What do nutritionists eat?
People ask me all the time how and what I eat. This question always makes me squirm a little, because
1) I don't have a simple answer like, "I just eat paleo" or "I'm a vegetarian", and
2) what works for me nutritionally may not be ideal for someone else. I wouldn't want someone to adopt my way of eating just because I'm a nutritionist. I like to encourage people to experiment on themselves and find out what's best for their own bodies and goals. Also, I've been working on my own nutrition for almost ten years now, and it continues to evolve as my body and taste preferences shift.
So, with that out of the way, I thought I'd attempt to share how I eat and WHY I do so. Here goes:
- I eat to support my active lifestyle and maintain good mental health. I don't eat for weight loss or body composition because I've had a history with eating disorders and going down that road isn't healthy for me. My focus nutritionally is to support my energy and high activity level without f***ing my adrenals, as well as maintaining good mental health without meds. That last part is really, really important to me.
- I don't follow any specific diet. I've tried them all, and found that there isn't one that fits me quite right. Part of this has to do with the restrictive nature of many popular diets, and restrictive is bad news for me. I don't have many food sensitivities (dairy, gluten, soy, etc.), so I eat all the things in moderation and focus on quality (organic, unrefined and unprocessed, and minimal additives as much as possible).
- I try to avoid refined sugar, fast foods, fried foods, snack foods (cookies, crackers, chips, etc.), and conventional (non-organic) animal products. I don't drink alcohol very often either because it makes me feel shitty almost every time, even if it's just one drink. (This is unfortunate, because I do love beer!) I also avoid tomatoes because they're gross.
- I eat three meals a day with 1-2 snacks in between. I don't count calories, but I'm probably hitting about 2000 cals a day, more or less depending on my activity level. I make sure every meal has about 1-1.5 servings protein, 1 serving carbs, 1-2 servings fat, and 1 serving veggies. Snacks are about half those portions. It's not perfect and I don't track calories or macros, but I've become really good at eyeballing how much I need to eat each meal.
- I grocery shop and meal plan every week. If I don't plan ahead I end up living off of Chipotle burritos and protein bars. This is fine when I'm in a pinch, but probably not a great long-term plan.
- I indulge. I don't have designated cheat meals but that doesn't mean I don't allow my diet to vary. If I'm at an event or out to eat I enjoy foods (and portions) that I might not normally eat, because, LIFE. My vices are coffee and chocolate, and I enjoy both of those pretty regularly.
Here's what an average day might look like for me:
Upon Waking: I drink about 20-30 oz. water first thing in the morning every day. Sometimes I'll add an electrolyte powder if I have a pretty active day ahead.
Breakfast: Sometimes I'll have a smoothie if I'm in a hurry, but I prefer my eggs and avocado toast. (It's actually my favorite meal, and I eat it almost every day!)
- 1-2 pieces Ezekiel sprouted grain toast
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 avocado
- nutritional yeast
Coffee: If I drink coffee it's usually with or after breakfast. I try to stick to one cup, as anything more than that makes me crazy.
Lunch: This is usually something cold and easy to throw together, such as:
- Salad with tons of veggies, nuts/seeds, feta cheese, etc.
- Grilled chicken
- Quinoa, couscous, or other grain
Afternoon snack: This is often some yogurt with peanut butter or a small smoothie. I don't always have a second snack, as it just depends on how hungry I am.
Dinner: This could be anything from gluten free pasta to tacos or curry. One of my favorite dinners is curry with veggies, tofu, and white or brown rice. I might also top off my dinner with a few dark chocolate covered almonds!