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A Peek Inside a Coach’s Kitchen Cabinets

It’s easy to assume that fitness and nutrition coaches, such as yours truly, lead impeccably healthy lives. We do, after all, have a vested interest in practicing what we preach, and the mountain of information coaches like myself have amassed over the years – and spent much time, effort, AND money on obtaining – do give us an advantage in making healthier choices.

That said, we are still human and thus fallible. I, too, have a sweet tooth. I, too, hear the siren call of those cool ranch Doritos, and I, too, don’t always want to pick up that kettlebell. I am of the coaching mindset that I should not be on a pedestal. I’m far from perfect, I struggle with the same temptations as my clients. What I can do is show these clients that it’s possible to be healthy and ignore those temptations MOST of the time, while still enjoying life and the occasional indulgence.

So what does my diet look like? How do I approach nutrition?

First, I practice a fairly extreme version of intermittent fasting, as I have discussed in previous blogs. This was not a conscious decision but rather the result of a natural tendency to wait until later in the day to eat. Over the years, I have settled on a rough approximation of the 18/6 approach to fasting. In other words, for about 18 hours of the day, I fast, and my eating “window” is approximately 6 hours. I am not fastidious about adhering to this schedule, but most days wind up in this ballpark. I also don’t necessarily recommend this type of IF to others who are as active as I am, as it is typically a good 6 hours after I finish running 8-12 miles before I refuel. But intermittent fasting has been shown to have tremendous health benefits, from weight loss to reduced inflammation to better regulation of blood pressure.

Second, I am a vegetarian 95% of the time and a pescatarian 5% of the time. In other words, I will occasionally eat salmon for the simple reason that it is so very good for you – especially for brain health.

All of this said, what’s in my fridge? What are my dietary yin’s and yang’s? Foods I keep in stock consistently:

· Greek yogurt (0%-2% fat) and Skyr – I try to stick with plain but do enjoy the low-sugar versions.

· Nuts – well, I don’t keep these in my fridge, but I always have several varieties of nuts on hand. My favorites are walnuts, pistachios, and almonds.

· Grape Nuts – yes the cereal loved universally by the over 70’s crowd is one of my favorites.

· Fruit – of all varieties, though berries, apples, pears, and bananas are at the top of my list.

· Kale and broccoli – these are my go-to greens, primarily because kale is fantastic tossed in olive oil and my kids will eat roasted broccoli until the cows come home.

· Baby carrots – great snack food that can be dipped in pretty much anything. And dip them I do – in salsa, in hummus, in tzatziki sauce, in mustard. Just kidding about mustard….or am I?

· Various types of plant-based milk. I’m not lactose intolerant, but I do prefer almond and soy milk for my Grape Nuts and oat milk for my coffee.

· Beans – any and all varieties, I love. Especially black beans. Mash ‘em, wrap ‘em, mix ‘em with brown rice, or eat them alone. Beans are a cheap, nutritious powerhouse.

· Spices – I love Trader Joe’s for cheap, inventive spices. Their “everything but the bagel” spice has got to be my favorite, but they have lots of options for $3 or less, and spices are a nutritious way to add some flavor without the calories of heavy sauces.

· Noodles – yes, I’ll cop to being lazy sometimes and buying the precooked noodles that you can throw in a wok and stir-fry with veggies and a little sesame oil. Everyone in my

house will eat this combination, and I am a sucker for carbs.

· And of course, coffee. I have tried at various times to cut back on my coffee consumption. All I can say is…that’s still a work in progress. I genuinely enjoy both the taste and the ritual of my morning coffee, so this is one vice I’ll likely keep.

At the end of the day, everyone’s dietary approach is different, and we all have different food preferences, restrictions, and levels of access to certain ingredients. And even if you are someone who generally eats a healthy, well-balanced diet, you likely have an area or two of weakness. You’re human and allowed to be imperfect, but I’m always here to help if a little extra accountability and guidance is what you need to get you to a better place in your kitchen. Feel free to reach out here or here.

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