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What a nutritionist really eats in a day
Food,  Meals & Planning

What A Nutritionist Really Eats In A Day

As a nutritionist, people are often curious about what I eat in a day. Many assume I follow a strict diet of hard-to-find-and make foods. The reality is that I eat a lot of the same “regular” foods every day – yogurt bowls, lots of vegetables and fruit, smoothies, eggs & meats. These are foods that I like and make me feel good.

As a rule of thumb, I eat for enjoyment and performance for life. By performance, I mean feeling great mentally and physically, staying fit, sleeping well – like one would feed a racehorse. That may be a weird analogy, but think about it – what would you feed a high-performing animal (or a beloved pet)?

horse racing
They eat for performance …

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flagline 50k runner
… so we should too!

This means that I think about food in terms of “What will I be happy to have eaten?” In other words, what will be tasty and contribute to my health?

Thinking in terms of my goals (feeling great, confidence, being active), rather than what feels good in the moment, helps me make the better food choices. Maybe not the most fun ones all the time. Still, I’ll definitely dive into a chocolate birthday cake when the occasion calls for it!

Eating delicious cake is more difficult than Heidi expected, but worth the effort!

What This Nutritionist Eats on a Regular Day

So, here’s what I, Brook Hagen, MS in Human Nutrition, ate on Monday this week. I used Monday because:

  • It’s a typical day, representative of most weekdays.
  • I happened to log the food with MyFitnessPal.

Breakfast

Recipe: Best Breakfast Bowl

Morning Snack

Recipe: Pumpkin Breakfast Bowl

Lunch

Salad with Magic Sauce and Sardines (YES, sardines)

Mmmm … Omega-3 fatty acids!

Afternoon Snack

Recipe: Mocha Smoothie

Mocha smoothie, sweetened with frozen bananas

Dinner

Recipe: Killer Slow-Cooker Chili

Evening Snack

Modified pumpkin bowl

Totals:

CaloresCarbs (g)Fat (g)Protein (g)Cholesterol (mg)Sodium (mg)Sugar (g)Fiber (g)
2,21621210013821823189652

Macronutrient breakdown, as percentage of total calories:

Carbs: 37% Fat: 39% Protein: 24%

Impact of Physical Activity on Food Intake

On Monday, I ran ~6 miles, which means that I burned a lot of calories (about 550) in exercise. Thus, I can see that my food intake was way below where it should have been. Ideally, I would have consumed between 2700 – 3000 calories on this day.

Since I don’t usually track my exercise, food intake, logging my food was a good reminder for me to EAT MORE. We women often think we should eat less food than we need to (yes, NEED), leading to nasty side effects like irritability, poor sleep, nutrient deficiencies, and binging on ice cream at 11pm while watching Netflix.

I’m not saying every woman needs to eat 3000 calories per day, or eat beyond fullness. However, most traditional diets prescribe too little food, which leads to deprivation, then breaking the diet, then quitting the diet, then gaining more weight than one lost, then finding a new diet. Repeat.

Why So Many Soft Foods, You Ask?

Well, I have braces on my teeth for another month or so. Without those, I will definitely be eating more whole nuts, bars, wraps … you know, crunchy, chewy food you have to bite into.

Yep, I eat it all, but I don’t eat it all every day.

Nutritionists Eat Regular Food

So yeah, I eat a lot of plants and some animal-based foods, too. I love eating and also feeling strong, so I put some effort into finding foods that will do both – taste good and nourish my body.

In case you couldn’t tell, I love me some yogurt bowls and homemade salads. What are some of your favorite foods that you also feel good about eating afterwards?

4 Comments

  • Brenda Gorges

    I love this Brook, your changing the way I think about food and nutrition! Enjoyed seeing what u ate in 1 day, which seemed like a lot! Of course, running 6 ml. took care of that!
    Will be so happy for u on the day of braces remova!❤Mom

    • Brook Hagen

      Glad to hear that you got something positive out of my list of daily eats!
      I’m curious, how have you changed the way you think about food and nutrition? 🤔
      Thanks for reading! 🤗

      • Janet

        Good article Brook.
        Interesting that most women eat less than required each day.
        I feel better when I eat meat over salad and veggies. Unfortunately I eat way too many snacks throughout the day. Chips of any kind are my downfall. I have been eating a pumpkin bowl nearly everyday and therefore eating less chips. It should be easy to eat healthy but it’s not. At least for me.

        • Brook Hagen

          Hey Janet! I think it’s more that women think they should be eating less than they need to. I think this is because most weight loss diets prescribe anywhere from 800 – 1400 calories per day, which IMO is way too low (and tough to stick to!).
          Meat + salad + veggies = super healthy. 😋
          There’s nothing wrong with an occasional bag of chips, although it sounds like you’d like to eat fewer. 😉
          Eating healthy is not always easy! For me, it’s about finding foods I like that are healthy, and habitually eating those things.

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