What does a nutritionist eat

A Nutritionist’s Food Diary

Food diaries and logs are pretty important in my line of work.  I don’t ask my clients to track their food on a daily basis but I may, early on, ask them to track for a few days to give me a good idea of what their food intake looks like.  As we move along with our sessions, I may ask them to track their food twice weekly.  This helps keep them on track and lets me know what we need to tweak.

Today, I’m sharing with you what my food diary looks like.

I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to nutrition. 

The first is that you have to be on your food game at all times.  That’s not the case at all.  I subscribe to the 80/20 theory.  In an otherwise healthy person, you can eat healthy 80% of the time and let your hair down the other 20% of the time.

In a 7-day week, that’s one full day or 3 meals.

Those that are close to me know that I loooooooove cupcakes!  I don’t know what it is about a miniature cake meant for one but they are enticing and I will undoubtedly cave at least once weekly.  This is completely okay for me and for my clients (unless I’ve prescribed a therapeutic diet).  You only get one shot at the game of life, you might as well enjoy it!

Another misconception is that nutritionists have stellar diets.  No.  We try.  We try to keep on the health track as much as we can but we are humans.  I think many believe a nutritionist’s diet is like a unicorn…you know beautifully put together and perfect in every way.  Realistically, my diet fits into the mythical part of the unicorn…sometimes non-existent and definitely not perfect.

Let’s break it down...  

The screenshots I’m sharing are from Cronometer.com.  I am not an affiliate…I just like their stuff.  I’ve tried to get my clients to use the site but some don’t like the usability of it.  Food choices within the program can be lacking but the information I get totally outweighs any downsides for me.

I don’t log daily either.  I am actively trying to lose a few pounds so I can trim out for summer.  Stress got the better of me last year and before I knew it, I was 10 lbs heavier.  When I’m trying to lose a little fluff, I will track my food.  I don’t do it daily but I’ll track a few times per week just to make sure I’m hitting what I need to.

Here it is...

The workout, active energy, and pulse come from my Apple watch, which is linked with Cronometer.  It keeps tabs on calories burned for the day.  Breakfast for me is typically warm oats in the colder months and overnight oats or breakfast quinoa in the summer months.

The amount of volume I can consume is low so I end up eating several small snacks and meals throughout the day.

Lunch, especially right now, is a smoothie.  For me, this isn’t ideal but with my schedule it’s what I can do at the moment.  The upside is that it’s quick and packed with nutrients.  The downside is that it isn’t very tasty since I skip the fruit.

For snacks, I did some olives, cauliflower and hummus, grapes with peanut butter, some dark chocolate after my meals, and some really unhealthy crackers (these were an impulse buy…that’s what happens when you shop hungry).

For dinner, I did baked tofu and roasted veggies.  I am currently on this kick and eat it almost nightly.  It’s tasty and super quick to prep and get into the oven.  I need easy in my life.

I don’t typically log my water and coffee.  I added it to the log so you all could see it. drink 2-32 oz cups of water daily.  I also drink water when working out but do not count that towards my water goal.  I usually drink 2 large cups of black coffee daily. 

Here’s the fun part of Cronometer.  This breaks down how I did.

You can see that I burned just over 2400 calories that day and consumed just over 1400 calories.  I should probably eat a little more but that’s all I could manage that day.  My resting metabolic rate (RMR – the number of calories you never want to go under) is 1378 calories per day, so I’m in the clear.

It then gives you a macronutrient breakdown.  I really don’t pay attention too much to this category.  Why?  Because I know that I consume plenty of protein, fats, and carbs.  I don’t even know what I have the ratios set at.  But, this could be beneficial to someone trying to shoot for a specific goal.

I do look at the nutrient targets.  This gives you a snap shot of where you hit.  You can see fiber, iron, vit A and C are on point.  I failed to get enough calcium, B12, and folate…or did I?

Here’s what I really pay attention to and where all the pains associated with Cronometer pay off.

This gives you a complete break down on your nutrients as well as the composition of your fats, carbs, and proteins. 

Carbs: you can see I did good…not too much and not too little.

Fiber: on point! 

Sugar: I’m not worried about this as the only added sugar I consumed this day was from 2 dark chocolate squares; one after lunch and one after dinner.  The rest of the sugar came from fruit (1/4 cup raisins and 1 cup of grapes).

Fats:  I did great with Omega-3s and could have done better with Omega-6s. What’s not on the log is Brazil nuts.  I consume 2 daily for selenium.  This gives me a boost to the Omega-6 but still a bit shy of where I need to be.  I could probably add some pumpkin seeds into my diet to help close that gap.

Vitamins:  You can see that I’m short in all of my B vitamins (which are vital for energy production) and vitamin D.  You only get vitamin D from the sun or a supplement.  It can also be found in fortified foods. 

(Read this blog on vitamin D!)

Minerals:  You can see I’m short here too.  I missed the mark on quite a few in the category.  If I add my two Brazil nuts in, my selenium shoots up! 

Protein:  I like that it shows the 9 essential amino acids, plus a few extra.  I don’t pay too much attention to the break down if I fall a little short.  I know that I will make it up on a day where I have more grains and beans. 

So, let’s talk about my short comings...

I am of the belief that everyone should be on at least two supplements: a multivitamin and mineral (MVM) supplement, and a vitamin D supplement.  I purposefully did not add my supplements in because I wanted you all to see that even with a diet low in refined carbs and high in vegetables and plants, you can still fall short on your nutrient intake.

When I add those in, I hit just about all my vitamin and mineral targets.  I do add a few extra supplements as well.  Here’s what I take:

1 tsp Concentrace mineral drops (I add this to my smoothie)

¼ tsp vitamin C powder

15 mg zinc (to help counter the fact that my body has excess copper)

A variety of liver supportive supplements…because of the excess copper (I cycle these)

A powdered greens supplement for extra calcium (added to my smoothie)

And of course, my MVM and vitamin D supplement.

That’s it!  Not perfect and could certainly use work.  And there are days where I probably consume zero vegetables…those days are rare though.

You should walk away with 3 things:
  1. Nutritionists aren’t perfect and don’t consume a perfect diet.

  2. It’s good to log your food on occasion to get an idea of where your nutrients are lacking, but don’t become obsessive about logging.

  3. Even great diets still lack in nutrients and vitamins are needed to bridge the gap.

Let me know in the comments what your questions are and please feel free to share!

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Sunny Brigham, MS, CNS

I'm Sunny! I'm a board-certified clinical nutritionist with an MS in Clinical Nutrition. I help individuals reduce fatigue, eliminate bloat, and lose weight by healing the digestive tract and balancing hormones. I provide individual and group nutrition consultations nationwide. Join my closed Facebook group today! https://www.facebook.com/groups/140571826548289/

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