Quick & Healthy Breakfast Ideas

There are so many types of breakfast eaters.  Those that can’t stand the thought of breakfast and therefore opt for their morning cup of joe, those that grab and go for the most convenient option (healthy or not), those that plan ahead and sit down to eat breakfast or pack something for on the go.  I’m definitely the latter.  I love when things are quick, easy, and healthy that power me through my morning.  It’s also very important that it keeps me satisfied until lunch.  Because I have morning workouts I don’t want to succumb to my ravenous hangry monster that may unleash if I don’t fuel my body properly. Therefore, I have my go-to breakfast options that are easy, healthy and delicious.

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Chocolate Protein Oats. This is pretty hearty so I mainly use this for post workout.  This is guaranteed to keep you full for hours.  I keep my ingredients at work and mix it together as soon as I get into the office.

  1. Ingredients include: 1 pkt plain whole grain oats, 1 scoop plant warrior chocolate protein powder, ½ cup water, ½ cup unsweetened or plain almond milk or coconut milk. Top with a drizzle of almond butter, bananas, or berries of your choice.  I mix up the toppings to keep it interesting:)

 

 

  1. Avocado Toast.
    1. Ingredients include: 1 slice whole grain bread, ¼ avocado smashed on top, sprinkle with hemp seeds.  Add some scrambled egg whites if you are at home and need more protein or hard boiled eggs for on the go.

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  • Smoothie parfait. This is a spin on a smoothie because I enjoy eating my food rather than drinking.  Some mornings I will drink a protein shake but there are days when I just need to eat food.
    1. Ingredients: ½ frozen banana, ½ frozen blueberries, 1 cup almond milk, ½ scoop plant protein powder, 1 tbsp almond butter, 2 tbsp granola

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  • Yogurt Parfait: plain 0% greek yogurt topped with fruit of your choice. Sometimes I’ll go berries and sometimes I’ll just throw whatever fruit I see on top.  Sprinkle a little granola and you are set.

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  • Overnight Coconut Oats: Prepare 1/3 cup plain whole grain oats, 2/3 cup milk, 2 tsp chia, 1 tbsp agave or honey, ½ tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp hemp seeds, 1 tsp maca powder. Mix together and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.  Throw it in your bag in the morning and you are set!  *I’ll also add vanilla protein powder instead of the hemp seeds to substitute flavor and add more protein.
  • Nut Butter Toast
    1. 1 slice whole grain bread topped with 1 tbsp almond/cashew or peanut butter, ½ sliced banana, pinch of cinnamon and drizzle of honey. You can also substitute the banana for some toasted coconut and its delicious!

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  • Crispy Apple Slice (also a great snack midday!)
    1. 2-3 apple slices cut horizontally, 1-2 tbsp nut butter, ¼ cup granola to sprinkle on top

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Balanced Bowls

Spicy Tempeh Macro Bowl

If there’s one thing that I love to create the most, it’s BOWLS!  I love creating them because you can throw in a hodgepodge of ingredients and they always turn out great.  Some require more effort than others but overall the concept is the same.  Anything from smoothie bowls, salad bowls, macro bowls to just a bowl of freaking food, I love making bowls.

Since my recent trip to LA I’ve noticed the trend is really focused on Macro bowls.  I visited some of the hottest vegan joints from the Butcher’s Daughter, Café Gratitude, Gracias Madre & more.  I made it my mission to find as many possible raw, vegan, farm to plate restaurants as possible during my week long stay.  While the food was more incredible from one place to the next,  I noticed a common theme with a variety of bowls on the menu.  The spectrum is quite broad when it comes to the bowl themes.  If you are looking for a comfort bowl you can go for the southern food sampler with red beans and dirty rice, blackened jerk tempeh, barbecue sauce and some jalapeno gluten free biscuits, or you can go for the Mexican inspired bowl made with pinto beans, pico de gallo, salsa Verde, avocado, Portobello mushrooms and pickled veggies.  Whatever your taste buds desire, the bowl is got it made and you are sure to leave not feeling hungry!

The word macrobiotic is a diet in which an attempt is made to balance the yin and yang elements of food; this means that grains are a staple, supplemented with other foods such as vegetables, seeds, sauces & good fats.  When making a bowl you should start with these basic steps:

  • Grains – base of your bowl. These should make up about 40-50% of your meal.  You can use anything from brown rice, barley, millet, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, buckwheat & etc. are recommended sources.
  • Vegetables – Veggies are the most important part of your macro meal. Cooked and raw veggies should make up 30-40% of your bowl.  Leafy greens are key and using local and in season veggies are always preferred.
  • Protein – Anything from fish, tempeh, tofu, chickpeas, lentils & etc. should make up about 20% of your bowl. *If you eat meat you can certainly substitute here as well to make a bowl it just isn’t part of the macrobiotic diet.
  • Condiments/Oils – Oils like coconut oil, sesame oil, and olive oil are great. Miso paste, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, tamari, tahini, brown rice syrup, veggie broth, avocado & etc. are great options.
  • Fermented foods – Tempeh is ideal but pickled veggies are a great option to bring lots of probiotics into your diet.
  • Sea Vegetables – Sea veggies like seaweed, kelp and etc. are rich in vitamins and minerals and great additions to your health and can be added as extra toppings.

Now that you know the basics, you are ready to start making your bowl!  I also love spices and have a variety on hand.

First I started with the rice, since that takes some time to sauté over the stove it’s nice to start it early so it’s simmering when you are preparing the rest of your ingredients.  Bowl making requires some juggling in the kitchen and I had 4 projects going on at one time so make sure you are equipped with space and you can set aside the ingredients to prepare a beautiful bowl at the end.

Second, I started the kale salad since I wanted to massage the kale to ensure it was nice and lathered making it more desirable when eating.  First I removed the steps from the kale then chopped it into smaller pieces and set aside into a colander.  Once I had filled the colander I rinsed the leaves and patted dry with a paper towel and set aside.  Meanwhile, it was time to prepare the dressing.  I made a vegan avocado “Caesar” dressing because it really does taste like Caesar dress, however it doesn’t look like it!

Third, start sautéing the onions & mushrooms with the tempeh.  You will want to put a small amount of olive oil in the pan and add in the chopped onion and mushrooms.  Let the veggies sauté and lightly brown and remove from heat.  Immediately following the removal of the veggies, I used the same pan and threw in the tempeh.  After slicing into 1”x 3” slices you can place them into the pan and lightly season.  Depending on your spice tolerance you can go plain or throw in more spice.  My recipe consists of a spicy tempeh.

Avocado Caesar Dressing

  • ½ avocado
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water

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  • Chop garlic cloves and add to blender with avocado, vinegar, tahini, lemon juice and water. Blend until smooth and is liquid enough to pour.  It should be the consistency of a creamy dressing like ranch or Caesar dressing.
  • Pour over kale leaves and toss until fully massaged though the leaves.

Spicy Chickpea Croutons

  • 1 can organic garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp curry
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Rinse beans and place into colander to ensure they are fully rinsed. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Spread evenly on baking sheet and top with oil. Mix the beans to ensure they are coated with oil to better absorb the spices.
  • Evenly distribute the paprika, curry, sea salt and cayenne pepper over the beans and shake the pan to evenly coat the beans.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chickpeas are a bit crispy
  • Remove and set aside to let cool then top on kale salad when you have the bowl prepared.

Spicy Tempeh & Sautéed veggies

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup shitake mushrooms
  • ½ onion

Sauté in pan for about 5-8 min on high.  Remove from pan and set aside.

  • 1 pkg light life 3 grain tempeh
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika

 

  1. While pan is still hot, add in the sliced tempeh so they are flat in the pan so one side starts to sear and brown.
  2. While those are sautéing, add all of the spices (pepper, salt, cayenne & paprika) into a bowl and mix.
  3. Sprinkle on the spice mix so you use about ½ of the mix.
  4. Turn the tempeh to sear the other side and use the remaining spice mix. Both sides should be lightly browned and crispy.

Now that you have prepared all of your ingredients you can remove the rice from the stove, drain and set aside.  The last piece here is to take your seaweed paper and cut into 1×1” chunks.  I used about ¼ cup per bowl.

Now that you have all of the ingredients, you are ready to create your bowl!

  • Start with you base and add approx. ½ cup – ¾ cup of rice
  • Section out the bowl into quarters.
    1. Add your tempeh to cover ¼ of the section of rice. It will be approx. 4-6 piece.
    2. Add the sautéed veggies to cover approx. ¼ section of the rice
    3. Add kale salad to cover approx. ¼ of the bowl (depending on what veggie you want more of you can cover more or less of the bowl with the topping). Top with approx. 2 tbsp crispy chickpeas
    4. Add seaweed chucks to ¼ section of the bowl
  • If you want to add a topping, you can drizzle the avocado Caesar dressing or a dressing of your choice.

Now you are ready to enjoy your balanced Macro bowl! IMG_0829

Week 2 – Healthy eating on a budget

So last week I started a challenge for myself to really budget and see how far I could extend my groceries for the week and I did pretty good managing to use all of my groceries for lunch and dinner for a total of $141.05($78.47 for fresh direct + $62.08 for Whole Foods) I managed to make 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners averaging $10.85/meal.  Not bad for week 1!  Because I had a vacation planned for the weekend I started out with groceries delivered on day 2 and the total was $64.54 (which included a $5.99 delivery fee).

Groceries purchased on day 1 from Whole Foods for breakfast and lunches through the week.  The total spend at whole foods for the week for groceries to be kept at work was $35.16.  I also had leftover groceries and some dry goods such as PB2, oats, protein powder in the cabinets to start.  See below my week of eating, which also includes some meals out.

Grocery Items for Work purchased on day 2/week 2

  • Prepared food bar for (spaghetti squash and lentils
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • 2 – Kiwi
  • 2 – 0% Greek yogurt
  • 2 – Kombucha
  • Granola
  • Almond Butter
  • Raspberries
  • BluePrint cold pressed red juice (beets, carrots, ginger)

*I also had leftover groceries from the week before so I made sure to use what I had for lunches as well.

Monday (Rest Day)

 

Breakfast: Coffee + banana (early flight and not feeling breakfast)

Lunch: Spaghetti squash with tahini and brown rice & lentils from whole foods

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GT’s Kombucha

Snack: 1/2 sliced apple topped with 1/2 tbsp almond butter and sprinkled with ancient grains granola.

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Dinner: Yellow Tofu Vegetable Curry from M Thai delivered:)

Tuesday (AM Spin class + ab workout)

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Breakfast :Green spinach plant protein bowl made with Sunwarrior vanilla plant protein topped with granola and kiwi.

 

Lunch: Sprouted grain bread(week prior) topped with smashed avocado and tuscan white bean veggie burger (also from the week prior)

 

 

 

Snack: Greek yogurt mixed with PB2 topped with raspberries, granola & almond butter.

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Dinner: I was too focused on making my energy balls for the week and tailoring the recipe I ate too many to be hungry for dinner.  So, sadly I’m already off track and it’s day 2!  Sorry to disappoint!  But when you fall off track you just get back on the next meal, brush it off and move on!  It happens, life happens and its ok.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.

Wednesday (AM Leg workout + 30 min cardio)

Breakfast: Post workout with a coffee and one of my energy & protein balls.  These things are miracle workers and they keep me satisfied until lunch – and that’s after a workout!  This one is a peanut butter plant protein ball with chocolate chips!  Delish!

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Lunch: Hu Kitchen salmon cake and curried sweet potatoes.  Repeat but my favorite food ever!  This was close to a $15 meal, once again becuase I live in NYC, but either way it was a splurge becuase I was eating on the go in between appointments.

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Snack: Green smoothie topped with raspberries, granola and almond butter!  Quick, nutritious and delicious!

 

 

Dinner: quick ate 2 hard boiled eggs and sweet potato before I took off for a fundraiser.

Again busy life, this is what happens.  Plans change, we have to eat on the run and things don’t always go as planned.  It’s ok!  Some days are better than other and some weeks are better than other.  It’s about consistency and staying to course for the long haul.

Thursday (AM Arm workout with weights and PM spin class)

Breakfast: Red juice, sprouted grain toast with smashed avocado topped with hemp seeds.

Lunch: Tuscan white bean veggie burger (left over from week 1) topped with avocado + sprouted grain toast topped with avocado and 2 hard boiled egg whites(brought these from home).

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Snack: Greek yogurt topped with raspberries, kiwi, almond butter

 

 

 

 

Dinner: I prepared a very simple dish with groceries I had gotten for the week at home.  Thursday night was chickpea and avocado lettuce wraps.  It took about 15 minutes to prep and it was delicious!

 

 

IMG_0441Ingredients:

 

1 can smashed chickpeas (rinsed)

1 avocado

½ lime for lime juice

1 chopped garlic clove

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 pinch sea salt

1 pinch of black pepper

*If you want added topping you can choose cherry tomatoes, tahini or I chose to sauté Brussel sprouts(from week 1) in coconut oil

  • Start with ½ cup quinoa with 1 cup water. I like to prepare with ½ cub of organic no salt broth so you have a bit of flavor.  Bring to a boil and sauté for about 15 minutes.  While you are waiting for your quinoa, smash chickpeas and add avocado.
  • Add the chickpeas and avocado into a large bowl. Mash with a fork until chickpeas are broken or avocado is creamy.  If you want the texture a bit smoother than I put in the food processor to mix well for about 10-15 seconds.  Once it’s chopped you mix in the lime juice, salt & pepper.
  • Add in the cooked quinoa and mix well.
  • Spoon into individual lettuce cups
  • Top with your favorite veggies or sauce and serve.

Friday (Rest Day)

Breakfast:Chocolate Protein Oats

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole grain oats

1/2 cup water

1/2 scoop Sunwarrior blend chocolate protein powder

1/2 tsp maca powder

1/2 tbsp almond butter

1/2 banana

1/4 cup almond milk or water to mix in after the oats are heated.  Either is fine, the almond milk just gives a creamier consistency.

1.) Mix oats, water, protein powder and maca together.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Add almond milk or water, stir and heat for another 30 seconds.  Top with sliced banana and drizzle with almond butter.

Lunch: 2 – chickpea and avocado wraps (leftover from dinner) + 1 hard boiled egg

Snack: Vega One Chai Vanilla protein shake mixed with 1 cup almond milk

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Dinner: Wild swordfish with a side of baked broccoli florets

Bake swordfish for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.  Top with lemon juice and black pepper.  with about 5 minutes remaining top with parmesan cheese.

Chop broccoli into florets and place on baking sheet.  drizzle with lemon juice and 1 tbsp coconut oil.  sprinkle with black pepper.  Bake on 400 for 8-10 minutes.

Serve with a glass of wine and enjoy:)  Cheers!

 

 

Saturday (AM 5 mile run + 2 hour biking through the city)

Breakfast: Post workout – 1 slice toasted sprouted grain bread topped with 1/4 smashed avocado and spinach egg white omelette(made with two egg whites).

Lunch: Brunch with friends mid-biking.  Smoked trout with potato cakes with creme fraiche.  Also had a glass of prosecco and a bloody mary!  It’s all in moderation!

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Dinner: Vegan Kale Salad with spicy curried chickpeas with some wine of course:)

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cashew butter

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tsp dijon

freshly ground sea salt & pepper

2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (vegan) or parmesan cheese

Grilled chickpeas Croutons

1 can chickpeas rinsed thoroughly

1/2 tsp olive oil

pinch of garlic powder, paprika, oregano, thyme and cayenne.

Preheat oven to 400 .  Combine chickpeas, olive oil, and spices in a baking tray and shake evenly to coat.  Roast chickpeas for 30-35 minutes, or until chickpeas become lightly browned and crisped.

While the chickpeas are roasting, make the caesar dressing.  In the base of a blender or food processor, add in cashew butter, lemon juic, hemp seeds, garlic, olive oil, dijon mustard, and sea salt and pepper to taste.  Add in the water to achieve desired consistency.  Spoon dressing into a jar and set aside while you prep the kale.

Wash and chop the kale, removing thick stems pieces.  Place kale in a bowl and drizzle with caesar dressing.  Using your hands massage dressing into kale until thoroughly coated and leaves begin to feel smooth and silky.  Toss in roasted chickpeas and top with nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese.  Serve & Enjoy!

 

 

 

Week 1 – Healthy Eating on a Budget

The great thing about being prepared is you don’t stress out about lunch and you know you are eating healthy.  I’m also saving a lot of money this week and it’s only day 2!  Beyond the groceries I have I would typically get a regular coffee for close to $3.  I generally would spend between $12-15 for lunch, at least 2, sometimes 3 days during the week.  For dinner, we always have a bottle of wine (averaging about $15-18) and for the past two nights we’ve been going wine-less.  In one day, I’ve saved over $30 which is pretty exciting!

Going back to my previous post on my groceries bought for lunch in my week 1 post, I had the following meals on Tuesday.

DAY 2 – Week 1

9:30 AM – Breakfast (at work post spin class)

1 pkt 365 Instant Original Oatmeal (150 cal/2.5g fat/27g carbs/4g dietary fiber/1g soluble fiber/<1g sugar/6g protein)

½ scoop Sun Warrior Blend Chocolate Protein Powder (which I keep stock in vanilla and chocolate at all times)

1 Tsp maca (I use as a supplement because it is rich in vitamin B, C, and E. It also contains calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids)

1 tsp PB2 ( I typically have in the house and this is just for flavor if I want to keep my fat content lower at a specific meal otherwise I would use the nut butter itself)

Mix in all the above ingredients.  Add approx. ¾ cup water (hot or heat in microwave for 1 min).  Stir & add in ¼ cup of almond milk until consistency is creamy.  Add more milk if needed.  Heat another 20-30 seconds, stir and enjoy!

12:30 PM  – Lunch

½ cup leftover homemade daal & ¼ cup brown rice (From Sunday’s dinner)

1 slice Ezekiel bread

¼ sliced/mashed avocado

1 bottle Kombucha – post meal.  During lunch I drink water

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3:30 PM – SNACK

Wallaby 0% Greek Plain Yogurt

1 Tbsp Almond butter

1 medium mango sliced

8:00 PM – DINNER

2 – Homemade Black Bean Sweet Potato Burger topped with ¼ sliced avocado & salsa (recipe to come tomorrow and will be linked)

*Made baked lemon pepper chicken for my fiancé so I’m including that recipe here since I don’t eat meat)

  1. Cut 2 large organic chicken breasts and divide into 2  (makes 4 pieces)
  2. heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in microwave for 20 sec or until melted.  Pour mixture over chicken breasts
  3. squeeze 1/2 lemon over chicken breasts and top with black pepper
  4. Bake at 425 for 35-40 minutes or until cooked all the way through

1 Liter of water

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SNACK – post dinner

½ cup wasabi peas (not recommended for a clean diet by craving them!)

 

DAY 3 – Week 1

10AM – Green Juice

12PM – HU Kitchen

This was a last minute lunch with an out of town friend who was in the city for 1 day. I went outside of my grocery list to meet her because sometimes there are things that just come up and you have to make exceptionsJ

  • 1 paleo wild salmon cake
  • 1 paleo curried sweet potatoes
  • Cranberry Kombucha

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3:30PM – Vega One Spiced Chai protein shake with almond milk

7:00PM – Dinner

  • Homemade sweet potato burgers from the previous night topped with sliced avocado, sliced tomato and a side of salsa

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DAY 4 – WEEK 1

8:30AM Breakfast (post workout lifting)

2 hard-boiled egg whites

1 slice whole grain bread

¼ avocado smashed on toast

1 tsp hemp seeds sprinkled on top

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LUNCH 12:00PM

2 slices of whole grain toast

¼ avocado smashed on top of one piece and lemon dill tuna on the other

1 hard-boiled egg white

 

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SNACK 3:30PM (need extra carbs for spin class at 6:30)

Bowl of fruit drizzled in raw almond butter.  (1 small mango, 3 strawberries & ½ banana sliced)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since we are leaving for Miami tomorrow morning the goal was to clean out the fridge and that meant getting creative and mixing a lot of sides to equal a main.  It ended up delicious and very filling!  Best part is we cleaned out the fridge before we left for the weekend to start week 2!

Dinner 7:30PM (empty out the fridge night)

Sauteed brussel sprouts & tempeh  + leftover homemade sweet potato & black bean burger topped with a slice of avocado

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Breakfast on Friday pre our 8am flight was 2 hard boiled egg whites, leftover avocado and a slice of sprouted grain bread.

The weekend consisted of eating and drinking whatever we wanted.  We enjoyed wine, mojitos, gelato, chocolate desert, sushi, chips & guacamole, tacos and whatever we wanted.  We also were very active walking, running, biking and dancing the night away in little Havana.  We enjoyed the food, drink, culture and spent time with friends.  Life is about balance and its not worth it if you can’t enjoy yourself once in a while.  Next week goes back to eating clean.

 

 

 

 

Health Food on a budget challenge Week 1

I decided to challenge myself to actually track how much I spend on groceries.  I love seeing how creative I can get with the groceries I just purchased for the week combined with what I already have in my cabinets.  Now I have pretty basic ingredients to start but if you don’t know what I mean by basics you will start to learn if you follow along throughout this challenge.

I always like to purchase groceries for my fiancé and I and plan meals for the week.  We give ourselves a weekly budget but let’s be serious, we never stick to that budget.  Of all places we live in New York City with the best of the best restaurants, happy hours and a very packed social and work calendars.  Some weeks eating at home can be challenging but to hold ourselves to this challenge we removed our wine budget, yes we have a wine budget, and challenged ourselves to really stick to what we purchased this week.  Here’s a log of what was purchased to be prepared at work for lunch, including total cost, and a breakdown of what I ate today.

Lunches

Every Monday I walk to Whole Foods at lunch and get a few groceries for the week.  I’m usually pretty good about sticking to what I purchase but usually 1 or two days I’ll opt to go get sushi, a bowl or something else that sounds more appealing that day.  Here’s an image and long of what I purchased for $62.58.

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Here’s the full list of food purchased:

Ezekiel Bread

Unsweetened Almond Milk

2 mangos

2 avocados

3 small bananas

2 pink grapefruit

.84lb lemon dill tuna salad (no dairy)

1 jar organic almond butter (no sweetener, just almonds)

12 oz raw organic pressed beet juice

2 wallaby 0% plain Greek yogurt

12 oz vegan carrot ginger soup

Engine 2 Tuscan White Bean Burger

Monday, April 4th Log

Wake up 6:15 – Hot water with 1/2 sliced lemon to start every day

Breakfast 10AM (not standard. Case of the Mondays = no workout and late arrival to work) – Juicy Cube fresh juice 12 oz Detox Expert (carrots, spinach, cucumber, ginger, apple, parsley)

Lunch 12:30pm – 1/3 cup lemon dill tuna salad + vegan carrot ginger soup 12oz + small homemade falafel brought in by colleague at work topped with tsp tahini.  I drink water with lunch but have my kombucha after to serve as my probiotic which is key in my diet.

snack 3:30 – 1/2 grapefruit + 1 tbsp almond butter drizzled on 1 sliced banana

*dinner 7:30 – baked sole & zucchini noodles

Tonight my fiancé and I were craving sweets so I had a ton of frozen bananas and made nice cream with what I had in the cabinets(cashew butter, cinnamon, coconut milk, coconut flakes & cacao nibs) Now these kitchen ingredients are not standard but I’m not normal so they are for me and I typically have a variety of foods like this hanging around:)

I also drink a ton of water all throughout the day.  Key to keep hunger at bay and maintaining or losing weight.

That’s about all I can write this evening because I’m just exhausted and need to get up early.   However, tomorrow I’ll share my dinner pics and groceries purchased from Fresh Direct and log my daily meals from that order.