Even dietitians will ignore their own advice and chow down on their favorite treats—and with their tips, you can too!
Most of the food porn posted by nutritionists isn’t exactly “porn”—it’s the expected: fruit, vegetables, whole grains. And although you would probably be disappointed if we didn’t practice what we preach, dietitians are by no means perfect eaters—like the rest of the world we sometimes simply want to eat what we want to eat. The thing is, we find a way to make room for those foods in our overall diets.
Check out a few surprising foods healthy eating pros eat on a regular basis, and steal their tips so you can enjoy pasta, Mexican, and ice cream along with those salads and chicken breasts.
I love French fries—not the shoe-string or the steak variety, but the kind somewhere in-between. I enjoy them almost weekly from my local diner with scrambled egg whites, broccoli, and tomato, or sometimes I’ll order them at a restaurant with shrimp cocktail and sautéed Brussels sprouts. [Tweet this tip!] But if I’m feeling very indulgent, I’ll pair my fries with a burger, hold the bun.
At home, Jackie Newgent, R.D.N., culinary nutritionist and author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook, only cooks whole-grain pasta. But if she’s at an Italian restaurant and in a noodle mood, she doesn't say no to white pasta. “And I don’t feel guilty about it; I partake in the pleasure of it,” she adds. “It only happens maybe a couple times a month. Everyone is allowed some indulgences, including nutritionists.”
RELATED: 12 Pasta Dishes Under 500 Calories
To help keep her pizza portions under control, Joan Salge Blake, R.D.N., an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, loads her pie with vegetables like tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, and eggplant. “It is so stuffed with veggies that I can't eat more than a couple of pieces—two to be exact. If I didn't do this, I would end of eating four slices,” she says.
I usually tell my patients to pass on the breadbasket when dining out, but Elisa Zied, R.D.N., author of Younger Next Week, does not always heed that advice. She says she has some bread with olive oil or butter when she eats out about twice a week. “It’s a treat for me that I pair with one of my favorite dishes like grilled eggplant topped with mozzarella and tomato sauce, or lean beef and lightly sautéed onions or Brussels sprouts.”
While a nutritionist may recommend ordering the chicken or shrimp fajitas at a Mexican restaurant, Tara Gidus, R.D.N., co-host of the online TV show Emotional Mojo and author of Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies, goes for the enchiladas—and the cheesier the better, she says. She can enjoy her dish because she keeps balance in mind. “Since I choose such a high-cal entrée, I forgo the chips and salsa and typically skip the alcohol too.”
Forget low-fat ice cream and fro-yo—Toby Amidor, R.D., author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen (Grand Central Publishing, May 2014), only eats the real stuff. Her twice- or thrice-monthly treat is typically mint chocolate chip with sprinkles and hot fudge, all in healthy serving sizes: 1/2 to 3/4 cup ice cream, 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup or hot fudge, 2 teaspoons sprinkles, and 1/4 cup fresh strawberries and blueberries. [Tweet this treat!]
Patricia Bannan, R.D.N., author of Eat Right When Time is Tight, is a cheeseburger lover. “I'm not a fan of fast-food burgers, but when I'm at a sit-down restaurant that does good burgers or at a barbeque with friends, I'll often go for a juicy burger, topped with goat cheese if available,” she says, adding that she often passes on the bun and instead eats it with a salad.
Carby muffins aren’t on many (if any) dietitian’s lists of best breakfast picks, yet Bonnie Taub Dix, R.D.N., author of Read It Before You Eat It and a nutrition communications expert from New York, will start her day with one—or half of one if it’s huge. She pairs it with cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, or eggs for always-important protein.