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What does Sara eat?

by Sara Young, MS, RDN

I get asked all the time what I eat. I think what people expect to hear is something revolutionary and life changing, but that's not actually the case. I'll pretty much eat anything and have an appreciation for most foods but the majority of the time, I prefer daily nutrition to be simple. Elaborate meals need not apply - I just need my food to be functional. Over the years of experimentation with my own diet and how it affects my body and my performance, I've learned what foods don't work well for me. Every now and again I'll eat them because I still enjoy those foods, but for the most part, they aren't in my kitchen. 

80/20 rule

I practice what I preach - I eat a ton of vegetables, some fruit, protein at every meal, healthy fats, and whole grains/starches. 80% of the time, that is actually my diet. The other 20%, I'm a little more liberal. Because, every now and again, you really do just need {insert said indulgence here}. I side with the philosophy that all food is nourishing. Some foods are beneficial for the body, other foods help to feed the soul. It's when we put food into "good" and "bad" categories that we usually restrict "bad" foods and will often end up bingeing on them when we do indulge. So it's okay to have some foods in our diet that aren't necessarily fantastic for our body - just in moderation, not all the time. 

It all starts with a plan

I'm deliberate with my nutrition. I spend time every weekend planning my menu for the coming week, making a shopping list, grocery shopping, and preparing my meals. Because I have very little time at home during the week, meal planning is a must in my book. But even if you do have a lot of time on your hands, meal planning can help create healthy habits by ensuring your diet is thoughtful and nourishing. I notice on the days that I don't plan, I eat things that I wouldn't normally eat and don't make my body feel good.

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The list - I never shop without it

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A week's worth of groceries 

I make sure that my meals are balanced - carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats at every meal so that my energy is sustained throughout the day and I don't crash mid-afternoon. And most of my food is whole food based, or prepared from scratch. Beyond that, I get creative. I will scout the internet or cookbooks for new things to make every weak so I don't get bored. And I make absolutely sure to prepare tasty meals while incorporating dense nutrition into every one. 

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Cooked, balanced, and portioned. A beautiful array of colors and nutrients.

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One day's worth of food:

Greek yogurt soaked overnight oats for breakfast, apple and hardboiled eggs for morning snack, an asian salmon salad with extra veggies for lunch, nuts and dried fruit for afternoon snack, and seasoned chicken, roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts for dinner. Add cold brewed coffee in the morning and lemon water throughout the day, and this is a pretty typical day for me. 

Good nutrition can seem like a chore at first, but after a bit of practice, a little time invested can pay dividends in the end.  

pin-it.jpg Happy eating! 

Related blog posts:

What to eat before & after exercise

Batch cooking 101

Meal planning

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