What’s your ideal meal?

March 16, 2010

For the past two newsletters, we’ve been going through a concept I call “Your ideal life starts with breakfast.”  You can read part one here and part two here, but basically the idea is that if we can get our meals to be as awesome as we can imagine, a lot of the rest of our lives will automagically fall into place.

As I discovered last week, it’s not as easy as it might sound.  After three weeks, I only just managed to (intentionally) have my ideal breakfast for the first time yesterday morning.  But you know what?  I had it again today.  Here’s what an ideal breakfast looks like to me:

my ideal breakfastThat’s fresh pineapple (cut earlier, as per my thoughts on how to eat more raw fruits and vegetables,) with some blueberries.  I eat it on a white plate at the kitchen counter (we got rid of our dining room table when we built the new kitchen) while reading blog postings and planning out my day.

What’s interesting about this meal is that it’s about as much food as my eyes can take in first thing in the morning (I have a healthy appetite but I’m usually excited to start the day so I don’t want to spend too long eating,) but it’s actually not that many calories and I seem to be finding myself hungry about 90 minutes later.  That actually turns into a benefit for me, because I really want to move from three meals a day up to six or so (working from home means I don’t have a lot of excuses not to, really, but it’s still a challenge for some reason.)

As I mentioned, it took me several weeks to get into this groove.  What I thought was really cool, though, was some of the feedback from newsletter subscribers and the Facebook page.  A lot of you are already eating your ideal breakfast, and I found that inspiring.

Let’s share that inspiration: post a photo of your ideal meal (doesn’t have to be breakfast, but I recommend you start there) somewhere and send me a note so we can build a page of ideas for people – be sure to include the link to the photo and a brief description, both of the food and some info on how you eat it, who you eat it with, etc.  If you’re using Flickr or Twitter, tag your picture with “idealmeal” so more people can find it in between updates here.

The internet means we’re not alone.  Let’s leverage that and eat better than any community ever has.

Here’s Barbi’s ideal meal:

Barbi's ideal meal

As she puts it:

Bean and spinach enchilada topped with hot sauce.

Why my ideal meal?
#1 and most important: It’s DELICIOUS. I can’t get enough of the mushy texture of the refried beans combined with the warm spinach and the slightly crunchy peppers. and every meal needs a bit of spice.
#2 it’s filling and satisfying while also being super nutritious. it covers all four food groups!

  • whole grains (whole wheat tortilla)
  • veggies (spinach and peppers)
  • legumes (refried beans)
  • and even fruit if you count the avocado!

How do I eat it? As you can see from the photo, this is kind of a fork and knife required meal, so typically at the kitchen table. With my partner Robby. And me unable to stop saying “This is so delicious!” “Why does this taste so good!” “I want another one! Can I have another one!?”

Elena sent this one in:

Elena's ideal breakfast

As she says: here’s my explanation: we should always avoid foods that slow us down mentally or physically (easier said than done, of course) and especially in the morning. Fruits are the foods most easily digested by the human body so the energy they provide is most readily available. So when I’m being my best, I’d have 2-3 pieces/servings of (only fresh, only raw) fruit and some raw nuts, preferably spread out over the first 2 or so hours of the morning. This was: a banana sliced, topped w/about a half cup of WholeSoy & Co vanilla yogurt and about a teaspoon of ground flax on top. Also an orange and about a quarter cup of raw almonds. Schedule allowing it’d be spread out a bit, with an hour or so in between. When I consistently do this in the mornings (easier in summer) I have much more energy throughout the day…so that’s what I think of as ideal…

Tom sent in his mighty bean bowl!

Tom's bean bowlTom writes:

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup cold (cooked) elbow noodles
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted almonds
  • salt to taste

“Gourmet, it ain’t. Maybe it is stretching the meaning of ideal. It will seem weird to many. But it is easy to prepare and a surprisingly satisfying way to fill the void if you’re no whiz in the kitchen. It also crossed my mind that it might possibly be interesting with your readers dealing with energy issues, as you’ve been addressing in your other post. Bean Bowl provides a fairly concentrated dose of relatively slow burning fuel as well as 17g of protein, 10g of fiber and 133mg of calcium.

“Canned beans can be a sodium disaster, but the Eden Organic line runs at a measly 30g per serving. I can find them even in the sucky Metro across the street from me.”

Jonathan sent this shot in from his phone (and to me, there’s something exciting about being able to easily email breakfasts around the world!)

Jonathan's breakfastHe writes: “yes I’m bragging about the milk [we discussed hazelnut milk in a recent porncast - J.] and its my ideal breakfast. It is pineapple chunks (or really any sort of fruit), the cereal is a gluten-free Cheerios rip-off…..and coffee.  I like to do hot cereal too. That’s a shamrock in the background which is not particularly edible and that bowl is my roommate’s.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

eleni May 18, 2010 at 7:09 pm

haha these all look good and my favorite meal of the day has to be breakfast so I am definitly loving all these pictures. My ideal meal would have to be two over easy eggs with toast, cooked ham, and orange juice… mabey some yogurt and bananas like Elena if I’m still hungry.

Question: why the the narrator of this article want to eat six meals a day?

Jason May 18, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Thanks Eleni! This is a vegan site, so your ideal meal wouldn’t fly for most readers here, but it’s good to have a starting point.

The six meal a day thing comes from a number of trainers and diet advisors I’ve heard from over the years – smaller meals more often keeps your energy levels more constant, among other benefits.

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