Dietitians provide food and nutrition advice, but ever wonder what these nutrition experts eat? People assume that dietitians—who possess the knowledge to plan a healthy diet—themselves eat ‘perfect’ meals. However, dietitians—just like you—lead a busy life and may not always have the time to plan their day or meals. For National Nutrition Month, we asked Kristin Heim, registered dietitian at CHA HPMC, to understand her approach to nutrition and how she crafts healthy meals amidst her busy daily life.
Food as a Preventative Medicine
Raised by health-conscious parents, exercise and nutrition were two major components of Kristin’s life. “I always look at nutrition labels before buying any food. I love eating healthy and grew up with that mindset,” she says. Kristin studied psychology in college, but chose to pursue a career in dietetics in sophomore year as she realized that it aligned well with her interest. “Food is preventative medicine as you get all the necessary nutrition from vegetables and fruits and it helps prevent diseases. I follow this approach to nutrition in my personal life and apply it to patient care,” she explains.
Following a Healthy Diet amidst Busy Life
The key to following a healthy diet, Kristin says, lies in planning. “To make things easy, it is important to plan your meals the previous night and prepare everything. This helps you follow the meal plan even when you are caught up with work.” As a nutrition expert, Kristin understands that eating on the go is a reality for most working professionals. She shares two nutritious meals that are easy to whip up during busy workweek:
- Healthy salad: We often have ingredients in the pantry to whip up a quick healthy salad. “I always have green veggies, protein in the form of chickpeas or quinoa, any sort of nuts (depending on allergies), leftover strawberries, and fruits to prepare a healthy salad,” she says.
- Leftover brown rice (a good source of starch) or quinoa can be combined with roasted vegetables to create a balanced meal.
Missing Component in Most Diets
Green leafy vegetables, Kristin says, don’t get their share of importance. In her career, Kristin finds that most people don’t consume the right amount of vegetables and nutrients necessary for a balanced meal.
Do Fad Diets Work?
Kristin’s two cents on Fad Diets: “They come and go. It’s important to eat balanced diet and enjoy all types of food. But it is important to eat these discretionary foods in moderation.”
Overall, Kristin believes that a balanced diet helps her maintain good health and take care of patients at CHA HPMC.
Oatmeal with blueberries, cinnamon, and banana
Smoothie with frozen banana, almond milk, regular oats, cinnamon, and peanut butter
Pre-made or custom salads at work
Whole grain crackers, slices of turkey, apple, cucumber, or low fat string cheese
Proteins such as chicken, salmon, or fish, with brown rice and vegetables like asparagus, Brussel sprout, parsnips and any other roasted vegetables
Quarter cup of dark chocolate chips (proportioning is important)