Nutritional Restoration Week
Summer time is easily my favorite time because there are family vacations, holidays, and several family birthdays all squeezed into these few sunny months, but it also means that my routine and nutrition can be out of whack frequently. I make a point to enjoy life and let my body's needs navigate my eating habits which usually means eating a balance of whole foods that satisfy and fuel my body while also enjoying things like beer and desserts in moderation. This balance keeps me physically and mentally well throughout the year, but sometimes I am in need of a little extra moderating without excessive restriction.
Last week I did what I like to call nutritional restoration. I ate the same items for breakfast, lunch and snacks every day for 5 days and even though my dinners varied each night I did make sure they were nutritionally rich. My focus with everything I eat is a balance of protein, vegetables and fruit, healthy fats, and unrefined carbs. For just these 5 days, I did eliminate alcohol and limited added sugar which is not usually a restriction I set on myself, but I feel best when I do short term breaks from these items after vacations and holidays. I would normally cut out added sugar, but I'll be honest there were a couple nights last week that I needed a few dark chocolate peanut butter cups. After all, this isn't about restriction.
Before sharing my weekly plan I do want to note that I am not a registered dietitian so while this plan works great for me (it is delicious, satisfying, and easy!) it might not fit your needs. Hopefully even if you don't choose to try out my 5 day nutritional restoration you might still enjoy trying the summery blueberry salad recipe below. If any of the dinner ideas peak your interest, I have step-by-step instructions for each one under a highlight on my Instagram page titled "Weeknight Dinners."
Typically, I start my mornings with overnight oats, but when I'm focused on a nutrient dense option I prefer my veggie loaded frittata. These beauty contains broccoli, bell peppers, and yellow onion so it packs in a lot of vitamins on top of the protein from the eggs. It becomes even more well rounded when served on top of a slice of Ezekiel bread for a dose of healthy carbs that will satiate you first thing in the morning. Don't forget an extra large glass of water (and of course coffee or tea if you need a caffeine boost)
I tend to get peckish a couple of hours after breakfast so I make my go-to smoothie:
1 cup organic spinach
1 scoop Vega protein+greens powder
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
2-3 pieces of frozen avocado
This smoothie is so nutrient dense that it always gives me an extra burst of energy. You can certainly sub any protein powder you prefer, but I love Vega's because it has leafy greens, omega-3's, fiber, 20 grams of plant based protein, and only 0-1 grams of sugar (none added). I'm not sponsored by Vega or anything. It is just a product that I have used for years.
There are so many great nutrient dense lunches that you can meal prep, but I feel my best when I take a few minutes to throw together a satisfying salad. The leafy greens really help my digestive system feel like it is working at its best. Even though you can't prep 5 days worth of salads on Sunday there are some easy options to help make the assembly quick. Here is my go-to salad:
2 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup crushed Pecans
2 1/2 tbsp Trader Joe's cold pressed green goddess dressing (sub any dressing, but this one is amazing!)
Even though some assembly is required, I love that each of the individual items are ready to go so you just build the salad to the portion that works best for you then enjoy! It is also perfect for summer because blueberries are in season.
Like I mentioned above, overnight oats are usually my go-to breakfast, but during this week I cut my double chocolate overnight oats recipe in half and enjoy it as an afternoon snack. This is the time I'm usually grabbing for something sweet and carb heavy so this will satisfy both cravings while also giving you the benefit of a vegetable serving, satiating carbs, and phenylethylamine from cacao powder (boosts focus and awareness).
As I mentioned above, I bring variety with my dinners throughout the week. Each is still nutrient dense, but also help me from being controlled by cravings throughout the week. Each recipe can be found on my Instagram page under the "Weeknight Dinners" highlight. These are also the recipes that my husband requests the most.
Monday: Broiled fajita steak with bell peppers, organic cheese, and whole wheat tortillas
Tuesday: Sweet and spicy salmon bowls with blistered snow peas and brown rice
Wednesday: Cauliflower gnocchi with ground turkey, mushrooms, and red sauce with asparagus
Thursday: Shrimp "sushi" bowls with diced cucumber, avocado, and brown rice
Friday: Zucchini turkey burger on lettuce bun with sweet potato fries and blueberry brussel sprout salad
Of course, you can sub any of your favorite dinners, but hopefully these ideas can provide some dinner inspiration whenever you need an easy, nutritious option that pleases everyone.
Bonus: Golden Milk
Enjoying a warm cup of golden milk before bedtime is one of my favorite forms of self care and it is also a nutritional wonder! Turmeric and MCT oil (found in coconut oil) both make my gut so happy. Golden milk can be enjoyed warm or cold, but there is something so soothing about a warm glass. Here is my favorite way to make golden milk, but the beauty is that you can really adjust all of the ingredients to make it to your preferences.
2 cups almond milk
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut oil
dash ground ginger
pinch black pepper (optional)
1-2 tbsp maple syrup (optional for added sweetness)
*Combine all ingredients in pot over low heat and stir until warm.
Even though I will always enjoy a few beers and overflowing plates of barbecue during the summer, sometimes it is just nice to take a break and focus on high quality nutrients. As soon as Saturday hits you can bet I'll be first in line at KC Bier Co for a hefeweizen and giant pretzels. I hope you enjoy these recipes whether you just try a couple or give the whole five days a shot! Happy summer friends!