Let me tell you 11 Simple Ways Visiting A Dietitian Improved My Life. I recently had the opportunity for a personal consultation with Kristen Gaudet, PDt. I’ve listed some of the strategies I learned from Kristen below, followed by a recipe for Whole Grain Spaghetti With Greens, Toasted Pistachios, And Lemon.
This post was sponsored by Atlantic Superstore, however all views and opinions are my own. I will never endorse anything I don’t use or love! Thank you for supporting brands that help make kellyneil.com possible.
Food Is My Career And Obsession
I get so excited about food! The process of shopping for fresh, local ingredients. Touching them. Smelling them. Chopping them. Tasting them. Photographing them. Writing about them. From start to finish I love food. Food is not just my career, it’s my obsession. And that’s what Atlantic Superstore’s Food Lovers Unite campaign is all about. Uniting people through the happiness, curiosity, and sometimes, obsession we feel about food.
My own personal obsession with cooking, baking, and eating has led me down a path of sugar overload, weight gain, and an imbalanced diet consisting mostly of meat and white starches. For the last six months I’ve been cooking plant-based meals three nights each week, which is a small step in the new direction I want to go.
Visiting A Dietitian For Advice On Weight Management And Plant-Based Eating
A registered dietitian for over 20 years, Kristen Gaudet works as the in-store registered dietitian at The Atlantic Superstore in the city of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, where I live. Kristen specializes in adult nutrition, grocery store tours, healthy eating, and nutrition workshops. I sat down with her, as part of the Food Lovers Unite campaign with Atlantic Superstore, to talk about my current goals with weight management and plant-based eating. The amount of valuable, actionable information I got in one short hour left me stunned!
1. I Learned The Difference Between Mindless And Mindful Eating
I cook and bake as part of my job and I love to eat fat-laden, sweet, and salty treats (um, hello sour cream and onion chips!). When I experience sudden food cravings, I often reach for these treats without thinking. Kristen said mindful eating, that is, paying attention to what and how much food I put in my body, combined with taking time to slow down and enjoy my food, will benefit me in multiple ways. Since visiting a dietitian I’ve been practicing being mindful with meal and snack choices, portion size, when I eat, and where I eat.
“You can lose weight on any diet because you’re now focused and being mindful about it, but can you continue that diet forever? If the answer is no, then learn the right way instead.” Kristen Gaudet, PDt
2. I Now Know How To Create A Complete Meal
I cook based on cravings but now I know my cravings came on so strong because I wasn’t eating balanced meals. Kristen drew diagrams of what my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks should look like, which I now refer to when I put meals together. She showed me how to combine fruit and/or vegetables with servings of protein, with whole grains to create a fully balanced meal. Now that I have those visuals in my mind, and am practicing mindfulness, my crazy, intense cravings for chips and chocolate have nearly disappeared.
“I swear by it and I live it. Eating half a plate of fruit or vegetables with protein, and whole grains is a simple concept, and once you start thinking this way, it can be transforming.” Kristen Gaudet, PDt.
3. I Don’t Go Longer Than Four Hours Between Meals
A huge bowl of pasta with sausage and Parm sounds great doesn’t it? Then why am I so hungry two hours after I eat it? Kristen recommended not waiting any longer than four hours between meals, pushing it to five hours at the most, as it will send a signal to my body to slow down its metabolism. Eating the right balance of fruit and vegetables, combined with plant or animal protein, and whole grains will regulate my blood sugar and insulin levels, so I don’t crash and crave in-between meals, or overeat at the next one.
“If you feel like you’re starving less than four hours after a meal, your body is telling you that you either didn’t eat enough at your last meal, or, you didn’t eat the right combination of vegetables, protein, and whole grains.” Kristen Gaudet, PDt
4. Creating A Schedule That Includes Work, Mealtimes, And Exercise
One of the perks of being a freelancer working from home is I make my own schedule. The problem is, I only schedule in work projects, and don’t take meals, or exercise into consideration. Kristen recommended I start plotting out work, meals, and exercise on a daily schedule, and take time to sit and focus on my snacks and meals at the times I pencil in.
“It’s a chore when you don’t plan. Planning ahead changes everything.” Kristen Gaudet, PDt
5. I Put Together A Kitchen Binder
“Ugh, it’s 5:00 and I have no idea what to make for dinner. Guess it’s boxed macaroni and cheese again.” Sound familiar? This is me on more evenings than I’d like to admit. Kristen suggested setting up a binder with dividers to keep in the kitchen purely for meal planning, and she suggested a great strategy to get my binder going. She said to take a few minutes each night, pick out a stack of my cookbooks, and search through them based on ingredient. For example, one night I’d take 20 minutes to search through my cookbooks for chickpea recipes, then add the ones I’d like to try to my binder.
“Don’t look for all of the recipes to fill your binder all at once because you’ll get overwhelmed. Instead find five simple recipes with the same ingredient you’d like to make. Take a photo of the recipes with your phone, print them, then file them in the corresponding section of your kitchen binder. Discard recipes you don’t like and use the rest as a reference when creating your weekly meal plan.” Kristen Gaudet, PDt
6. I’m Using (And Eating) Less Sugar
Before visiting a dietitian I was eating a lot of white carbs (I’m looking at you hotdog buns and pasta) and sugar, which increase insulin production. Working from home, sitting at a desk for most of the day means my body was storing the influx of insulin as fat (hey where did that muffin top come from?!). Kristen suggested reducing the amount of sugar called for in any recipe I make. She said natural sugars in food are fine, but to be cautious about overdoing it.
“The only food you can really overeat and never worry about is vegetables. The thing is, food is about nutrition but it’s also about enjoyment. You have to enjoy what you eat, and if you don’t then you’ve got to make changes, because we have to eat every day. It’s non-negotiable. You can use less sugar and still enjoy what you make. It all goes back to being mindful.” Kristen Gaudet, PDt
7. I Now Take A Vitamin D Supplement
Kristen said about 95% of people don’t get enough Vitamin D, or are deficient. Although we do get increased amounts of Vitamin D in the summer season, it’s still not enough. She recommended taking a supplement of at least 1000 IU of Vitamin D daily.
“It’s hard to get enough Vitamin D on your own. I’d say take 1000 IU of Vitamin D in the summer, and 2000 IU in the winter months. Vitamin D contributes to mental and bone health and is an important vitamin to help absorb calcium.” Kristen Gaudet, PDt
8. I’ve Added Probiotics To My Diet
A lot of research has been published, and established on the benefits of probiotics, and Kristen said there will only be more research in the future. She suggested introducing natural probiotics to my system through foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, or anything else fermented. She said probiotics in fermented foods will balance my gut, keep me regular, boost my immune system, and reduce gas and bloating. Feeding probiotics to the flora along my gut lining will also help my body absorb the nutrients in my food.
“This is also why eating fruit and vegetables is so important. They contain prebiotics which feed the good bacteria in your gut. Sugar and fat work against the good bacteria by feeding the bad bacteria and helping it thrive.” Kristen Gaudet, PDt
9. I’m Eating More Vegetables
Kristen suggested eating two cups of raw or cooked vegetables at both lunch and dinner time. Though I still need to eat protein and whole grains, she said filling up on vegetables will help with digestion.
“The secret to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight is to eat a lot of vegetables. They fill you up with fibre, they help you stay hydrated, and they take longer to eat which prevents overeating.” Kristen Gaudet, PDt
10. I Still Treat Myself Using The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule is where treats fit in. Kristen said eating desserts and enjoying treats is fine, if they’re eaten mindfully. She also stressed that healthy treats are still treats.
“If you fill up on vegetables you probably won’t even want a treat because you don’t have the same cravings when you eat a balanced diet. The cravings will be reduced.” Kristen Gaudet, PDt
11. I’m Buying More Locally Grown Produce
The Atlantic Superstore has made a huge effort to feature locally grown produce whenever possible. At the time this post is published, my local store has Asian greens, asparagus, beets, bok choy, broccoli, garlic, kale, radishes, spinach, turnip, swiss chard, potatoes, green peas, and snow peas in the produce section – all grown in the Atlantic region! Buying local is better for the environment because the food doesn’t have to travel as far, it benefits our local farmers, and personally, it makes me feel like I’m doing something good.
“Aside from the fresh produce in the produce department, there are also local foods in the freezer and grocery aisles. Keep an eye out for local cherries, wild blueberries, squash, and peas in the freezer, and local tomatoes, beans and legumes in the grocery aisle.” Kristen Gaudet, PDt
I really can’t recommend visiting a dietitian at Atlantic Superstore enough! I urge you to check your health care packages, as visiting a dietitian is often covered under health insurance plans! To learn more about the program, or to book an appointment with Kristen, or a registered dietitian in your area, visit www.bookadietitian.ca.
Whole Grain Spaghetti With Greens, Toasted Pistachios, And Lemon
- 150 g whole grain spaghetti
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 lemons juiced
- 4 cups greens
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook whole grain spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Place a skillet over medium heat. Add pistachios to dry skillet and toast for 2 minutes, or until nuts are fragrant.
- Add olive oil and minced garlic to skillet. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and greens to pan. Continue to cook until greens have wilted, stirring occasionally. Toss with hot drained pasta and serve.
Did you make this recipe? I would love to see how you made out! Let me know on Instagram by tagging me @baconandbaileys and hashtag it #baconandbaileys so I can take a peek and re-share it in my Instagram stories! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.