I am by no means a dietician. I have no formal culinary training. I promote TV shows for a living. Most of my health knowledge comes from magazines. Most of my cooking knowledge comes from blogs. That said, I can tell you what I eat to feel great for long workdays in the office and long distance runs alike!
My food guidelines are 1) low-calorie, 2) low-fat, 3) high-fiber.
I aim for this ratio: 100 calories ~2g fat ~3g fiber (like 1-2-3!)
This is general; sometimes I lower the fat and up the fiber. The ratio spans my day of food; I eat more than 100 calories per meal!
And I eat a wide variety of food:
Switching up proteins keeps me from getting bored with my food. If I eat several chicken meals in a row, I naturally crave a different protein. I eat seafood a few times per week. Sushi, shellfish, grilled fish (usually salmon, sea bass, or mahi mahi). When it comes to meat from land, I'm more discerning. I eat lean meat because I don't like the way I feel after eating fatty meat. I can't remember the last time I ate ground beef, real bacon, or dark meat chicken. I eat a lot of turkey bacon and white meat chicken or turkey burgers (I've learned that chicken or turkey burgers made with dark meat can have more fat than beef burgers). I love filet mignon, lean pot roast, and pulled pork. While I enjoy meat, I'm also a fan of vegan proteins. Tofu, tempeh, seitan, quinoa.. bring it on.
I snack on fruits and vegetables all day. I have yet to try a fruit or vegetable that I wouldn't eat again. I especially love berries because they taste great and they're high in fiber.
I never cook with butter. I rarely bake with butter. I never deep fry foods. I cook with lean meat. I keep a low-fat diet because I'd rather eat large portions of low-calorie foods than tiny portions of high-calorie foods. Some people thrive on dainty servings of rich food, but I crave light food throughout the day. I never eat to a point where I feel stuffed. High-fat foods make me feel sluggish. When I cook with fat, it's usually from coconut oil, oily fish, olive oil, or nuts.
I'm not lactose-intolerant. I'm not kosher. I just dislike cheese. I'm fine with feta, cotija or goat in salads or veggie burgers, but I order pizza without cheese (go ahead, call me crazy!) You won't see much queso in my recipes, but I sometimes mix light ricotta into quiches, and I don't mind light cream cheese or mascarpone in a cake or pie as long as it has enough sugar to offset the cheese flavor! I like greek yogurt and I love frozen yogurt. I rarely drink regular milk, opting for almond milk because I like the taste of it.
I usually eat whole wheat bread. I love an occasional sourdough bread bowl or panini on ciabatta (I just load up on veggies to compensate for the lack of fiber in white breads). I love whole grains, especially barley. I sometimes cook with white rice (again, compensating with veggies to get my fiber ratio right. If the fiber ratio ain't right, I'm hungry for another meal in an hour). I have the following flours in my cupboard for baking carbs: white flour, wheat flour, oat flour, brown rice flour, coconut flour. And I eat oatmeal like it's my job.
I love fresh-baked cookies, bars, and breads. I bake with Splenda. I know that many sources think it's toxic, but there are many others that say it's safe. I love that I can use Splenda and save 100's of calories on desserts. And I genuinely like the taste of it. I've tried stevia products, but they don't agree with my tastebuds. I haven't tried NuNaturals yet; I may give it a shot. I often bake with applesauce and/or bananas to add natural sweetness and replace oil.
I almost never drink hard alcohol. I drink a glass of wine with dinner. My #1 drink of choice is champagne. I heard somewhere that it has polyphenols which help prevent cancer. That might be bogus, but I like to think champagne has health benefits!
I grew up in a no-soda household. I drank a lot of diet soda during college. I'm now weary of the aspartame and don't drink it anymore. I enjoy the flavor of coffee, so I have a black coffee in lieu of soda if I need a pick me up. Sometimes I sub black coffee for green tea. I feel much better not drinking aspartame.
I eat all the time. I never skip breakfast. I run 6 miles in the morning and am more than a little hungry by the end of the run. I drink a smoothie en route to work (usually almond milk, water & ice, frozen cherries & chia seeds). I eat an eggbeater sandwich, too. At work I snack on oatmeal, home-baked goods, and fresh produce. I like to go out for lunch, but sometimes I do the BYOL thing with a mix of grains, veggies and protein. I'm always hungry by the time I get home. I cook a full dinner for me and Justin (unless we have work functions or go to a restaurant).
While I agree that you are what you eat and food is essential to staying healthy, I think attitude is equally important. I have a 98 year old grandpa whose memory is still sharp as a tack. He's had his fair share of red meat, soda, cake and cookies (the usual kind with sugar and butter). I think he's stayed especially healthy because of his genuine curiosity about everyone and everything, and his unrelenting positive outlook on life. He's been happily married to my grandma (who actually is a registered dietician, unlike me) and they've celebrated 63+ anniversaries. I try to ask myself WWWD (what would Walt do) whenever I'm feeling frustrated. And he would say, if you have your health and people who love you, you have it all!