What do Dietitians Eat?

When I tell people I'm a dietitian one of the most common things they ask me is "What do you eat?" Or sometimes it's statements like "You must eat real healthy" or "Are you a vegan or vegetarian?"

I always find it very difficult to answer this question as my diet is often quite varied and there's no specific thing I eat that would be different from anyone else; I don't have access to some miracle diet pill or secret diet book!

Often times these conversations occur when I'm eating and almost everyone has the immediate impulse to look at my food and judge me! If I have something society deems to be "unhealthy" I often get the "I can't believe you're eating THAT!"

This even happens with my mum. There's been a time where I've bought ice cream and sat outside my own house and eaten it in the car before going in because I didn't want to get judged by my mum. (and also so my siblings didn't steal any!) It's like we're all to have perfect diets and we wouldn't dream of having anything "unhealthy" on our plate. Thing is, I don't think foods can be simply classified as "good" and "bad." Like many things in life, it's all fifty shades of grey. Nutrition is such a complex field that it's difficult to decide how to rate the healthfulness of food.  

What I also think people forget though, and I think I'm speaking for a majority of dietitians here, is:  
We love food!

Why else would we do a degree on nutrition and spend all day talking about it!?

There are so many dietitians I know who would also call themselves foodies and many more who like a bit of dessert (like me!). And yet many look at us like we're food's worst enemy!

I thought to give an idea of what dietitians eat I'll share some photos from the International Congress of Dietetics held last week in Sydney. This was a large 3 day event of workshops and lectures that over 2000 dietitians attended from all over the world and lunch was provided.

Day 1: Clockwise from top: Falafel wrap, carrot cake, wild rice mix salad, egg sandwich on multigrain, green beans and cannelini beans, hainan chicken salad (in the middle)

Day 2: Corned beef, cheese and lettuce grain roll, pumpkin and fetta and strawberries (I think this was my favourite lunch)

Day 3: Chickpea and cous cous salad, chicken and egg wrap, mini eggplant burger, roast beef with tzatziki sauce and potato salad.

Sadly I didn't get a chance to take a photo of the vegetarian options.

Morning and afternoon tea wasn't really provided but as there was an exhibition on as well, free samples were given out. Available everyday was: Chobani and Jalna yoghurt, nuts, fresh fruit, Yakult.

As well as these many stalls had bags of goodies to give away, it was like the Easter show! Other foods of note include: a new Pepsi (coming soon), Grain Waves, meal replacement cookies,Quaker Oat cookies, Sanitarium One Square meal, Optifast, beans and corn mix, Heinze squeeze soup, chocolate paddle pops and much more.

Look at all these things to try!

Although I would eat practically anything, there are a few rules I follow with my day to day eating. 1.

  1. Eat breakfast. Breakfast is often my favourite meal on the weekends but during the weekdays I often value my sleep more than a sit down breakfast. However I always make sure I bring something with me before I head out the door as I know skipping breakfast always leads to poor food choices later on in the day. This can be an Up and Go, toast, fruit or yoghurt. 
  2. Have 2-3 snacks/day. I always bring my own snacks with me. My body is like clockwork when it comes to eating. I like to eat every 3 hours and sometimes there isn't always food around which is why I bring my own snacks. If I know there will be a fridge I bring some yoghurt but otherwise it'll be fruit, nut bars, nuts, or a homemade cupcake. Eating regularly also stops me from getting ravenously hungry and ending up at a fast food joint simply because it was the closest food avilable.
  3. Never eat infront of the TV. Studies have shown those who eat in front of the TV are more likely to be overweight or obese. In my family, dinner is the only meal when we all sit together so the television is always off and we share in conversation. I believe meals should be enjoyed with family and friends rather than with the television. You're more likely to appreciate the meal, eat mindfully and know when you're full. 
  4. Be mindful about your food choices. I think food goes beyond calories and nutrients. Food is often associated with emotions and I believe in eating for enjoyment rather than to count calories. We eat foods, not nutrients. I always try to be mindful about my food choices and know that when I choose an indulgent food it is a conscious choice and not something I eat just because it's there. This way I don't end up in a vicious cycle of emotional eating-guilt-more emotional eating.
  5. Eat slowly. I'm probably known as one of the slowest eaters amongst my friends. I like to savour my food and chew it properly. At the recent dietetic congress a Japanese study found that fast eating was linked to decrease in diet induced thermogenesis (DIT) (amount of energy needed to process food; low DIT is linked to obesity). Also it takes the body around 20mins before it begins to feel full so if you rush through your meal you're more likely to overeat. I find with slow eating you get more time to appreciate your meal and notice the different flavours, textures, smells more than if you rushed through it.
I take a lot of food photos and post it on my Instagram so if you're curious for more check out my Instagram at nutritionwwendy for more food ideas. And while we're at it, my twitter (@NutritionwWendy) also has a lot of nutrition goodness (incl. latest nutrition research from the congress!). If there's any foods I've made on my Instagram that you'll like the recipe to, let me know via Twitter or Instagram =)    


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The information presented on this blog acts as general nutrition advice and is not tailored to meet individual needs. It should not be used as a replacement for any medical advice you have recieved from medical practitioners. Please discuss any concerns for your health with your doctor or Accredited Practicing Dietitian before starting a new dietary or exercise regime as they can give more personalised recommendations.

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