Take a Peek at a Healthy Eater's Meal Plan

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You've peeked inside our fridges, and we've spilled our secrets about exercising in public. Now we're going to let you take a peek at our meal plans.

On a recent blog, someone wanted to know what a typical day is like for a SparkPeople expert in terms of eating. I remembered to both track my food and photograph it twice last week so I could share it with you. Do we eat the same foods? Would you eat what I eat?

I tend to eat a big breakfast, a moderate lunch and a slightly larger dinner, with one or two snacks. I love vegetables and always eat those before eating anything else on my plate. I don't eat meat or white bread/pasta/etc. I sometimes track calories, and I generally stay between 1,600 and 1,900 calories, the recommended amount from the SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker. (Honestly I'm usually pressing the upper limit of that. I like to eat!) I practice yoga daily and take Spinning, run and/or walk a few times a week, so I'm pretty active. I'm good at eating only when I'm hungry, but I have a bad habit of grazing when I'm bored or stressed.

Take a look at what I ate:

Thursday, April 16

7 servings of fruits and vegetables
9 cups of water

Breakfast: (9 a.m.) I always loved oatmeal, but Kath over at KathEats.com helped me elevate my oatmeal to a new level. Kath tops her oatmeal with all kinds of goodies. My favorite is almond butter and a banana with a bit of vanilla soymilk and cinnamon. Today I changed it up with eight roasted almonds (I buy raw, so I toasted these in the toaster oven while my oatmeal cooked) about 2/3 of an ounce of chocolate chips (a new topping for me--it was so decadent!) and a cup of strawberries.
This was like dessert for breakfast. I will stick with my banana and almond butter most days, but I liked this!

Lunch: (1 p.m.) During last night's Spinning class, I concocted a strange but thankfully tasty recipe: Broccoli and Cauliflower with Whole Wheat Pasta in a Honey-Lemon-Thyme Sauce, topped with Bleu Cheese. I had the leftovers today and added a scrambled egg for extra protein. (There was about 2 cups here, half veg and half pasta.)

Snack: About half an ounce of almonds and pecans. I wasn’t really hungry but wanted to eat something small around 4 p.m.

Dinner: (8 p.m.) I try to cook from scratch, but between yoga classes and teacher training, I've been short on time. I steamed sweet potatoes, added a can of black beans and a carton of Trader Joe's Latin Style Black Bean Soup and called it dinner. I added some avocado and two slices of multigrain bread from the bakery near my apartment. (I also drank a gulp of pomegranate kefir while dinner was cooking. I had just returned from the gym and was starving!

Snack 2: (10 p.m.) I was still a little hungry an hour after dinner and carving something sweet. I had a half-cup of plain nonfat yogurt with two tablespoons of real maple syrup (I didn't mean to have that much--I overpoured!) and about 1/4 cup of Grape-Nuts. It was sweet and tasty.

Friday, April 17

6 servings fruits and vegetables
9 cups of water

Breakfast: I usually eat breakfast at work, and four days out of five, it's oatmeal. I shop for produce at the farmers market and small shops at our public market on Saturdays, so we tend to be low on fruit and fresh vegetables on Fridays. Today I had a rather boring oatmeal/multigrain hot cereal mix with pecans (broken into pieces to stretch them) a bit of sugar (not necessary, I decided. I couldn't even taste it) and some soy milk. It ate at home because I had a meeting near my apartment. I was really thirsty when I woke at 6 for yoga, so I had 6 ounces of coconut water.

Lunch: I tried a new Healthy Choice meal, Sweet Asian Pot Stickers, with an extra half-cup of Harvest Hodgepodge vegetables from Trader Joes. I forgot to pack my lunch but thankfully the SparkPeople fridge and freezer are stocked with healthy food! This was better than I expected. I really liked it!

Snack: 1 medium banana with 1 T almond butter. I am allergic to peanuts, so almond butter is a staple for me. I usually buy the raw crunchy variety from Trader Joe's.

Dinner: I keep a can of almonds in the car for nights when I'm ravenous on the way home from the gym. The chili lime kind are tasty, and just a few (I think I ate three) tided me over until I got home. (It's only a 10-minute drive!) I ate leftovers from last night: more black bean/sweet potato soup with bread. That bagel you see under "dinner" is actually a bialy that I picked up at the bakery when I bought bread for the week. I ate it between breakfast and lunch. Eating breakfast at 8 instead of 9 made me hungry earlier.

Snack/Dinner 2: On Fridays I leave room for a fourth meal late at night. I go to the gym or have yoga training until at least 8, I eat a snack, then we meet friends for a drink or dinner. I tend to eat a small meal around 11. (I had falafel and a pint of Bell's Oberon!)

So that's what I ate. I don't track my food every day, but I do track fruits and vegetables. I usually eat 6-8 servings a day. My meal plan isn't "perfect" (I need to get more calcium most days), but I think it's pretty healthy!

Did you find this feature interesting? Would you like to see more features like this one? Is my meal plan anything like yours?

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Stepf, this was great! I'd definitely like to see more blogs like this one.

My meal plans contain meat because I'm not a veg. However, yours looked yummy and healthful! Report
Please have feature more blogs like this. It helps me learn how "real" people who are being healthy are eating. Always good to get tips from others. Thanks. Report
fiber is in everything i eat !! Report
this is a very informative blog. I have trouble keeping the fiber up but looking at the daily menu I can see where I can improve. Thanks for sharing this. Report
Great idea! It is helpful to see what someone actually eats instead of just an article with suggestions. I would love to see others, especially someone who does eat meat and also hypoglycemic. Report
Yes, this is a great article. It's nice to hear a real-life account of a few days of healthy eating. Report
Thanks for sharing your meal plan with us Stepfanie:)

YUM! You diet suits me fine (not very fond of sugar).....which used to be almost the same as mine when I was a vegetarian, add to that an Indian meal every other day! Stay healthy !! Report
You forgot to mention that it was not easy to make so much from scratch to start with (Especially for one person) but that after you did this for a while it becomes much easier. And that eating fresh,local and in season is so tasty and hard to go back to the old way of "grabbing something". (insert wink here) Report
The strawberries and chocolate chips look awesome. I needed some new ideas for the oatmeal. Thanks. Report
I loved this blog! My meals aren't quite as exotic as yours. I eat an egg and fruit for breakfast or cold cereal. Lunch is usually a big salad and some meat or cottage cheese from my company cafeteria. Snacks are a protein bar, fruit, or yogurt. Dinner is meat and vegetables and maybe pasta. Your meals gave me some ideas for more vegetarian options. I get really tired of chicken all the time. Thanks for sharing!! Report
The oatmeal ideas are good. I and my husband are not vegetarians, I would love to see a blog of someones meal plan who is not a vegan. My husband would have a fit if I cooked like this, and although I can make a lot of healthier choices independent of what he eats, I don't have the time to cook differently for two. Also, cost seems prohibitive to me to eat like this as we are on a very tight budget. I might be able to filter some of these things in, though. Very interesting and sparked my thinking. Thanks. Report
Great blog. Thanks! I also loved the link to Kath Eats Real food. Can't wait to try out some oatmeal creations! Report
I would LOVE to see a daily blog like this with pictures of the meals. Report
Stefanie - may I suggest a tablespoon or two of greek yogurt on your oatmeal in the morning. A while ago I got to thinking and decided if I had more protein in the morning it may help me be less hungry mid-morning. I switched my super skim milk for Fage' Greek yogurt with no more than a teaspoon of Cinnamon and sugar - mmmmmmm. For a change - recently I started making breakfast quesadillas if I remember to do some prep the night before - I slice up a 1/4 to 1/2 cup each of mushrooms and peppers, a clove of garlic.
In the morning I saute them in a pan sprayed with olive oil pam. While they are cooking I warm a La Tortilla soft wrap (they are high in fiber - 13 g). As the veggies cook I add 1/2 cup egg beaters w/ yolk (tastes like real eggs at much less the calories and fat). I sprinkle a 1/4 of reduced fat shredded cheese on the tortilla let that start to melt, add the eggs and fold in half. I cut it in quarters and eat while I do the other things necessary in the morning - feed cats, get lunch, etc.
Thanks for sharing - I hope my sharing is helpful/useful to someone else.

Frances Report
I have a very similar diet to yours, except less calories because I'm not nearly as active. I tend to go low on protien as well. All of your meals sounded tasty to me. Report
Just when my meal plans were getting into a rut and I started spinning my wheels I read this blog and got re-energized. It is very helpful to see how others really eat and discover new ideas that are helpful in creating new menus. I am looking forward to seeing more blogs like this one showing what real people do to stay fit and lose weight. Report
This was interesting. Some people just live differently than others.

What I mean is, we're early-to-bed, early-to-rise type of people, and Steph, here, obviously isn't. I can't imagine eating after 9 pm. We're up about 5 am, and ready for bed by 9 pm, 10 at the latest. On weekends, we might make it to 11 pm, but we're still up by 7:30 am at the latest. We also have 3 kids that are early risers, so that affects us as well. I can't imagine having a job that doesn't start until late in the morning. All the jobs I've had start at 8 am at the latest.

Anyway, it was interesting to see how someone else organizes their day/eating habits. Report
This was very helpful. I've been off track lately and this points me in the right direction! TThanks for sharing! Report
Oh, yeah! I could happily eat like Stepfanie for the rest of my life! I took some mental notes on the goodies she displayed here, too. Bring on ALL your SparkTeam healthy eaters' meals...we've got our antennae up! Report
I'm like you in that it is usually some cereal based concoction for breakfast (oatmeal in the winter, cold cereal in the summer) but I don't care much for nuts and as much as I have tried to like it, I can't stand kefir (although I love Dannon's lite and fit vanilla yogurt and use that for all kinds of things. I really haven't found ANY frozen lunches/dinners I like so I have to be pretty desparate for time to resort to those. Lunch is usually a sandwich and either soup or salad. That sweet potato/black bean soup sounds great! Dinner is likely to be just about anything. Last night it was an egg white omelet with grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and mushroom with ww toast and home made pear jam. Snacks are usually a home made bran muffin or some fruit with yogurt. Report
Oooh cocunut water sounds good :) Thanks for posting ;) Report
It was really fun to see what one of the experts eats. Makes me feel I'm doing okay with my own plan, though I would find it hard to have to think so much about all that stuff she puts together! I love the idea of adding toppings to things, but I'm just too darn lazy to bother! Anyway, thanks for sharing! Would love to see other experts' food planners as well! Maybe someone who isn't a vegetarian??? Report
Ok the potstickers I would eat but call me crazy nothing else on that menu would even bgin to whet my sense of sight appetite. I like to enjoy all my senses when I eat and those pictures just weren't doing it at all. Report
I loved this feature...and it was great to see that one of our "experts" actually ate REAL amounts of REAL food! BRAVO! Report
Love that soup for dinner creation. I must remember that. Report
This a great blog. "What the experts do"! I like seeing how success looks and what canbe my future when I am finally at a healthier bodyweight. I would like to see many more of this kind of posts. I think I'm not alone in saying that these facts will give us a birds eye view of how the healthy live and that can be a wonderful inspiration to us all here on sparks. Thank you for this one. I loved it!! PS) I would eat this way with some added meats for protein and a vitamin suppliment. Report
Thanks for sharing this article and I do not like to oatmeal. and thinking you should give more on this kind of article... Report
wow I like that you incorporate a variety of fruits in your oatmeal. More ideas for my oatmeal. thanks Report
Thank you....Yes I would be interested in seeing more like this. Being a Newbie to Sparkle and needing to lose weight I need all the help to see how others eat. I've always tried to round out my meals, meat, starch(potato or pasta or rice) Vegetable(I Love them, brussel sprouts, broccilli, cauliflower,green beans etc).

Being able to see how others eat per day will help me scale down, thanks for the insight to how someone else manages.
I eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast too. I like your idea of adding fruit, nuts and milk. I will have to try that. Thanks Report
I enjoyed reading this article

thanks Report
This is a very good post! I like getting an idea of what other people are doing to keep themselves healthy. I think it would be beneficial to also get a sneak peek at an exercise plan as well. Report
Shoot, eat twice as much almost and you have mine. Had to eat a cup of nuts tongiht to meet my goal on fat and calories for the day. Report
I loved reading your "Peek at a Healthy Eater's Meal Plan," it gave me some good ideas and reminded me how much I miss Trader Joe's....Also, falafel sounds yummy and I need to make some....Have a wonderful weekend and thanks agai for sharing. Report
I like the sound of the quick fix soup you made with the sweet potato, and black beans from Trader Joe's. I'll have to give it a try.
Trader Joes is a great place to pick up some wonderful healthy foods. I keep many stocked in my pantry. Report
I like oatmeal a lot. Report
I liked this blog and yes would love to see more of what others eat. I log my food everyday, and love to cook and mix things up. That Oatmeal at the top looks so good I will have to try that one. I usually toss in a banana, dried blueberries and raisins. I do eat oatmeal often. I also cook for myself and am always adding veggies to whatever I eat. Mushrooms are a major staple for me. Report
Wow what a great blog. I wish there was a team just for this where people would take pictures and go into detail this way about their food. I think this would really help everyone on their journey...especially me...lol Report
everything you eat today looked good I hope you like it. Report
Thanks for giving me the impetus to concentrate more on the fruit and veg servings. I eat tons of salad but not much else so I get enough servings but with no variety. I'd love to see a similar blog for a 1200 calorie daily diary cuz I would like to eat like Stephanie but am older and trying to lose weight but close to my optimal weight so 1200 cals is my limit. Report
Thanks for the motivation to get more creative with oatmeal additions! I like to eat steel cut oats because they are more heart healthy, but the drawback is they take longer to cook. A crock pot comes in handy. Add ingred at night on low, and 8 hrs later in the morning you have hot oatmeal to greet you plus the aroma of the apples, raisins, and cinnamon that have been cooking. Then you add a few walnuts, sliced banana, and flaxmeal to your bowl for a very satisfying meal that keeps you full for much longer than a quick-oats meal. Saw the recipe on SP, sorry I don't have the link. Report
Never thought to add all that to oatmeal, what a great idea. Especially for me when I have a problem getting enough minerals. Thanks Report
I like your lunch; that's something I usually eat. I can only have soup for dinner once a week. I do need a bit more at dinner time because we eat at 5 p.m. But when we do have soup I serve my sourdough breads with it. Yummy! Report
I haven't tried coconut water but I ALWAYS hear about it. Is it good? Report
oh, yes. I forgot to mention the flaxseed on my oatmeal. Usually I have some whole and some ground. Report
your chocolate chips on top looks amazing! makes me want some :) Report
i think i asked that question :) thanks. Yeah i think i and my family eat super healthy...my mom always eats oatmeal for breakfast. While I really like it, I don't know how to make it work. It seems high in calories for the amount. Like 1/2 cup of oat meal and 1/2 cup of milk is 250 calories. That is fine, but I so need at least twice as much as that (and also need protein otherwise I feel like i am about to faint in 30 mins). It feels like way too little food...but I wish I could make it work I like it and I know it's super healthy. I usually eat greek yogurt because it is high protein and isn't as heavy as eggs Report
It is always interesting to see and know what others eat. I am a meat eater and a salad weaner. I can't digest too many raw veggies and fruit belongs in smoothie style for me to digest without getting sick. I think if it works for you and you are one to be able to try something new, go for it. I eat 3 meals and about 4 snacks a day. It is crazy but my body be hungry an hour later after a snack and if I don't eat another one, I get a headache. My breakfast goes for 3 hours and then 3 snacks (Kashi which suppose to last and give off slow something) then lunch which is my main meal, after about 4 hours it is snack time and finally 2 hours later it is snack before workout and then dinner time. WOO what a day of eating non stop! Report
I'm always interested to see what other people eat--it gives me ideas. Thanks for sharing and keep it coming. Report
I enjoyed this blog. I'd love to see more blogs like this with healthy ideas. I, too, like the Trader Joe's Hodge Podge vegetables and Black Bean Soup also the frozen 3 minute brown rice is a winner with me. She is very creative and I like that. Report