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Who: Danielle Schaub, 32
Lives: Del Ray, Alexandria
Does: Culinary and nutrition manager for Territory Foods
Danielle Schaub used to call herself an “instinct-ivore,” meaning that when it came to her diet, she mostly listened to her body and ate what it told her it needed. But through her own journey as an athlete, she realized that she needed to utilize a more thoughtful and structured approach to how she ate.
When she was a college athlete and later a Boston Marathon runner, she was all about carbs, but limited her fat intake. But when she started CrossFit, she discovered that instead of following a low-carb Paleo diet like her fellow CrossFit-ers, she was better off sticking to a meal plan filled with mostly moderate carbs.
She also started intermittent fasting, which she found helped her metabolism. She waits 15 hours between her last meal of the day and her first meal of the following day, which she says helps the body become better at using fats and carbs as fuel sources. “I’ve gained muscle from CrossFit, but my weight hasn’t changed because my body has gotten better at burning fat,” she says.
Today, Schaub is the nutrition and culinary manager for DC-based clean meal-service company Territory Foods. In her job and in her personal life, she encourages combining instinct-driven eating with a diet that works best for your activity level and lifestyle.
“My food philosophy is simple: be intuitive and thoughtful and eat lots of plants,” she says.
Pre-Workout, 6:15 AM:
12 ounces of water with one scoop of Naked pre-workout supplement
“I use a plant-based pre-workout with a natural source of caffeine on my walk to the gym. It forces me to hydrate and helps me wake up!”
Breakfast, 9:30 AM:
Lemon-poppy Territory muffin with a nitro cold brew
“If I’m hungry but not quite ready for a meal, I have a snack when I get to work. I aim for things that are roughly a two-to-one ratio of carbs to protein, since that ratio is ideal to replenish glycogen stores and enhance muscle repair after a workout. It’s also important to avoid inflammatory ingredients when your body is under stress, such as after a workout or when you’ve got a full day of work ahead of you. The Territory muffins I snack on are free of gluten, dairy, refined sugars, and oils, so they are gentle on my belly.”
Lunch, 11 AM:
Territory seafood paella
“Lunch is always a Territory meal out of the office fridge. I go for meals that are higher in protein with lots of veggies. This meal has five ounces of seafood and a variety of colorful veggies. I love seafood, and the paella is a new favorite.”
Snacks, 4 PM:
Jackfruit chews and cucumbers with hummus
“I’m always hungry again around 4 PM. It’s an awkward time to snack before dinner, but fruits and veggies can curb hunger pangs without ruining your appetite. I happened to be testing Amazi snacks for work, so I had a couple handfuls of dried jackfruit. My garden is overflowing with cucumbers, so slices with hummus are a frequent snack.”
“Other common afternoon snacks include almond crackers with hummus, popcorn, dates, or an apple with peanut butter.”
Dinner, 6:30 PM:
Chicken, veggies, and quinoa
“When creating meals, I think first about the vegetables and then about the protein. Plants are incredibly important for optimal health and to prevent all types of diseases. I pick proteins and other sides that go with the vegetable. This particular day, I had broccoli and kale in the fridge. I made a kale and quinoa pilaf, roasted the broccoli with a bit of parmesan cheese, and had a simple seasoned chicken breast. This meal was high in protein from the chicken and quinoa, and highly nutrient-dense from all the green veggies.”
Dessert, 7 PM:
“I eat chocolate chips almost every day. I choose chips over a chocolate bar because it’s more economical and easier to portion control. I get extra-dark chocolate so that I’m satisfied after just a handful or two and get the max antioxidant and happiness benefits that comes from eating chocolate.”
This interview has been edited and condensed. Readers should consult their doctors before making health and wellness decisions.