Although I eat meat now, I was a vegetarian for many years, beginning my freshman year of college. I began eating meat again because of bodybuilding, but there are lots of things I miss about eating a plant-based diet. For one, I was more creative with my meals and tried new produce regularly, whereas now it’s easy to kind of just throw together some meat, a basic vegetable, and a carb and call it a day.
I’m not a super enthusiastic meat eater (probably got this from my mom because she’s the same way), so two or three of my six meals daily are plant-based if I can help it. #fairweatheromnivore
One thing that was a staple when I ate mostly plant-based foods and still is today is almonds. They’re one of my favorite snack foods as they’re delicious, portable, and they stick to your ribs, nawmean?
I’ve partnered with California Almonds on this post! All opinions are my own.
You can eat almonds raw or roasted, and as almond butter (my personal favorite), almond milk, almond meal, and almond flour. And have you tried the ones coated in cocoa powder? You should. The options are endless and you can feel good about including almonds in your diet because California almonds are sustainably grown (gotta save that water) and eating natural foods reduces packaging waste. More on all that here.
As I’m dieting for a competition, I don’t get to eat almonds as much as I normally would. When I worked in an office, I’d just bring a whole bag of raw almonds and keep it in my desk for when hunger would inevitably strike in the afternoons. While I don’t have the luxury of always having them at my fingertips during competition prep, when I do get to incorporate them in my diet for the week I’m a very happy girl.
Here’s an example of something almond-y I had for breakfast this weekend: a batch of warm apple cinnamon protein muffins with a smudge of almond butter on them. This felt extremely decadent (to me, who’s dieting) and had the perfect balance of carbs from the apples and oats, protein from both the egg whites and almond butter, and of course, healthy fats. I always think of almonds as just a source of fats, but I found out that there are 6 grams of protein in just one ounce of almonds (about 23 almonds).
One of my personal fave ways to eat almond butter is on a rice cake with some blackberry jam. While backstage waiting to go on stage at a bodybuilding competition, most people munch on snacks like this because the carbs keep your muscles looking full, so eating this treat reminds me of those times.
You can learn more about sustainable almond-growing practices and find tons of free recipes at Almonds.com!