What if a Registered Dietitian gave you a simple healthy food list so you knew how to eat healthy everyday without thinking too hard?
I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Michelle @TheTrueBite and ask her a variety of questions to help you clarify nutrition such as:
- Is there a recommended healthy food chart?
- What are some healthy foods to eat?
- How to eat healthy foods everyday?
- What about unhealthy food?
About Michelle Azizi
Michelle Azizi, MS RD is a registered dietitian with extensive education and experience in the field of nutrition. She has a bachelors degree in psychology from UC Berkeley and a masters in nutritional science from California State University Los Angeles, graduating both universities with honors. Michelle completed her dietetic training at the prestigious institutions of Cedars Sinai Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, and St. John’s Hospital.
You can learn more about Michelle’s private practice in Los Angelos and online at https://thetruebite.com.
You follow Michelle on Instagram at https://instagram.com/thetruebite
Is There A recommended Healthy Food Chart?
I asked Michelle this question a little bit before minute 8 …
Here’s what Michelle had to say:
- Use The Healthy Plate Model
- Don’t Use The Pyramid Model
- 50% Vegetables
- 25% Complex Carbohydrates
- 25% Lean Protein
The basics of building a healthy foundation is to start with learning how to make a healthy meal. So when you make a healthy meal, we use something called the healthy plate model.
I dunno, I may be aging myself, but when I was in school, we had the pyramid. So the pyramid just gave us some foods at the bottom. There was a lot of white bread at the bottom and then hot fudge sundaes and stuff at the top.
Unfortunately, oftentimes the pyramid isn’t very user friendly. For example, sometimes people think the top of the pyramid is the best!
So that’s why the healthy plate comes in. So with the healthy plate, you just imagine a plate of food around the plate. You want half of your plate to be non-starchy vegetables.
So recently we’ve had a, a villainization of carbohydrates where we’ve been told to exclude them where that’s not the case at all. We need them for sustainable weight loss for body function. We need one quarter of your plate to be complex carbohydrates.
And next you want one quarter of your plate to be lean protein.
What are some healthy foods to eat?
Michelle also gave a great healthy food list of recommended daily healthy foods below:
- Brown rice,
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole grain bread or whole grain pasta
- Soy beans
- Pork chops
- Greek yogurt
- Black beans
- Leafy greens
- Brussel Sprouts
- Green/red peppers
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Egg yolks
Complex Carbohydrates Versus Simple:
Complex carbohydrates are carbohydrates that are slowly digested and give you a steady rise in blood sugar in a steady decrease so that you’re kept fuller for longer and they have more fiber and nutrients.
These foods are good for digestive health and studies have shown that foods loaded with fiber are also an excellent way to reduce risk of heart disease. Also, studies suggest these foods high in fiber may lower blood pressure and further help protect your heart by helping with bad cholesterol.
Simple carbohydrates, on the other hand include things like: white bread, white rice, white pasta, sweets, and French fries. And it’s true that simple carbohydrates do get a bad rap but in many ways rightfully so. Simple carbohydrates are nutritionally void and don’t really do much for you.
How To Eat Healthy Foods Everyday?
So I also asked Michelle (around minute 13) about how to eat healthy foods everyday.
Because while it’s great to have the healthy plate model and to have a list of healthy foods …
We all know that what really counts is actually eating those healthy foods!
Here’s Michelle’s thoughts on how to eat healthy foods everyday:
- At the beginning of week make the element of the meal that’s hardest to prepare. Usually this is a protein.
- Then just add the rest of your veggies and complex carbs the current day
- Switch carbs/veggies for variety while keeping protein the same
So what I would recommend is at the beginning of the week make a big batch of some type of a protein. You could make a bunch of chicken breasts or fish. Even if you don’t want to cook, you could go to the supermarket and get a rotisserie chicken for let’s say seven bucks.
Day one you have chicken, you could heat up some brown rice, some vegetables. Then on day two you could take that same chicken but instead of brown rice you could make a whole grain sandwich.
So basically making the element of the meal that is the hardest to prepare. Having that set aside. And honestly it could be something as simple as getting the rotisserie chicken or getting the lean Turkey breast or chicken breasts, deli meats and using those in different ways.
What about avoiding unhealthy food like temptation to eat out with co-workers?
I was curious about Michelle’s thoughts on the daily realities of nutrition.
It’s one thing to have this great meal prep idea and this great food list, but sometimes that list gets thrown out the window when our friend at work wants to see if we want to go McDonalds.
And let’s face it, we aren’t going to meal prep all the time, so want then?
Michelle had an idea I really liked about how to avoid unhealthy foods while eating out!
- Just know your options (e.g. at chipotle you can get brown rice instead of white)
- Be willing to substitute
So meal prepping could also just be a plan. So let’s say you’re working at Silicon Valley and you go to like a set place or a few set places with your coworkers and colleagues. Meal prepping in this case could just be knowing the healthy options at these various places? All you have to know is how to get some lean protein, veggies, and whole grains.
For example, at Chipotle you could replace white rice for beans. Or, the brown rice instead of the white. You could have chicken instead of the fattier carnitas. At subway you could get whole grain breads instead of the italian, with chicken instead of salami.
And what if you don’t have time to take a lunch break?
- Brings nuts or yogurt
I understand that in a lot of workplaces you’re encouraged to just work throughout the day and that half an hour that you have for your mandatory lunch break, you’re usually just working through it. A good idea if you don’t have time to sit and have a set meal would be to have some non-perishable, healthy snacks at your table. Nuts, yogurt. And these are things that you could eat at your desk easily and don’t require anything except for a disposable spoon or your hands.
How do you suggest dealing with failure?
Let’s say you set goals to be healthy, lose weight, etc. You really wanted to eat healthy and you did for a few days and then you went out, had a few drinks and then some mozzarella sticks and some pizza happened, you know? You went a little off course.
Okay. Did you Rob a bank? Did you commit a crime? No. You ate something last time I checked. That’s not a felony, so get over it. Move on.
So that’s it for this post!
If you would like to submit a question for me to answer on a future podcast or article, submit your anonymous question here.
If you are curious about another conversation I had with two registered Dietitians, you can read my other take here where we discuss the definition of Intuitive Eating.