By Hilary Sheinbaum
Eating healthily can seem daunting — especially heading into fall and the soon-to-be holiday season. But, there’s no need to fret. The key is maintaining balance in all aspects of wellness, according to Kristie Leigh, RDN Senior Manager, Scientific Affairs at Danone North America in Sea Cliff, New York.
We believe her. Yes, she’s a registered dietitian — but she also has nearly 15 years of experience in the food & beverage and supplement industries. In short: it’s her job to know how to eat a balanced diet (and give the rest of us some guidance). Oh, did we mention she’s also a mom of two?
Leigh was kind enough to take us through a day in her diet (and by diet, we mean what she’s eating on a daily basis… not how to complete a crash weight loss plan. K?) Get out your grocery list and take some notes!
Here’s exactly what a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is reaching for in her fridge when it’s time to nosh.
I wake up pretty early these days with kids going back to school, and work-from-home in full swing. Part of my overall wellness is maintaining balance throughout the day and making sure I fit in the activities that are important for me and my health. Exercising isn’t my favorite part of the day, but it really helps with my stress levels and helps me start the day right. That’s why I make sure to get a workout first thing in the morning before my day gets away from me.
Post-exercise, I drink a large glass of water and a cup of coffee while I plan out my day and check some emails. Once the kids are off to school, I shower and start thinking about breakfast.
I will typically have a quick piece of avocado toast with an egg on sourdough. When I don’t have time to cook, I like to grab some Horizon cottage cheese and add a handful of cherry tomatoes and lots of fresh cracked pepper. It’s creamy, savory, a great source of protein and a good source of calcium, plus with the tomatoes, I get a serving of veggies for breakfast! I love these breakfasts because I am starting my day with protein, fiber and fat which helps me through my morning meetings.
As part of my overall wellness routine, I make sure I get lots of fruits and veggies and probiotics! I love Activia probiotic yogurt because it’s delicious, a good source of calcium and vitamin D. It’s also a quick and easy mid-morning snack! I like to add some blueberries or sliced strawberries and sometimes I even add a handful of whole-grain cereal or some nuts for crunch. My mid-morning snack is also when I make sure I’m on track with my water. I try to drink at least 2 liters of water a day. Staying hydrated is such an important part of staying healthy and is important for cognitive function, kidney health and even your skin.
I try to keep lunch lighter to avoid feeling sleepy in the afternoon and will typically have a salad for lunch. We eat a lot of roasted veggies in our house and have leftovers after dinner most nights. I really enjoy a warm salad, and most days I add leftover roasted veggies and any leftover protein from the night before. My favorite combination is a base of massaged kale, with roasted brussels sprouts and sliced chicken. I also like to add some red onion, a little feta cheese and some green goddess dressing.
I start looking for a snack and will usually reach for another yogurt — gotta get those probiotics! — and sometimes a piece of fruit, depending on my hunger levels. Right now, we have pears, apples and oranges around the house so those have been in heavy snack-time rotation. I also use this snack time to make sure I have my water ready for the rest of the afternoon.
Between afterschool activities and our work schedules, we typically eat dinner a little later during the week. We try to eat seasonally and will shop on the weekends for produce at the farmer’s market or the grocery store. We also try to go meatless a couple of dinners a week and really enjoy Mediterranean veggie bowls. We roast a big pan of veggies (brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, broccoli), add some rice, hummus, sliced cucumber and tzatziki sauce. These bowls are completely customizable, have lots of fiber from the rice and veggies, some protein from the hummus and tzatziki and they come together in around 30 minutes.