Food Diaries: Lindsey Kane, healthy eating specialist of Whole Foods Market

As the healthy eating specialist at Philadelphia’s Whole Foods Markets, Lindsey Kane, MS, RD, wears a lot of hats.

Kane manages the corporate wellness plan, caters Lunch & Learns with local businesses and schools, develops recipes, gives cooking demos — oh and don’t forget the FREE shopping tours she offers to all customers! You can imagine how all of those activities make for one very busy workweek. That’s why, above all other things, Kane is a planner when it comes to her own nutrition.

“I never let myself get to the point of, OMG I’ll eat anything you put in front of me,” joked Kane. “Its really hard to rely on willpower when you’re in a moment of weakness. That’s why I plan my meals ahead of time so when that hunger strikes there’s really no decision to make.”

Kane strives to maintain an 80/20 balance — a plant-based diet 80 percent of the time, which allows her to indulge without any added guilt the other 20 percent.

“I tend to emphasize eating as many nutrient-dense, whole (unprocessed), plant-based foods as possible, while limiting the amount of processed foods with added oil, sugar, and salt,” said Kane.

“That being said, I am normal and I do have the same temptations as my customers; so yes, I eat a cupcake from our bakery department every once in a while, too.”

Kane recognizes that deprivation is an equation for disaster when it comes to establishing healthy eating habits. Instead, she’s a big fan of following, what she calls, a “Happy Meatium” diet.

"The idea is to reconfigure your plate by making plant-based foods (think veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, whole grains, etc.) the star of the meal, and let meat serve as the side dish or condiment,” said Kane.

Below, in her own words, Kane describes her typical day of healthy eating:

Breakfast: Pumpkin oatmeal and lemon ginger water.

 

"I was never a crazy coffee addict, but I definitely fell into the 1-cup-of-coffee morning ritual. Knowing that coffee probably isn't the most nourishing thing to put in my body first thing in the morning, I recently made the effort to switch to warm Lemon Ginger Water instead, and I am here to say that it's such a calming-yet-rejuvenating way to start your day!"

"I eat oatmeal every morning; it's hearty, it fills me up and it's something I look forward to. My pumpkin oatmeal recipe has steel-cut oats, 100% pumpkin puree, diced apples, dried cranberries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, pumpkin pie spice and honey."

 

Snack: Local honey crisp apple.

Lunch: “Leftover Remix”: Roasted brussels sprouts, sweet potato, apple, dates, cannelini beans with homemade dressing.

"I tend to batch cook in the beginning of the week. I roast a ton of veggies and cook up a batch of whole grains. Instead of eating the same thing over and over again, I mix and match everything with different flavor profiles to keep it interesting, which is often how my 'leftover remix' is made.

Today’s leftovers consisted of some of my personal favorites. Brussels sprouts, being part of the cruciferous family, boast some amazing health benefits. Potatoes have gotten a bad rap because of the way they are traditionally prepared, but to me they serve as a nutrient-dense foundation for any meal. I also always have beans stocked in my pantry. They are incredibly affordable and extremely convenient — just give them a rinse and they are ready to be thrown into any dish for a boost of plant-base protein.

Lastly, I am a huge believer in homemade salad dressings. Salad dressing can make or break a salad, so I make a big batch in a mason jar to have on hand for the week for salads and to drizzle over roasted veggies. I usually rely on a few simple ingredients to pack some serious flavor: dijon mustard, vinegars, Tahini (sesame seed butter), low-sodium tamari, spices, herbs, lemon, garlic. Today’s dressing was a Honey Dijon Vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, and herbs."

Snack: Suzie's Thin Cakes and Cava Mezze hummus.

"I love these Suzie's Thin Cakes! Why? Because the ingredient list contains real foods, and only real foods: Corn, Quinoa, & Sesame. These whole grain squares are essentially super thin rice cakes and serve as a great 'dipper' for hummus, guacamole or salsa. Sometimes I spread on some almond butter and top it with bananas or apples with a sprinkle of cinnamon!

Cava Mezze hummus is another product that contains 'real food' ingredients: Protein-rich garbanzo beans, roasted red peppers, Tahini, garlic and just a pinch of salt. What I like most about this hummus is that there are no added oils, which is something I try to limit in my diet. I suggest reading the ingredient list and scanning for added oils, it makes a big difference!"

Dinner: Wild mushroom risotto with peas and prosciutto.

“I have two confessions: 
1. I am a huge fan of batch cooking (which I'm sure you've picked up on by now).
2. I believe a well-stocked freezer has the potential to save dinner!

And here's yet another example… Dinner tonight was a Wild Mushroom Risotto, with Peas and Prosciutto. Sounds like it took all night to make right? Wrong! My faro was cooked and ready to go from my batch episode on Sunday. My freezer was stocked with caramelized onions, prosciutto, peas, and 'cheesy' cashew cream. So for this dinner, all I had to do was sauté some mushrooms with garlic, add a splash of white wine with herbs, and stir in the pre-cooked faro, pre-cooked caramelized onions, pre-made 'cheesy' cashew cream & frozen peas. Then I popped the prosciutto under the broiler for a second to get it nice and crispy.

I know what you're thinking, A dietitian is eating prosciutto? YES! Just a tiny crumble of crispy prosciutto is all it takes to bring a savory and salty bite to this dish. If you're vegan, skip the prosciutto and this meal is 100 percent plant-based.  But, if you are a meat-eater, this is a great example of how to celebrate what I call a ‘Happy Meatium’.”

This article was originally published on Philly.com’s Goal Getter column.