Everyone seems to have their own idea of what constitutes “low” and “high” values within their diet. All the dietary guidelines vary based on a person’s weight, gender, health, and activity level. I’m about 140 pounds, in excellent health and I exercise at least thirty minutes almost every day.
I eat about 1800 calories per day divided between six small meals so I eat about 300 calories per meal. I’ve been told to shoot for about 90 grams of protein per day. Here’s a calculator you can play with to figure out your protein needs, if you want to do some math.
The U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends a minimum intake of 130 grams of carbohydrate per day, so if you divide that by my six meals, you get an average of 21 grams of carb per meal.
Fiber is a specific type of carbohydrate that comes only from fruits, vegetables and grains. Soluble fiber controls blood sugar and may also lower cholesterol. Non-soluble fiber doesn’t appear to lower blood sugar or cholesterol but helps your bowels function, ahem, smoothly. According to the American Dietetic Association, adults need between 20 and 35 grams of fiber every day. Again, dividing by my six small meals, I should average about 6 grams/meal.
There is no daily requirement for sugar, but I read one of Jorge Cruse’s books where he says to try to stick to less than 15 grams of sugar per day. I don’t eat any refined sugar and most of my sugar comes from fruits and veggies, but I am consistently well over 15 grams every day. I don’t worry too much about it since it occurs naturally in my healthy food, but it is interesting to see which vegetables have sugar (onions and bell peppers, for instance). If you are concerned about sugar, watch out for yogurt. It has a ton. I’ve switched to Greek yogurt which has much less sugar.
Based on the above guidelines, the following breakfasts all fall into the low cal, high protein, low carb, high fiber, and low sugar parameters. Plus, they’re quick and easy. Enjoy!
• Spinach and Veggie Omelette
Sauté fresh spinach, onions, bell peppers, and/or celery in a teaspoon of olive oil. After the spinach is wilted, pour 1 whole egg + 2 egg whites, beaten, over it. Cover until it’s set then turn it when it’s cooked to your liking. Spread with 1T Wholly Guacamole and/or salsa. Also have 4-oz V8 juice
• BLT Wrap
Wash 2 or 3 large Romaine lettuce leaves. Spread with 1 wedge Laughing Cow cheese and 2T Wholly Guacamole. Roll up with 2 slices crispy microwave bacon and sliced tomato. You can also add sliced olives, onions, and/or bell peppers. Have 4-oz V8 juice, too.
• Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
In blender, combine 8 oz unsweetened chocolate almond milk, 1T cocoa powder, 1t vanilla, and 2T natural peanut butter (the kind with only peanuts and salt as ingredients). Also have 1 whole grain Wasa cracker spread with 1T peanut butter.
• Greek Yogurt Parfait
Top 4oz non-fat plain Greek yogurt with 1C sliced strawberries. (You can mix in 1 packet of stevia to the yogurt, if you like it a bit sweeter.) Sprinkle with 2T sunflower seeds, and 2T dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cacao), too.
• Ham and Egg Scramble
Chop 4 thin slices of deli ham and add it to 1 whole egg + 2 egg whites. Add some chopped onions and bell peppers and season as you like. Scramble it all together and cook until done in nonstick skillet sprayed with 0-calorie nonstick spray. Also have 4-oz V8 juice.