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what do healthy everyday people eat?

I recently posted on the JCN Facebook Page a link to an article entitled ‘What Nutritionists Really Eat in a Day’ on The Coveteur with a question regarding realistic expectations. It provoked a lot of discussion, many of you questioning just how realistic some of these wildly ambitious healthy diets can be.

It can be inspiring of course for some to read such posts, however it can also be quite daunting and unattainable for many, which was quite evident in the response to the article. For me, when reading articles based around what ‘health professionals’ eat, one has to ask oneself if this is really a good representation of how the average day-to-day busy person can eat to stay on top of their game?

Therefore, I decided that I would like to share with you all a day in the life of a selection of my long-term clients diets. What you will see is that each person differs in his or her needs and daily requirements, along with their desire and time spent on food preparation. At the core of each diet however, fundamentally you will see:

  • Each person’s daily intake of food is maintainable and realistic, dependent on the level of food variation and preparation you desire.
  • Each diet is quite diverse, and therefore highlights that a ‘one size fits all approach’ is simply not possible. Some choose to put more time into prep over others. This does not make one person ‘better’, it just simply means that approach works well for them as an individual.
  • Each person’s dietary intake is macronutrient balanced, that being all of their main meals through the day have a balance of complex carbohydrates, protein and fats (with of course a little room to move without being overly controlling).

My main goal as you read through this blog post is to inspire you, show you what realistic healthy eating evolves. How it has ebbs and flows to adjust to what is needed to meet each person’s lifestyle, whilst highlighting that being healthy does not require obscure ingredients, expensive ‘superfoods’ and unrealistic preparation time.

So lets get started!

 Ps. Please keep in mind that the JCN Clinic deals heavily with food intolerances, hence you will see each person has highlighted problematic foods for them. This does not mean that those foods are ‘bad’ or ‘unhealthy’. They simply just cause issues for each of these people as an individual. If you would like more information of food intolerances please see here

 what do healthy everyday people eat? | jessica cox

lisa

Occupation: Manager

Age: 47

Daily exercise: Personal training session or group class at gym (Monday to Friday) and walking (at least 10000 steps/day) Saturday and Sunday

Food intolerances: egg, soy, cow’s milk

breakfast

Pre-workout – 1 piece of toast with tahini, avocado & lemon juice.

Post-workout – home-made protein smoothie with fruit, spinach, quinoa flakes & different seeds

Morning Tea

Coffee on goat’s milk, 2 ryvitas with dip (more and more varieties available that are preservative free and cater for intolerances or I make my own)

Lunch

A sandwich (meat and salad) or salad (containing a protein and quinoa/rice) or left-overs from dinner! Piece of fruit.

Afternoon Tea

Piece of home-made slice or chia pudding or seed & nut mix.

Dinner

A wide-ranging as I like variety! Salad with a protein (for me, generally beef, lamb or fish) or home-made curry or other 1 pot dishes like casseroles, stews, soup.

Dessert

Piece of home-made slice or chia pudding or piece of fruit.  Sometimes chocolate!

what do healthy everyday people eat? | jessica cox

Jules

 Occupation: Banker

Age: 43

Daily exercise:  Cycle to work, walk to work, PT session

 Food intolerances:  dairy, eggs, gluten

breakfast

A frappe smoothie – I know you would like me to mix this up but the fact that you’ve had me actually having breakfast for the past 2 years is a feat in itself.

Protein powder, coconut water, frozen mixed berries, lecithin powder, slippery elm and any other powders Jess deems necessary for my digestive health. Oh and to get some more carbs/fibre in a big big spoonful of quinoa flakes.  On Saturdays after a long run, I love gluten free toast, avocado, tomatoes with some fresh herbs and a twist of lemon.

morning tea

Banana or home made protein balls – these change from week to week due to my inability to follow a recipe to the letter of the law but include almond meal, cacao powder, dried fruits, coconut, chia, crushed walnuts, coconut/maple syrup.

lunch

I try to food prep on a Sunday afternoon and make up some “dry salad” which is essentially:

  •  coleslaw with wombok, cabbage, fresh herbs and grated carrot that can last in the fridge for a couple of days.
  • Roasted veges – sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, potato etc that are roasted in olive oil, spices and fresh herbs depending on what is available.
  • Tabboule – made on raw cauliflower, gluten free couscous, fresh herbs, finely diced capiscum a dash of avocado oil and some lemon/lime juice.
  • Brown rice salad with chopped up veges – capsicum, zucchini, sweet potato, herbs and spices.

Then I will cook up some extra meat at dinner – chicken, fish etc and throw a bit of this and bit of that from each into a container and take in for my lunch.  I find that if I keep the salads pretty dry, that is not too much oils or dressings, they will last a fair way into the week  and then I can mix and match and change them up with different dressings each day.

afternoon tea

Fresh vegies – carrot, celery etc with home made hommus – I cook the chickpeas myself, add tahini (because I know how much you love tahini) lemon juice salt and cracked pepper. Again this is done in the pressure cooker on a Sunday afternoon and put into individual containers I can just grab and throw in my bag and run out the door.

dinner

Grilled meat – I will buy chicken thigh fillets, fish fillets, pork or steak and marinate them in a variety of spices – portion control them into a ziplock bag and into the freezer.  I take these out in the morning before work and put in the fridge  – they are pretty much defrosted by the time I get home and only need 20 mins in the oven to bake. Mix them with salad or make up some vietnamese rice paper rolls loaded with salad veges and a satay sauce made with peanut butter and sweet chilli sauce.

dessert

Banana, berries, gluten free cereal and coconut yoghurt or tapioca puddings – again made up on Sunday afternoon, or if I’m busy – a couple of dark chocolate coated superberries from Micks nuts.

 what do healthy everyday people eat? | jessica cox

 dameon

Occupation: Construction Estimator

Age: 41

Food Intolerances: Nil

breakfast

Either wholemeal toast with tomato and/or goats cheese or and eggs and parmesan cheese or peanut butter with a glass of 100% OJ.

or, a banana, rice milk and yoghurt smoothie with a dessertspoon of oats if Jess sneaks them in.

morning tea

Homemade cheese scones or crackers with goats cheese or hummus.

lunch

Left overs from dinner which is ususally some meat and a roast vegetable grain salad, or a sandwich with proscuitto or ham, cheese, avocado and spinach. Tomato goes in a container to add later so the sandwich doesn’t go soggy.

afternoon tea

Peice of fruit and sunflower seeds and maybe some shortbread.

dinner

Changes all the time, but generally either steak, chicken or fish with a buckwheat or quinoa based salad with lots of herbs and roast vegetables, or homemade wedges with salad or green pea mash.

dessert

Not generally a dessert person, occasionally some  chocolate.

 what do healthy everyday people eat? | jessica cox

Fiona

Occupation: Communications Professional

Age: 34 (sigh …..)

 Exercise: mix of gym classes, PT sessions and running after my kids

Food intolerances:  where do I start? ….. all dairy (cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk), soy, eggs, carrot

breakfast

Pretty much the same thing …..every day! But only because it’s yum. A couple of weet bix with natural muesli on top with a sprinkling of chia seeds, flax seeds, slippery elm, and some chopped up fruit with rice milk.

Plus a cup of black tea or a coffee made with almond milk

morning tea

A nut bar (usually Carmen’s because they’re delicious), or something I’ve baked at home (sugar-free banana bread, muffins, etc).

lunch

Generally it’s a sandwich or wrap with some kind of meat, relish and a salad mixture plus some good fats – usually avocado or nut spread.

afternoon tea

A piece of fruit and a handful of dates and almonds, or some yummy crackers and dairy-free dip.

Or I’ll make myself a smoothie with rice milk, banana/berries, some english spinach, a bit of dairy free protein power, and sometimes also some cacao or avocado.

dinner

We keep it pretty simple in our house – usually some kind of meat with veges or salad, or a casserole with pasta or rice, risotto and veges, or a mild thai curry that the kids are happy to eat, or the standard spag bol.

For takeaway treats, we usually go Asian because there are plenty of dairy free options.

dessert

Usually a choc truffle ball that I’ve made at home (dates, cacao, chia seeds, quinoa flakes, macadamia oil, almonds and almond meal), or for a treat I’ll have some dark chocolate.

 what do healthy everyday people eat? | jessica cox

Aoife

Occupation: IT Business Analyst

Age: 34

Daily Exercise: Pilates twice a week, walking

Food intolerances: Refined sugar, dairy, gluten, egg white (mild), cashews (mild)

breakfast

Helga’s 5 seeds GF toast, almond butter, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, fruit (peaches, pears, banana, berries – whatever is around).

morning tea

Fruit (apple or peach) with small handful of almonds.

lunch

Base of  baby spinach & rocket, alfalfa sprouts, olive oil & balsamic vinegar dressing with a variation of a few of the following:

  • Protein – chicken, ham, falafel, white bean, goat’s cheese fetta
  • Veg/ Carbs – sweet potato, buckwheat, brown rice, broccoli, capsicum, carrot, avocado

(I need some decent carbs & protein otherwise I’m very tired in the afternoon)

Or, an open sandwich using the same as above.

 afternoon tea

Don’t always feel hungry or remember to have something but when I do – some fruit or handful fava-nuts (roasted broad beans – they taste like chips).

dinner

Typical dinners are:

  • Chicken/Beef/Pork & veg stirfry or curry with basmati rice/rice noodles
  • Spaghetti Bolognese – either GF pasta or zucchini strips
  • Bangers & mash (olive oil, salt, pepper)  with veg
  •  Chilli con Carne
  • Fish and veg

For weight purposes I try to keep starchy carbs portions small, but don’t let it rule my life.

dessert

If I feel like something sweet…

Smooze fruit ice (coconut & pineapple) or 1-2 squares sugar free dark chocolate or coconut chocolate ice cream (dangerously nice!)

 what do healthy everyday people eat? | jessica cox

 Leonie

Occupation:   Business Analyst

 Age:  46

Exercise:  gym: weights, cardio, combo of both or boxing, at least 5 days a week

Food intolerances:  wheat, dairy (cows milk only), egg intolerant

Vegequarian

breakfast

Bowl serve of my own cereal mix which consists of puffed buckwheat, puffed brown rice, puffed millet, almond flakes, dried cranberries, coconut flakes, sunflower & pumpkin seeds.  To each morning’s serve I add sheep milk yoghurt, hemp seeds, cinnamon, a few raw cashews/macadamias/walnuts and finally some fresh berries, with a non dairy milk.

Morning Tea

Either: carrots and hummus, piece of fruit, rye toast with peanut butter or with avocado & sheep milk feta

Lunch

Usually a salad from Vegerama or salmon sashimi and seaweed salad (bought meals).

Afternoon Tea

One of the following: banana, coconut yoghurt (about 2 tablespoons worth) and blueberries, small amount of dark chocolate

Dinner

Veggies, (including many mushrooms!), stir fry with tofu or prawns.   Or salmon fillet and steamed veggies.  Or take away veggie indian curry.

Dessert

Rarely eat again after dinner… might be a small serve of dark chocolate with a tea – milk or herbal.  50% of the time would have a tea at night.  Never coffee because I don’t desire it.

Thank you to my lovely clients (and hubby) for your participation in this blog post. Much appreciated! xx


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Samantha
Samantha
5 months ago

This is a fantastic post Jess! Really interesting and insightful. I didn’t realise I was so curious about other people’s daily food habits until I started reading.

Be Good Organics
Be Good Organics
5 months ago

Another great post Jess! You are so sensible. I agree, Instagram in particular can wreak havoc with people’s expectations of what they should eat at every meal. I swear even ‘nutritionists’ don’t eat exactly how they say they do in such articles – on a good day perhaps, but 7 days a week I’m certain no! Balance and moderation is so important, I think having fun, socialising and enjoying food with others whatever it may be is also critical for both physical and mental health. I’ve seen too many examples of young women trying to eat a ‘perfect’ diet, and… Read more »

Be Good Organics
Be Good Organics
5 months ago
Reply to  Jessica Cox

Absolutely. I’m pretty sure all three of those feature on my weekly menu, well except perhaps the vino right now with bub on the way! x

Melissa
Melissa
5 months ago

Great Post Jess some great meal ideas and balance it would be interesting to do a similar post with what shift workers do to maintain good balance with constantly changing eating times . I personally think of my meals as 1, 2 ,3 rather then breakfast morning tea lunch ect Nights are always a challenge I eat meat and veg dinner for the meal before work even though technically be breakfast and soup or veggie sticks and dip or avocardo on toast with lemon at the dreaded 2-3am oats and cottage cheese berries before I crawl into bed at 8am

Maxine
Maxine
5 months ago

Good morning Jess – another brilliant post on the ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ food world. Again, such an important topic. I love that you’ve shared real people’s food diaries! Thx so much for sharing x Maxine

Eliza Lauren
Eliza Lauren
5 months ago

Jess, this was such an amazing post! Thanks!

Sherilyn
Sherilyn
5 months ago

Brilliant – I love seeing what others eat especially when it looks normal/achievable (and similar to me). I’ve experienced a lot of confusion (and guilt) over the years about what to eat. Actually sometimes I’d stare into fridge umming and ahhing not knowing what to eat. It was terrible. A salad sandwich on sourdough would send me into a spin – it’s wheat and god forbid if it had cheese on it. That’s a double whammy. Oh and there there’s the carbs. Meltdown!!!!!! I don’t want to live like that. Actually who wants to live like that? So I unsubscribed… Read more »

Amy_Thoroughly Nourished Life
Amy_Thoroughly Nourished Life
5 months ago

A much better representation than the article on The Coveteur last week! I think the trouble with so many of those ‘Day in the Life Of’ is that they represent an unbalanced sector of the population, and they lead many people to think that all health professionals eat like that, which makes us seem unapproachable. The danger is when eating ‘clean’ or ‘like a nutritionist’ becomes equated with being ‘better’ than other people. We nutritionists/dietitians (even former ones like me) are just people who have the same tastebuds, and often the same limited budgets, as the rest of the population… Read more »

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