I’m very vocal about the importance of taking care of your mental and physical health. I think they come hand in hand. As you get older, you probably realize how late nights affect you more now than they might have when you were in high school, or how drinking 4 shots of espresso at 7 PM will make you totally wired at 9 PM. I used to care a lot less about staying out late or drinking too much coffee, but I’m more in tune with my body now than I used to be so I know what I have to do to make sure I don’t feel unwell.
Most of us don’t have personal chefs or prepped meals to eat after school or work, so I figured I’d explain how I stay balanced as an entrepreneur/ avid traveler.
I’ve been following a predominantly paleo diet since my modeling days. I went vegan for 2 years when I was 14 and it was the worst decision I’ve made in my entire life. I never felt sicker and heavier than when I was vegan. I probably followed the diet all wrong and spent too many hours running on the treadmill instead of lifting weights (you’ll notice such a big difference in your body if you ditch all that cardio and try lifting) but when I transferred to paleo I instantly lost some weight and overall felt healthier. Now that I don’t model and don’t care about my weight, I follow paleo as much as I can because it’s really the best diet for my body type and the amount of physical activity I partake in. It’s also really easy because every single restaurant, store or coffee shop will most likely offer a protein or vegetable.
My normal meal routine when I’m in LA / Connecticut is below, but I’d say I eat out about 4-5 times a week. I try not to eat out but if I’m in meetings, or not near a fridge to put my meal prepped food in, then I suck it up and eat out. I bought this set of meal prepping containers last year for $16 on Amazon. I hate buying food at the airport so I always meal prep before a flight so that I can eat clean when I’m traveling. I make a habit of always prepping my meals for the week on a Sunday, taking into account how many days that week I expect to eat out, and consciously trying to stick to my meals during the week. Since I work a lot I enjoy having food already ready when I get home so I can just eat my dinner and fast forward to dessert, ya know?
I go to Trader Joe’s / Whole Foods on Sunday or Saturday to buy food for the week. If I’m busy I’ll use Instacart so that I can just get right to the prepping and skip the shopping, but I love being in a grocery store when I can! This isn’t what I eat everyday, but it’s a rough idea of the kind of food I always keep in my fridge and how I like to eat when I’m prepping my meals.
My breakfast during the week:
When I first wake up, I always make a cup of coffee in my Keurig. I put cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of vanilla ghee, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup and some hazelnut flavored almond milk in it.
After that, I’ll have a protein shake with 1 frozen banana, ice cubes, 1 teaspoon of peanut butter, unsweetened almond milk and Vega or Tera’s Whey protein powder. Or, I’ll eat a banana/ Redd bar before or after the gym and that will usually hold me over until I get to my office where I’ll have some more free black coffee because that’s really why I have an office at WeWork, duh. I’ve been skipping breakfast more lately because I seem to be slammed with something at the beginning of every day lately, but I really do like my morning protein shake and it helps me spend less money on snacking.
On the weekends, I sometimes have paleo pancakes (I like the Birch Benders mix) with lots of maple syrup, grass fed butter or ghee and peanut butter. Butter is NOT bad for you if you can buy organic butter instead of crappy butter. It’s worth the $2 up charge. I like Vital Farms or Kerrygold. If I wake up late, I’ll have lunch and skip breakfast but always have coffee in the morning. Usually I go out to brunch or lunch with friends on Saturday or Sunday, so I might be eating a salad or a fried chicken sandwich depending on where we go.
My lunch during the week:
I’ve been on a cauliflower rice / sweet potato noodle kick. Last week when I was in LA I meal prepped a paleo sweet potato noodle stir-fry that I distribute in my meal prep containers with a serving of the stir-fry, along with some trail mix and 1 piece of chocolate for my lunch. Unless I’ve run out of chocolate, I always have chocolate during lunch because I find it curbs my obsession (I’m obsessed with chocolate) and I’m less likely to eat 15 Justin’s peanut butter cups if I have chocolate throughout the day.
I air fry organic chicken from Trader Joe’s, put that in a saucepan with some greens, broccoli, onions and red peppers and I make a sauce with peanut butter, soy sauce and honey, fry it all up with the “noodles” and have that for my lunch/ dinner during the week. Sometimes I’ll make a similar stir-fry with chicken and use cauliflower rice instead of noodles. Both are super cheap, easy to find in grocery stores and delicious! I’ll bring an apple or buy some popcorn at my office to have in the afternoon.
I try and switch up the protein that I eat, so I’ll meal prep 2-3 pieces of organic salmon with broccoli and have that for half the meals and a stir-fry dish for the other half. Buying salmon irritates me because it’s the most expensive protein on the market, but I know eating meat for every meal isn’t necessarily the healthiest thing so I make the investment. The most important rule when it comes to meal prepping is to avoid getting bored of your meals. Variety is key.
If I’m on the go and don’t bring lunch with me, I either have a chicken salad with avocado from Mendocino Farms which is next to my office or a really delicious pesto chicken salad from Olive & Thyme (a cafe by my recording studio in Burbank). I rarely find myself far enough from either place so those are my go-to meals. If I’m traveling, I always try and find a Whole Foods to eat lunch at because I know I can get something that’s clean, healthy and filling.
I’ve been on a major cauliflower gnocchi kick (stock up at Trader Joe’s: it’s gnocchi made with cauliflower instead of potatoes, and it tastes just as good) so I’ll make that for dinner with pesto and some butter along with some type of vegetable for an easy weeknight meal. I always keep Trader Joe’s cauliflower pizza (it’s cheaper than my favorite brand, Against All Grain) in my freezer just in case. I love using my air fryer, so I like frying the gnocchi and putting butter on at the end. If I have friends over, I almost always make gluten-free pasta with goat cheese, lemon and chicken because I unfortunately can’t get all of my friends eating sweet potato noodles or cauliflower rice.
I eat chicken or salmon every night for dinner. I do not like tofu or alternative protein sources. I do not like eating Beyond Meat burgers because I cannot even begin to compare fake meat to Shake Shack, sorry. If I’m eating out or at a happy hour, I’ll opt for something on the menu like a protein with a salad, oysters, a glass of red wine or French fries with mayo.
Another meal I find myself making more nowadays is tuna salad on arugula. I’ll buy organic canned tuna, mix it with Sir Kensington’s mayo, some dijon mustard, tahini, cranberries, celery and avocado and top it on greens instead of bread. I’m OBSESSED.
I’m a HUGE dessert person, so if I can get home from work early enough (before 7 PM) to have dessert after dinner before going to bed, I’ll have peanut butter Halo Top with extra peanut butter (I love Brandless peanut butter), Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips and banana.
Eating healthy is very easy and affordable as long as you allot extra time every week to making your meals! It sounds intimidating but I promise meal prepping becomes fun, and you don’t have to be a good cook to make these meals. You’ll need a sheet pan, some olive oil, and your imagination to get creative in the kitchen and feel inspired to eat healthy. If following paleo doesn’t work for you, then you can totally take elements of a paleo lifestyle and apply them to your life. Like eating more nuts, healthy fats and dark chocolate while still eating grains sounds great to me.
What type of food do you like to eat during the week?