- Carissa from Fit2Flex
- Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean
- Anne from Fannetastic Food
- Katie from Healthy Heddleston
I was hoping they would have some new ideas for ways to change things up in the kitchen in a healthy way and I loved reading the answers they provided to the handful of questions I sent their way.
I was thrilled when everyone responded with detailed answers, so this post is a little lengthy, but it’s full of links to healthy recipes and simple ideas for ways to incorporate healthy food into your diet.
Thank you so much to Anne, Carissa, Lindsay and Katie for taking the time to contribute to this post!
1. What does a typical breakfast look like for you?
Lindsay: Currently I’m 26 weeks pregnant and mornings have been hard as far as nausea so I’ve been sticking to Cheerios and milk. But when I’m feeling normal, my go-to breakfast during the week is rolled oats + milk + frozen berries microwaved 2 1/2 minutes and topped with peanut butter, pumpkin seeds and a few chocolate chips. My hubby eats a Quinoa Breakfast Bar every morning for breakfast with his coffee.
Anne: I’m pretty boring for breakfast – I usually have one of two things: My Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal topped with cottage cheese (sounds gross, but it’s so good!), berries and nuts, or my Flour Free Breakfast Pancake with berries.
Carissa: If I had my way I would eat an English muffin with peanut butter and raspberries every morning. And I usually do eat this! I am someone who gets really hungry throughout the first half of my day and the peanut butter is the only thing that holds me. When looking at breakfast I make sure I have a good source of carbs with at least seven grams of protein and some fat to keep me full. If I have more time I’ll make oatmeal in almond milk or eggs with the same English muffin.
2. What does a typical lunch look like for you?
Lindsay: Nothing too complicated. Usually leftovers from dinner the night before. Since being pregnant, I’ve struggled a lot with nausea so I’ve been eating a lot of sandwiches- mostly pb and j or egg and cheese. When I feel my best, I love burrito salads – a huge bowl of lettuce topped with some brown rice, diced chicken, black beans, chopped peppers and onions, a scoop of salsa and a little cheese. I’m also a big fan of paninis, usually with smashed avocado, chicken, peppers and cheese in a whole wheat tortilla. I like to make my own! Or microwave nachos with blue corn tortilla chips, chicken, veggies, salsa and cheese. So, pretty much the same thing several different ways. I like Mexican food. I also always have fruit with lunch. Lately I’ve been loving nectarines and usually carrots and hummus or green beans that I prep on Sundays during my food prep sessions.
Anne: I really like huge veggie and grain salad bowls. They’re so satisfying and keep me full, too! I usually do some sort of greens + other veggies + canned beans + a grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc.) + avocado and/or feta cheese + balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a really good mix of protein, healthy fat and carbs, and the volume from the veggies really helps with satiety, too.
Carissa: I have been called a "lunch time loser" in that I dislike sandwiches and other typical lunch foods. My lunch is usually leftovers from the night before or a quick brown rice and egg mixture with veggies and avocado. Meatballs and tacos make the best leftovers and I try to add one serving of vegetables into lunch.
Katie: Lately I’ve been loving on quesadillas. I buy the Food for Life brown rice tortillas and fill them with so many things! One of my favorites is hummus, turkey, and feta. Bonus if I have avocado on hand too! I usually pair my lunch with a little salad on the side as well. Or, I’m sharing peas or broccoli with my toddler to encourage our green consumption!
3. What does a typical dinner look like for you?
Linsday: Dinners are nothing fancy. I do my food prep on Sundays so that I have a lot of components ready to be thrown together quickly. I love making big pots of soup with lots of veggies and beans. We also eat a lot of stir fries, homemade mac and cheese with veggies and chicken or lentils, and during the summer, pretty much anything and everything on the grill. We usually grill up corn and potatoes to reheat and also do things like barbeque chicken, chicken kabobs, steak for hubby, etc. I eat more raw veggies or green beans with dinner and hubby typically eats the same thing (possibly with a different kind of meat) and a salad.
Carissa: If you follow me on Instagram then you know my dinner is usually a BIG salad. Instead of having just a lean meat and veggies I feel much more satisfied when I have a jumbo salad. And a little Cabot cheese on my salad is never a bad thing! My typical salad recipe is: Organic spinach, chicken or salmon, asparagus, English cucumber, grape tomatoes, either avocado or cheese and a small handful of those La Choy noodles that are NOT a health food!
4. What are some of your favorite snacks?
Lindsay: I love eating homemade snacks when I can. Some of my favorites are my sweet potato muffins (lately I’ve been loving them with fresh blueberries), hard boiled eggs, tuna and avocado salad with triscuits, pb&j toast, fro yo bites, trail mix, etc.
Anne: One of my recent favorites is my gluten free Nutty Protein Granola Bars. They’re easy to make and so good! Another long-time favorite: 5 Minute No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars (vegan & gluten free).
Carissa: An apple a day is something I stick to. I think an apple (organic) on an empty stomach is great for digestion and a mid-morning snack. I also like Mamma Chia squeeze packs, hummus and carrots, v8 juice and nuts.
Katie: Hard boiled eggs, cooked broccoli with a little cheddar, hummus on carrots, rice cakes with peanut butter. Not only do I love these snacks, but they’re all approved by my toddler too – bonus!
5. Do you typically eat three meals a day or smaller meals throughout the day? Why?
Lindsay: I always eat breakfast, lunch and dinner but I also eat several snacks. I get hungry quickly and prefer to eat several smaller meals as opposed to 3 large ones. I MUST eat breakfast soon after I wake up or my day just goes downhill, then I eat lunch, an afternoon snack, something after I workout, dinner and then a snack before bed (usually a bowl of cereal).
Anne: I eat three main meals but do a lot of snacking, too. My motto: Snack early and snack often. Don’t wait until you get over-hungry ("hangry") to eat! It makes it really hard to make good choices and to eat slowly/enjoy your food if you’re starved.
Carissa: I typically eat three "meals" and two to three smaller snacks. I aim to have bigger meals and snacks in the morning and decrease the amount as the day goes on and I have less hours to burn that energy that I’m consuming.
Katie: Pretty much three meals! Plus some snacks. But I really do pride myself on intuitive eating, so if times needs to be adjusted depending on the day, that’s fine (and preferred). The one meal that is pretty consistent though is dinner – we have family dinner every night. I find this important for establishing eating patterns and behaviors for my two year old, as well as routine. Bless the food, eat the food, talk to each other – the whole family dinner experience.
6. What do you like to eat after a workout? Why?
Lindsay: I usually workout from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., but we don’t eat dinner until 8 or 9 p.m. so I try to eat something fairly soon after I get home. Sometimes it’s a part of a quinoa breakfast bar or homemade granola bar, sometimes it’s a little tuna salad with a few crackers or half a pb sandwich… Something to get me some protein and some carbs and hold me over until dinner.
Carissa: Yes, I like to eat after a workout! I want my muscles to refuel and get to repairing as soon as possible! Ideally I schedule my workouts in the morning and have my breakfast within 30 minutes of finishing. If it’s a long run then I’ll have a Cheribundi protein drink right away and then a larger meal 1-2 hours later.
7. What is one ingredient/food you try to avoid eating? Why?
Lindsay: I do my best to avoid foods with long ingredient lists. It’s the first thing I look at when purchasing a new food. If the list is long, with a lot of unrecognizable ingredients I tend to look for other options or make it myself. Even with things like ice cream, there are brands with an ingredient list a mile long and brands made with four or five simple ingredients.
Anne: I’m a big fan of everything in moderation, but one thing I do avoid is artificial sweeteners. Real food all the way!
Carissa: Hmmm – I don’t like to label foods as "good or bad", but I do stay away from transfat and artificial sweeteners. I also laugh that I’m a terrible dietitian because I will NOT eat cottage cheese or hard boiled eggs and I am constantly telling clients to eat them.
8. What was one of the most eye-opening things you learned while studying to become a registered dietitian?
Lindsay: It wasn’t so much while I was studying to become an RD, but I’ve been loving the research coming out lately that is debunking the low-fat diet craze and always try to educated my clients and those around me about the value of adding healthy fats to your diet!
Carissa: I think was eye opening to see how much our food choices affect our overall health. We tend to think of food as good or bad and people as fat or skinny, but your weight should not influence what you eat as much as your desire to improve your health should. Every time you eat something you have a choice – to pick something that nourishes and enriches your body or something that doesn’t. Julie certainly wouldn’t give Sadie junk food all day, so don’t do that to yourself! Another thought, but last week I was at the annual conference for Florida dietitians and I was at a talk about artificial sweeteners. That is a BIG topic for dietitians and I have heard many arguments for both sides. What struck me about this presentation was that the researcher said, "Nobody drinks a diet soda to improve their health. Regardless of your opinion on diet soda, we all agree that it won’t improve your health. My concern is when did the question become ‘diet soda or regular soda?’ Why are those are only two beverage choices?" That’s how I see food. Can you have soda? Yes,but don’t have it all the time because that won’t improve your health. Make choices that make you healthier!
Katie: This is more on the clinical side of dietetics, but since maternal/child nutrition is my specialty, it’s worth a mention. I found it incredibly fascinating that even just a few ounces of breastmilk for babies in the NICU can be life saving. This is particularly relevant to babies born with or develop Necrotizing enterocolitis. My NICU experiences as a dietetics student always stuck with me and it’s one of the many reasons why I became a human milk donor after my first son was born.
9. Do you offer nutritional counseling or other services? How may someone reach out to you?
Lindsay: I offer online nutrition counseling: www.theleangreenbeanRD.com.
Anne: Yes, I do! All the details are on my business website, www.AnneTheRD.com.
Carissa: Yes, I offer all of the above and do nutrition consultations on Skype and in person in Orlando and am a certified personal trainer. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Twitter!
Katie: I am currently not accepting clients at this time and am enjoying life as a stay at home mom with my two littles. You can find me at katieheddleston.com where you’ll find lots of gluten free recipes (yes, including baked goods, too).
10. What healthy recipe are you currently loving?
Lindsay: I’ve been making a batch of this Summer Salsa every week to put on pretty much everything!
Anne: In the summer I always love Mexican food, so my Mexican Lasagna gets made often. 🙂 SO easy and always a crowd pleaser.
Carissa: That is hard, because we have been so busy that I’ve been sticking to simple meals. I will have to think about this one more! The last new recipe I created at home was ground turkey stuffed poblano peppers. They rocked!
Katie: This isn’t a recipe exactly, but I love love using hummus or avocado as a spread on sandwiches instead of your typical mayonnaise or mustard. They’re both fantastic flavors and the hummus adds protein while the avocado adds healthy fat. I definitely recommend giving this a try! Never try hummus and turkey breast together before? I dare you 😉
11. What is your best advice for someone who is struggling to incorporate more vegetables into their diet?
Lindsay: Try them all different ways. Some people hate a certain veggie raw but love it roasted. Also try mixing them into things you enjoy like casseroles and other dishes that have a flavorful sauce. Don’t overcook them- no one likes mushy veggies! And when all else fails, try roasting them with bacon 😉
Carissa: There are a lot of ways to do this, but I think the trick is to keep trying different preparations and different vegetables. It’s okay to not like EVERY vegetable but really try to find 3-4 of the high nutrient veggies that you can love. Try tossing them in olive oil and roasting. Roasting brings out wonderful flavors that you might not have experience before. Also try them raw, I will gobble down raw red bell pepper (super high in Vitamin C), but I don’t love them cooked. Consider textures too when cooking vegetables and when all else fails hide them in foods like smoothies and egg scrambles and think how healthy your body will be every time you eat them!
Katie: A little food prep will go a long way if you’re struggling with veggie in take. Take the time to cut up some raw veggies and have them on hand in the fridge. This way it’s easier for you to peek in and remind yourself to eat veggies. If you need a little dip that’s okay, too! In fact, that brings me to a second tip: You’ll like veggies more if you prepare them in delicious ways! Tired of raw or steamed? Roasting with spices or grilling with herbs are amazing ways to enjoy veggies packed with flavor.