Finding a healthy eating plan that works for you is no easy feat. That’s because, despite what you may have been led to believe, healthy eating isn’t all salads and smoothies, and it can look very different from one person to the next. Some prefer to ditch ingredients like dairy, gluten, or meat. Others don’t have any dietary restrictions, but are very strict about calorie counting. What’s clear is that there are many diets to choose from, and finding the one that best suits you is always going to require a bit of research, and a little trial and error.
So if you’ve just begun to take a look at the different diets out there, but still aren’t really sure where to begin your own healthy eating journey, get inspired by the daily habits of six registered dietitians. They told SELF all about the simple things they do every single day that help them eat better and feel great.
1. They eat breakfast every day.
“I always eat breakfast. My go-to meal lately is a smoothie with low-fat milk, frozen cherries, almond butter, and cocoa powder. It’s ready in just a few minutes and provides a healthy mix of protein, healthy fat, and fiber to fuel me through my morning.”
— Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ
2. They always pair dinner with a salad.
“For as long as I can remember I have started my dinner with a mixed green salad, both at home and when dining out. This habit has always been a way to assure me that I meet my daily veggie needs. Because of the high fiber content it has also helped to fill me up a little before digging in to my main entree, making it much easier to not overeat.”
— Keri Gans, R.D.N., author of The Small Change Diet
3. They always eat mindfully.
“My number one healthy habit is mindful eating. Research shows that mindful eaters naturally eat less and describe their meals as more satisfying than people who do not eat mindfully. I have personally found that this way of eating helps me really enjoy my food while and make healthier food choices.”
— Sarah-Jane Bedwell, R.D., L.D.N.
4. They stay hydrated.
“When I get to work one of the first things I do is fill up my water bottle and place it on my desk as a visual reminder to sip on water throughout the day. Mornings are usually hectic while I’m catching up on emails, reviewing charts and conducting counseling sessions. If I don’t have water by my side from the start of the day, hours could pass before I have the chance to get up and make it to the fountain, and then I feel tired and end up eating unnecessary snacks because I think I’m hungry when I’m actually really thirsty.”
— Maxine Yeung, M.S., R.D., owner of The Wellness Whisk
5. They keep snacks on hand at all times.
“I always keep snacks at my desk! This way, if I don’t have time to eat breakfast or grab lunch, I have some healthy go-to options. The things I always keep at my desk are plain packets of oatmeal, individual packets of nuts, and individual packets of protein powder (with a shaker bottle).”
— Nora Minno, R.D., C.D.N.
6. They work veggies into breakfast.
“Even R.D.s have days when we have trouble consuming an adequate amount of vegetables on a certain day. Especially on busy days! To conquer this dilemma I eat veggies for breakfast. This way I know that no matter what the day may hold I at least got a head start early in my day. Getting a dose of nutrients and fiber early on also helps set me up for success later in the day.”
— Jennifer O’Donnell-Giles, M.S., R.D.N., C.S.S.D.