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Changing my plate – eat more meatless meals

This post is part of a regular series focusing on making small changes to improve our health. I shared my journey with changing my diet and moving to a clean eating approach which you can read here. I also had the lovely Katie Rainbird from Katie 180 undertake an analysis of my food intake for one day in that post, which was another step in the right direction.

Together we also offered the same opportunity to readers of Planning With Kids. We were blown away with the response and while I can’t guarantee will get to all of them this year, Katie has been busy working on many of the submissions already and we will publish as many as we can.

It is not possible for Katie to cover off everything in these posts. The aim is for her to find some small things you can change to what you are putting on your plate to help you achieve your current goal for your eating habits. You can read previous Changing my plate posts by clicking here.

Changing my plate – Diana’s day

image_katieKatie Rainbird (AKA Katie180) is a Sydney-based Nutritionist who is just as likely to be found jogging as she is baking. She is a mother to two, a keen home cook, prefers to get around in her workout gear and has a major passion for the written word. You can learn more at

Katie reviewed what a reader Diana (not real name as reader wished to be anonymous) submitted that she ate in a 24 hour period. This is what Katie had to say about her day:

What is your current goal with your eating habits?
Make sure what we eat is healthy. Tweak them if there are healthier substitutions. Eat more meatless meals where vegetables are the star.

Granola cereal 1 cup (homemade) with milk 1 cup (oats, rice krispies, honey, dried cranberries,cinnamon,etc.) Eat about 8:30 Am

Keep oats, replace rice crispies with puffed brown rice, replace cranberries with raisins or sultanas (ensure no added sugar), add some nuts or seeds.

Leftover White chicken Chile soup (homemade) white beans, chicken, ck. broth, green chilies, sour cream, cilantro etc.
At home for lunch but need quick prep. Apple. Eat about 2pm

This sounds good. Perhaps add fresh greens to meals like this: trimmed green beans into the soup as it heats or a handful of rocket (peppery lettuce) or spinach leaves atop once it’s heated and served.

Mac. and Cheese (homemade) 1Cup and 1/2
Bell peppers and onions 1/4-1/2 c
Homemade rolls 1 small
Lemonade (typical drink)

Eat about 6:30pm

No need for a roll with pasta. And I’m going to suggest swapping lemonade for mineral water with fresh lemon or even a measure of real lemon cordial (not diet or “lite”) to replace it. Instead of roll, try a larger portion of the pasta or ideally add some more vegetables to it.

Snack 1
Around 12 pm, usually a fruit or a few cookies.

Will you eat eggs? If so I recommend a smoothie with an added egg. Else snack on protein rich foods such as nuts, seeds, humus, nut butter (for example apple slices with peanut butter or dates stuffed with almonds).

Snack 2
9:00 pm – a dessert like a chocolate covered graham cracker

Swap for dark chocolate with 2 x dates or a handful of nuts.

Snack 3

Snack 4

1-1 1/2 Peanut butter and chocolate egg.

Well it WAS Easter.

Nutritional supplements

Daily fluid intake
Not much. Maybe a glass 16oz. of Lemonade with Lunch. A glass of Milk 16oz. or Lemonade with dinner. Try to drink an additional glass of water each day but not always.

OK my main goal for your diet would be to elminate soft drink and introduce water! Seriously if I had you in my clinic this would be the only thing I’d ask you to do until the next time I saw you. You would be surprised at how much processed sugar (and therefore stored fat) you reduce from your diet simply by putting a stop to soft drink. As for water: start slowly, aim for 3 glasses per day. Keep a glass by the kitchen sink and when you go there to rinse plates after meals, fill it and drink it. If you can drink more, then do it!

Any further information you’d like to share or special dietary requirements to factor in?
HATE fish. Almost a vegetarian—-mainly eat chicken, a little hamburger, Ham and turkey bacon, or bacon bits used as meat for some meals. 2 meatless meals a week on a good week.

With predominatly white meat and very little (mentioned at least) dark green leafy vegetables I am wondering what your iron status is like? Also with the exception for the meat that you do eat, there is room for a sharper focus on protein. So aside from the guidelines to drink water I’d also say add dark green leafy salad greens and vegetables to meals, snack on nuts and seeds, include dried figs, apricots, plums and dates (sources of iron) and sweeten with molasses if and where you can. If you are considering making a switch to a full vegetarian lifestyle I would recommend getting your iron studies done with your doctor so that you have a reference point for the future.

Further reading and recipes


Katie is a qualified nutritionist (Adv. Dip. Nutr. Med.).

Any diet or lifestyle changes that you implement as a result of reading this blog are your own responsibility.

This blog does not provide medical advice, any particular health conditions must be managed by your own health professional.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.