5 THINGS I LEARNED BY SEEING A NUTRITIONIST
by Catherine Spinley
In January, I decided I wanted to make some changes in my nutrition and lifestyle to give me more energy, help take off a few pounds I’d put on over the prior months and, most importantly, simply help me ingest healthier, wholesome food into my body. Over the past three months, I kept a food diary and met with my nutritionist weekly to review my food and exercise choices and set a game plan for the following week. I’m happy to say I feel much better. I am less bloated, more active and energetic and a few pounds lighter. Here are a few easy and sensible tips if you’re interested in infusing your routine with some wholesome life.
GROCERY LISTS, SHOPPING AND FOOD PREP IS A MUST
When leaving eating choices to chance, the best laid plans go to H-E-L-L. It’s imperative to make a grocery list throughout the week (I keep mine in the Notes App on my phone), set aside time for grocery shopping and keep a stocked fridge. Meal prep prior to the madness of a busy week is the only way I am able to stick to my nutritional goals. Some food prep tricks I’ve learned are:
Keep a few Trader Joe’s salad kits in the refrigerator at all times. If there is not time to make a salad for lunch, I grab a kit, some extra veggies like cherry tomatoes and sweet peppers, and some protein (tuna fish, grilled chicken or hard boiled eggs) and I have lunch for the day. I throw some fruit and a high fiber granola bar into my bag and I have no excuse to eat junk food throughout the day.
Brine (soak in kosher salt and water for about 30 minutes) and bake chicken breasts on the weekend to use for meals throughout the week. Grilled chicken is great to add to salads or to eat with a side of grilled or steamed veggies. I also like to pre-cook quinoa on Sundays and add it to my meals throughout the week. The same goes for hard boiled eggs; I make at least 6 at a time to throw into salads or slice onto a slice of whole wheat toast and avocado (Note: You must add two hard boiled eggs and a third hard boiled egg white to get a single serving of protein)
My favorite food prep hack is to make two salad servings for dinner and put half into a tupperware container for lunch the next day. One food prep session = two meals which saves me so much time. Listening to podcasts during food prep also tricks me into enjoying the process.
YOU CAN SATIATE YOUR SWEET TOOTH IN A HEALTHY WAY
Once your body detoxes from processed foods and refined sugars, fruit actually tastes decadent and serves as a dessert that is satisfying (for me). I pop clementines like pills. But, if you truly need something that feels like dessert, there are a few options!
Chia Seed Pudding can be flavored with cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract and Stevia for a dessert that is high in fiber, protein and antioxidants. I make a huge batch of chia seed pudding and separate into individual jam jars for single serving breakfasts or snacks throughout the week.
Bread-ish Pudding is something I learned to make from my nutritionist. It consists of GG Honey and Raisin Flatbread (1 serving is 5 crackers), which can also be found at Whole Foods, spread with tofu cream cheese, manuka or organic honey, cinnamon and a few raisins (optional). If you make ahead of time, the cream cheese softens the crackers and it makes a crispy bread pudding. If you eat immediately, it’s like a sweet cinnamon toast.
I learned to make Vegan Banana Ice Cream from Dr. Mona Vand’s YouTube channel and it’s a game changer. It’s frozen bananas, Four Sigmatic Mushroom Cacao Mix, almond milk and vanilla extract. I blend and refreeze for a few hours and it’s VEGAN CHOCOLATE BANANA ICE CREAM MAGIC. If you’re not into adaptogens but wanted that cocoa taste, you can use unsweetened cocoa powder instead!
When all else fails, Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Latte Dessert Bars are low in calories and sugar.
THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR INACTIVITY
I take heated power vinyasa yoga classes four days a week (if you’re in New York, do not miss Lyon’s Den Power Yoga). On non-yoga days, I am quite sedentary thanks to a traditional desk job. On those days I make sure I take at least 10K steps. I step out for a 20 minute walk to clear my head at lunch, I get off the subway a few stops early and walk the rest of the way to the office or I bring sneakers and walk home from work. If I still haven’t taken 10K steps, rather than sit on my couch and read or listen to a podcast, I will do either activity while walking on the treadmill at the gym. For women, adding 150 steps is equivalent to 1 minute of cycling which means...10K extra steps a week is like adding an extra spin class to your fitness routine EVERY WEEK. Chew on that.
BE SMART ABOUT FOOD CHOICES THAT AREN’T ON PLAN
Super restrictive dieting just doesn’t work for me. Not only does it feel punitive, it can trigger some very OCD, unhealthy behavior. By keeping a food diary, my nutritionist noticed I liked to eat pastries/muffins/ scones for breakfast on the weekends. She suggested I switch this weekend habit to a Sunday morning bialy with tofu cream cheese, which is about 300 calories and lower in refined sugar than my usual banana bread or cherry walnut muffin. I’ve come to create a small event around my Sunday Bialy day. I get up, walk to Zucker’s Bagels and eat breakfast while sitting outside and reading, with an iced coffee in hand, of course. It’s a bit ceremonial and I love this Sunday morning routine.
RELAX. FOOD CHOICES AREN’T PERMANENT.
Okay, so you had the entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream last night while stressing about your upcoming work week. Or, you got a reservation at your favorite Italian restaurant and couldn’t pass up the spaghetti carbonara, bread, wine and dessert. Relax and don’t berate yourself. Tomorrow’s a new day. Balancing your nutrition is a must or else what fun is life anyway?
NOTE: Catherine Spinley is not a licensed nutritionist or medical professional. The content contained in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any dietary or nutritional changes should be made in partnership with your physician or healthcare professional.
Catherine Spinley is the Editorial Director at The Sunday Issue as well as a freelance writer and sometimes-photographer. When not stalking other people’s dogs or yelling at people who refuse to walk up the left side of the escalator, she works in the beauty industry and practices yoga. You can read about her at worepaint.com and @spinderella1110.