A Day in the Life of a Dietitian- Volume 1
Written By: Elizabeth Elam, MS, RD, LDN
The 9 months of growing and carrying a child are probably some of the best – and most confusing – times in one’s life. What do I eat, how do I exercise, how much weight should I gain, why can’t I sleep, what do I do about stretch marks… and the list goes on. As a registered dietitian, I was comfortable with what and what not to eat – stay away from unpasteurized cheese, undercooked meat and eggs, sushi (sad face) – but my ravenous appetite threw me for a loop. I’m always hungry! I had to experiment a lot with “what” and “how much” to eat so that I was satisfied and comfortable. First I found myself overeating, trying to stave off hunger only to feel a grumble a couple of hours later. When I didn’t eat enough, I was nauseous and weak. The day of eating listed below is what I have found to work for me right now. A month ago, it was different – as in I only ate eggs, cheese, Pringles, pretzels, and peanut butter toast – and I’m sure that in a couple months, I’ll have to experiment and tweak again. The best advice I have is to really listen to your body, especially when you’re eating. Stop periodically through your meal to recognize signs of fullness. Stop eating when comfortably satisfied and plan for a snack 3 to 4 hours later.
I have 3-4 quick rotating breakfast options that I choose from during the week. When I’m craving something sweet, these nut butter waffles hit the spot. I toast two whole wheat waffles, top one with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1/3 medium sliced banana, and the other with 1 tablespoon of almond butter and 2-3 sliced strawberries. Then, I drizzle them with ½ tablespoon of natural maple syrup and wash it down with a glass of 1% milk.
A go-to snack for me is a yogurt parfait.
• ¾ cup whole milk Greek yogurt – I find whole milk yogurt to be naturally sweeter, less tangy, and more sustaining than skim or low-fat yogurt
• 1 cup frozen berries – I’m in love with an antioxidant frozen berry blend at Costco. It has supple sweet cherries and berries, and tart cranberries that give great texture and contrast
• ¼ cup Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Granola – a slightly sweet, very crunchy granola
My lunch is almost always leftovers. This week I made a recipe I found in the March 2017 edition of Cooking Light, Mediterranean Chicken and Bulger Skillet. This one-pan meal hit the spot and will be a part of my regular recipe rotation. I served it with a (large) side salad filled with kale, spinach, blue berries, strawberries, a sprinkle of blue cheese, a sprinkle of Cooking Light’s Savory Granola – one of my favorite salad toppers (just make ahead and store in the freezer in a zip lock bag) – and homemade balsamic dressing (1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1-2 teaspoons honey, salt and pepper to taste).
I was on a big “egg kick” during my first trimester – it was one of the only foods I could stand to eat! A patient of mine told me that scrambled eggs reheat beautifully – and they do! I scramble 2 huge handfuls of spinach with ½ cup egg whites, a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and red pepper flakes (I used to use hot sauce but found red pepper flakes give the same punch without the extra sodium). I reheat my eggs and serve them with a slice of whole wheat avocado toast (using ¼ medium avocado). It’s a snack that keeps me full for hours!
Our break room had Skittles and Starbursts today. I decided on a pack of Skittles. It’s funny, before pregnancy I loved the reds and purples. Now, I’m all about the greens and yellows!
Eating Well Magazine’s Pork Pesto Pinwheels with Peaches is one of my favorite pork tenderloin recipes. Peaches aren’t in season right now, so I roasted a sweet potato to lend that sweetness that goes so well with pork. I threw some asparagus on the grill alongside the pork for an easy side.
A before-bed snack is a MUST. If I don’t have one, I wake up around 1-2am with a burning, growling tummy. I usually have about a cup of Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes cereal with a bit of 1% milk and 1/3 sliced banana. I won’t say this keeps me asleep – my full bladder is to blame – but it keeps me out of the kitchen in the wee hours of the night. If, for some reason, I do wake up hungry, then I have a slice of whole wheat toast and a thin spread of almond butter – that usually does the trick.