Ahead of our upcoming nutrition challenge, we sat down with one of our nutrition coaches, Rebecca Naeve (aka Becks), to learn about what a full day of eating looks like for her.
A few things I think you’ll be surprised by:
- The volume of food Becks eats in a given day
- The high quality of her food despite Becks admitting that she doesn’t like to spend a ton of time cooking
Curious what a full day of eating should look like for you? Don’t forget that out nutrition workshop is happening on February 9th, and our 6-week nutrition challenge begins on February 18th!
Meal 1: Breakfast Pre-Workout (6:30 AM)
Oatmeal with collagen, strawberries, blueberries, peanut butter, cinnamon,
almond milk & Enjoy Life chocolate chips.
Macro Breakdown: 51g Carbs, 16g Fat, 20g Protein
I wake up hungry! I make sure to eat about an hour or so before I workout, so my body has time to digest. I always aim to eat something that has a good amount of carbs to support my workout, as well as protein. Both carbs & protein are super important to consume before working out to help our bodies perform their best! I also have a sweet tooth, so eating something like oatmeal with fruit, chocolate chips & some peanut butter satisfies that for me, while also helping me go hard at the gym.
Meal 2: Post-workout (9:45 AM)
Coffee with collagen & heavy cream; egg whites with mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, and spinach; Kodiak Cakes pancakes with PB. (Not pictured: FitAid Recover drink, 11C)
Macro Breakdown: 72.5g Carbs, 13g Fat, 54g Protein
After working out, it’s crucial to eat something with carbs & protein – I just asked my body to work hard, and now I need to replenish the carbs/energy that I used in that workout, as well as make sure to help repair my muscles with protein. By eating lots of vegetables, I get a lot of volume from my food, as well as fiber & micronutrients. By adding fat in there, I know that this meal will keep me fuller for longer, since fat takes longer to digest. I add collagen as a supplement to my coffee for a couple reasons: first, collagen is really beneficial for healthy skin, hair, nails, bones, joints, and connective tissue. Second, it’s pure protein, and dissolves in any hot or cold liquid without any taste, so I add it to my coffee to get more protein. As far as why I’m drinking coffee AFTER a workout instead of before, this is simply a personal preference that works for me!
I don’t like to spend a lot of time cooking, so I always make sure to have the things I know I love and can prepare quickly on hand. For me, this means lots of veggies: zucchini, mushrooms, and asparagus are staple items for me, as are egg whites! I am a pancake FIEND, and the Kodiak Cakes are foolproof – you just add water to the mix, and not only are they delicious, but they pack a good amount of carbs & protein.
Meal 3: Lunch (2:05 PM)
Spinach, sweet potato, extra lean ground turkey, beets, pumpkin seeds & mustard
Macro Breakdown: 28g Carbs, 5.5g Fat, 33g Protein
Because I had a large, nutrient-dense breakfast, I was full for most of the morning and had a later lunch around 2PM. I had some pre-cooked ground turkey that I used on top of spinach, canned beets, sweet potatoes, and added some pumpkin seeds for some good crunch (pumpkin seeds are also very high in minerals & vitamins). I topped it with mustard for some more flavor that didn’t add any additional calories.
I always try to have pre-cooked meat (chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, etc.) on hand that I make once or twice a week, and I also always try to have a good carbohydrate prepped as well (like sweet potatoes!). This way, if I’m in a rush, I can get a healthy, well-balanced meal with just those two items, throw in some spinach or other greens, and drizzle on some olive oil or avocado oil for fat.
Snack (3:30 PM)
Rice cakes with peanut butter, Yasso Greek Frozen Yogurt Bar (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – not pictured)
Macro Breakdown: 44g Carbs, 15g Fat, 13g Protein
I wasn’t hungry enough for a meal, but wanted a little something before I left to go back to the gym to coach. This is where I decided to fit in some more “fun” foods – I was still decently full from lunch, and knew that I would be less tempted to overeat on the snack foods because I was not terribly hungry. I usually get a bit of a sweet craving around mid-afternoon, and these options are perfect for satisfying that craving.
Snack: After Coaching, Before Olympic weightlifting Class (7:00 PM)
Kids RX Bar, 1 rice cake, 2 kiwis.
Macro breakdown: 40g Carbs, 7g Fat, 8g Protein
I opted for some more carbs before my second training session, since I knew I was going to be lifting weights for the next 90 minutes. Because carbohydrates are our primary source of energy, I had two kiwis, a rice cake, and an RX Bar before lifting, and felt great throughout my training session because I was properly fueled.
Meal 5: Dinner (9:00 PM)
Spinach, beets, sweet potatoes, turnips, mushrooms, extra lean turkey, mustard, and pumpkin seeds.
Macro breakdown: 69 g Carbs, 8g Fat, 42g Protein
This was my last meal of the day, and since I had just done another session, wanted to be sure I got in a good amount of carbs and protein. You’ve probably noticed that a lot of my meals are pretty similar, in that that same foods show up for multiple meals; I personally don’t have the desire to make 5 crazy dramatic or complicated meals each day. It’s time consuming, overwhelming, and ultimately unnecessary! When I’m hungry, I’m hungry NOW, and I want to eat NOW! By having pre-cooked protein options and pre-cooked carbs, I can throw whatever veggies I want into a pan, and then 10 minutes later have a really healthy, filling meal that I know I’m going to enjoy.
Supplements taken everyday: Iron, Echinacea, Vitamin D + Calcium, Fish Oil, and Turmeric.
While it isn’t crucial to take vitamins at a certain time, I have found that it’s helpful to take these at the same time everyday – consistency creates habits, and by taking them at the same time each day, I rarely forget to!
Iron is important for red blood cell health (at a higher altitude, Iron is crucial to make sure our body can efficiently move red blood cells around so we get enough oxygen!); Echinacea helps with keeping my immune system healthy; Vitamin D plus Calcium is important for strong bones, and help support heart health, muscle & nerve functions; Fish Oil also reduces inflammation and provides essential omega fatty acids; and Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, and also helps keep a healthy immune system.
Totals For the Day
Macro breakdown: 305g Carbs, 64g Fat, 170g Protein
I know what you’re thinking. “Dang, Becks, you eat a lot!”
I sure do! Why do I eat this much? Let’s chat!
This was a higher volume day for me – meaning, I did two workouts, about 10 hours apart. Because I did both a morning session and an evening session, on top of coaching (which is pretty active!), I need to be sure to give my body time to recover in between my workouts. Recovery means resting/not being on your feet all day, yes, but it also means eating the correct amount of food, as well as making sure it’s nutrient dense/good quality food!
You’ll notice that while most of my food is coming from unprocessed options like vegetables and meat, there is still room in there for the more fun, “snacky” foods – I had pancakes, an RX Bar, some rice cakes, and the frozen Greek yogurt bar. All of these options add something to my daily caloric intake, and by tracking my macronutrients carefully, I can still enjoy some more fun foods while making sure the majority of my food is coming from healthier options, like quality meat and vegetables.
Another thing I want to point out is the amount of food I’m eating. For a higher volume day (such as this), I’m eating a lot! 305 grams of carbohydrates, 64 grams of fat, and 170 grams of protein — this ends up being close to 2,500 calories. I’m an active person, and I have goals related to my fitness. The amount of food that I’m eating supports my activity level while also supporting my goals, which are to maintain strength/muscle mass, but change my body composition to be a bit leaner.
I focus on quality AND quantity for this, and I get to eat more volume of food by choosing more nutrient-dense options. As an example, one rice cake is 11g of carbs – I can eat this, or I could opt for a cup of about 1.5 oz of sweet potatoes. Both are giving me the same amount of carbohydrates, but if I eat the sweet potatoes, that’s simply MORE food.
Your macronutrient numbers are entirely based around your age, height, weight, activity level, and goals. It’s super important to acknowledge that everyone is different, and you cannot base your food intake off of what someone else is doing. But, what I really want to illustrate is that eating less is not always better, and that it is SO important to eat enough to support your activity levels!
When we are very active, and doing intense or demanding workouts (like CrossFit or strength training), our bodies need energy (food) to support the level of output we’re asking of it.
When we don’t give it the proper amounts of energy, our body starts thinking, “Hmmm, I’m not getting the energy I need to support this activity level – maybe something bad is coming! Is there a famine? If so, I better hold on to all this body fat just in case something bad happens!” Because our body is trying to protect us and keep us alive, this may be when we stop seeing results, and we hang on to more body fat than we’d like to. If we are eating too little food, this can send our body into a famine/storage mode because it’s not getting the amounts that it needs to effectively & properly sustain and regulate body processes.
Alternatively, if we’re giving our body too MUCH food, our body starts to think, “well, this is cool – I don’t need all of this right now, so I’ll store it for you until we need to use it!” This is where we might start putting on weight, because we’re consuming more calories than we need to support our activity level.
My hope is that this full day of eating gives you some insight into what realistic, healthy eating looks like! We do not have to be super restrictive to see results, but there does need to be some discipline and structure to what we eat, so we must make good choices. My goal as a nutrition coach is to help you find the foods that you love to eat, while supporting your lifestyle, goals, and daily routine.