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Want to Eat Healthy? Try a Food Diary

Jan25

food-diaryWith so many fast food chains, tempting commercials, and to-go options these days, eating healthy (and affordably) can be a challenge.  Employees–especially those trapped in an office all day–struggle with the costs of eating lunch out, getting a good breakfast before leaving home in the morning, and making time to eat a good dinner.

To help yourself stay on track, consider investing in a food diary. Having a food diary allows you to watch what you eat (literally), and your entries don’t need to be anything simple. Here are two pages from my own diary–check out how I got started; maybe it will inspire you to start your own!

Day One, Morning:

Homemade granola (oats, small amounts of syrup, honey and salt, spices, almonds)

Greek yogurt, fresh raspberries

Black coffee

A simple, straightforward, filling breakfast. I bake my own granola so as to save money and produce something less sickly-sweet (and corn syrup-laden) than the alternative.

Day One, Afternoon:

Whole wheat toast

Lentil stew (sweet potato, red lentils, serrano chiles, garlic, onion, a handful of spices)

Water

I made a lot of this lentil stew–an Indian recipe by design, reworked in light of some great Ethiopian food I’ve had recently–and it kept perfectly for several days, making it my go-to dish for a quick lunch (or breakfast when I ran out of oats and milk). It was cheap, easy to make, and quite low in fat, though obviously the starch content is fairly high.

Day One, Dinner:

Spinach salad with goat cheese and a simple vinaigrette (balsamic, olive oil, dijon mustard)

Baked sweet potato

Carrots and roasted red pepper hummus

On nights I don’t feel like cooking I almost always opt to make a simple salad, especially one with spinach, as it’s unbelievably filling. The carrots and hummus help to adjust the general lack of protein in this meal, though it’s obviously rather low.

Day Two, Breakfast:

Coffee with milk

Granola with milk and fresh strawberries

Essentially the same as the first morning. I ran out of yogurt and used milk instead, both for the cereal and the coffee.

Day Two, Lunch:

Cashews

Fresh fruit

Whole wheat toast with cheese (good white cheddar, garlic, vinegar)

A light lunch heavy on nuts because I woke up late. Nothing complicated while I’m working.

Day Two, Dinner:

Black bean soup with cilantro cream

Extremely inexpensive, filling soup. A can of black beans, a few slices of bacon for added fat, vegetables, hot sauce, and broth = an easy way to stretch $5 into two days’ worth of eating.

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