The Wellness Library

What Our Functional Dietitian Eats In A Day—Plus Easy Meal Formulas You Can Use Now

by | Mar 11, 2020 | Nutrition, Wellness

As a dietitian, I live and breathe all things nutrition. I love sifting through PubMed to dive into the latest nutrition research just as much as I love snuggling up on the couch with a cookbook for some light reading. As a firm believer that food can be a powerful form of medicine, I do my best to practice what I preach and eat balanced, nutritionally dense meals.

But what I want you to take away from that last sentence is this: “I do my best.” While what we eat matters very much, how we think about food is just as important. Restricting ourselves and saying that certain foods are “off limits” will only lead us to want these foods even more—and likely overeat when we do indulge. 

My philosophy on food and nutrition is one rooted in sustainability. I focus on whole, minimally processed foods, with an emphasis on nutrient density, high fiber plant foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Yet I also give myself permission to eat what I am craving and to tune into what my body is telling me. 

The following day gives you a glimpse into what my meals look like 80-90% of the time. Do I eat like this every single day? No. But I do my best to follow this way of eating most of the time as a way to honor my body and what it needs to function at its best. 


Pictured above: blueberries, raspberries, rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, cashews, plant-based milk. 

I always start my morning with a large glass of water. I’ll be the first one to admit that staying adequately hydrated throughout the day is not always easy. Drinking water first thing in the morning helps me start my day refreshed and prepares my body for digestion. If you’ve met with me (or followed along on our Instagram), you know how much I emphasize protein in the morning. This helps to keep your blood glucose stable, boosts your energy, and elongates your satiety. By having enough protein, fiber, and fat at breakfast, I tend to feel satisfied until lunch. 

Best Breakfast Formula: Protein + fat + high fiber carbohydrate + antioxidant-rich food

I am not a coffee drinker (never liked the taste), but I do love sipping on a warm beverage as I get ready in the morning. Right now I rotate between homemade matcha and chai tea lattes. I often encourage my clients to make their own lattes at home as a way to reduce added sugar (and save $$). A tall (12 oz) matcha green tea latte from starbucks has 24 grams of (added) sugar, which is the recommended amount for the entire day. Making your own takes less than 2 minutes and all you need is a blender and a way to heat the water (stove, electric kettle, microwave). 

My Matcha Latte Recipe: 1 cup hot water, 1 cup plant-based milk, 1 tsp. ceremonial matcha powder, ¼ tsp. Honey. Blend together in a blender or with a hand whisker.


Pictured above: White beans, quinoa, kale, carrots/peppers/onions/garlic, salsa verde, veg broth, cilantro, microgreens, pumpkin seeds.

We typically make 1-2 meals to rotate for lunches throughout the week. In colder months, our lunch is often a hearty soup or stew. I try to get in one serving (½ cup) of beans per day and one serving (1 cup) of green veggies at both lunch and dinner. Soups are an easy way to make this possible and we rotate what type of soup we make each week to avoid meal fatigue.

I use the formula below for both lunch and dinner and rotate the ingredients depending on the season and flavor preferences. In the summer, we often swap the soup for a salad or power bowl. 

Lunch/Dinner Formula: Protein + high fiber carbohydrate + green veg + other veg + fat.

Afternoon Snack 

Pictured above: apple slices and almond butter.

I like to think of snacks as bridges that carry us between meals. Sometimes we need them, sometimes we don’t. This often depends on how far apart our meals are. For me personally, if my meals are more than 5 hours apart, then I typically need a snack. Your meal window may be different and I often encourage my patients to experiment with their snack timing to determine what best meets their needs.

A few questions you can ask yourself: Does my energy drop in the afternoon? When is my next opportunity to eat? Do I have a tendency to graze while I make dinner? Your answers to these questions can help you determine if and when to have a snack. 

Snack Formula: High fiber carbohydrate (fruit, vegetable) + protein or fat. 


Pictured above: Venison steak with sauteed onions, tomatoes, steamed asparagus and broccoli, millet, garlic tahini sauce, fermented vegetables (sauerkraut and radishes).

The basic structure of dinner closely resembles lunch, with the same emphasis on nutrient density. Dinner is also when we add a fermented vegetable for extra digestive support. 

With busy schedules, we aim to have dinner ready in under 30-45 minutes. Steamed veggies and quick-cooking grains (quinoa, millet) are an easy way to make this possible. We often rotate between sheet pan dinners, vegetable stir fry, or something similar to this meal each night. When possible, we also make enough to last at least one more dinner as a way to reduce the number of evenings we cook while limiting how often we eat out. 

Lunch/Dinner Formula: Protein + high fiber carbohydrate + green veg + other veg + fat. 


Pictured above: Hu almond butter chocolate, Calm herbal tea.

I love tea and often make myself a pot of herbal tea as I settle in for the evening. If you are local to Minneapolis, I highly recommend trying Well Rooted Teas, a local company with a wonderful assortment of hand harvested blends. 

Chocolate is one of my love languages and I do enjoy a few squares of dark chocolate most days. While I encourage my patients to limit their added sugar intake, I emphasize the word limit and not restrict in order to build sustainable behavior change. Desserts can absolutely be a part of a balanced diet when enjoyed in moderation. Having a source of sweetness that is also relatively low in added sugar, such as dark chocolate, can make it easier to enjoy other desserts in amounts that support health. 

If you’re looking for nutritional balance with added support & guidance, connect with our dietitian who can help!



Our Newsletter

Medical-grade newsletter bringing health straight to your inbox. We share weekly tips, recipes, clinic specials & much more.