Today is Registered Dietitian Day! I’m a dietitian and after having eaten many meals with other dietitians, I have noticed some similarities in the way we eat. That’s not to say there aren’t differences from one dietitian to another, but there are some common themes. Here are some tips and tricks that dietitians I know use to stay at a healthy weight.
- Splurge once in a while, but only if it’s really worth it. Don’t eat something that you don’t truly enjoy. For example, I really love homemade cookies, but I don’t think the boxed version is worth the calories (plus, they are usually loaded with trans fat!). Remember to keep portion size in check, even when it’s a splurge. Also, balance splurges with healthier options. For example, if you go out to eat and have a heavy lunch, then opt for a lighter dinner. Balance is key.
- Have protein at each meal to help stay full longer and to minimize spikes in blood sugar. If you eat carbs by themselves, you’ll have an insulin surge and then feel hungry shortly after eating. Protein gives your food staying power. Choose lean proteins, and try to include plant-based proteins when possible.
- Read nutrition labels, but also read ingredients. Look at the back of the food label and read the ingredient list. Remember that ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, so the first ingredient is the one that there is the most of. Know which health claims are legit (and which ones aren’t!) For example, the term “natural” isn’t regulated and doesn’t mean anything.
- Don’t drink your calories. Liquid calories are not detected by the brain in the same way as solid foods, and won’t cause you to feel full. This applies to juices as well as soda and other caloric beverages. Choose water, but beverages such as tea sweetened with stevia are also great choices.
- Never leave home without a plan for what to eat. Prep bags of nuts, sliced veggies and fruit, and stash in your bag to avoid being caught off guard and eating from a fast food joint or a vending machine.
- Choose less processed versions of food, especially carbs, for example, brown rice instead of white rice or sprouted bread instead of white bread. And, as with all foods, watch portion sizes. Add veggies & fruit to every meal and to snacks. Vegetables (non-starchy vegetables in particular) and fruits are low in calories, but high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Find healthy snacking options – fruit with nut butter, sliced veggies with hummus or guacamole, or popcorn all make good options.
No one eats perfectly, not even dietitians. And that’s okay. Food is to be enjoyed, and most dietitians I know love food. I know I do!