You’re putting in the time at the studio training your circus discipline. You’re cross training with strength training at the gym to safe guard your body from potential injury and give your that little extra for when you’re at the studio. And you’re even taking rest days from training to keep yourself healthy and well, but are you putting the same amount of focus on your nutrition?
Food fuels us. It can have positive impacts on our mood and physical abilities or it can have negative ones. As I wrote in my post earlier this month, when we eat a well balanced and adequate amount of food we feel energized and ready for any training session.
As a Precision Nutrition level 1 nutrition coach what I see most often is that people can use a little extra help in consuming enough protein and veggies at every meal (and snack).
Here are some quick and easy food options and serving size info for ensuring some good nutrition to power-up your training and your day.
Protein and Veggies with each meal and snack
Protein supports the use of our muscles and supports muscle growth and increased strength-all wins when we think of what we need our muscles to do for us. Veggies are a form of carbohydrate which is a great source of energy. This energy is not only going to help you feel energized to take on your day, but also help you feel ready to go for your training sessions in the gym and in the studio.
Protein and Veggie ideas for breakfast
It’s important to eat something in the morning, you just spent 6-8 hours fasting while sleeping. When you eat a breakfast packed with protein your brain and body are alert for the day, hormones are regulated and breakfast helps with those uncontrollable cravings that tend to pop up mid-day when you had a bowl of cereal or nothing at all for breakfast.
If you find breakfast a challenge, try one of these first two options where they can be small and quick and portable.
I love making mini egg frittatas. I will usually do these on a meal prep day so that I can have this as a quick breakfast two or threes times in a week. They’re pretty quick and simple. Add your favorite veggies and some cheese (optional), scramble up some eggs, pour and bake. Here’s a recipe I use and I’ll add different veggies depending on how I am feeling. The silicone cups make clean up super easy. Get them here! This breakfast is very transportable for those one-the-go!
Another easy, quick and transportable breakfast is hard boil (or soft boiled) eggs with veggie sticks. I’ll boil up a bunch of eggs for a few breakfasts in my week and pre-slice some veggies so all I have to do is reach for them in the fridge. For those people who don’t love the kitchen or are busy up to their eye balls, you can very easily buy eggs already hard boiled (and even have them delivered to your house via Amazon Fresh or Instacart) and pre-sliced veggies too!
Not quite protein and veggies with this next option, but oatmeal with some berries and nuts or nut butter is very much giving you a good dose of protein and nutrients. Oatmeal on its own has 5g of protein per serving, and adding the nut/nut butter will help boost your protein intake. The fruit provides some nice extra nutrients and natural sweetness.
I find microwaving a bowl of old fashioned oats almost as quick as instant oats, but old fashioned oats have more of whats good for you left in them as they weren’t processed to cook instantly. Spoon in some PB and sprinkle in some blueberries and cinnamon and my breakfast is complete.
Side Note: Fruits and veggies tend to be in the same category, but fruits overall tend to be a bit higher in natural sugars, which is why you want to try to limit yourself to 1-3 servings of fruit a day. You want to keep that on the lower side if fat loss is a goal of yours. Taking in 8-12 servings of veggies is recommended in the day, so bringing more focus on the veggies and consuming more veggies is needed and beneficial.
Protein and Veggie ideas for lunch
Most people know that they can make a salad at home or order one at restaurant that can have a protein source added to it, or even order a sandwich with veggies and some protein. I want to offer some other options that might not of crossed your mind while thinking about lunch.
I am a vegetarian so I am always looking for yummy salads that are more then just lettuce. Although there is nothing wrong with a big salad and protein on top, somedays’ you just want more than typical salad.
Let’s talk about quinoa. It’s a grain, but it is also a complete protein (that’s super awesome BTW). Here’s a recipe for a quinoa, spinach and feta salad. Make this even more simple to prepare by buying the garlic in a jar, lemon juice, dill in the produce section, quinoa that’s ready in minutes and crumbled feta.
I make collard green wraps three times most weeks. They’re easy and quick and I can wrap up an assortment of diced or sliced veggies with some hummus. Another option for those meat eaters is some deli meat and cheese with some shredded veggies. I pretty consistently use shredded veggies or broccoli slaw and hummus in my wraps. For me they’re actually a quick dinner I can eat between classes or meetings with clients, so I say this could be a great lunch for someone who works days, but also a healthy and nutrition dinner for someone who works mostly evenings like me.
Protein and Veggie ideas for snacks
Often time snacks tend to be simple-carb heavy-think chips, cookies or pastry. Even if it’s a ‘healthy’ granola bar, it still tends to be high in sugar or salt or heavily processed. Maybe you eat a piece of fruit and that’s good, but let’s make it better with some protein and veggies; here are some ideas.
Hummus and veggie sticks are always a quick go-to for me. I found this photo on on the interwebs and loved this idea of making the snack even more portable and quick to pack. Maybe you don’t need the mason jars, some other travel, packable container is fine too, but I love the veggies already submerged in the hummus.
A protein smoothie with fruit and veggie combo ideas with this Super Shake recipe. I love the graphic in that link, because it gives you so many options to be creative. This is my favorite protein powder at the moment, I love chocolate, but I also like having the natural flavor on hand to create different flavors based on my veggie and fruit picks.
Side note: A Super Shake is also a great breakfast option too.
Cheese paired with some veggie sticks is another quick snack. There are so many snack pack size cheeses now that you are no longer stuck with only string cheese-though there’s nothing wrong with string cheese. (I got this image from this article which has some nice additional info about these cheeses)
Protein and Veggie ideas for dinner
Many images come to mind when I think of dinner are the traditional meat, carb and veggie on a plate, and while that is ok, dinner can be so much more fun and creative. For many people today time is the challenging thing. So I hope to provide some ideas that you won’t find too labor intensive.
I think the slow cooker is a wonderful invention, especially for a busy person. Throw a bunch of food items in and 6+ hours later you have your meal, or if you make enough, several meals. This recipe looks delicious and it’s served over cauliflower rice which you could food process yourself or buy already that way for an even simpler meal. Cauliflower rice is an excellent way to ensure you are getting your 8-12 servings of veggies a day.
Side Note: As a vegetarian I was thinking this looks yummy and I would substitute the chicken with either tempeh or tofu.
This recipe has easy in the name. You can make this even easier by buying frozen shrimp and even the frozen pepper/onion mix to take out the time cutting and slicing the peppers and onions. This can be served over rice, cauliflower rice, or even in a tortilla. Whatever you feel like. I might even add tomatoes and a bunch more peppers to ensure that this meal has a nice healthy, nutritious helping of veggies.
Don’t like fajita type seasoning, use the recipe as a sort of guide and pick seasonings you do like. Or change the veggies entirely. The sky’s the limit.
The next dinner idea is something more traditional. Since it’s quite a lot of cheese and pasta which can be oh so yummy, but can also leave people feeling a food coma due to the richness and the abundance of simple carbs. That being said, who does’t love lasagna.
What I love about lasagna is that there are always lefts overs. This recipe is great for consuming a wide variety of veggies. Looking for a bit more traditional with some meat in your lasagna here’s a recipe that still helps pack in a bunch of veggies. My personal favorite lasagna recipe is pumpkin and basil lasagna. I use butternut squash for the pumpkin and sometimes I even swap out the basil for pesto sauce.
To make sure you don’t fall into a food coma, have a slice and serve with a side salad to help balance out the simple carbs of the pasta in this meal.
How do you know how much protein and veggies you should be having at each meal? A super easy way is to use that comes from my training with Precision Nutrition is to use the size of your hand.
For Females you want 1 serving, or 1 of your palm size, of protein per meal. For veggies, 1+ serving, or 1 of your fist, per meal.
For Males you want 2 servings, or 2 of your palm size ,of protein per meal. For veggies, 2+ servings, or 2 of your fists, per meal
These are general guidelines. It’s a good place to start. This will very greatly depending on how much activity you are doing and a bunch of other things about your lifestyle. But it’s a good place to start.
Eating more veggies and a little more protein is never going to be bad for you. It will give your body the needed nutrients and building blocks to fuel your training.
Nutrition can seem tricky and overwhelming at times, but hopefully this post has helped make it a little easier. If you are looking for more tailored guidance I coach people on nutrition in person and online. You can contact me with the form below.
Train well and power-up that training with good nutrition and you will see how this can help you recovery from your trainings and help you get stronger for the goals and skills you want to accomplish.
P.S. I’d like to than my friend Rachel B. for posing for this photo for me.