For fitness instructor and Daily Burn 365 trainer Erika Shannon, eating is all about satisfying her palate—and powering through the eight workout classes she teaches each week. “I need it for brainpower and physical stamina,” Shannon says.
But just because she eats clean most days, doesn’t mean she’s immune to cravings. “Like a lot of people, I’m an emotional eater. I eat because I think I ‘deserve it’ or I’ll eat because I’m tired,” she says. That’s why she tries not to banish anything from her diet—and makes sure to eat a little chocolate every single day. “If I deprive myself, I’ll want to go overboard,” she says.
Being a fitness instructor doesn’t give her license to “eat whatever” either, she notes. “I eat often because if I wait to long I get hangry and impatient and will eat whatever’s there,” she says. Carefully measuring her portions—a habit she’s picked up as a lifelong member of Weight Watchers—helps her avoid going overboard on trigger foods like cereal, too.
Want a peek inside her pantry? Here’s what this fitness instructor (and mom!) eats in a typical day.
Breakfast: Egg with hot sauce on top of sprouted grain bread with a piece of bacon and an orange
Talk about a breakfast of champions! “Breakfast is an important meal for me,” Shannon says. She calls this plate her “ultimate combo”: Something functional (protein-packed eggs), something that makes her feel like she’s getting a treat (bacon!) and something that satisfies her sweet tooth (the orange).
Coffee: Black, mixed with a teaspoon of coconut oil
Reading about the anti-inflammatory benefits of coconut oil inspired Shannon to start mixing a teaspoon of it with her coffee every day. “Healthy fats and healthy oils are really essential to good health,” she says. Blended in her Magic Bullet, she says this mixture is frothy and sweet—and tastes great.
This trainer’s rule of thumb: Always have a snack on hand. Fruit often satisfies her dessert cravings, too. “I don’t keep a lot of sweets in my house, today an apple was sweet enough for me,” she says.
Lunch: Romaine salad with tuna, cannellini beans, tomatoes, and lemon-vinaigrette dressing with a green juice
“Lunch is usually on-the-go or at home working, so I want to keep it on the lighter side so I can still move my body, nothing too heavy,” Shannon says. Working from home makes it tricky to avoid snacking all day, so she makes sure to include a filling protein in every meal. “The refrigerator and cabinets are really close by but I eat and walk away,” she says.
Snack: Chocolate chia pudding
“I ate the whole thing, because YOLO,” Shannon says of this sweet snack. By eating a little bit of chocolate every day, Shannon says she never feels bad about indulging.
Dinner: Slow-cooked chicken fajitas with onion, red pepper, and black beans, topped with light shredded cheese and a side of avocado and a quinoa/brown rice blend
Dinnertime is a two-part production as Shannon typically feeds her three-year-old daughter first and makes a separate meal for her and her husband to enjoy later. “I chew gum while I make my daughter’s dinner,” Shannon admits. “She doesn’t eat everything on her plate so it’s very easy to have those little bites of Annie’s Mac and Cheese, which I call ‘Crack and Cheese!’ …I need to call in the Trident troops!”
For her meal, Shannon tries to avoid eating red meat or anything too heavy or she finds it interferes with her sleep at night. “And my main goal is to sleep well!” she says.
Dessert: Six dark chocolate-covered almonds
The key to dominating dessert without feeling guilty: “I take six almonds at a time and put the thing away!” Shannon says. “If I keep it in front of me, I’ll mindlessly eat them.”
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