My Go-To Meals!
It can be so hard to choose a healthy snack over a sugary one, or a nutritious dinner over something fast, but not filling. I have worked to find different ways to maintain a balanced lifestyle and healthier eating at horse shows and at home. I’m not a food expert, but I figured I would share my tips and favorite ways to find balance my meals with a busy schedule.
To me, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I find I wake up really hungry so I want something that will fill me up. My breakfast fuels me to get through three 80-minute-long classes or a long morning of horse showing. I have found a good balance of fiber, fat and protein always keeps me full until my next meal or snack. I’m not a coffee or tea drinker, so I drink a glass of orange juice every morning to get my morning boost of vitamin C and the citrus always helps me wake up. Even through they’re delicious, I try to stay away from cereals or anything too sugary or processed in the morning, because I find I’m always searching for more food quickly after finishing my bowl.
Some of my favorite breakfasts are:
• Whole grain everything bagel w/ plain cream cheese • Egg and cheese sandwich w/ Dave’s Killer Bread • Oatmeal w/ chia seeds, peanut butter, honey, and some type of fruit (usually strawberries) • Whole wheat waffle w/peanut butter • Toast w/ peanut butter, banana, granola, and honey • Protein banana pancakes(this is my favorite recipe) w/ peanut butter, strawberries, and sometimes Trader Joe’s maple syrup
Now that I am home every day for lunch, I love to make a delicious and nutritious homemade lunch. After a filling breakfast, I can usually skip a morning snack, but there are days where I am starving and need a quick snack (my favorite snacks are going to be in a later column). Normally, I try to stick to a vegetarian lunch because honestly, I don’t know how to cook meat, but I also like to play around with finding other good sources of protein. If I was in school, I would normally pack a soup and/or sandwich with fruit or vegetables, a fruit pouch like GoGo Squeeze and Goldfish (because they are a big fave of mine).
My current favorite lunches are:
Burrito bowl w/ baby greens, arugula, some type of bean (chickpea, black, or kidney beans), cucumber, tomato, avocado, cheese (Mexican blend), olive oil, and sour cream (if we have a leftover meat like grilled chicken, taco meat or steak I’ll add that too)
Salad w/ baby greens, arugula, some type of bean (chickpea, black, or kidney beans), cucumber, tomato, cheese (I like feta), olive oil, carrot, and ranch – very similar to my burrito bowl with different quantities of the veggies
Turkey and cheese sandwich w/ mayo, salt, and pepper
Black bean and cheese quesadilla
Progresso canned soup (not home-cooked, but I’m sometimes in the mood for soup). My favorite is lentil!
Some good ol’ leftovers!
Black bean soup (my ultimate favorite!)
Meat sauce w/ pasta
Soups-my mom makes a lot of different soups this time of year. My favorites (besides black bean soup) are chicken noodle, tortilla soup, and roasted vegetable (I had this once at New England Finals and begged my mom to find a recipe for it.
I’m a big afternoon snacker. I’ll probably have 2 smaller snacks in the afternoon, one before and one after the barn. I try to keep a lot of healthy options around for snacks because if don’t I will definitely reach for a very processed snack (like the Goldfish)! When I am at the barn for a horse show, I try to maintain the same schedule I would if I didn’t have a horse show, but that doesn’t always work. I try to pack my own snacks like cucumbers and fruit, and then eat something from our snack bin because let’s be honest, those unhealthy snacks are the absolute best (especially after a bad round).
These are some of my favorites right now!
Everything but the bagel nut mix from Trader Joe’s
Fruit (raspberries, bananas, watermelon, and strawberries are my favorite)
Muffins or a bread we might have made for the week (I love banana bread/muffins)
Chips and homemade pico de gallo
Vegetables and hummus
Pretzel and Garlic hummus pack from Trader Joes
Protein Smoothie- strawberry, banana, spinach/kale, protein powder, almond milk, and peanut butter
I’m very lucky to be able to have a family dinner with my entire family almost every night. We always sit at the dinner table and eat a home-cooked meal. We all eat pretty healthy, so I never have to worry about eating something terribly unhealthy. If we were all over the place for dinner and everyone could make whatever they want, I would normally eat one of the options I gave in my lunch category for dinner. If we do take-out I try to be sure to have some protein and veggies, but, let’s be honest, there’s nothing like pizza, mozzarella sticks, and fries!
I don’t have a HUGE sweet tooth and can go multiple nights without wanting a dessert; I know, I’m weird. When I do want to have dessert, I go for it. I will try to add something like peanut butter or bananas to my dessert to ramp up the nutrition a little bit and keep me from being hungry when I go to bed.
My favorite desserts include:
“Nice” cream – basically a smoothie bowl but a little sweeter with toppings like fruit, chia seeds, peanut butter, coconut, honey, granola, etc.
Any homemade treats we may have (mom bakes a lot!)
Banana w/ peanut butter and chocolate chips
Diana’s Bananas – frozen banana covered with chocolate
Cereals can be pretty sweet so cereal with milk (almond or dairy) and a banana is pretty filling
I’m very weird because I don’t like anything else to drink except water. I will normally drink 1-3 bottles of my 42oz Hydroflask every day. I don’t really like carbonated drinks or juices other than orange juice and my smoothie recipe.
There are my current favorite foods to eat throughout the day. I’ve also included a lot of my meal, snack, or dessert ideas in a folder on my Pinterest! Some days I’m definitely healthier than others, but I try to maintain somewhat of a healthy lifestyle. Thankfully, my family has always been very healthy so it’s easy to go into the pantry and not be super tempted by chocolate, Cheez-its, etc.