’m not focusing on weight, I’m focusing on how my jeans fit!)
I’m so glad you’re focusing on how your clothes fit instead of the weight on the scale 🙂
It’s hard to figure out exactly how many calories your body burns a day unless you use one of those arm band monitors that measures your heat produced among other things (I used to use one of these but they look pretty dorky on). Another way to get a pretty good idea is to use an activity calculator, I like the one at Eat to Perform best. As for keeping muscle, really try and focus on getting enough protein! Aiming for about 30% of your total daily calories to be from protein will help you maintain muscle as you get leaner.
I lost a lot of conditioning and gained weight while rehabbing from a bad fall while trailrunning. What really helped when I started training again was using an online food/activity log. You can figure out how many calories you burn using certain formulas, but a site like the one Krista suggested or something like FitDay will figure it out for you, and help you track everything until you reach your fitness/conditioning goal.
Is it okay just to snack on fruit all day and eat small main meals? Thanks!
Fruit is good, but ideally you’d pair it with a little protein and/or healthy fats – some almond butter with your apple, greek yogurt with berries, etc. That will help you actually keep full until mealtime.
I’m really glad that you posted a typical food log day. For the longest time I was trying to reduce my overall caloric intake, yet maintain my workout schedule, which left me feeling starving all the time, and without as much energy to keep me going during my workouts. This post is especially helpful in seeing how eating enough healthy calories is a good thing to keep me feeling energic all day and have the fuel I need to my workouts! Thanks!!
I’m so glad it helped, Tiffany!
First, glad I found your website/app/workouts! But my question is …2400 calories seems like a lot for a 12 minute workout per day. How many calories do you think you are burning during your daily 12 minute workout? Or, are you working out more on these days? Thanks!
Well, depending on how hard you work, you can burn between 12-20 calories a minute in a HIIT workout, but that doesn’t count the increased metabolism you’ll get for the next 24-48 hours.
The workouts on this site are my main workouts, although I am pretty active in general. I walk a lot and love trying new sports/activities because it’s fun for me! The workouts keep me in shape to be able to try new things.
Thanks for posting this! While I do love your food philosophy, I spend a lot of time in the “food realm.” Too much probably, hahaha! Anyways, I have historically eaten a pretty meat heavy diet and the past few weeks I have cut all of the meat out of my diet. I found the no meat athlete and have delved into the world of a meatless diet! I love it and I feel great but I am having a tough time finding lean, meat-free protein. And I really focus on getting on getting plenty of protein. We do cottage cheese and egg whites, which are great! My husband and I actually split an order of your protein pancakes every morning! I eat mine with a whole cup of blueberries and yogurt and his with peanut butter and maple syrup! They have become a part of our morning ritual! Anyways… On to the question.
Do you eat two servings of soy products everyday? I love tempeh and will cook up a batch once a week or so, and I could totally stand to eat more. I don’t mind tofu and would be inclined to cook/eat it more often but I have heard different reviews on the health benefits of the stuff. Do you really eat that much soy? And what else might you suggest as a lean, meat-free protein source? Thanks again!
No Meat Athlete is awesome! And I love that about the protein pancakes, I eat mine pretty much like you do 🙂
But yes, finding lean sources of veg protein is tough. Eggs, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, tempeh, tofu and even seitan are all good options. If you haven’t tried them, I really like Gardein products (you can find them in the frozen food or refrigerator section) because they have a mix of different proteins. I do try and limit my soy intake, because although some soy is good for women, I don’t think relying on one source of protein such as just tofu or tempeh is ideal. Try and mix it up as much as possible and you should be fine! Hope that helps.
I don drink any fruit juice no oatmeals and no whey protein powder no low fat salads fat free foods, my pre workout nutrition is 4 deep fried eggs on butter 3 full fat bacon mashed sweet potatoe with heavy cream, my diet is high on fat.
I usually have around 1500 calories to 1800 I am 14 eat lots of cottage cheese and lean proteins every day, I usually havea lot of fruit and veggies, have some coconut oil, sometimes I have cereal I usually have one quest bar everydaY, I walk / run 5 miles everyday, and I usually exercise for 30 to 40 minutes. oh and I also love Greek yogurt. my protein intake is about 120 grams in a Day. and I’ve been doing this For about 2 years And I can’t seem to lose hardly any weight . I have always been active but I’m stuck at 144 pounds. I don’t understand why I can’t lose weight when everyone else in school can And there eating poptarts and junk. is there any tips you could give me?