Generally I am not a difficult eater. I like food and I eat it without much fuss or hesitation. But I do have a few food habits.
My biggest daily indulgence is nothing fancy or trendy. It’s peanut butter. Every day after dropping my kids off at school, I come home and make myself a cup of coffee and a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain toast before getting to work. It’s my zen moment of the day. I love the trans-fat free peanut butters that are now on the market that don’t have that thick layer of oil on top – Smucker’s makes a good one.
Now eating this not-so-light snack at 8:30 am every morning (after already having had my 6 am bowl of fiber-rich cereal) does interfere with lunch. After all, 1 tbsp of peanut butter packs close to 100 calories, which means this snack probably brings me close to 350 calories. But the upside is that it does provide me with heart healthy monounsaturated fats and the protein I need to plow through the morning. Plus, it’s a ritual I just can’t do without and I make up for it later in the day by just eating a low-fat yogurt with some fruit at noon.
- I love a good glass of chilled Chardonay at the end of the day, but I don’t feel my best if I drink every night nor do I need the extra calories. So I drink only on Friday and Saturday nights, and then I drink liberally!
- I cook dinner just about every night of the week. I know many RDs love to cook, but I am unfortunately not one of them. Truth be told, I consider cooking to be a rather tedious chore, yet nonetheless, one that I must do daily. Luckily, thanks to my mother’s culinary skills, I know how to cook and believe in the value of sitting down together as a family at the end of the day to a home-cooked meal. Also, it’s generally healthier and certainly cheaper than eating at a restaurant or ordering take out. That being said, going out to eat at a nice restaurant is one of my favorite pastimes!
- I love bread and can’t live without it (think peanut butter sandwich), but I never eat white bread. I also try to eat whole wheat pasta and brown rice whenever possible and like to experiment with other grains like barley, millet and couscous in place of rice.
- I am a salad freak. Lettuce with cut up peppers, carrots, roasted pine nuts, chopped walnuts or whatever else is in the crisper, tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar – it’s a dinnertime staple.
- I love fruit but get very lazy about cutting it up. So I try and keep cut up pineapple, melon, grapefruit etc in the fridge at all times. I usually buy the whole fruits instead of the pre-cut containers because you get more for your money and it feels fresher – at least I know it hasn’t been sitting chopped for days.
- I never eat fried foods. If I eat one French fry, I’ll want to finish the whole dish, so I don’t even go there.
- I don’t usually eat dessert. My kids have a 2 cookie rule – meaning, if they get a cookie, they get no more than 2 and I generally follow that rule myself. Meaning, I don’t deny, but I also try not to overindulge.
—Ilaria St. Florin, MS, RD has a master’s degree in nutrition education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. She is a frequent contributor to AppforHealth.com.