What does a Dietitian eat in a day?

Ever wonder what a dietitian eats in a day?

From people wondering how to improve their diets and eat healthier I get this question a lot- what on earth do I eat? The answer is that it’s going to look very different from person to person! There is no “one best way” to eat or any such thing as a “perfect diet”.

In general a healthful diet:

  • is abundant in a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits
  • contains foods from different food groups including vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, whole grains, legumes, proteins, dairy, and healthy fats
  • provides enough calories for an individual to thrive and maintain a healthful bodyweight
  • is tasty and enjoyable
  • is sustainable long term
  • focuses on water as the primary source of hydration
  • limits highly processed foods

Combining foods in different ways to make them tasty and enjoyable is one of the best ways to prevent food boredom and truly enjoy a healthy diet! One of my best pieces of advice is to get in the kitchen. The best, most nutritious meals can be made right at home using whole food ingredients and simple techniques.

Here is an idea of what I eat in a day- this is by no means prescriptive but instead a source of idea/inspiration on how fun and tasty it can be to eat healthy!

In the morning, the first thing I like to do is make myself a big jar of ice water and chug some. A couple of ways to make water more enjoyable:

  • make it extra cold by adding lots of ice!
  • add fresh or frozen fruit to add flavor- like strawberries, lemon, pineapple, mango, kiwi, limes
  • add fresh herbs like basil or mint
  • add a reusable straw (IDK why this helps me drink more but it does!)

Breakfast

Next comes arguably the most important meal of the day- breakfast! I hear from quite a few people that they don’t enjoy breakfast or don’t feel hungry in the morning. I’d encourage you to take a look at what other times of day you are feeling hungry. Are you extra hungry for dinner? Or find yourself snacking late in the evening? Evidence shows that eating a balanced breakfast every day can help prevent these feelings of “hangriness” later in the day. Breakfast eaters also have a lower incidence of obesity, heart disease, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure. Score!

For breakfast- I recommend including quality protein, heart-healthy fat, filling fiber and fruit, or vegetables! My breakfast this morning was (my fave!) a slice of toasted sourdough bread with smashed avocado, chopped green onion, red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of feta, and a fried egg. On the side, I enjoyed some blueberries and strawberries and of course, coffee. This is brewed black coffee with about ¼ cup frothed oat milk to give it a bit of creaminess.

This breakfast covers all of the previously mentioned bases:

  • Protein- egg
  • Healthy fat- avocado
  • Fiber- berries and toast
  • Fruit or vegetable- strawberries, blueberries, green onion, avocado
  • And also, it was DELICIOUS.

Lunch

After a few hours of work and a hard workout, I was more than ready for lunch. Today’s lunch is another one of my standbys and perfect for the approaching fall weather.

For those of you who have gotten tired of steamed, mushy veg may I strongly suggest roasted!? Drizzling veggies with olive oil and seasonings and roasting them at high heat (425) for about 25 minutes gives them crispiness and deeper flavor that is simply irresistible!

Today’s lunch bowl included:

  • quinoa (a fabulous high-protein grain)
  • roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli (roasted with olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and kosher salt)
  • 1/2 of an avocado and a handful of Kalamata olives (gotta love that healthy fat!)
  • a sprinkle of dried cranberries for chew and roasted pumpkin seeds for crunch
  • a vinaigrette made with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper

Snack

An afternoon of work flew by and I was feeling quite hungry by 4:30 pm. I knew I would be over-hungry if I didn’t have a little snack to tide me over till dinner so I snacked on some grapes and a Kombucha tea while making dinner. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that is very low in sugar and calories and rich in probiotic bacteria- aka those friendly little critters that promote gut health!

Dinner

For dinner, I made a delicious lemongrass noodle salad! Tons of fresh veggies like bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and scallions, tossed with thin brown rice noodles, peanuts, crispy tofu, basil, cilantro, and a zippy lemongrass dressing. I will link to the recipe below, I highly recommend- it was so flavorful and filling!

Recipe from Pinch of Yum

Dessert

I almost always save a little room at the end of the day for a small sweet snack like a piece of dark chocolate, some toasted coconut chips or a few chocolate covered almonds. Today was a little more indulgent with a homemade chocolate chip cookie.

I strongly encourage including portion-controlled sweet snacks in your diet. Including these foods instead of restricting can:

  • help you feel more satisfied
  • prevent the urge to binge
  • promote a way of eating that feels sustainable and realistic
  • I ate this cookie and enjoyed every single bite!

And that’s a wrap! A full day of eating. I didn’t show it in every picture but I did keep refilling my yummy fruit-infused water all day long and ended up drinking 90oz. The recommended minimum water intake is 64oz/day but it is certainly okay to exceed this, especially if you are active!

My motto in life is to “count colors not calories”. Mindful eating, appropriate portions, and an abundance of colorful veggies and fruits is how I stay on track and lead a balanced lifestyle. I hope this visual and comprehensive day of eating helps picture what types of foods and meals you’d like to incorporate into your day-to-day.

Drop any questions you have in the comment section- we love questions!

by Erica Baty, RDN, CDE

Healthier Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:


1 (8-ounce) package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts,
drained and chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain of excess liquid
1 1/4 cups mozzarella shredded cheese, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 (4-ounce) can mild diced green chilies,
drained
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the softened
    cream cheese, yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper,
    red pepper flakes, and onion powder until
    combined. Add the artichoke hearts,
    spinach, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese,
    and green chilies and stir well.
  3. Transfer the dip mixture into a 1 1/2-2
    quart baking dish and sprinkle with the
    Parmesan cheese and remaining 1/4 cup
    of mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until hot and
    bubbly. Serve with chips, crackers, chunks
    of crusty bread, or veggies.

Pretzel Turtles

Ingredients:


20 grid pretzels
20 chocolate covered caramel candies
(like Rolos)
20 pecan halves


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on
    a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place
    one chocolate covered caramel candy on
    each pretzel.
  3. Bake for 4 minutes. While the candy is
    warm, press a pecan half onto each candy
    covered pretzel. Cool completely before
    storing in an airtight container.

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup cashew butter
1 cup chocolate chips


Directions:

  1. Set oven to 350°F
  2. Whisk the egg and sugar together until
    well, blended. Beat in the baking soda and
    cashew butter and then fold in the chips.
  3. I use a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop to scoop out balls of dough. Space them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Flatten the balls of dough just slightly with
    your fingers or a spreading knife.
  5. Bake for about 12-13 minutes. The
    cookies will puff up and just barely begin
    to get golden on the edges. They will look
    soft and a little underdone, but will firm
    up as they cool.
  6. Cool the cookies for a few minutes on the
    pan, then transfer to a rack.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Directions:

Preheat oven as directed below. Glass baking dishes without crust require a cooler oven, and in most cases, a longer baking time.

Spray with nonstick cooking spray or lightly grease bottom of baking pan or glass baking dish.

Whisk together the sugar, spices, eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk. Pour into pan or dish.

Bake as directed below or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Pan types:

9-inch-round glass pie dish: 325° F; bake for 55 to 60 minutes

10-inch-round glass pie dish: 325° F; bake for 45 to 50 minutes

8-inch-round cake pan: 350º F; bake for 45 to 50 minutes

9-inch-round cake pan: 350° F; bake for 35 to 40 minutes

8-inch-square baking pan: 350º F; bake for 45 to 50 minutes

8-inch-square glass baking dish: 325º F; bake for 55 to 60 minutes

9-inch-square baking pan: 350º F; bake for 35 to 40 minutes