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Wellness

Food Diaries: What a Work-From-Home Martial Artist Eats in a Day

by RACHEL HONEYMAN

It seems like nearly every week, I see a new fad diet shouting at me from the magazines at the grocery checkout. Keto! Vegan! Low Fat! It’s no wonder the question of what to eat can be so confusing. 

I’ve followed many different styles of eating over the years, and I’m currently following a non-diet “diet” that’s been working well for me. I’m going to share what a typical day of eating looks like for me—and, who knows? Maybe you’ll get an idea or two for yourself. 

A bit about me before we get started. I’m a work-from-home content manager for an online fitness education company with a flexible, yet demanding schedule. Working in the health/fitness space, I definitely have nutrition on the brain much of the time (plus, I love to eat!). I’m also a martial artist, and I do about 4-6 hours of intense, high impact training most weeks. 

When it comes to eating, my philosophy on eating has evolved quite a bit over the last decade of trial and error. It’s a philosophy of balance, intuition, and reasonableness. I no longer cut entire food groups from my diet, or see any particular foods as “evil” or “unhealthy.” As long as I’m getting a good balance of nutrients in amounts that are appropriate for my activity level, I’ve found the rest to be a lot less important.

So, let’s dive in! 

Breakfast

I usually wake up at around 5:45am and, within 5-10 minutes of getting out of bed, I’m sipping my first cup of coffee (You do not want to encounter me before I’ve had some coffee, and neither does my husband, so he’s usually the one shoving the cup into my hand). I don’t add sugar to my coffee, but I do add a splash of almond milk.

After my coffee, I usually do 20 minutes of stretching, ground movement, and some drilling for my martial arts practice. 

I follow my morning training with a simple breakfast—a cup of plain Greek yogurt with some blueberries or a sliced banana, and a touch of maple syrup, topped off with a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon. It’s a hearty, protein-rich breakfast that keeps me pretty full until lunch. 

Lunch 

Mornings are usually pretty busy on the work-front—between planning out my company’s latest marketing campaign, writing posts for our social media accounts, and writing an outline for an upcoming article, I’ve got my hands full. So, it’s pretty easy to avoid snacking before lunch, and I generally eat lunch on the earlyish side (around 11:30). 

For me, lunch is all about convenience. Because I work from home, I do have easy access to my kitchen but I’m usually eating in a bit of a hurry, since I typically have meetings between 12-2pm. I try to stock my fridge with easy, healthy options, so I won’t be tempted to live on frozen veggie burgers every day (I’ve been there, and it ain’t pretty). 

A typical lunch might be a simple turkey sandwich with leftover veggies from last night’s dinner on the side. It takes five minutes to put together, it’s delicious, and along with another cup of coffee, it gets me through my meetings with minimal hanger. The key is having a good balance of protein, vegetables, starch, and some healthy fat. 

I also have quite the sweet tooth, so I’ll usually have a couple of squares of a good quality dark chocolate (70% or higher cacao content) for dessert. 

Afternoon Snack

I try to have just one snack during the day, between lunch and dinner, since it’s a pretty long stretch between meals. Plus, if it’s a training day for me, I need the extra fuel. 

At about 3:30 or 4pm, I’ll have a small, but substantial snack. I’ve found that combining two or more food groups tides me over better than just having one. So, that might mean a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts, or a string cheese and some berries—you get the idea. On training days, I’ll just have a little more of one of my snack foods (e.g. an extra piece of fruit or some extra nuts).

Dinner

After I’ve finished my work for the day, on a heavy training day, I’ll do about two hours of martial arts training with my coach, from 5-7pm. I feel like I could eat a horse by the time I get home! Preparation is key, then. 

I’m a big believer in leftovers, so when I cook, I make far more than my husband and I could eat at one meal. I love cooking, but it’s time consuming and I have a busy schedule, so I try to limit the amount of time I spend cooking to 2-3 times each week. 

When I get home from training, I usually make a plate of food from the fridge. Similar to lunch, I aim for a good balance of nutrients on my plate, but after a training session, I’ll add in an extra serving of starch (which often means feeding that sweet tooth of mine with a little treat after dinner ?). 

I’ll be honest, though. Things don’t always go to plan, and I don’t always have food ready in the fridge. I have my fair share of days when I rely on takeout or just whip up an easy batch of pancakes for dinner. We all have those days, and as long as you’ve got a plan that’s guiding most days, there’s nothing wrong with going the lazy route from time to time. 

And there you have it—a day in the life of yours truly! The specifics of my meals might change, but I always try to maintain a sense of balance and moderation in my diet.