What a Nutritionist Eats in a Day with Melanie Beasley RD, LD
When it comes to eating real food, the possibilities are endless. This is a good thing of course, but can also be overwhelming to say the least! Today, Melanie shared a creative alternative to her formerly beloved coffee creamer, what kitchen staple she uses year round and more.
My latest breakfast is a “breakfast bowl,” and it couldn’t be easier. I grab an orange to snack on when making breakfast, which starts with a bowl full of mixed organic lettuce and is topped with some nitrate-free bacon that I fry up in the morning. I love, love, love bacon. I am a true southern girl at heart and believe that everything is better with bacon! Then I add eggs, cooked in the bacon fat, to the top of the bowl. Fast, delicious and an easy clean up.
Having multiple food allergies has challenged me to use new ingredients and find alternative recipes, even when it comes to things like my morning coffee. I used to love flavored creamers, but once I understood how much sugar and chemicals were in them, they quickly lost their appeal. This is my alternate recipe, and it’s really good. First I add in a dash of cashew cream and a bit of sweetness with vanilla stevia drops. Hazelnut is also fabulous. Beyond coffee, I use cashew cream in any recipe that calls for cream. Recently I used it to make creamy wild rice soup, delicious!
I always keep cooked proteins in the freezer that I can use for fast lunches. This day it was chopped chicken to add to my broccoli slaw over ½ cup brown rice which is hard to see in the photo. It’s all topped with my homemade dressing. I love trying new recipes for salad dressings, aioli’s or sauces to go with my meals. They make such a huge impact. When I make my own, I know I won’t be consuming chemicals and refined oils that you find in most store-bought options. For this sauce, I was experimenting with cashew sour cream to come up with something that would taste like the spicy chicken wings I used to eat at a local restaurant. I love hot wings, and this sauce satisfied my craving nicely!
I am always blending different smoothies together with whatever I have on hand. Sometimes they are a hit and sometimes a huge miss. This one is lemon blueberry with avocado, frozen kale, Vanilla Paleo Protein Powder and a scoop of Pink Lemonade Fruits & Greens. The smoothie was tart from the lemon and creamy from the avocado, so it’s a keeper!
Dinner at home is usually simple fare. Tonight I had broiled steak, baby red potatoes that were still cooking when I snapped this photo, and a salad that I topped with homemade dairy and gluten-free ranch dressing (Penzeys Buttermilk Dressing mix with Hains Mayo and water to replace the milk.) As I mentioned earlier, I love sauces and dressings so I try to always have three bottles of homemade salad dressings at all times. My favorites are dairy-free poppy seed dressing that is sweetened with stevia, a simple vinaigrette, and the ranch pictured above. If I have the dressing, a big box of organic mixed greens and enough vegetables, then I know I’m set to throw together a fast lunch or dinner.
Wow, what a lineup from Melanie. It left us craving that smoothie and with some follow-up questions.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to be more creative in the kitchen, but doesn’t know where to start?
To start, just keep it very simple. First, go to Penzey’s and find spice blends that you love. Use them on meat and/or to make a huge platter of roasted vegetables to eat throughout the week. Put helpings of meat and veggies over a basic salad of greens, and you’re set. Or throw roasted vegetables into a warm soup made of bone broth (I always keep some on hand for this reason) and leftover meat, or toss the veggies with zucchini noodles, add a protein and a sauce, done. All you had to do this week was cook a big portion of meat and one platter of vegetables. Easy!
You mentioned that you always have cooked protein in the fridge ready to go, what are your favorites?
My favorite is pulled pork from the crockpot, which I use year round. It’s a super simple roast that I often season with sauerkraut. Just put a jar of sauerkraut (Bubbie’s is my favorite for taste and size) over a large pork roast, on low all day. It’s so easy and fabulous. Then I’ll just throw some of that over field greens, add roasted vegetables and I’m done. It’s simple, because I’m busy!
Other times I’ll broil a bunch of chicken, thighs, breasts, doesn’t matter. Whatever’s on sale and organic is what I buy. Sometimes I even make chicken wings in the crockpot, with Penzey’s Italian Herb Mix. One more idea is steak, which I love. I’ll cook two large steaks side by side in two cast iron skillets. First I brown them in coconut oil, then add a seasoning and throw them into the oven to get medium rare. Once cooled, I slice those up and use them on salads.
How do you prep for meals all week long?
I piecemeal my prep throughout the whole week. For instance, this weekend I made protein balls using gluten-free oats and Paleo Protein Powder and a dairy-free egg bake. During the week I’ll spend thirty minutes and buy more veggies. The next night I’ll wash, chop and roast them. These thirty minute prep segments a few times a week work for me. Then I’ll have one or two nights a week when it’s leftovers for dinner and time to clear out the fridge. Plus, if I’m tired of the egg bake, I’ll freeze a portion and grab that for lunches later on. Just because its eggs doesn’t mean it can’t be a lunch! Especially when you throw some fresh pico de gallo over it, delicious!
A side note about chopping veggies, when I chop broccoli I cut the stems off, freeze them and use them in place of ice cubes in my smoothie. Be warned, if I add too many broccoli stems the smoothie gets a little too earthy tasting. One or two frozen stems per smoothie seems about perfect.