As a dietitian, I hate nothing more than when I meet someone while I’m out and they immediately say, “Oh, you’re a dietitian. I could use you. What should I be eating?”

Since I’m not exactly on my game in that particular situation, I thought I’d share my ideas via this forum. Keep in mind: What you personally should be consuming depends on your specific goals, current eating behaviors, any necessary dietary restrictions (due to health conditions, food allergies, religious beliefs, etc.), and level of physical activity, among other factors. So my actual recommendations would differ for each individual.

However, considering my frequent casual inquiries, I will offer you a few pointers. Remember, this applies to the general population; those with specific medical or nutritional issues must address their diet privately. If in the New York area, you may request an appointment here.

Start with:

Breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You’ve heard it time and time again. Eating in the morning gets your metabolism going so you start burning calories and have energy to start the day.

Those who skip breakfast end up eating more later in the day, and the items consumed are usually unhealthy and convenient. By the time you eat after foregoing one or two meals, you’re hungry and less inclined to make smart choices.

Continue to:

Eat throughout the day. This will keep your metabolism going and give you constant energy. We don’t all always have time to stop for lunch amidst the busy work day, so make sure to have a snack or two handy to keep your attention pert.

Good choices for small meals or snacks include: Greek yogurt (may add fresh fruit such as strawberries or bananas), apple and peanut butter, 1/3 cup nuts, or 2 hard boiled eggs. The protein and fat content of these options will help keep you satisfied until your next meal.

Make sure you:

Have a protein, carbohydrate, and vegetable at dinner. If you’ve skimped on breakfast or lunch, try to at least do dinner right. Half your plate should be vegetables. This can be steamed spinach, a side salad, or even corn – just to name a few. If you have corn as your vegetable that counts as your carbohydrate as well, because it is a starchy vegetable. That eliminates the trauma of having to force a baked potato down your throat. I know most of you are afraid of the dreaded carbohydrate. The fact of the matter is that carbohydrates are necessary for energy, muscle building (yes!), and, most importantly, brain function! Other carbohydrate options include: ½ cup rice (white or brown), ½ cup pasta, or a whole wheat roll.

Proteins include chicken, fish, turkey, meat, and lentils. It’s best not to cook with oil or butter. Use a non-stick cooking spray if you can. My mother Nance recommends PAM!

Don’t be afraid to:

Reward yourself. Some of us need a little treat. I have a piece  of dark chocolate after dinner if I need something sweet. And by if, I mean every day.

Good luck!