So what does a dietitian really eat?
I get asked this question all the time. My friends know me well enough that they are no longer surprised by what or how much I eat.
However, it’s a different story when I find myself in social situations (most of these seem to revolve around food) where I am meeting people and eating with people for the first time.
A good example is weddings – and I seem to have been to a lot of these recently. Often you may know a few people at your table but undoubtedly there is someone there you don’t know. So then the usual chit chat ensues: ‘Where are you from?’ ‘How do you know the bride and groom?’ ‘What do you do?’
Depending on what situation I am in, I sometimes make up answers to that question. Not because I am ashamed or embarrassed by what I do; I love nutrition, but because everyone knows food. Everyone has an opinion on the latest fad diet or super food and everyone seems to think that you want to hear how they are now eating kale, juicing 5x day and not eating carbs after 7pm. Sometimes it’s just easier to make something up.
- Taxi Drivers – I do not disclose that I am a dietitian. I do not want to hear about other people’s bowel movements (good or bad) outside of work.
- Checkout Operators – I do not want anybody else judging my trolley – although I do have an excuse if anyone did judge – it’s called ‘the other half’
- Wedding guests – it’s best to be honest here – it’s likely too many other people know who you are to get away with telling people you are a toll-booth operator/ dishwasher/ cleaner etc. Not many people have too many questions about those jobs and they certainly don’t lead to strangers telling you about their bowel habits.
So, it is generally quite amusing seeing people’s faces when I load my plate up at wedding buffets. A lot of ‘you eat carbs?!!??’ or ‘so you’re not a vegetarian?’ or ‘you’re having pavlova plus brownie plus fruit salad??’ often ensues.
However I digress slightly. Weddings are special occasions, occasions where , if your dress will allow, you shouldn’t have to restrict your food choices. Just enjoy it for what it is: a special occasion, knowing that you eat well 90% of the rest of the time.
In any case, I decided to document what I ate for a day, so I could answer the question ‘what does a dietitian really eat?’
There was nothing special about the day I chose, although it was a Public Holiday, Easter Monday actually, so I didn’t have to work, but it does reflect a fairly typical ‘non-working day’ for me.
I love breakfast. I think breakfast is my favourite meal. It’s what drives me to get up in the morning. I love breakfast so much that I usually go to bed the night before knowing exactly what I will eat for breakfast the next morning. There are so many options for breakfast. You can choose sweet or savoury, hot or cold, cooked or quick.
The above picture was breakfast #1 before I went to the gym. As it was Easter Monday, and I didn’t have any Hot Cross Buns in the house I indulged in some fruit toast instead with a bowl of natural muesli, some Greek yoghurt, chia seeds and mixed berries. Yum!! This set me up perfectly for a great workout. And I did a chin up!!! (If you read my first blog post you will know I have been working on being able to do one of these (yes, just one – they’re hard!) for a very long time. So I was pretty stoked.
Actually, I got told today my chin up didn’t count. I didn’t lower myself properly. I was sooooo close!
So this was breakfast #2 after I had been to the gym. I love eggs just about as much as I love breakfast, again for their versatility and they really pack a punch in terms of nutrition. And who says eggs need to be savoury? Above is my sweet omelette.
Take two eggs and lightly beat with some milk of choice, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Pour into a pan and cook until set. Flip onto a plate and top as desired. I added Greek yoghurt, banana, blueberries and pumpkin seeds. Super quick and super satisfying!
I don’t put nearly as much thought into lunch as I do breakfast, especially in the weekends when I am usually just looking for something seriously quick and easy. Hence why my lunches are really not that interesting. However, I said I would document what I eat, and this was lunch.
I had a bowl filled with salad, topped with cottage cheese and some pickle for some tang, along with a slice of grain toast topped with tuna and avocado, as well as two corn thins, one with peanut butter and the other with tuna and tomato.
This was a good choice for me as it had veges (we all need to be eating more) protein from the tuna, cottage cheese and peanut butter, healthy fats from the tuna and avocado and carbohydrate from the grain toast. So I think I managed to cover all bases with a very simple and tasty lunch.
There was some serious study going on in our house on this particular day so we decided to go for a walk and just happened to fall into a café which just happened to be selling my most favourite slice in the entire world – Ginger Crunch. Myself and the other half enjoyed every last bite.
‘Pasta, you eat pasta…How can pasta be healthy?’
Something else that people are often surprised about. And yes I do eat pasta. If you skip the creamy sauces, don’t go overboard with the portion sizes and add heaps of veges then pasta can be a great quick, cheap meal.
On this particular night I had a fridge full of leftovers, namely chicken and vegetable pasta bake and some cooked mushrooms, capsicums and carrot. I also had half a head of broccoli and some frozen green beans begging to be finished. So I came up with this.
Frittata! You may struggle with the concept of having pasta in your frittata, but it is really no different to a Spanish omelette that has potato in it, it’s just a different carbohydrate base. And this was seriously tasty with just a sprinkle of cheese on top to make it go nice and golden.
It was pretty funny cutting into it – even the macaroni was filled with egg mixture. This proved to be an excellent way of using up a lot of leftovers which otherwise may not have been so appealing. I’m pretty sure my grandmothers would have been proud with my use of leftovers!
I will often have a snack (or two) throughout the day depending on my activity levels and how much I have eaten at my other meals. One of my favourite go to, healthy snacks, has to be either an apple or banana with nut butter. You get all the goodness from having a piece of fruit, but you are also adding healthy fats and protein to your diet. This combination will definitely see you through to your next meal as the protein and fat helps make this snack much more satiating than having a piece of fruit alone. Delicious.
This brings me to the end of my food diary for a day. I hope this has helped to shed some light on what a dietitian really eats. Yes, we eat ‘regular’ food, yes, we eat snacks and yes we eat treats.
If you want to see how you too can fit delicious food into your day, every day, contact Bitewize Nutrition and let me show you how with your own personalised plan!