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Healthy and convenient is the focus for this busy health professional. By Melissa Romero

Amaris Bradley is a dietitian and nutritionist who works in the Food, Beverage & Nutrition practice at Porter Novelli, a public relations firm. Tight deadlines and long workdays have taught her a thing or two about eating healthfully on the go, so she has plenty of tips for nutritious meals that are easy to throw together. When she’s not working, she loves to stay fit with jogs around the monuments and hot yoga in Dupont Circle. You can follow Amaris on Twitter @AmarisBradley.

Breakfast: “Oatmeal is my mainstay. To save time in the mornings, I make a big batch at the beginning of the week and then portion out a serving each morning before zapping it in the microwave. Most Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diet, so oatmeal is a great way to start the day with a healthy dose. I make mine with unsweetened soymilk, a spoonful of ground flaxseed, chia seeds, sliced almonds, raisins, a dollop of peanut butter, and a generous dusting of cinnamon. This morning I threw in sliced banana and sliced almonds. I always have my morning bowl with a hot cup of black coffee, a rich source of disease-fighting antioxidants!”

Late-morning snack: “I tend to have a snack in the late morning hours so my stomach grumbling doesn’t disturb my workmates. Usually I turn to nonfat Greek yogurt and a handful of unsalted roasted almonds, which is a deliciously satiating snack pair loaded with protein (18 grams!). I’m never without my stash of almonds, high-fiber crackers, or apples in my desk drawer—always prepared to fight energy lows with a healthy snack.”

Lunch: “I packed a big bowl of mixed greens topped with chickpeas, sliced red onion, unsweetened dried cranberries, chopped roasted sweet potato, avocado, and sunflower seeds, all drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Aside from roasting the sweet potato, all these ingredients are a breeze to throw together the night before—and definitely take less time than standing in line to pick up lunch anywhere on K Street. By this point in the afternoon I’d been drinking water continuously, but I brewed a cup of hot green tea to accompany lunch for—you guessed it—more antioxidants.”

Afternoon snack: “As the end of the day neared, I busted out some berries for a few more nutrient-dense calories to hold me over until I made it home for dinner.”

Dinner: “Dinner was a favorite for this batch cook: leftovers. Earlier in the week I made several meals’ worth of farro risotto with roasted eggplant, tomato, cauliflower, beans, and feta cheese. Tonight I topped it with a fried egg for good measure. Fiber-filled carbohydrates from the farro, plenty of vegetables, and protein from the egg and cannellini beans make this a balanced and tasty meal.”

The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, fitness, or nutrition expert with a love of food? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com to find out how you could be featured in our series.

Posted at 10:35 AM/ET, 04/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The founder of the nutrition-consulting company shares what keeps her fueled on an average day. By Melissa Romero

Jamie Higdon is a holistic practitioner at Chesapeake Holistic Natural Health Center in Annapolis, where she and her team provide nutrition-consulting services. Says Higdon, “I work with busy, active people to help them figure out how and where healthy can fit into their already-hectic lives.”

Higdon is no stranger to a hectic lifestyle. On top of her day job, she’s a yoga instructor and the author of the cookbook A Taste of Chesapeake Holistic. When she’s not working with clients, you’ll find her in the kitchen, providing private in-home cooking lessons. Read on to see how she fuels during a typical day.

Breakfast: “After a little bit of stretching, I was awake enough to safely operate a stove. Today it was for a fried organic egg with Sriracha (I don’t eat much without it!), greens sautéed in premade garlic oil, and shredded sweet potato, which I topped with salsa. I had a lot of clients in the morning, and I knew it would be a while until I ate again, so I threw on a couple of plantain chips and some leftover homemade hummus. Add a cup of organic coffee with coconut cream, and voilà! I was a whole new person.”

Lunch: “Fortunately, my schedule sometimes allows for a quick lunch at home. I made tuna salad with homemade mayonnaise earlier in the week (I always make leftovers!), which I put on top of organic salad greens with some sliced avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, and tangerine-balsamic vinegar. I knew I would be going to the gym in a few hours, so I wanted to be sure I had something that would digest easily but still fill me up. (I tend to function better when I don’t snack.)”

Dinner: “After the gym, I needed something quick, healthy, and protein-rich. I tossed some frozen wild-caught shrimp in a bowl of water to thaw and quickly chopped some sweet potatoes (while still in my gym clothes!) for fries before jumping in the shower. While the fries baked, I sautéed the shrimp in my cast-iron skillet with garlic, onion, and peppers seasoned with chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. It was done in about 15 minutes, and I chopped up some avocado while the fries finished.”

Dessert: “We normally reserve these little gems for our clients, but I found one at the bottom of my bag after working a health fair a few days ago. I don’t normally snack much at night, but the size was perfect.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, fitness, or nutrition expert with a love of food? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com to find out how you could be featured in our series.

Posted at 01:50 PM/ET, 04/08/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The yoga instructor shows how she lost nearly 80 pounds through yoga and a healthy diet. By Melissa Romero

As cofounder of Three Yoga ChicksTiffany Stark educates others on the four keys to building “a happy life”: yoga, relaxation, meditation, and nutrition. By following the philosophy, she managed to lose nearly 80 pounds.

Her one-day, 1,650-calorie food diary shows how she includes water, protein, and fiber in all of her meals—many of which are home-cooked and take no more than 20 minutes to prepare.

Breakfast: “At home, I ate a small slice of broccoli-cheddar quiche and a side salad. The salad was drizzled with two teaspoons of olive oil. I also drank two cups of chamomile tea.”

Snack: Two cups of green tea and butternut squash-flavored yogurt. “I got this rare find at Whole Foods Market. It is only 100 calories and has 140 percent of the required vitamin A, and only six grams of sugar. Delicious!”

Lunch: Mini meals. “As a yoga instructor, I often meet clients at their homes, and it is sometimes difficult to find time to sit for lunch when commuting. Before I left my home I had a plate of mixed berries with a quarter cup of mascarpone cheese, topped with a teaspoon of brown sugar. For the road, I brought a chocolate-peanut butter Snack Pack and seaweed crisps to keep me satisfied. I also drank three cups of water.”

Dinner: Half a cup of store-bought tuna salad on toasted 100-calorie thin sandwich bread, and a large arugula salad with a quarter cup of toasted walnuts and two teaspoons of flaxseed oil.

Evening snack: “I love chocolate, and this is a healthy yet decadent snack. I ate roughly a third of a Divine dark-chocolate-and-raspberry bar. I also drank two cups of green tea. This green tea made by Numi has the essence of toasted rice and tastes so much better than standard green tea.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, fitness, or nutrition expert with a love of food? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com to find out how you could be featured in our series.

Posted at 03:53 PM/ET, 04/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The plant-based-food advocate shows how he stays fueled for a busy schedule of teaching and research. By Melissa Romero

You’ll often find Dr. Neal Barnard in his Friendship Heights office or around the George Washington University campus, where he’s an adjunct professor of medicine. When he’s not teaching, conducting clinical research trials, or leading the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine as president, he’s promoting “plant-based meals for optimal health.”

Read on to see how the doc lives by a simple philosophy: “Keep it low in fat and high in fiber.”

Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit. “Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I usually top oatmeal with fresh fruit and spices. Today it’s sliced strawberries, a banana, and a dash of cinnamon. Fun fact: Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon can lower blood-sugar levels by about 20 percent, which is helpful for people who have or are at risk for type 2 diabetes.”

Morning snack: Mango spice smoothie. “Today is staff breakfast day at the Physicians Committee. Each week, employees from our office take turns creating their favorite breakfast smoothies to share. This morning we have a mango spice smoothie made with frozen mango chunks, almond milk, bananas, a little bit of lime juice, and a hint of serrano pepper. Mangoes and bananas are both rich in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure. The lime juice and pepper offer a savory twist, making this smoothie delicious.”

Lunch: Bean burrito with leafy green salad. “Today’s lunch is my favorite meal: a bean burrito. I brought a green salad—kale, tomatoes, and cucumbers—from home. I make sure to have a variety of easy-to-grab meals in the office. You will find my office stocked with a few containers of low-sodium soup, apples, oranges, and rice cakes. These items are easy to throw in a bag and can double as meals when you find yourself working on a tight deadline.”

Dinner: Greens, grains, and beans. “My dinner rule is to combine greens, beans, and grains. Tonight the entrée is Hoppin’ John salad with steamed bok choy and sliced tomatoes. The salad is a mixture of black-eyed peas, brown rice, green onions, celery, tomatoes, fresh parsley, lemon juice, and garlic cloves. Studies find lycopene, which you’ll find in tomatoes, helps protect against prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. It may also help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, fitness, or nutrition expert with a love of food? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com to find out how you could be featured in our series.

Posted at 11:54 AM/ET, 03/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Sarah Polon’s daily diet, unsurprisingly, usually includes a healthy soup. By Melissa Romero

Washingtonians know Sara Polon as Soupergirl, the brains behind the local soup company that began in 2011 in Takoma Park. These days, her beloved healthy soups can also be found at Sweetgreens throughout the region.

But Polon’s breakfasts, lunches, and dinners don’t only consist of soup. Read on to find out how she stays fueled during a normal day spent in the kitchen.

Breakfast: “My day always starts with lots of hydration, because we are naturally dehydrated in the morning. After a full glass of water, I drink a kale-carrot-ginger-apple juice. I try to make a big one on Sunday that I can drink each morning through the week. I love juicing because my body benefits from the pure, essential nutrients of the vegetables and fruits. After my juice, it’s on to a cup of home-brewed kombucha and a hearty bowl of oatmeal. My bowl usually includes chopped apple, a few toasted walnuts, almond milk, and a sprinkling of chia seeds. I believe in eating a hearty breakfast in order to kick-start my metabolism and give me energy through the morning.”

Morning snack: “I’m a huge fan of hummus. I usually snack on hummus and vegetables at least once a day. I try to get a serving of fruits and/or vegetables with each meal and snack I have. Another easy go-to snack is an apple paired with a handful of almonds. I try to eat nuts every day. You can also find me ‘snacking’ on green tea in the morning and herbal tea in the afternoon. I try to avoid caffeine after 1 PM.”

Lunch: “I almost always have hearty soup for lunch—all year long. I choose a soup with legumes and grains. That way I have the fiber and protein to keep me satiated, plus that essential serving of vegetables, all in one bowl.”

Dinner: “I’m a believer in the notion of starting the day like a queen and ending like a pauper. I usually have something light, such as a kale-quinoa salad. I also love ending my day with a glass of red wine.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, fitness, or nutrition expert with a love of food? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com to find out how you could be featured in our series.

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 03/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The holistic health guru shows how she stays fueled on the Paleo diet. By Melissa Romero

Monica Kuebler is the owner and holistic wellness director of the Northern Virginia-based Whole Health Elements. She’s also a holistic health practitioner, certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, certified massage therapist, functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner, certified metabolism typing adviser, and raw-food educator.

With a résumé like that, it’s clear Kuebler needs plenty of healthy fuel to get through the day. She sticks with “organic, nutrient-dense traditional foods” and follows the principles of the Paleo diet—no gluten, grains, legumes, dairy, soy, or sugar.

“I strongly believe and educate that every person has a different type of metabolism, and because of that fact, one diet is not right for every person,” she says.

Read on to find out what diet Kuebler has found works for her in her one-day food diary.

Morning drink: “My day begins with a glass of room-temperature water with half a teaspoon of sea salt, one teaspoon of Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar, and one drop of tangerine or lemon essential oil. This concoction perks up my taste buds and helps support my digestion, detoxification, and adrenal health for the day.”

Breakfast: “I make breakfast for my husband and me most mornings. This morning’s meal consisted of green tea with three drops of liquid stevia extract, butternut squash roasted in coconut oil, two local pastured eggs that were fried (yes, fried) in grass-fed butter, and a quarter of an avocado. To top it off I included some uncured farm-fresh pork bacon. Yum!”

Mid-morning snack: “I needed a little something to get me through my last personal training appointment before lunch today, so I had one tablespoon of chia seeds and half of the avocado from breakfast.”

Lunch: “Lunch is often what is left over from the previous night’s dinner, but today I had two Applegate Great Organic uncured grass-fed-beef hot dogs with grilled onions, a heap of fresh sauerkraut, and mustard. After the dogs I had a ruby-red grapefruit, which certainly seems like a weird combination, but it was the perfect bit of sweetness to end the meal with.”

Mid-afternoon snack: “Around 4 I was ready for a nutrient boost to prepare for my evening clients. I had a half of a bottle of kombucha, raw almonds, and grass-fed-beef jerky, which is much cheaper and tastier to make myself.”

Dinner: “As I was preparing dinner I sipped on a cup of homemade chicken-bone broth. Dinner itself consisted of bison meatza (meatloaf shaped like a slice of pizza) and steamed red cabbage with diced Granny smith apples sautéed in bacon fat from this morning’s breakfast. To round it out I had a sweet potato perfectly cooked in the slow cooker with cinnamon and grass-fed butter.”

Dessert: “This particular day of the week is usually my busiest, where I expend a lot of energy, so I eat more. After dinner I made a mug cake consisting of one pastured egg, a banana, and one and a half tablespoons of cocoa powder. After it cooked I flipped it onto a plate and topped it with a few blueberries and a sprinkle of coconut to create a lovely little plate of deliciousness.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, fitness, or nutrition expert with a love of food? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com to find out how you could be featured in our series.

Posted at 11:02 AM/ET, 03/11/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Emily Stein is a nutrition coach and yoga instructor currently eating for two. What’s her typical diet? By Melissa Romero

Emily Stein has a lot on her plate these days. She’s the communications director for Routeam, a local tech company that helps professionals improve their health and fitness regimens. She’s a nutrition coach and a yoga instructor. She’s also seven months pregnant.

Before her pregnancy, Stein says she was an avid yogi who mixed in high-intensity-interval-training workouts multiple times a week. Now in her third trimester, she stays fit by walking and doing yoga four days a week.

Her diet has changed little since becoming pregnant, although she admits, “I was a dairy and carb fiend in the first trimester!” She focuses on gluten-free meals loaded with vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and a good dose of protein. Read on to find out how Stein is currently eating for two.

Breakfast: “I always start the day with a big glass of water, flavored with lemon or raw apple-cider vinegar to hydrate and get the digestive juices flowing. Breakfast is a piece of fruit, coffee, and scrambled eggs (which are a great source of brain-boosting choline for pregnant women) with veggies and avocado.”

Lunch: “Leftover curried red lentil and quinoa stew from the last night’s dinner—perfect for a cold, snowy day. This was so yummy I couldn’t wait to dig in before taking a picture.”

Snack: Raw cut veggies with hummus. “At seven months pregnant, I have much less room in my stomach, so I tend to snack more, eating smaller, nutrient-packed meals throughout the day to keep up my energy and feed my growing baby only the good stuff.”

Dinner: Wild sockeye salmon pan-fried in coconut oil. Salad with goat cheese, toasted almonds, cucumbers, and tomatoes, drizzled in homemade Dijon vinaigrette. “This is one of my favorite weeknight dinners. It takes less than 20 minutes to throw together and is full of healthy fats from the fish, nuts, and coconut oil.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for details.

Posted at 11:22 AM/ET, 03/04/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Find out how the yoga lover fuels while helping others improve their diets and lives. By Melissa Romero

Mariana Diez just moved to Washington six months ago, but with a résumé like hers we have a feeling she’ll fit right in with the local fitness community. The certified health coach’s business, Joyful Living, aims to help “busy, stressed-out people improve their diets and their lives.” Diez also doubles as a yoga instructor, so you’ll often find her teaching private classes or taking various classes throughout the week.

Read on for a look at a typical day of eating for Diez.

Morning drink: “As soon as I wake up I go directly to the kitchen and have a cup of warm water with a freshly squeezed lime. While sipping my cup of water I prepare a protein smoothie with Sun Warrior chocolate protein, frozen fruit (peach, mango, or banana), and almond milk. I drink it 30 minutes before going to the gym; this provides me with energy for my daily routine.”

Breakfast: “As soon as I get back from the gym I prepare hot oatmeal for my husband and me. I usually add flax-chia blend, almond milk, stevia, and some fruit.”

Mid-morning snack: “I usually get a little bit hungry around noon, so I grab a snack between clients. I typically have Greek yogurt with some fruit and honey on top.”

Lunch: “I usually eat lunch late because I wait for my husband to get back from school. We normally have some kind of grain with a lean protein and some greens. Today we had whole-wheat spaghetti with salmon, arugula, and a squeezed lime to add flavor.”

Mid-evening snack: “In the evenings I usually have fewer clients, so I spend my time marketing my business. Once I’m done with work I grab a quick snack before leaving for yoga class. I generally have apples with almond butter—it provides me with a great energy boost.”

Dinner: “As soon as I get back [from yoga], I start preparing dinner. We usually use any kind of vegetables we have in our freezer and prepare something with them. Tonight we had tostadas with beans, shredded carrots, red pepper, avocado, and cilantro.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a Washington-based health, nutrition, or fitness expert? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for details.

Posted at 09:19 AM/ET, 02/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Sasha Bard promotes the healthy eating tool ChooseMyPlate.gov. Does she follow its advice? By Melissa Romero

Sasha Bard is a registered dietitian and one of the nutrition gurus behind ChooseMyPlate.gov. The 30-year-old works with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the home of MyPlate, the tool that breaks down the five food groups that make a healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy). She also helps promote First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative.

Along with advocating for healthy eating, Bard likes to hit the trails in Rock Creek Park and practice yoga. Read on for a glimpse at her diet, which she points out happens to be vegetarian-friendly‚though she’s not a vegetarian. “I love fish and eat meat and poultry regularly, as well,” she says. “All foods fit in my diet.”

Breakfast: “My day always starts with a glass of water, then coffee from the French press with cream and sugar. I’m not a fully functioning human being without these two things.”

“A bowl of oatmeal cooked with half water, half soy milk and topped with walnuts, cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter. I always make an extra serving for the next day.”

Morning snack: Berry smoothie. “My smoothies are always different. This one had frozen cherries, frozen blueberries, banana, Greek yogurt, fresh ginger, and soy milk.”

Lunch: “Everyone, even nutritionists, should have convenient foods they keep on hand. One of mine is frozen burritos. You have to keep an eye on sodium, but some brands pass the test. This one was an Amy’s breakfast burrito with black beans and tomatoes (non-dairy). I paired it with a salad of yellow tomatoes and avocado, a glass of water, and orange slices.”

Dinner: Pasta tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, yellow bell pepper, cannellini beans, and baby kale, topped with a fried egg and freshly grated pecorino Romano. Glass of red wine. “Eggs aren’t just for breakfast! I love serving them over pasta; the key is to have a runny yolk. I hate that pasta gets such a bad rap—it’s easy, healthy, and delicious. You can buy whole-grain varieties to boost the nutrition, or I really like the Barilla Plus line that uses a blend of bean flours to add fiber and protein.”

Dessert: Dark chocolate. “My favorite brands are Theo and Chuao (pictured). Chuao’s Firecracker bar has a hint of spice, which I love!”

Are you a local athlete or health, fitness, or nutrition expert with a love for food? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com to find out how you could be featured in our Food Diaries series.

Posted at 10:07 AM/ET, 02/11/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The health coach, yoga instructor, and food educator relies on lunch as her main meal. By Melissa Romero

Leslie Edsall is a triple threat in the health world. The owner of Trifecta Wellness is a board-certified health coach, a yoga instructor, and a food educator. Her time that’s not taken up leading online group detox programs, teaching yoga, or meeting with clients is spent practicing yoga four times a week, doing cardio three times a week, and weight-training twice a week.

So how does the busy health coach stay energized? Read on to see what Edsall eats on a typical day.

Breakfast: “Breakfast is for ‘breaking’ the ‘fast’ from sleep, and it’s key to raising the metabolism for the day’s work. This winter breakfast is composed of a green smoothie (spinach, mango, pineapple, peanut butter, and one and a half cups of water) and hot oatmeal with raw honey, almonds, cinnamon, and raspberries on top.”

Lunch: “The best way to get the most out of your meals is to have lunch as your main meal when metabolism is highest and the brain needs fuel. Made the night prior for leftovers at lunch, this includes acorn squash stuffed with rice, peppers, onions, and pine nuts; sautéed spinach and garlic; and smoked turkey breast and gluten-free gravy.”

Dinner: “Dinner to go from Mom’s Organic Market’s food bar in North Bethesda: a Jammed Yam—which includes a yam topped with salsa verde, quinoa, black beans, peppers, and avocado—and a raw juice of apple, oranges, mint, and spinach.”

Snack: “Larabars are awesome—they’re raw, vegan, unprocessed, and always handy to keep in the car when you’re in a pinch. This only has three ingredients!”

Are you a local athlete or health, fitness, or nutrition expert with a love of food? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com to find out how you could be featured in our Food Diaries series.

Posted at 10:05 AM/ET, 02/04/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()