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.