Nutrition isn’t one-size-fits-all. In fact, what registered dieticians put in their own bodies varies widely. So what does someone whose job it is to help other people eat healthier munch on every day? Read on:
Natalie Leustek, RD, CDE
Philosophy: Vegetables are a nutritional powerhouse. Eating a wide variety of plants (including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes) and choosing whole or minimally processed foods (five ingredients or less) helps ward off chronic disease and promote long-term health. While I enjoy eating a whole-food, plant-focused diet, it may not be an approach that everyone can closely follow. However, aiming to make each meal 75 percent plants is a healthy goal.
Breakfast: I start my mornings with plain oatmeal with hemp seed, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, walnuts, and berries or dried cherries. Hemp seed is a great source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to healthy cell formation. Cinnamon adds flavor without salt, plus it is loaded with fiber and antioxidants. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant but requires black pepper to help with absorption. Walnuts provide protein and healthy fats, and berries are high in fiber and rich in antioxidants.
Lunch: For lunch I enjoy homemade soup made with a variety of legumes and vegetables, some sliced cucumbers with hummus, and fruit. The soup provides ample amounts of fiber and protein. Hummus contains sesame seeds and olive oil, both of which are a source of good fats. Fruit satiates my need for something sweet.
Dinner: Dinner is a salad made of mixed greens, carrots, beans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and dried fruit. I use smashed avocado and red wine vinegar instead of dressing. Avocados add creaminess without the cholesterol and are full of heart-healthy fats. I also have a banana with all-natural peanut butter for additional protein and sweetness. Sometimes I top my meal off with an ounce of 100 percent dark chocolate. Eating a whole-food, plant-focused diet throughout the day nourishes my body with a variety of nutrients and reduces inflammation that may occur from emotional or physical stress.
Beverages: Staying hydrated with mostly water helps with digestion and satiety, so I aim for eight cups a day. Sometimes I also include a cold brew coffee (black) or herbal tea.
Natalie Leustek is a registered dietician and certified diabetes care and education specialist for the Transitional Care Clinic at Vancouver Clinic. She enjoys helping patients use nutrition to become their healthiest selves. Discover what our other nutritionists are eating: Part 1: Cindy