Written By: Christina Dauer, MPH, RD, LD/N, CDE
As a registered dietitian, I’m regularly asked for advice on how people should be eating. But often people seem very curious about what I eat in a day too. So, I spent some time photographing my meals on a work day. I typically eat a few servings of fruits and vegetables a day (some days are much better than others) and try to stay hydrated, which is an ongoing battle for me. Here is an account of a day the in life of a dietitian:
6:30 AM: Breakfast
Breakfast is a meal that I must plan for. I know it might sound cliche, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day for me. If I don’t have a substantial breakfast, I feel low on energy and get uncomfortably hungry throughout the day. I’ve discovered that typical breakfast fare such as sweetened oatmeal or breakfast cereals don’t provide enough satisfy for me, so I’ve started to experiment with some less conventional breakfast options. This week I had one of the favorites in my rotation-Pineapple Sriracha Breakfast Bowls (http://www.budgetbytes.com/2016/01/pineapple-sriracha-breakfast-bowls/) with an over-easy egg. The runnier the yolk, the better! I made a batch of brown rice over the weekend and used precut pineapple from the store. Sounds strange, I know. However, the sweet/spicy/savory taste is delicious and is the perfect combination of high fiber carbohydrates and protein to fill me up until my first snack. Some of my other go to breakfasts are savory oatmeal (I will just make plain oatmeal, mix in a sprinkle of cheese and top with a fried egg, over easy) or baked sweet potato egg muffins (http://fitfoodiefinds.com/2017/01/sweet-potato-hash-egg-cups/) with fruit.
10:30 AM: Snack
My body usually demands to be fed around 10:30 AM every day! An easy snack that I enjoy is plain, lightly salted popcorn, usually Skinny Pop (because I like the taste the best) but there are many other healthy and delicious options out there! I buy the bulk bag at Costco and portion it into a sandwich bag. Today, I paired the popcorn with some lightly salted almonds.
1:00 PM: Lunch
Lately, I have been taking salads with grilled chicken (sometimes with a hardboiled egg) for lunch, because they are easy and it gets a vegetable in at lunch (taking some pressure off dinner to be the only veggie meal of the day!!). But, I cannot eat just salad for lunch, because I have found that I will still feel hungry soon after eating it. So, I will typically add a healthy starch with the salad, such as a baked sweet potato. Today I had some leftover acorn squash that I had roasted with sage and drizzled with butter. My salad had red leaf lettuce (sometimes I buy the bagged salads but the loose lettuce really lasts much longer in the fridge), tomatoes, 1/2 an avocado and my favorite yogurt based Creamy Cilantro Dressing from Weaver Street Market in Carrboro. I can’t go without a flavorful dressing! Say no to fat-free dressing, having some healthy fat on your salad helps you to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin K that are in dark leafy greens and other vegetables! A match made in heaven!
4:30 PM: Snack
I usually plan to have a substantial snack around 4:30 or 5 PM. I often get home after 6:30 or 7, and I don’t like to be too hungry while putting dinner together. I usually pair a fruit with either nuts or a source of protein. Being from the South, I have a soft spot for pimento cheese. I choose Palmetto brand pimento cheese because it has real shredded cheddar in it and a strong pepper flavor. I portion out about 2 tablespoons and I enjoy it with carrot chips, and today with strawberries on the side.
7:30 PM: Dinner
Tonight, I made buffalo chicken tacos. I used the salad bar at Publix to buy some pre-shredded carrots, pepper and celery. The salad bar is an effortless way to get pre-prepped vegetables if you are short on time. I marinated and cooked the chicken over the weekend in Buffalo sauce and I used the Creamy Cilantro dressing on top instead of the homemade blue cheese dressing the recipe (https://carlsbadcravings.com/buffalo-chicken-tacos-recipe/) called for, just for the sake of time and ease of preparation. This meal didn’t quite have the recommended amount of vegetables but sometimes that just doesn’t happen, even for us dietitians. Tonight, I also enjoyed a locally brewed beer with dinner. I might do that 1-2 times a week.
I usually don’t eat another snack after dinner because we eat late and I am typically full from my meals and snacks throughout the day. Occasionally, I will have 1/2 cup of ice cream in a small bowl or a piece of dark chocolate.
Christina Dauer is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator working at the North Raleigh and Apex offices. She is also the Clinical Nutrition Services Manager for Avance Care. She enjoys gardening, cooking, trying local breweries and hiking with her husband and two dogs.