My Daily Meal Plan & 7 Diet Secrets

craig ballantyne“Are you on a vegetarian diet?”

“What do you eat everyday?”

“What supplements do you use?”

The answers are:

“No, I’m not a vegetarian. I still eat meat 1-2 times per week, and more when I travel.”

“For supplements, I use Vitamin C, Fish oil, creatine (sometimes), and a Greens-Plus drink”.

And what do I eat everday? Well, “A wide variety of food”. (That’s my first diet secret right there…stolen from eat stop eat diet bookBrad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat, who says one of the keys to eating for fat loss and health is eating a wide variety of foods. Don’t get too dependent on eating the same food over and over again.)

So let’s take a look at every single meal I eat on a regular day – plus, how things change when I travel or when I take Bally the Dog to visit his “Grandma” out on the farm.

6am – Each day I get up around 6am (give or take 30 minutes), drink a cup of water and swallow a 1000mg vitamin C pill, and head out on a 60-90 minute dog walk with Bally the Dog.

I started taking 2-3 grams of vitamin C per day back in October, and I didn’t get any colds this winter. Usually I get one per year, but nothing so far since August, 2007. I use the Vitamin C for insurance, I guess.

bally-046smallWhen we get back from the walk (and his “swim” in the river in Toronto’s High Park), I write Turbulence Training workouts for 30 minutes, and by then I’m ready for my unique version of breakfast.

Here’s the recipe…

9am – Breakfast 1

  • Take 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter and melt it in microwave.
  • Add one layer of raw pecans.
  • Sprinkle in some coconut flakes.
  • Add 1/2 cup blueberries.
  • Add another layer of raw pecans.
  • Mix it up and enjoy.

ep_craig_ballantyne_breakfast_2-150x150Along with that recipe, I have either a pear or an apple, and I drink 1 cup of Green Tea and 2 cups of water. I like my water as cold as possible, and drink about 3 liters of water per day. Maybe more.

Every meal I eat is based around whole, natural foods. That’s secret #2. Avoid foods from a bag or a box. (Secret #3).

As I mentioned, I do use the sport supplement called “creatine” once in a while. Although it had been years since I last used it, I decided to try it again in March. It can help you gain weight, build muscle, and improve your performance in short, burst activities like sprints and resistance training.

11am – “Brunch”. I make a large 4-egg omelet (have switched over to organic eggs at the recommendation of many people…however, I honestly don’t know if it is necessary or not – and I doubt I’ll ever know). In the omelet, I add:

  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • red onion
  • mushrooms
  • red pepper
  • green pepper
  • and sometimes cheddar or feta cheese

I’ve also tried adding asparagus and apple slices with the feta cheese, and it was really good. Try that combo sometime.

Sometimes I’ll wrap up some of the omelet in a whole-wheat tortilla with 1/2 of an avocado and salsa. That’s good eating.

Along with the omelet, I’ll have a Greens-Plus drink. That’s a brand name for one of those “greens” drinks. Do I need this? I don’t know…After all, I eat a LOT of broccoli and other vegetables everyday. More insurance, I suppose.

I’m always trying a new fruit or vegetable (Secret #4). Year’s ago I was a picky eater, but over time anyone can learn to eat better. If I can do it, so can you.

12:30pm – Time to go workout. On M-W-F, I head to the gym for a 45 minute workout. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I head to a local coffee shop and drink a Green Tea. On those days, I don’t have the next “meal”.

Speaking of’s this week’s 5 minute workout…if you are short on time but want to see how TT can give you results in a short amount of time, simply do this superset

1A) DB Squat – 8 reps
1B) Pushups – As many reps as possible

Repeat as much as you can in 5 minutes. That’s a total body workout right there.

ep_craig_ballantyne_chocolate_milk-150x1502pm – 2 cups of chocolate milk after my workout. By now, I’m sure you’ve heard me say that I don’t use protein shakes, and that research shows chocolate milk is every bit as good as any higher priced “post-workout supplement” you can buy in a store.

After all, chocolate milk is just carbohydrate (with lots of sugar) and protein. That’s exactly what is in every post-workout drink.

Also,  I should note, that being a connoisseur of chocolate milk and having drank it in Europe and in the USA, nothing beats good ol’ Canadian “lait du chocolat”.

3:00pm – Now here’s where it gets random. Some days I’ll have almond butter sandwiches, other days I’ll have my “infamous” banana tacos, and other days I’ll have Amy’s organic chili with added vegetables. It’s easy to eat more vegetables by adding them to regular foods (Secret #5).

5:00pm – When Bally the Dog gets home from daycamp, I usually have an apple (shared with him of course) and some raw almonds and apricots, or almonds and goji berries. Sometimes I have raw cashews and cacoa nibs. The cacoa nibs and goji berries are an acquired taste, but like many things, I’ve learned to like them.

On a side note, I recently read about “chocolate covered bacon” and a TT member was nice enough to send me some from her candy shop…unfortunately, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. But hey, it was worth a try.

Other nights I’ll have a salad of…

  • spinach
  • red onion
  • red pepper
  • walnuts
  • feta cheese
  • strawberries or pears

For a guy who can’t cook, that’s a pretty good snack. Full of nutrients and appetite-satisfying fiber (Secret #6).

6:00pm – Time for another dog walk down Queen Street West or over to Bloor West Village or down Roncesville Ave.

8:00pm – Dinner. I like to eat a later dinner. Half the time I head out with friends…sushi, roast chicken, sometimes steak. Stick to the meat and vegetables. On Friday nights I’ll have a beer. (In the States, I go with Blue Moon. In Canada, Rickard’s White or Alexander Keiths).

ep_craig_ballantyne_dinner-300x238If I’m busy and just eat at home, I’ll make Amy’s Organic Chili and add spinach, onion, and mushrooms.

Or now that summer is here, I’ll start using the BBQ again and making grilled chicken or steak, but frankly, I’m too lazy to do that more than once per week.

So that’s it for a regular day in my diet…

Now what about when I travel?

As you know, I recommend packing raw nuts, apples, and dried fruit for the plane…or you can use Brad Pilon’s Eat-Stop-Eat program…I’ve done that a couple of times while traveling.

So there are no excuses for bad food choices in airports.

But when I travel,  I often eat at restaurants, and I schedule those in my diet to enjoy my dinners there. Most of the time, I order steak. Skip the bread, have a drink, order lots of vegetables, and once in a while I enjoy a chocolate dessert. I’m a big fan of chocolate cake. And who isn’t? Recently I tried Profiteroles for the first time – possibly the perfect dessert.

But most of my travel meals are the same as my home meals. I plan ahead and eat whole, natural foods (mostly fruits, vegetables, and raw nuts) 90% of the time. Enjoy rewards once in a while. It’s that simple – and effective (everything in moderation is secret #7).

And finally…what about when I’m eating with family?

Well, again, I plan that out so its not a big deal to enjoy a hearty meal of meat and potatoes. They know to make extra vegetables when I’m around. Most of us can easily plan around family events to enjoy them.

For example, last weekend I went home and had dinner with my mom where she made steak, grilled vegetables, baked potato, and broccoli. It’s easy to fit that into a diet plan. Just don’t go back for 3rds!

Alright, you’re probably hungry by now, so I’ll stop there.

That’s what I eat. It’s definitely better than the average “Western Diet”, but it’s also “human”. I like to slip a little chocolate into my weekly meal plan, and I like a nice cold beer too.

Personally, I think the biggest thing to keep out of your diet is any high-carbohydrate food that contains trans-fats. So avoid fries, chips, pastries, donuts, and anything deep-fried. dspebooklg

For more nutrition help, I recommend Isabel De Los Rios’ Diet Program.

If you do that, and eat a wide variety of foods with the foundation of your diet coming from fruits, vegetables, and raw nuts, you’ll lose fat without being hungry.

Let me know if you have any nutrition questions,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

PS – Please post your nutrition questions and comments below!