After an indulgent vacay or even a few too many dinners out, your body’s probably craving a diet cleanup. Nutritionists go through this cycle, too—but the good thing is, we have training and knowledge that’s taught us how to slim back down in a healthy way. So I’ve asked some of my favorite registered dietitians to share what changes they make when they’re on a mission to slim down.
“I make sure to add adequate protein to meals—about 30g—especially at breakfast. People do not get enough protein at breakfast. Eggs are getting a reprise, and they are wonderful mixed with dark green and red veggies topped with fresh mozzarella cheese. Add a side of mixed berries and you have an amazing breakfast. In fact, a recent study suggests that adequate protein in the morning helps tame appetite throughout the day.”
—Angela Lemond, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
“When I’m not feeling my best it’s usually because I haven’t gotten enough sleep. I add in a bedtime snack of dried tart cherries and walnuts, which have melatonin to help me get shut eye and keep my hunger hormones in line.”
—Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RDN
“I lean on nuts, tomato juice, popcorn and tea. I top my Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts at breakfast, eat salads at lunch, snack on popcorn and tomato juice and rely on tea instead of dessert. My only splurge is a glass of wine at dinner.”
—Kathleen Zelman, WebMD Director of Nutrition
READ MORE > ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO LOSING WEIGHT
“I make a hearty Tuscan white bean soup that’s chock full of baby greens (like kale or spinach) and some diced vegan sausage…I love this soup because it’s packed with satisfying protein, rich in plant based nutrition (fiber, folate and antioxidants), and soup is a fantastic comfort food that lets you feel full longer on fewer calories.”
—Kate Geagan, MS, RDN, author of Go Green. Get Lean.
“I swap out any treats (frozen yogurt, for instance) with fruit and prepare my food very simply—herbs and spices for flavor versus sauces and mixed dishes. I also cut down on bread, crackers and other similar carbohydrates, because those are the foods I am most likely to overeat, and replace them with some combination of produce and protein (apples with peanut butter, melted cheese over steamed veggies).”
—Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD, Sports Nutritionist for the Atlanta Hawks
“Since sweets are my biggest downfall, I cut back on chocolate, ice cream…all the places I get too many excess calories. I replace them with more fresh fruit to take care of the sweet craving as well as more Greek yogurt (topped with fruit). I also just really watch portion control. I may simply just take a little bit less on my plate, or fill more of my plate with veggies rather than higher-calorie items.”
—Tara Gidus, MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N, Co-host, Emotional Mojo, national TV show
“As an RD I certainly believe that no one food or nutrient is solely responsible for weight gain, but for me too much sugar and too little protein at breakfast does seem to be a big influence on an (unwanted) tighter waistband. If I notice it’s time to cut back, I start by swapping in plain Greek yogurt for some of the sweetened varieties that I love. And I add in an egg (either hard-boiled or microwave scrambled) at breakfast. These are very small changes, but they make a difference in how hungry I am later in the morning and by lunch.”
—Regan Jones, RD, Founding Editor at HealthyAperture.com