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Food Diaries: How to Eat Well Without Spending Hours in the Kitchen

Registered dietitian Rebecca Bitzer shows how planning your meals can keep you on the right track.

Although Rebecca Bitzer counsels clients on nutrition, she’s the first to admit she’s not a foodie. “I love good food,” she says, “but I do not enjoy spending hours cooking and preparing food.”

The nutrition therapist, who works specifically with clients with eating disorders, says she feels best when she eats small, frequent meals throughout the day with one “fun” food included. She suggests planning your meals in advance, which means you’ll have “a much better chance of actually eating what [you] planned.” Read on to see how Bitzer eats for a day.

Breakfast: “Before I leave for work in the morning, I typically eat my favorite go-to breakfast: peanut butter and sliced banana on whole-wheat toast. This breakfast packs in whole grains, protein, healthy fats, fruit, and fiber. It’s quick to eat and keeps me feeling full.”

Morning Snack: “In the mid-morning or early afternoon, I like to have a small snack to keep my energy up. This is usually a piece of fruit, nuts, or a yogurt.”

Lunch: “I like to have a protein-based sandwich, such as grilled chicken or turkey, along with baby carrots or vegetable soup for a side. Adding healthy sides like these helps me incorporate more food groups into my meal while providing valuable vitamins, minerals, and fiber.”

Afternoon Snack: “Snack bars like Kind fruit and nut bars or Fig Newtons give me the boost I need to keep going in the afternoons. I also enjoy a yogurt or a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack.”

Dinner: “I typically eat out for dinner or prepare an Amy’s frozen meal. I enjoy trying new restaurants, and select meals that incorporate vegetables, lean protein, and healthy carbohydrates, such as chicken stir-fry with brown rice from a local Japanese steakhouse.”

Dessert: “I like to have more snack-type desserts, like this cinnamon-sugar doughnut with a cup of coffee.”

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  • Debbie

    I love Rebecca Bitzer's advice... it's nice that you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen to eat a nice meal or be reasonably healthy. We all have busy schedules and we do the best we can. Nothing wrong with having take out or a doughnut every once in a while.

  • Ann

    I love getting an inside peak into what dietitians really eat. I'm so inspired by the "health nuts" I work with - they constantly spur me on to take practical steps to boost my healthy eating, but it's also good to remember that perfection is never the goal. If there's one wrong health message being sent to our country it seems to be that healthy eating is all or nothing. How misleading.

  • Alice

    I admire this woman for putting herself and her meals out there. A balanced diet is just that - BALANCED. If she only ate salad greens and rice cakes, I'd consider that to be unhealthy and unbalanced. Knowing how to appropriately incorporate snacks and desserts into your meals is part of that balance. Take a look in the mirror (or more appropriately your fridge) before you judge someone for showing you a realistic and practical approach to healthy eating.

  • Emma Fogt, MBA, MS,RD,LDN

    Working full time plus family responsibilities this looks like a pretty realistic version of what today's eating lifestyle consists of. Let's look at the facts: 3 meals, 2 snacks. Eating every 4 hours to keep blood sugar even. Fiber= nuts, fig newtons, whole wheat bread, brown rice. Lean meats- chicken, turkey. Protein- nuts, peanut butter, yogurt, bars. Fruit: 1 banana (2 fruits), soup (1 veggie) dinner (1 veggie). And the donut? Dietitian or not- don't you ever enjoy a chocolate chip cookie or a muffin every now and then? If i was to make this over- i would add in more veggies and maybe another fruit. Rebecca- if you're reading this- thanks for having us dietitians get real. At 5 ft 10 I know I need about 2000 calories/day to maintain my 145 pounds and as we know all foods's just how much.
    Emma Fogt , MBA, MS,RD, LDN
    PS. I just had a chocolate chip cookie after lunch...enjoyed every bite and it hit the spot!

  • Stephanie

    I love this idea of eating healthy on the go and not necessarily having to eat homecooked meals each day! When I'm out of the house from 7AM-7PM every day it gets a little to tricky to plan 3 balanced meals. And a little treat every now and then is always nice, it's what keeps me from overindulging later. Thanks for the tips!

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