a dietitian’s food journal | that mama life

I was 6 months pregnant with Baker Bree and feeling the need to switch up my day to day because I was eating the same food stuffs over and over.  
right now, in this new stage of life with a 9 month old and two very busy three year olds, I am looking for not only convenience but also foods that give me energy and are healthy to feed my entire family.  right now our days and evenings are really full- making meal times occasionally on the go and a random hodgepodge of food thrown together.  I know I’m not the only one in this boat.
b r e a k f a s t 
I am a creature of habit.  I’ve been eating the same breakfast rotation for the last three years (at least!) and I don’t see the end in site.  I’m a breakfast+brunch person- easily making this my favorite meal of the day and I would eat am omelet or roasted breakfast potatoes every.single.day if time permitted.
overnight oats!  
type in those two words in your search box or pinterest and hundreds of recipes will be at your disposal.  I just pinned this recipe post about overnight oats and it explains it perfectly!
greek yogurt + oats + almond butter + skim milk + chia seeds 
 I got hooked on pb+banana toast when I was pregnant with with twins and my love has yet to cease.  
I have been known to eat this twice a day.  
I also drink 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning (half-caf) with creamer.  I use a little measuring cup to measure out my creamer because I can really go overboard!  its a habit I instilled in Jordan a couple years ago and we just stuck with it. we also heat up our creamer in the microwave in this little measuring cup so it doesn’t make the coffee cold.
 my coffee is brewed into a 12 ounce cup and I have figured out that 3 tablespoons of regular coffee creamer is just the right amount to make it perfect.
 l u n c h 
lunch is where it gets a little wonky.  I always eat lunch.. but sometimes its at 11am and sometimes its at 2pm. it depends on my meetings for work or if the babes nap at the same time or if I am in the middle of a project and would rather finish than eat.  
salad is often my go-to if I am at home.  we buy these mini salad bags from SAMS that I can add in a little chicken breast or fish and I’m good to go!
other lunchtime favorites:
cheese + fruit + nuts
deli sandwich with fruit
greek yogurt chicken salad or this kale pesto egg salad (OMG its so delicious!) with whole grain crackers (wheat thins or something similar) 
veggie + grain salads.  I will make a random compilation of veggies and grains (usually quinoa) and drizzle it with balsamic and olive oil.  feta or goat cheese usually makes it way in there, too!  this salad will keep in the fridge for 3 days or so.  
this greek farro salad is one of our favs!
 s n a c k s
I am notoriously a snacker.  often times the first thing I do when I come home from a meeting or a full work day the first place you can find me is in the pantry.. looking for something to snack on to carry me over to the dinner meal.  snacks are SO important in my diet- gets me through to the next meal time, but eating on a regular basis keeps my energy up, my metabolism moving and allows me to be ready to make it through witching hour with three baby girls. 
witching hour is real.  SOS. 
carb + protein = the perfect snack combination 
our body runs on glucose (carbs).. so when you eat a carbohydrate by itself your body (particularly your brain) uses it up really quickly.  
have you ever eaten an apple by itself?  thinking- hey.  its an apple.  its really healthy.  and should keep me full.
I eat an apple and 30 minutes later I’m searching for something else.  but pair it with a string cheese or a tablespoon of peanut butter and the protein/healthy fat will slow down digestion and keeps those carbs in your tummy a little longer than it would if eaten solo. 
there. your biochemistry lesson for the day. 
some of my favorite snacks?
I love goldfish.  more than my toddlers, probably.  there are all those pinterest recipes for homemade cheese crackers.. organic something or other- but you guys.  there is nothing like the original.  I also will eat greek yogurt or fruit and dry roasted almonds.  stick with protein bars that are less than 200 calories and 5-6 grams of fat (no saturated fats!) occasionally – okay probably more often than not I repeat breakfast.. peanut butter toast.  I cannot get enough.  
notice my protein/fat + carbohydrate combos?
its also important to keep your portion control in check.  depending upon your specific calorie needs snacks should stay between 150-250 calories.   
 post-workout protein
over the last couple months we have really been making an effort to get outside and move almost everyday.  we live in a really large neighborhood with hiking trails and ponds with large side walks to where we can push two strollers with ease. in the evenings we walk 4-5 miles – and according to my fitbit thats usually 8000+ steps!  the twins love it and an evening walk really helps get their energy out before dinner. 
if schedules work out and we are able to go in the morning we will often times drink a protein shake for lunch- or have a smaller one for a mid-day snack.
2/3 cup almond milk + 1 banana + 1 scoop of vanilla protein + 1-2 tablespoon of almond butter 
its banana pudding in a glass! 
you can use regular milk (we drink organic skim milk) and its just as delicious, but since Baker was born if I have too much dairy I’m regretting it later.  so I opt for the plain almond milk while Jordan drinks the regular.  there are about a million options for protein powder on the market.  personally I stick to the whey protein and look for something that is lower in carbohydrates because I’m usually adding in milk or fruit to get my carb fix.  right now we are using optimum nutrition gold standard whey– we got it from costco for a great price on sale.  and it tastes delicious!
I’ve also used isopure zero-carb and like it well enough, but has a little more of a protein taste than the gold standard.     
 d i n n e r
I cook about three or four days a week.  Jordan is usually at the fire station about 2 of the other days.   definitely one night a week we just ‘fend for ourselves’ which usually looks like a salad or cereal or breakfast for dinner.  I take to pinterest or my favorite blogs for inspiration because its rare that I write my own recipes these days.  there was a time in my life when creating recipes was my favorite hobby on the planet, but three kids later thats just not the case for our life stage anymore.  
often we eat separate.  big girls and Baker will eat dinner first- mainly because Baker is still at the age when I am up helping her over and over, so sitting down together just isn’t happening right now.  and then we eat after everyone is in bed between 7:30-8pm.  I know we will eventually get back to eating all together as a family, but just not right now.
for dinner its always 
protein + carbohydrate + vegetable
I grew up eating dinner like this.  so it carried over to how I prepare things for my family.  we always have to have a veggie!  
a salad (mostly when we are eating pasta) brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, squash, + potatoes  
this is what dinner looked like this week 
+ I added quinoa 
Baker ate the leftover quinoa and butternut squash the next day for dinner.
+ I added pinto beans and white cheddar cheese.
its like a Mexican frito pie!  definitely will be added to the rotation.  so good!
I also reminds me of my go-to make ahead Mexican chicken casserole.  I make this all the time!  and if you just had a baby and I’m bringing you a meal- thats what you get. 
the crock pot, no matter what time of year it is, is always my go to.  I have an entire pinterest board dedicated to my slow cooker:)
we also ate these oven baked chicken tacos.. chicken was on sale last weekend when I made my grocery list, so I stretched the dollar on our protein this week!  I cooked the chicken in the crock pot on LOW for 5 hours, seasoned with salt and pepper.  
the twin gobbled these up!
so there it is!  its not perfect.  its far from fancy.
but its relatively balanced and for the effort it takes, its working for our family! 
what are your go-to meals or favorite recipes?  I am always looking for delicious variety!

April 21, 2016

  1. Cassie says:

    Love this post!

  2. Chelsea says:

    All this food looks yummy!! I need to start doing a protein shake!!
    Chelsea @ http://thewilliamsjourney1.blogspot.com

  3. Heather says:

    Great ideas! What brands do you like for almond and peanut butter?

  4. amber says:

    Heather! I stick to peanut butter that has no hydrogenated oils, basically anything with the term 'natural' on the label. I've been eating Peanut Butter & Co for awhile and love it! I also like Justin's Nut Butters among butter, but recently found a large container of spreadable almond butter at Costco for a great price so I've been buying that. Hope that helps!

  5. Hi Amber! Two questions…..what is the cup that you use for your protein shakes and also where did you get those snack baggies (the ones with goldfish in it)?

  6. Kelly Smith says:

    This is so helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Amber – For your PB and Banana toast what sort of bread do you use?