Hi, my name is Chelsey, and I love food. Healthy or not (OK, mostly healthy), gluten-free or gluten-full, new on-the-market buzz or old favorites…I try not to discriminate…except for when it comes to my food allergies (but that’s a whole other story!).
Knowing I’m a clinical nutrition student, do you expect any different? ((Maybe? Be honest!))
Well, two things typically happen when people find out I’m in school for food nutrition:
1. The floodgates open with questions,
2. People become very guarded about their dietary habits (and inquisitive about mine).
On the latter note, I’m here to set something straight…Dietitians (and dietetic students) are NOT the food police!
Most of us enter the field because we love food (even though we may have a stronger desire for healthier options than the average Joe). We also want to help you become your best self, teach you how eating better can make you feel better and optimize performance, and watch you heal certain ailments or delay a tragic diagnosis. At least this is what I hope to do.
So even though my knowledge about food, how it’s grown and what’s in it, is quite extensive, I am just like you and I am NOT (!!!) judging what you eat (because I would never want to judge what I eat!).
If you love food as much as I do, sometimes (or always) you want to choose the less healthy option. Don’t feel self-conscious about this…I love french fries every so often too! If you want to feel your best without deprivation, follow the rules I eat by:
1. Follow the 80/20 rule!
Eighty percent of the time I eat whole, nutritious foods that fuel my body right! I prefer to eat my best during the week so I can let loose and truly indulge on the weekends. Find your balance and enjoy the twenty percent!
2. Eat breakfast everyday…if not within one hour of waking, at least three hours before lunch.
Experts and researchers say it’s best to eat within one hour of waking, but if you just can’t stomach it, avoid waiting until lunch for your first meal. Even a banana and peanut butter is enough to get you going…and studies show it keeps your energy up all day!
3. Eat until you’re full, not until you’re stuffed.
I may still be working on this one (sometimes it just tastes sooo good!) but it’s a solid goal to work towards. If a 10 is stuffed and a 0 is starved, eat by the time you hit a 2 and stop when you’ve reached a 6 or 7. Additionally, eating smaller portions of foods you love will allow you to eat comfortably, no matter the food.
4. Make smart swaps.
I can devour a big bowl of pasta, but I’m often just as satisfied with a huge portion of spiralized zucchini noodles with my favorite toppings (usually garlic and parmesan cheese, FYI!). Think about why you love a certain food to find a smart swap. For example, a fatty alfredo sauce is so creamy and indulgent feeling…try blending an avocado for a similar texture, but a healthier version. Even swapping brown rice for white is a giant step in the right direction!
Aim to eat your personal best and choose the foods that allow you to feel your healthiest, without the guilt when you indulge. I hope the very flexible food “rules” I follow allow you to have your cake and love your body too! Lastly, remember this quote, “All things in moderation, especially moderation.”