The featured image for this post might be a TAD misleading. I try not to eat ice cream EVERY DAY…
This post idea was inspired by my sister’s video blog post about what she eats in a day as a vegan.
I am a Registered Dietitian (read this if you want to know the difference between a Registered Dietitian and a “Nutritionist”) and this post is about what I eat (on a semi-regular basis). This post is NOT about what all dietitians eat because I cannot speak for everyone. I probably fall in the 50th percentile when it comes to healthy eating – above the general population and below other RDs (I’m mostly kidding).
In the past I have had a very “all or nothing” approach to healthy eating – I was either counting every calorie and logging every minute of exercise or I was not caring at all and eating whatever I felt like (which usually tends to not be healthy foods). This is not the approach I recommend to my nutrition clients and I have been trying to find a better balance in my life as well.
I do not have a set list of foods I eat or meals I cook. In fact, this blog has already motivated me to try new foods and recipes, which has been a lot of fun. I try to focus more on the plate method to achieve balance in my eating habits:
Breakfast is pretty standard for me during the week. I used to eat either cereal or peanut butter toast every morning. I LOVE cereal but it wouldn’t keep me feeling full very long. Sometimes by the time I got to work I was hungry again. So now most mornings I make a fruit smoothie with frozen berries, Chobani Simply 100 Greek yogurt, and 1% milk and I pair it with 2 slices of whole wheat peanut butter toast.
Sometimes on the weekends I switch it up and cook eggs with spinach and cheese (paired with Eggo waffles, which I no longer eat as often, and some OJ, which I also rarely drink anymore):
Lunch varies daily for me. I used to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day because it was quick, easy, and portable (definitely great for when I was still in school). Now, if I plan ahead and cook extra food on the weekends such as my Budget Friendly Healthy Eating dish or Quinoa Chicken with Veggies & Goat Cheese then I will take that to work. Sometimes I still make a PB&J sandwich or a turkey sandwich. If I’m really in a pinch I will take a frozen meal from Trader Joe’s or eat out in the downtown skyway.
Snacks are a big part of my day. I pack a lunch bag with Greek yogurt, string cheese, fruit, nuts, and/or protein bars. I try to pair food groups for my snacks such as Greek yogurt + fruit or string cheese + nuts in order to get at least 2 food groups at each snack. Right now I found some fall flavors of Greek yogurt so I had one of those the other day and it was pretty good!
Similar to lunch, dinner varies greatly each day. I have been better about cooking actual meals lately versus snacking or heating up a frozen dinner.
This baked pesto salmon with asparagus is definitely a new favorite for me. A few short years ago I wouldn’t even eat salmon let alone cook it. So this is a good improvement.
During grad school, spaghetti was pretty much the only thing I cooked. Usually spaghetti with marinara but sometimes, if I was feeling fancy, I would make pesto spaghetti with spinach and asparagus. This is my dinner tonight where I paired steamed broccoli with my pasta and since I was lacking a protein source, I added a glass of 1% milk. I tend to eat too many carbohydrate foods and not enough protein foods. The carbs are ok because I workout 5 times per week and I am a distance runner. But endurance athletes still need protein and I have started lifting heavier weights 2 times per week so I really need to make an effort to increase my protein intake.
I don’t believe in “cheat” meals or days because that implies I am doing something wrong and there is nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite foods every now and then (see 80/20 approach). I LOVE sweets. I could eat sweets all day, every day. Chocolate in particular. It is my biggest nutrition downfall. I try to keep it in check but sometimes I eat too many sweets. If I am going to make a big splurge such as this delicious chocolate peanut butter cupcake, I will try to do so after a hard workout such as post 10 miler race this past weekend:
My other favorite splurge item is ice cream. I am a huge fan of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream or FroYo but recently I discovered this new flavor and OMG it is so good:
I actually had a grocery store clerk point out how many calories were in my Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked FroYo one time. I was like “no, compared to the ice cream this one is much better” and she’s all “it’s still SO many calories!” Ok lady, don’t judge me.
Some days/weeks I eat better than others. This tends to vary greatly on the time of year and if I am training for any big races. I do try to practice what I teach (mama don’t preach!) but I also understand that KNOWING what to do and actually DOING it can be very different battles. As a dietitian, I feel my job is to yes, teach nutrition principles, but more so to provide ideas, resources and tools for my clients to use and to provide support, motivation, and/or accountability for their actions. Nutrition is complicated and that’s why there is no “one size fits all” approach. Food (and life) is meant to be enjoyable! So to quote Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, “I have no interest in being obese, I’m just through with the guilt.” Eat some of The Tonight Dough if your heart desires and don’t let the grocery store clerk make you feel bad about it.