What I Eat in a Day

Being a fitness instructor, it is inevitable that someone will ask you what your diet is like or what I would eat in a day. Just like I am a bit reluctant to tell people exactly how they should rotate my workouts, I am also reluctant to go into exact diet plans. I feel that diet and exercise are definitely a very personal thing and because everyone has individual needs what works for me will not necessarily work for you.

Ultimately I love food and I am not willing to be 5% skinnier by living 95% of my life in a restrictive, obsessive way. I am well past the age of caring what other people think about my body and as long as I am happy in my own skin and most importantly fit and healthy, I know I am doing something right.

Having said all that I will share with you the guidelines I follow in order to stay healthy, have enough energy for my workouts and lead a happy, balanced lifestyle!

  1. I follow the 80%-20% rule – 80% of the time I eat healthy, nutritious food and 20% of the time I eat treat foods. Another way of looking at it is I get 80% of my calories from healthy food and 20% from treat food or I eat 80% of my calories from 'clean' foods as close to natural as possible and 20% from more refined foods. 

  2. I don't cut out any food groups, however, as of recently I do follow a predominantly plant based diet.

  3. I try to eat protein with every meal.

  4. For me eating enough protein is the biggest challenge in my diet. I  tend to get the majority of my protein from grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. 

  5. I don't deny myself small treats even on weekdays. I will usually opt for something clean, such as homemade, healthy cookie dough, fruit and yoghurt, rice cakes with peanut butter and 100% fruit jam and protein balls, but if I feel like it I will have some potato crisps or some plant based desserts (generally homemade). Generally I will eat these after dinner.

  6. I don't have cheat days as such, but I do allow myself cheat meals on the weekends or for special occasions. If I have a cheat meal I tend to eat less calories the rest of the day to compensate.

  7. Drinks – I don't drink any sugary drinks such as soft drink or juice. I stick to water or herbal tea with a hint of honey if I really want something sweet. If I have black tea or coffee with soy, almond or coconut milk I will sweeten it with sweetener such as Stevia rather than sugar.

  8. Portions – I try not to overeat, but I do believe in eating healthy portions so that I don't end up snacking too much in between meals. My main meals are usually around the 500 calorie mark.

  9. Calories – I don't count calories as such, although I have used My Fitness Pal to work out how much minimum protein I should be eating and also to get a rough idea of how many calories I tend to eat in a day. In general my daily intake is just under 2000 calories, although on some days it does go up a bit higher than that. Everyone is different so use an online calculator to work out what will meet your daily needs.

What a typical eating day looks like for me (approx. 2000 cals)

On waking – 2 cups of coffee with oat or soy milk and 1/4 cups of overnight oats – I have these totally plain just soaked in water. This is purely to put something into my stomach before my workout.

Breakfast – 1/2 cup dry oats made with water, 1/4 cup blueberries, a splash of plant based milk, 1 tsp of coconut blossom sugar, 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter no added salt or sugar OR a protein pancake made with buckwheat flour, stone ground wholemeal flour, plant based protein powder, flax seed meal and almond milk, topped with peanut butter and brown rice syrup or maple syrup OR Protein Shake made with a scoop of plant based protein powder, berries, banana and almond milk.

Morning Snack – I don't always have a snack before lunch because the oats keep me pretty full, but if I do it would be a protein ball or a banana. If I am filming I have a thick piece of grain bread with peanut butter or a piece of pita bread with hummus.

Lunch - In summer I tend to have big salads with lots of vegetables, chickpeas or other beans and seeds sprinkled on top for extra protein or a wrap made with avocado, vegan patties or falafals, spinach leaves and vegan cheese. Sometimes I eat a small serve of yesterday's leftover dinner.

Afternoon Snack - Fruit and coconut yoghurt with a sprinkle of granola, chia pudding or pita bread with hummus. 

Dinner - This varies a lot. Lately it has been lentil dahl and basmati rice, vegan lasagne, stir fried noodles with tofu and lots of vegies, Buddha bowls, vegetable curries, vegan shepherd's pie, homemade vegie burgers or Asian style soup with dumplings. As you can see I love rice and noodles. I am half Chinese so it's in my blood! I try to add vegetables into everything I cook too and if I feel I haven't had enough greens I will eat a bowl of salad before dinner.

Evening Snack - As already mentioned above this can vary: sorbet, rice cakes with peanut butter and 100% fruit jam or a handful of potato crisps usually on Friday nights. Sometimes if I stay up later and I get hungry I will have some muesli or even some more left over dinner.