13 Nutritionists Share Their Favorite Hack for Healthier Eating

We all know we’re supposed to eat our fruits and vegetables, limit processed foods, and avoid sugar. Eating healthy is simple, right? And yet, it can feel so hard to stick to a clean diet. Sometimes there are scratches only a box of mac n’ cheese can itch, or we reach for Cheetos when we need a quick snack (for the sake of convenience, of course). Our workweeks get busy, and it feels like we barely have time to heat up a Lean Cuisine, much less prepare a fresh meal from scratch. 

But nutritionists are just like us! They’re busy, grocery shopping on a budget, and simplifying their meals as much as possible. The only difference between our pantries full of Cheetos and Lean Cuisines and the kitchens of a nutritionist is that they have more strategies for eating clean (even on a budget, during a busy schedule, and when they have cravings). Whether you’re looking for meal prep ideas, how to trick your kids (or yourself) into eating vegetables, or just want to eat cleaner without trying so hard, we polled 13 of our favorite nutritionists for some tricks of the trade, so you can start eating clean like a professional. 

 

1. Valerie Agyeman, RD, Founder of Flourish Heights

“Cook extra portions! Make extra servings of food you can repurpose throughout the week. For the everyday woman who is an entrepreneur, a mom, or simply on the go, having food already cooked and ready to eat saves a lot of time and energy. Tonight’s baked salmon can be tomorrow’s salmon tacos for lunch, and then it can be paired with your favorite greens for another delicious weeknight meal.”

 

2. Kelly LeVeque, Holistic Nutritionist and Founder of Be Well By Kelly

“At the beginning of every week, I wash and chop all my veggies and store them in OXO screensaver containers. It makes smoothies, roasting veggies, and snacking on crudités super easy. If it’s as easy as eating something from the pantry, you do it!”

 

3. Wendy Lopez & Jessica Jones, RDs, CDEs, and Founders of Food Heaven

Source: @foodheaven

“Use a food chopper or processor for cutting up all onions, garlic, and veggies at the start of the week, and then store for easy meal prep. Food processors are also great for making sauces and marinades in advance.” 

 

4. Shana Spence, MS, RDN, CDN, Founder of The Nutrition Tea

“I always tell people to make sure to have snacks on hand. It could be granola bars, fruit, etc., but something that you can fit into a bag and take with you. It’s always good to have options readily available, so you’re not deprived and hungry, but also so you have healthy options available at all times.”

 

5. May Zhu, RDN, LDN, Founder of Nutrition Happens

“Unplug! One thing you can do (at no cost!) to be more mindful during mealtimes is to remove distractions. Mindfulness during meals is important because we typically eat out of habit. By getting back in touch with our hunger and fullness cues, we learn to naturally accommodate the timing of our bodies. Instead of scrolling through your phone, watching TV, or checking emails (PS— you’re not alone if you do this. I can assure you almost all of us do this too!), sit down and focus on enjoying your meal. You might find that over time, you’ll become more in tune with how much food you need to feel satisfied.”

 

6. Nancy Odogwu, Nutritional Therapist and Founder of Fit Soul Kitchen

“Keep your foods simple, and don’t overthink it! If the food you are about to consume has more than three ingredients that you cannot pronounce, then it’s most likely heavily processed and contains little nutrients.”

 

7. McKel Kooienga, MS, RD, LDN, Author and Founder of Nutrition Stripped

“Eat what I call the ‘Foundational Five’ at every meal! This is the framework I teach my members to help ensure every meal packs all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs so you can feel full, energized, and well-nourished to tackle your day and know that you’ve cared for your health.

It’s made up of five elements: protein (like tempeh, beans nuts, and seeds), healthy fats (like nuts, seeds, and oils), non-starchy carbohydrates (like cauliflower, zucchini, greens, tomatoes, peppers), starchy carbohydrates (like rice, beans, oats, berries, citrus fruits, potatoes, bananas) and a flavor factor (like hummus, herbs and spices, dressing, or sauce). What I love most about this system is that it can be used for any meal (nourish bowl, soup, salad, smoothie, yogurt bowl, etc.). Just do a visual check for the five categories, and you’re good to go!” 

 

 

8. Maya Feller, MS, RD, Cookbook Author and Nutrition Expert

Source: @mayafellerrd

“Amp up the crunch. Combine popcorn with roasted chickpeas for a satisfying snack, and if you want to get fancy, season the popcorn with herbs. Both popcorn and chickpeas are a good source of fiber. Another favorite snack of mine is a hardboiled egg with pepper sauce and a side of cucumbers. Eggs are an excellent source of vitamin B12, biotin, iodine, selenium, and choline while providing 6g of protein.”

 

9. Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, Leading Chef and Nutritionist

“Use an air fryer to make quick and easy veggie chips and veggie fries (think kale, potato, sweet potato, carrots, zucchini). Roast garbanzo beans for a healthy, crunchy, protein and fiber-rich snack. You can also puree vegetables to make a base for sauces, soups, dips, and even vinaigrettes. This kind of base reduces the need for added fats and sugars.”

 

10. Megan Roosevelt, RDN, Founder of Healthy Grocery Girl

“Prevent food waste by using the whole lemon! Fresh lemon zest (or orange zest) is great with just about any recipe and adds a boost of flavor, freshness, and nutrition. Try citrus zest on yogurt, popcorn, chia pudding, apple slices, DIY snack bites, or try one of my favorite recipes. Citrus zest contains a compound known as limonene, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.”

 

11. Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, Recipe Developer and Writer

Source: @marisamoore

“If you do one thing, add more veggies. The majority of Americans don’t eat the recommended daily amount. While it’s fun to explore superfood powders and special drinks for better health, simply adding an extra cup of an everyday vegetable (like having roasted broccoli with dinner) can help move the needle in a positive direction. Oh, and eat a cookie when you want a cookie! You don’t have to be perfect.”

 

12. Mia Swinehart, MS, RD, LDN, and Founder of Gathered Nutrition

“Find a few healthy sauces that you love to spice up your meals. Many people find that healthy eating gets boring and monotonous, so prepping a couple sauces at the start of the week can make healthy meals more enjoyable and exciting. I love cashew curry or creamy vegan tomato sauce!”

 

13. Dr. Hazel Wallace, BSc, MSc, MBBCh, ANutr,
Doctor and Registered Nutritionist, Founder of The Food Medic

Source: @thefoodmedic

“Have a veggie of the week! As a general rule, the more diverse your diet, the more diverse and healthy will be your gut microbiota will be. In the Western world, we tend to stick to the same foods. There are 250-300,000 known edible plant species, but 75 percent of the world’s food comes from only 12 plant species and five animal species. Be a rebel this week and add a fruit, vegetable, grain, or legume that you’ve never tried before to your shopping basket.”

 

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What are your favorite hacks for healthy eating?