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April 21, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Dietitian- Volume 1

Written By: Elizabeth Elam, MS, RD, LDN

The 9 months of growing and carrying a child are probably some of the best – and most confusing – times in one’s life. What do I eat, how do I exercise, how much weight should I gain, why can’t I sleep, what do I do about stretch marks… and the list goes on. As a registered dietitian, I was comfortable with what and what not to eat – stay away from unpasteurized cheese, undercooked meat and eggs, sushi (sad face) – but my ravenous appetite threw me for a loop. I’m always hungry! I had to experiment a lot with “what” and “how much” to eat so that I was satisfied and comfortable. First I found myself overeating, trying to stave off hunger only to feel a grumble a couple of hours later. When I didn’t eat enough, I was nauseous and weak. The day of eating listed below is what I have found to work for me right now. A month ago, it was different – as in I only ate eggs, cheese, Pringles, pretzels, and peanut butter toast – and I’m sure that in a couple months, I’ll have to experiment and tweak again. The best advice I have is to really listen to your body, especially when you’re eating. Stop periodically through your meal to recognize signs of fullness. Stop eating when comfortably satisfied and plan for a snack 3 to 4 hours later.

Breakfast 5:45am

I have 3-4 quick rotating breakfast options that I choose from during the week. When I’m craving something sweet, these nut butter waffles hit the spot. I toast two whole wheat waffles, top one with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1/3 medium sliced banana, and the other with 1 tablespoon of almond butter and 2-3 sliced strawberries. Then, I drizzle them with ½ tablespoon of natural maple syrup and wash it down with a glass of 1% milk.

Snack 9am

A go-to snack for me is a yogurt parfait.
• ¾ cup whole milk Greek yogurt – I find whole milk yogurt to be naturally sweeter, less tangy, and more sustaining than skim or low-fat yogurt
• 1 cup frozen berries – I’m in love with an antioxidant frozen berry blend at Costco. It has supple sweet cherries and berries, and tart cranberries that give great texture and contrast
• ¼ cup Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Granola – a slightly sweet, very crunchy granola

Lunch 12:30pm

My lunch is almost always leftovers. This week I made a recipe I found in the March 2017 edition of Cooking Light, Mediterranean Chicken and Bulger Skillet. This one-pan meal hit the spot and will be a part of my regular recipe rotation. I served it with a (large) side salad filled with kale, spinach, blue berries, strawberries, a sprinkle of blue cheese, a sprinkle of Cooking Light’s Savory Granola – one of my favorite salad toppers (just make ahead and store in the freezer in a zip lock bag) – and homemade balsamic dressing (1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1-2 teaspoons honey, salt and pepper to taste).

Snack 3:00pm

I was on a big “egg kick” during my first trimester – it was one of the only foods I could stand to eat! A patient of mine told me that scrambled eggs reheat beautifully – and they do! I scramble 2 huge handfuls of spinach with ½ cup egg whites, a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and red pepper flakes (I used to use hot sauce but found red pepper flakes give the same punch without the extra sodium). I reheat my eggs and serve them with a slice of whole wheat avocado toast (using ¼ medium avocado). It’s a snack that keeps me full for hours!

Treat 5:00pm

Our break room had Skittles and Starbursts today. I decided on a pack of Skittles. It’s funny, before pregnancy I loved the reds and purples. Now, I’m all about the greens and yellows!

Dinner 7:30pm

Eating Well Magazine’s Pork Pesto Pinwheels with Peaches is one of my favorite pork tenderloin recipes. Peaches aren’t in season right now, so I roasted a sweet potato to lend that sweetness that goes so well with pork. I threw some asparagus on the grill alongside the pork for an easy side.

Snack 9:00pm

A before-bed snack is a MUST. If I don’t have one, I wake up around 1-2am with a burning, growling tummy. I usually have about a cup of Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes cereal with a bit of 1% milk and 1/3 sliced banana. I won’t say this keeps me asleep – my full bladder is to blame – but it keeps me out of the kitchen in the wee hours of the night. If, for some reason, I do wake up hungry, then I have a slice of whole wheat toast and a thin spread of almond butter – that usually does the trick.

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