August 10, 2016

My Food Diary – A Nutritionist Weighs In – Pt. 1

Hi All,

I’m very excited to share this 2 part post of my food diary with a nutritionist. I actually started this post a few weeks ago but, then, we left on a family vacation and shocker, I didn’t get time to finish it while we were away like I had planned. In any case, what inspired me to do this post is I’m sure I’m not the only one who wonders whether what they eat is really all that good for them in the way they think. Or you’ve traveled and had a hard time making good choices while you’re away from home and wondered what a good choice would have been. I’m lucky that I have a friend, Natalie, who is a registered Nutritionist/Registered Dietitian and I enlisted her to weigh in on how I was doing with my everyday eating. So, I kept a diary of what I ate, for an entire week (Sunday to Saturday) and I’ll just say it was very enlightening! If you are interested in contacting Natalie to discuss  your own health, diet, or food questions/concerns, you can reach her at (917) 902-2900 or .

Few Things to Know About Me (to explain a little why I eat the way I do sometimes):
– I drink a lot of water, as much as I can, because I’m prone to vertigo which seems to affect me when I’m dehydrated (I’ve had it 2x and let me tell you – it SUCKS!!)
– I exercise usually 3-4x a week by taking classes at the gym – 2 days of yoga and 2 cardio/weights
– Chocolate/mocha is a staple in my diet. 😉
– My fridge actually tells you the # of ounces when you fill up water from the door and I know my water bottle is 12 oz

NOTE: Everyone is different and has different diet needs so just keep my notes above in mind when reading my diary. Also, Natalie’s comments are tailored as if my goal for the food diary was to lose weight.

Early Morning (7/7:30 am) – Nespresso caramel latte (made at home, flavored caramel, no added syrups) with skim milk and 1 stevia and Water (4 oz). My happy morning is having my latte and getting back in to bed to read or watch TV a bit before breakfast
Breakfast (8 am) – small glass of OJ, 2 eggs with teeny bit of sharp cheddar cheese (reduced fat, 2% milk), 1 piece of sprouted 100% whole grain cinnamon raisin bread from Trader Joe’s with margarine (Smart Balance), handful of blueberries
Snack (12 pm) – 8 oz of water and 1 homemade energy bite (recipe here)
Lunch (1:30 pm)  – Smuckers reduced sugar whole wheat peanut butter and jelly sandwich, handful of Popcorners Kettle Chips, 1 Slice of watermelon – Since we were going to the pool and I was feeling lazy, lunch for me had to be something easy. For that specific reason, or when I need something for “on the go”, I buy the Smuckers sandwiches from the freezer section at the grocery store.
Snack (4 pm) – Chocolate peanut butter smoothie (recipe here; I sometimes add chia seeds) and 4 oz of water – This smoothie is MY FAVORITE!
Dinner (7 pm) – Chipotle (which for me is salad with chicken, veggies, black bean salsa, cheese and a little bit of the Chipotle salad dressing), chips and guacamole, light margarita drink (Jose Cuervo light ready to pour from a bottle) – In our house, we have a tradition  we call “Chipotle Sunday” where my husband and I pick up the food and eat together on the couch after kids are in bed, usually catching up on a show like Shark Tank. I rarely finish all my food, usually I save about ½ of it to eat at another time
Dessert (8:30 pm) – 8 oz of water and 2 dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joes – I eat these and drink my water while I sit down to relax and watch TV. These peanut butter cups are my Kryptonite!



  • Looks like a delicious day, however it seems a little carb-heavy. In the morning if you’re going to have a caramel latte I would forego the OJ or visa versa. Additionally, the same goes with the cinnamon raisin bread and the blueberries – I would recommend doing one or the other, but preferably the blueberries for the antioxidants and vitamins. Important to start the day off right!
  • I know lunch is tough on the go, another option could be a turkey sandwich or tuna fish perhaps. You can add some spinach leaves and tomato for a veggie boost. Prepare ahead of time, pop into a cooler with an ice pack and you’re good to go while maintaining your bikini-bod.
  • Since it seems you, like most of us, enjoy your carbs, I would try to keep your snack options more protein-oriented. Some examples are nuts, string cheese, turkey, beef jerkey.
  • Dinner sounds great. You should be able to eat anywhere if you make the right choices and a salad at Chipotle is perfect. Good job getting your veggies in! Additionally, if you cut out some of the carbs, as discussed, earlier in the day this makes more room for you to enjoy a little bit of your chips as well as indulge in a margarita (or two!).

Early Morning (7:30 am) – 4 oz of decaf latte with 1 stevia and water – I make a latte sometimes to help get me going in the morning but I rarely have time to drink more then a small bit of it
Breakfast (8 am) – Bowl of cereal (a mix of multi grain Cheerios and Special K) with a small bit of strawberry Cheerios on top (1 1/2 c. total all cereal) with almond milk and small handful of blueberries, 3 oz orange juice with calcium – This is my “go to” breakfast during the week
Snack #1 (9:45 am – 11 am) – Drank 12 oz of water while at the gym and 1 energy bite right after class
Snack #2 (11:05 am) – Tall decaf non-fat mocha from Starbucks I go straight from the gym across the street to get my latte every day during the week. It’s my happy drink or what others call a “vice.”


My birthday was in July

Lunch (12:45 pm) – Salad at Sweet Green was arugula, romaine, feta, corn, red onion, cucumber, chickpeas, chicken, lite lemon vinaigrette, piece of multi grain bread and water – Don’t usually go out for lunch so this day I was meeting a friend for lunch to catch up and thought that Sweet Green was a good option because it is healthy and not too filling.
Snack #1 (2:30 pm) – Tall iced decaf non-fat mocha from Starbucks; Snack #2 (4:45 pm) – 2 cups of Smartfood Delight popcorn; Snack #3 (5 pm) – 1 piece of watermelon and 4 oz water – The 2nd Starbuck’s drink wasn’t my best choice here but was bored while I had awkward time before picking up kids from camp and knew I’d be in car for a bit so was trying to ward off any hunger that may have come up during this carpool time. I didn’t actually finish the drink so guess I wasn’t as  hungry as I thought I’d be afterall. I ate the popcorn while working at my desk because it was easy and then needed to get some fruit in me so I picked the watermelon to eat while I was making my kids dinner
Dinner (6:30 pm) – Leftover pulled plain chicken with bbq sauce on honey wheat English Muffin, potato salad with egg , 6 oz fresh steamed broccoli and water – This was the first night of the girls being in camp and I was a little pooped and wanted something easy. So leftovers made sense. We had brought food in from Red, Hot & Blue for a BBQ over the weekend and had a lot leftover. I did knowingly eat more than I should have of the potato salad but it was really good and kind of a treat for me so tried not to worry too much about it. I did make the conscious decision to eat the sandwich on the English Muffin instead of the challah-type buns that we had leftover to balance out the potato salad
Dessert (8 pm) – 2 Trader Joe’s mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups and 8 oz water



  • Breakfast is very carb heavy. Best options include eggs, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese. You can add some ground flax seeds or chia seeds for a nutritional boost to your yogurt or cottage cheese. If cereal is what you’re craving, omit the OJ. Best not to drink your calories, save them for food that will fill you up.
  • The mocha part is a lot of added sugar and the fact that it is a latte, by definition, it has a lot of sugar.  This is because milk is composed of lactose which is broken down to glucose which  is another name for sugar (lactose –> glucose –>sugar).  The best option would be a Cafe Americano (Espresso made with hot water) I actually add half and half to mine because it makes it creamy without adding a ton of volume and half and half has no sugar (lactose); even though it is loaded with fat, i use such a negligible amount that it doesn’t really matter.  If you crave a specialty drink I would get a “dry latte” or a cappuccino instead, which has less milk (lactose) and try not to add any additional sugar based sweetener. 
  • A+ for lunch. Veggies, fiber, protein – great!
  • Snack is missing some protein – string cheese, nuts. Protein helps to blunt the spike in blood sugar experienced when carbs are digested.
  • Dinner is almost perfect. Can you part with the English muffin? Love the addition of broccoli.
  • A good alternative to regular bread is a “light” bread i.e. Pepperidge Farm Light varieties — basically they are two for the price of one.

Breakfast (8 am) – Same as Monday
Snack #1 (11 am) – Drank 12 oz of water while at the gym and Kids Curate bar (find them here) – I hadn’t had the chance to make more of my energy bites so I grabbed this Kids Curate Bar I had in the pantry because it was small, easy and the ingredients are similar to what are in the energy bite
Snack #2 (11:05 am) – Same Starbuck’s drink as Monday
Lunch (12:45 pm) – 5 Trader Joe’s Lemongrass Chicken Stix, piece of watermelon, water – I was feeling hungry but not starving nor in the mood for my usual sandwich. These seemed fast and easy and perfect for my mood because I had work to get done and was short on time.
Snack #1 (2:30 pm) – bag of Popcorners kettle chips and smoothie; Snack #2 (4 pm) –  Smoothie I mentioned above; Snack #3 (6 pm) – handful of chopped red peppers  with 2 Tbsp spinach artichoke dip – I didn’t finish the smoothie so maybe wasn’t as hungry as I thought. The dip was leftover from a BBQ we had and I know it’s not good for me but it’s yummy and addicting. I was feeling quite hungry while I was making dinner and it just hit the spot. Tried not to think about whether it was good for me or not.
Dinner (7:30 pm) – Tilapia (used this recipe), brown basmati rice cooked in low fat broth with sauteed red onion, roasted brussel sprouts in olive oil and kosher salt – pretty typical dinner I make on a normal night during the week when not eating leftovers
Dessert (8:30) – Same as Monday


  • Breakfast: same recs as previous days
  • Snack: Curate bar — excellent choice. I like that it has fiber and protein. A++ Another great bar is the Gnu bar (Gnu Foods was aquired by NuGo Foods so the bars are now called NuGo Fiber d’Lish; find the bar options here) – they also contain protein and fiber and comes in a variety of flavors
  • Lunch: good job with the protein
  • Snack: love that you had veggies! Instead of kettle chips and a smoothie I would choose one or the other and double your portion of red peppers. This cuts down on your carbs and increases your veggie intake.
  • Dinner: great dinner, only critique would be to see if you could omit the rice, especially given you have all the other non-starchy sides. Best to consume your carbs during the daytime when you’re able to utilize them for energy

Breakfast (8 am) – Water and same as the other days
Snack #1 (11 am) – My Starbuck’s mocha latte
Snack #2 (11:30 am) – Energy bite, water
Lunch (12 pm) – Ahi tuna salad at Founding Farmers restaurant with 2 pieces of Wonton and water – Met a friend again for lunch. So odd for me to be out for lunch because I rarely do and then to go out 2x in 1 week was really unusual! The salad I got was exactly what I was in the mood and it totally hit the spot.  I knew eating the Wonton crisps wasn’t a great idea but I needed some “carb” to fill me up a bit more than salad alone and they weren’t very big.
Snack #1 (3:30 pm) – Baskin Robbins Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (4 oz) – Picked up the girls and it was such a hot day that ice cream for them seemed like a good idea. Then I decided to have some of one of my daughter’s since she took a few bites and was done. Wanted to try the flavor and not totally waste the ice cream and it was delicious! 🙂 I rarely indulge but when I do, I try to make it worth it.
Snack #2 (5:15 pm) –  slice of watermelon, Kraft twisted cheese stick
Dinner (7:15 pm) – grilled vegetables with olive oil and garlic salt (zucchini, tomato, red onion, egg plant), 2 slices grilled eggplant with ricotta, sauce and cheese and Parmesan lemon whole wheat orzo (this recipe) – Had all these vegetables and didn’t know what to do with them so improvised. Plus, I had ricotta (low fat) to use up so making some mini “eggplant lasagnas” was an easy use of it


  • Breakfast: same as aforementioned
  • Lunch: good job! Tuna is not only a source of protein, but omega 3 fatty acids as well.
  • Snack #1: Baskin & Robbins – I don’t you need me to tell you!!!! Look, we all need to indulge every now and again, especially when it’s summer time and nothing quite hits the spot like ice cream. When I feel the urge I will get 1 scoop in a kid’s cup so that my itch is scratched without totally falling off the wagon.
  • Snack #2: Since your first snack was so carb heavy I would instead have chosen a protein based snack i.e. nuts, string cheese, turkey, jerky, etc
  • Dinner: Well done! Love all the veggies. Orzo is very carby – perhaps swapping it with a protein food source instead, especially given your Baskin & Robbins visit earlier
  • **I definitely encourage indulging in cravings, life is meant to be lived, however when doing so try to budget for it in the rest of your day. This will make it so that not only will you not sabotage your healthy eating but you also won’t have those guilty feelings.

Long post I know but hey, I do eat often (Haha) so I decided to break the post into 2 parts.

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming up soon!

Happy eating!


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