Being a dietitian, I get asked the question of what I eat a lot; by my clients, from friends, and even the random person at the bar. I think when someone hears I am a dietitian there is an expectation that I only eat organic meats and fresh produce. They want to know my “secret” and have an expectation that anyone marketing nutrition services must follow some special diet pack to never eat sugar, fast food, or anything not designated as “super.”
I blame this notion on scare tactics often used by social media influencers, “nutritionists” and other “health” professionals. These scare tactics are marketing techniques, which make you believe that you have to subscribe to a particular nutrition philosophy to be considered healthy and if you don’t, then you are a failure, you will get cancer and die. OK, maybe I am being dramatic, but these techniques can be frightening and dangerous for your mental health.
“So… what do you eat?”
Being a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist doesn’t mean I follow some perfectly restricted diet all the time. There is no perfect diet that guarantees us perfect health. No one can live forever. Being healthy means being consistently better and reducing our risk of developing diseases in the future.
Let me start by saying, I am kinda boring when it comes to eating at home. I save my adventurous side for eating out, because I enjoy letting someone else do all the work. When I am the one preparing the meals, I go for what’s easiest and tend to eat the same things or similar everyday.
However, I still get asked what I eat all the time. So I figured I would answer some of your questions here and give you a better idea of how I try to be consistently better from day to day.
“What do you eat for breakfast?”
For breakfast, I often throw together items on the go and try to think of choosing one food from each of these groups:
- Fruit or Vegetable
- Protein or Dairy
- Grain or Starch
Some of my favorite breakfasts are listed below, and I often eat these as meals or snacks at anytime of the day.
- Greek yogurt with low-sugar granola or granola bar and fruit
- Oatmeal made with low-fat milk or soymilk and frozen blueberries
- Scrambled egg with cheese, spinach, and salsa in a tortilla
- Whole wheat toast or 1/2 a bagel with cream cheese and fruit
Find more healthy breakfast ideas here!
“Do you snack?”
Yes, absolutely! I am a huge snacker! In fact, I probably eat more snacks than meals in a day.
Snacks are often equated with junk food, but, to me, a snack is just a small meal. My eating pattern tends to contain 2-3 snacks during the day and maybe 1-2 larger meals, typically breakfast or dinner.
For most snacks I try to include one carbohydrate containing food like whole wheat crackers, fruit, or vegetables and one item with protein & fat like cheese, yogurt, nuts, or lean protein.
Some of my favorite snacks include:
An apple or banana with peanut butter
Carrot sticks and hummus
Whole wheat crackers and cheese
“What do you eat for dinner?”
I’ve never been much of a chef, so any meals I prepare are usually simple that require little to no clean up. As I mentioned above, I am more of a snacker than someone who eats a full meal. I tend to cook a few days per week. Then eat leftovers for the nights I don’t feel like cooking.
When I do prepare meals, I usual go for something meatless and include more dairy and plant based proteins like beans or lentils. Lately, I have been experimenting with my own homemade marinara sauce (see above over spinach ravioli!)
Check out some of my easy recipes for dinner!
“How often do you eat out?”
Admittedly, I don’t enjoy cooking anything that takes too much effort or makes a mess so I love eating out and having someone else do all the work.
I would say I eat out about 4-5 times per week and always have leftovers for extra meals. Often my boyfriend eats those before I do.
When I eat out I always make a point to include vegetables in my order. I try to choose vegetarian dishes or chose vegetables or a salad on the side over extra starches.
Do you eat meat, eggs, or dairy?
The answer to this question is yes and no. Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t eat hamburgers or any red meat that often. It’s not because of some secret health pack, it’s because I just don’t like them that much.
Over consumption of foods that contain saturated fat and cholesterol like meat, dairy and eggs may be linked to increasing blood cholesterol, but that doesn’t mean you have to give them all up. For some, you may be able to pass on the cheese. For me, I’ll live without the meat.
That said, I could not live without dairy. I eat cheese and yogurt everyday. However, I don’t eat much meat on a day to day basis. I occasionally enjoy seafood or poultry when dinning out but the majority of my meals at home are vegetarian. As far as eggs, I do enjoy them, but usually only eat them on the weekends.
Do you eat junk food?
First, I just want to say there is no definition of what a “junk food” is exactly. But let’s say this refers to a food that has been given the label of “bad” or unhealthy. I allow myself at least one snack or meal per day that may include a not-so-healthy item like ice cream, french fries, cookies, or other refined carbohydrates.
Although I try to only eat portion sizes to satisfy my hunger and not to eat out of boredom or stress, depriving myself when I have a craving often leads me to a binge later.
Allowing myself a small portion of a “bad” food along with healthier options throughout the day helps keep me being consistently better.
I have noticed overtime these not-so-healthy foods have become less and less common in my diet.
“So what should I eat?”
What diet or meal pattern works for one person does not always work for everyone. That is why working with a certified professional can help you learn what diet works for you and how to set goals to be consistently better. Contact me to make an appointment or come to one of my Get Healthy VI events to learn more about working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.