Eating healthy can be a challenge. Need help getting started? Browse Pollack’s daily food diary for a little inspiration.
Eating healthy can be a challenge. Busy lifestyles and long work hours make it tempting to opt for takeout instead of preparing nutritious, well-balanced meals. But don’t surrender! Just take it one healthy meal at a time. “No one eats perfectly 100 percent of the time,” says Jacqueline Pollack, M.S., R.D., a nutrition counselor at Riverfront Nutrition Associates, which has offices in Edgewater, Hackensack and Ramsey (riverfrontnutrition.com). “Setting realistic goals for yourself will make the transition to a healthier lifestyle easier. It’s like training for a marathon. You need to walk before you can run.” Need help getting started? Browse Pollack’s daily food diary for a little inspiration.
- 2/3 cup granola
- 1 container 0% plain Greek yogurt
I love Greek yogurt in the morning because of its high calcium and protein content. The protein keeps my blood sugar stable and helps keep me full throughout the morning. And the granola provides fiber, ready energy to wake me up and a hint of sweetness.
- 2 slices sprouted-grain bread
- Tbs. almond butter
Tb. strawberry jelly
(When strawberries are in season I slice up fresh strawberries instead.)
- 1 banana
Sprouted-grain bread retains much more of its nutritional content than other breads. The active enzymes also encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut and provide lots of antioxidants. These breads also have a lower glycemic index, meaning they turn to sugar at a slower rate, thereby preventing blood-sugar highs and lows. The almond butter gives me my protein for the meal and is a great source of vitamin E and iron. A piece of fruit on the side is always a good idea; I usually choose bananas for their high potassium content and portability.
- 1 pineapple-flavored cottage cheese double
- 1 apple
In the afternoon, I like a combination of carbohydrates and protein to keep me full and focused. Cottage cheese is an excellent source of calcium and protein. Because I’m always on the go, I like the cottage cheese and fruit combinations. Although they may have some added sugars, they are loaded with nutrition and are especially convenient for a busy work day. Later on in the afternoon, I like to have an apple because it is high in fiber and vitamin C— and very refreshing!
- 1 whole wheat wrap
6 oz. tilapia marinated with chopped cilantro,
Tbs. olive oil, lime juice and black pepper
- ½ avocado
homemade tomato salsa:
chopped up tomatoes and red onion
- shredded red cabbage
- roasted asparagus with olive oil, garlic and paprika
Fish tacos are a quick and easy option after a long day at work. Tilapia, my source of lean protein, contains unsaturated fat as well as vitamin B12. I prepare it with olive oil, which is high in monounsaturated fat, and I use whole wheat wraps to make sure I’m getting my daily fiber. My homemade tomato salsa is great because of its lycopene content, which can help fight cancer. Avocado is not only delicious but also a terrific source of monounsaturated fat and potassium—and it’s fantastic for your skin and hair! The red cabbage is very high in anthocyanin polyphenols, which are great antioxidants and contain antiinflammatory properties. For an extra veggie, I add some roasted asparagus on the side, which is a good source of fiber, folate and antioxidants.
- 1 small piece dark chocolate and 4 oz. red wine
I have a sweet tooth, especially after dinner, and I satisfy this craving with a small piece of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and can help lower the risk of heart disease (of course, only when eaten in small quantities). My 4-ounce glass of red wine is a good choice because it contains resveratrol, a polyphenol that may help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. It’s important to note that these benefits disappear if you exceed the recommended daily amounts, which is why I stick to 4 ounces. (For men, it’s 8 ounces.)