For starters, Please – Please – Please know that I speak only for myself and not for any other dietitian. We are all different.
“So what does a dietitian eat?” If I weren’t a dietitian, I would be asking the same thing. What the heck do the food fanatics eat? Of course many of you do want to know and ask this often.
Yes, my recipes are posted on my blog and Facebook page as well as my staple ingredients noted in My Ingredient List For Clean, Whole Food Living!, so you likely have a pretty good idea, but what about the ins and outs of my day? What do I eat when I wake up, how do I snack, when, what and why?
This obviously is personal and based on my preferences, but I think it is safe to say that all foods, mainly whole foods, are more than welcome into a healthy diet unless there is a specific reason of why they are not tolerated. Other than that, all foods are fair game. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and dairy, nuts, beans, fish, healthy oils and fats, occasional indulgences, whatever that may be.
My emphasis is more on what a food can do for me than why I should eliminate it from my diet. My personal preference and recommendation is to focus primarily on plant based foods such as produce, beans, legumes, nuts, healthy oils, whole intact grains – grains that have not been refined or modified at all- to prevent ailments and preventable disease. It is also important to keep a watchful eye and mindfulness on eliminating a lot of the “junk” or food that simply is overly processed, high in fat and sugar and offers little nutrition. Portion control is always relevant and should always be present at each meal.
I think sometimes people see dietitians as the food police and the whistle blowers to most foods. In fact, for me, it is the exact opposite. The confidence comes from understanding how foods are metabolized, digested and utilized in the body. I find that what it really comes down to is simply, micro and macro nutrients, fiber, antioxidants and beneficial plant chemicals or phytochemicals.
My typical day:
First Meal – Blending:
I used to wake up and stumble to the coffee maker, adding maybe a little sugar and a few drops of half and half. Really not a big deal. A little sweet and creamy to start my day. It worked. Then I started blending and I couldn’t wait to get through my 5:30 am coffee so I could blend. I asked myself, “why am I going through the motions of coffee when I can just skip to a kale, banana, berry, pumpkin, carrot, celery, apple..whatever smoothie.” I went for it one day. Skipping the coffee entirely and supplementing with black tea or herbal tea throughout the day which I normally do as well, so there was really no caffeine withdrawal. Occasionally my hubs will hook me up with a non fat cappuccino made with steamed-frothy-skim milk, brewed coffee and then topped with cinnamon. In all honesty and completely off topic, the cappuccino machine scares me to death. I don’t trust myself with loud, whistling, steaming, potentially fatal devices at 5:30 am. Not a good mix for me. So blending I go.
My produce blend usually fills me up for about two hours and then I start looking for some sustenance – an early lunch. I usually always pair a complex carbohydrate and a lean protein along with color, always get your color in. This combo is my power-source of nutritional wealth. So, with that said, my next meal may look like one of these options on most days: Heat & Eat Soup, a whole grain sandwich flat with one scrambled egg or leftover grains and a protein source from the night before’s dinner with shredded romaine and salad dressing or vinaigrette. I have a serious addiction to dark green leaves mixed with warmed whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice or even boiled potatoes. I warm about 1 cup of intact grains, then top it with several handfuls of leafy greens or romaine, topped with an olive oil based vinaigrette. It is delicious and just the kind of energy source I need to get me through another few hours. A nice slow digested high fiber complex carbohydrate with leafy greens and a hard boiled egg or a handful of nuts for protein as well leftover chicken, pork, fish, etc. Some other options I might choose from are: a whole grain high fiber wrap with two tablespoons of hummus and a handful of cherry tomatoes- or- oatmeal with a tiny bit of skim milk and cinnamon – or- cottage cheese and whole grain high fiber crackers for example. Another typical option is nitrate free turkey or ham lunch meat, a mozzarella string cheese and a piece of fresh fruit. Please note, most of these foods are ready to go so I can just grab and eat or pack and go. By “ready to go” I mean I steam or cook whole grains and then keep a container full in the fridge to get through the week. Keeping steamed whole grains in your fridge will allow you to quickly heat and eat or add to soups, salads or alone.
Usually this is early afternoon and the day has been busy. I want to grab a variety of foods that are easy, crunchy and healthy. Snack tray to the rescue! Anything goes such as: fresh fruit or apple slices, tzatziki, carrots, raisins, and maybe cheese and whole grain crackers with some carbonated water. I love this combination. It is balanced, satisfying, a nice variety and easy. Hot Tea (herbal) always and one piece of dark chocolate, occasionally. (When selecting shelf stable baked goods such as crackers, always look for products with no hydrogenated fats or trans fats and the most amount of whole grains and fiber specified.)
This time of the day, the kids and I are getting ready for a dinner meal. I am very traditional when it comes to dinner on most nights and try to get something prepped in the am so I can just throw it together quickly. Waiting for rush hour- dinner hour- is usually not wise; especially when everyone is hungry and adjusting from their daily schedule. So planning ahead is required. I try to keep the ratio of a small serving of complex carbohydrates, lean protein from fish, beans or lean meat with a vegetable mixed in, salad, or mixed vegetables with olive oil and garlic. This is the meal I try to incorporate a little bit of most nutrients; usually what I post about in terms of recipe postings and what you will find in my Recipe Index. When you skimp on your day time meals or at dinner, you leave yourself wanting to snack heavily at night potentially threatening your healthy attempts from during the day. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing to snack at night, especially if you haven’t met your energy needs for the day, but most often we have.
If I have anything in the evening after dinner time, it is usually something light such as another produce blend (smoothie), a glass of red wine, a small snack with veggies, fruit and dip, salsa and whole grain chips, a handful of all natural kettle chips or even just hot herbal tea. I usually feel pretty satisfied most evenings because I really emphasize on getting the macro nutrients: lipids (from healthy fats), amino acids (protein) and glucose (from complex carbs) during the day which are essential for satiety and fueling our cells, muscles, brain and body efficiently. Plus all of the colorful produce, selective grains and food choices for micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals).
It is amazing how when we nourish our body with what it needs, it will do what we need and want it to do for us. Serve your body with goodness, so it will serve you back.
What about you? What is your typical style of eating like? I would love to hear from you.Pin It