Healthy eating for a healthy weight shouldn’t be about short term weight loss; it should support your whole body health—mind, body, and soul; top dietitians share their best nutrition tips.
Healthy weight goals should be sustainable—they should be a way of eating that is enjoyable for life. They should make you feel good about your daily food choices. Healthy eating for a healthy weight shouldn’t be about short term weight loss. It should be about a slow gradual weight loss, which also supports your whole body health—your mind, body, and soul. Healthy eating should be good for your heart, your kidneys, your brain, and your gut. Sadly, so many fad diets—many very popular today—deprive you of all of these factors. They are so miserable and punishing that you can’t wait to go “off” of said diet. They exclude countless foods we know to be vital to human health—whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses, soy foods. Plus, they offer no physical enjoyment or social rewards. Eating is an act of love, community, and health. With that in mind, I asked some of my favorite registered dietitian experts on their top tips for a healthy weight. I just love what they have to say in terms of creating healthy eating goals you can live with.
Here’s to your health!
12 Nutritionist Tips for a Healthy Weight
1. Pursue Health, Not Weight Loss. “Weight loss efforts can be detrimental to your metabolic health, and trigger disordered eating and eating disorders. In fact, yo-yo, or chronic dieting, can cause weight gain over time. Instead, I focus on metabolic health with my clients. Making food choices that support your health (i.e., using the DASH diet as a guideline if you have high blood pressure) is more sustainable and effective than calorie restriction,” says Beth Rosen, MS, RD, CDN, Goodness Gracious Living.
2. Eat More Veggies. “Try cut up veggies with your sandwich or an entrée salad and for dinner make two vegetables or a double portion of one or add a salad. The veggies will provide fiber which fills you up and also crowds out larger portions of higher calorie foods,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, Nutrition Starring YOU. “One of the simplest things I promote is eating more veggies. I encourage clients to prep veggies ahead of time/buy them prepped in order to be able to throw them into whatever they’re making. Most veggies are mild enough in flavor that they can go in anything! I encourage people to grab a variety of those prepped veggies each time they cook & dump in whatever they’ve got! This helps people eat a wider variety of produce & cut down on waste (by not letting produce rot at the back of the fridge),” says Rebecca Clyde, MS, RDN, CD, Nourish Nutrition.
3. Get in Touch with Your Hunger. “If you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full — although easier said than done — you’ll likely never over-eat and therefore rarely over-consume calories, fat, protein and carbs,” says Chelsey Amer, RDN.
4. Don’t Overly Restrict Foods. “Restricting foods sometimes make us want them more and can cause us to overindulge. By allowing all foods in moderation we can step away from the dieting mentality and adopt a healthy, balanced lifestyle,” says Jenna Gorham, RD, LN, Jenna Gorham Nutrition Consulting.
5. Focus on Habits, Not Weight. “When you try to lose weight, you set yourself up for temporary success and long term failure. We have all been there. If you focus on changing your lifestyle and your habits one week at a time you can change your health and your weight permanently,” says Kelli Shallal MPH RD, Hungry Hobby.
6. Avoid Comparing Yourself. “During your weight loss journey, don’t compare the number on the scale with others. Always remember that weight loss is an individual journey and it will be different for everyone. Weight loss is more than the number on the scale, it’s about the way your clothes fit, your energy level and mood, and your overall strength,” says Dixya Bhattarai, MS, RD, LD, Food, Pleasure, and Health.
7. Be Prepared. “Take your healthy food with you for lunch and snacks. Take them in the car, your purse, etc. Also, plan and prep meals. This helps to keep you on track making good choices and not get overly hungry,” says Kim Melton, RD, Nutrition Pro Consulting. “It’s much easier to eat healthy if you’ve planned healthy meals and snacks and have some options ready to go. Otherwise it’s easy to be too hungry to think about making a healthy choice,” says Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD, Lively Table.
8. Write It Down. “Whether you write in a journal or keep track on your phone, food journaling can offer much insight into what you’re eating on a daily basis! Log when you ate, what you ate, portion size, your hunger level, and your mood at the time. We often don’t see certain eating related habits until our eyes see them on paper!” says Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CSSD, CLT, Owner of Tasty Balance Nutrition.
9. Use Smaller Plates. “Make sure your plates and the food contrast in color to help you serve yourself 30% less food! Another great tip… Serve yourself from the kitchen counter, don’t serve family style on the table. That will give you more time to think before you go for that second helping. The only foods to bring to the table are salads and veggies so if anyone is still hungry, they can have more nutrient dense, lower calorie options,” says Christy Brissette, MS, RD.
10. Exercise, But Not for Weight Loss. “Yes, exercise burns calories, but usually not as many as people think, so they end up frustrated. Work out to relieve stress, reduce blood pressure, and boost heart and brain health, among other benefits. Yes, exercise builds muscle, which will, in time, help you to burn more calories, but many people, especially women, shouldn’t expect drastic drops on the scale from moderate exercise,” says Elizabeth Ward, RDN, Better is the New Perfect.
11. Give Your Pantry a Makeover. “Conducting a pantry makeover could be one of the best things that you do for long-term weight management success. Stocking up on key kitchen staples will make meal planning and prep much more efficient. Plus, it will make it a lot easier to eat more nutritious meals prepared at home. Even when you have the best of intentions, things don’t always go according to plan. However, a well-stocked pantry can help you out of a tough spot rather than having your health thwarted by the local pizza joint or quickest drive-thru more often than not,” says Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RDN, CSSD, Go Wellness.
12. Eat More Meals at Home. “Portion sizes, calories, and sodium are nearly always sky high whether it’s fast food, fast casual, or a restaurant. Get yourself in the kitchen to take control of what you’re served, what’s in it, how much is on your plate,” says Stacey Mattinson, MS, RDN, LD, Elevate Nutrition Consulting.
For other tips on healthy weight, check out the following:
Image: Gado-Gado, Indonesian Tempeh Salad, Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN