Inside: Tips for pulling together healthy, fresh and locally sourced breakfasts and snacks for a busy working Mom; information on accessing dietitian services through the Atlantic Superstore.
This post is sponsored by Atlantic Superstore. I’m glad to partner with brands I love, use and recommend!
I have a pretty big confession to make. For years, I’ve been literally failing at eating well, especially when it comes to breakfast and lunch. Since I launched my business, it’s been even worse because I will often sit down at my computer at 6am with a fresh pot of coffee and get so into my work groove that I don’t get up to eat until 2pm! (At which point, I’m borderline hangry and usually end up grabbing the least healthy option). It’s a bit embarrassing to say that Dan will sometimes text me during the day just to make sure I’m eating.
This all came to a head for me last August when we were road tripping across the country and I just didn’t feel right. I was eating all the foods I wanted to eat, but suddenly, they stopped agreeing with me. Like pull over on the side of the road multiple times between Quebec City and Montreal kind of not agreeing with me. It was wretched. And ever since then, I’ve had steadily worsening and more frequent bouts of the same.
My doctor hasn’t fully been able to isolate or diagnose the problem. We sense it’s a gallbladder issue. Though I do also have issues with my kidneys that result in me not fully absorbing some nutrients and metabolizing others too quickly. It’s all a bit of a mystery. However, the one thing I can and must now control is my diet.
Meeting with the Dietitian
When the team at Atlantic Superstore suggested I have a visit with one of their in-store registered dietitians as part of the Food Lovers Unite program, I knew it was a sign that I needed to educate myself and put my health first by way of healthy breakfast, snack and lunch options.
I think it’s fabulous that Atlantic Superstore has this kind of service! I mean, where better to meet a registered dietitian than right in the grocery store where you can then shop for everything you need to get going on your new eating plan?
I met with Kristen at my local store on a Monday for about 90-minutes. Honestly, I was so afraid I’d feel judged. I mean, I am the one with chronic digestive issues and yet I will still go days only eating black coffee and macaroni and cheese (true story). But I immediately felt comfortable sharing my struggles and asking questions about how I can do better.
After going through my health history, we focused in on my eating habits and goals. We determined that all that’s been standing in my way is a bit of planning and understanding how to build out a healthy, tasty, and quick meal plan that is nutrient-rich.
Taking Control of my Eating Habits
We’ve been doing well with planning supper because that’s Dan’s domain, but Kristen suggested that I take control of a separate shopping list for breakfasts and lunches! I can’t believe I’d never thought of that before.
I firmly believe it’s always best to use local and fresh ingredients where possible. So that’s where we started. Kristen pulled out a big list of veggie options and snack combinations and we went through an exercise of planning an entire day’s meals together.
There’s a great print-out you get in these sessions to help meal plan and create a shopping list. A few days later, when I was planning my weekly shop, I just logged onto the Atlantic Superstore website and looked at the weekly flyer section for the sales on produce, meat and cheese and it was so easy to fill my entire list!
Building a Healthy Weekly Breakfast Plan
None of this has been a drastic change to my lifestyle. It’s more a matter of awareness and small tweaks here and there. The key is to eat protein rich foods in the morning so that I don’t have that slump at 2pm. The other key is obviously eating more frequently.
My focus is now on ensuring that every meal or snack is comprised of a whole grain, something with healthy fat or protein and then a fruit or veggie. As far as lunch goes, Kristen gave me a bit of grace on eating a full ‘sit-down’ lunch every day and instead told me to never go longer than five hours between eating.
Essentially, this means that it’s okay to graze all day on healthy snacks, so long as I’m sticking to the balance between grains, fats and produce.
I’ve been practicing this new way of eating for about two weeks now and I 100% feel better! I’m sleeping more soundly and I feel as if I have more energy and much less mental fog.
Below are a few examples of the breakfasts and snacks I’ve been enjoying. Kristen really pushed me to try new sources of grain and protein with hemp seeds, chia seeds and experimenting with eating fish at different times of the day.
I’ve gotta say, I think a tuna melt breakfast might be my new favourite thing.
I made some basic tuna salad with flaked tuna in water (not oil) and served it on fresh, baked in-store pumpernickel bread with chopped avocado, fresh local cherry tomatoes and a few cubes of Canadian Cheddar cheese. It really did fill me up until snack time and I had NO 2pm slump!
Speaking of snack, around 11am I usually take a break and walk away from my desk for a couple minutes. I pulled together a balanced snack with some whole grain baguette crackers, fresh strawberries, strawberry cream cheese and sliced local cucumbers. It was so fresh and summery!
I still ended up having a late lunch, but that’s bound to happen from time to time. Around 2pm I pulled together a quick and delicious lunch using some leftover vegetarian chili, the leftover avocado half from the morning for some guacamole dip and a small bowl of real corn tortilla chips.
The next morning, I was determined to make a breakfast the entire family could eat before starting the day. It took me ten minutes to whip up a batch of the PC Blue Menu Buttermilk Protein Pancakes! You just add water, mix and fry them up! I served mine with sliced peaches and a 1/2 cup of full fat cottage cheese.
So what’s next? I will be meeting with Kristen in about a month for a follow-up and to see if these changes make a difference to my gut health. I know for sure they are going to help with the mental fog and getting rid of the ‘hangry’!
If you’re interested in changing your food story and learning how to have more fun with healthy, local (and delicious!) recipes, visit www.bookadietitian.ca to find a time for your own consult with a registered dietitian.
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