What Holistic Dietitian & Nutritionist Katie Shields Eats In A Day
When mindbodygreen asked me to share what I typically eat in a day, I was excited to show you how I practice what I preach both to my nutrition coaching clients and on my blog.
I’m all about choosing real foods, mindful and intentional eating, being kind and graceful around nutrition with myself instead of judgmental, avoiding nutritional dogma, healing the gut with fermented foods and probiotics, and supporting environmentally friendly agriculture practices.
Yes, I am without a doubt, a huge nutrition nerd.
It's why I feel so fortunate to work as a dietitian nutritionist, guiding and inspiring others to live healthier lives, optimize their digestion, and prevent chronic disease through small changes to their individual food choices.
Not only do I get to geek out about nutrition regularly, I have the privilege of empowering others with the knowledge and tools they need to mindfully nourish their unique bodies and support their wellness goals.
And as someone who has struggled with properly nourishing my own body in the past, I understand how overwhelming and confusing nutrition can seem. My mission as a nutrition/healthy living blogger and holistic wellness coach is to show others that nutrition doesn’t have to be hard, and, in fact, it’s incredibly simple!
Because I live in Northern California, my meals are largely influenced by the incredible abundance of organic, sustainably grown produce that I access at year-round farmers markets.
I’m lucky because I eat a lot of produce.
In fact, I aim to eat at least a pound of fresh or frozen nonstarchy vegetables—including as much variety/seasonality as possible—each day, as well as drink 1 gallon or more of fresh, filtered water. Those two simple habits do wonders for health by helping to support detoxification and elimination pathways, reduce inflammation, improve weight management, boost mood, brighten skin—you name it!
Here’s a peek into how I incorporate those two habits into my daily routine, along with what I typically eat in a day.
5 a.m.: Rise & Shine
Maintaining good sleep hygiene is really important for wellness, so I try to get seven hours of sleep (even if it doesn't always happen) and wake up around 5 or 5:15 a.m. I love starting my day slowly and mindfully with plenty of time to enjoy a healthy breakfast without rushing.
Shortly after waking, I always drink a big glass of warm water—typically around 20 to 24 ounces. It's important that it's warm or room temperature water because after being in rest mode all night, flooding the digestive system with cold water can be too much of a shock. The body runs so much better when properly hydrated.
I also LOVE kombucha, as I’m all about that good gut probiotic bacteria; sparkling water (it’s what helped me kick my embarrassing Diet Coke addiction eight years ago); and herbal tea. Sometimes I'll have a cup of rooibos or dandelion tea with a few Go Raw date “cookies” (I love that they contain only four ingredients) to curb my hunger while I assemble my breakfast.
5:45 a.m. to 6:45 a.m.: Breakfast
I do some type of strength training workout six days a week, and I personally cannot exercise without eating beforehand. Consuming a healthy and balanced breakfast 30 to 45 minutes prior to exercise fuels my activity—whether it’s weights, interval sprints, or vinyasa yoga—without weighing me down.
I’m a creature of habit and tend to find a breakfast that I love and eat it on repeat for months (anyone else?). Occasionally I’ll eat a piece of fruit with a slice or two of gluten-free bread with nut butter, avocado toast with a soft-boiled egg, or a smoothie bowl.
But lately, soaked oats are my jam. Each week, I make a big batch with egg whites stirred in for protein and add fresh organic berries, a drizzle of coconut butter, and TONS of cinnamon. I’m obsessed with cinnamon and add it to as many meals as possible.
9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Post-Workout Smoothie
After I work out, I like to replenish my muscle glycogen with a super-simple chocolate banana protein smoothie. I always include some type of protein powder, and right now I’m really into using flavorless grass-fed beef collagen.
It sounds bizarre, but I promise, it really is tasteless and incredibly nutritious! Collagen protein is amazing for muscle repair, joints, skin, and is super nourishing to the cells lining your intestine, which means better gut health, digestion, and an overall healthier microbiome (aka the collection of microbes inhabiting our gastrointestinal system).
1:30 p.m.: Lunch
I always prep a big batch of roasted seasonal vegetables on Sunday to use at lunchtime because, like most people, my weekdays are pretty hectic.
Weekly meal planning and prepping—even if only for an hour—is something that I encourage and teach my clients to do too. By planning ahead, nutritious options are readily accessible, which makes choosing healthy and eating the rainbow a breeze.
If possible, I prefer to let my appetite dictate what time I eat instead of going by the clock. I also try to eat free of distractions, but sometimes it's unavoidable. On this day, I was working on new content for Honestly Nourished and ate lunch quietly at our kitchen table.
My favorite midday meal is a giant bowl of roasted vegetables with steamed or sautéed leafy greens or a hearty salad. I’ll usually add 5 to 6 ounces of lean protein and a tablespoon or two of olive oil, tahini, or a generous serving of fresh avocado for fats.
Like a lot of women, I used to think fat was the enemy, but now I love dispelling the myths around fat and eat it with every meal. It’s essential for keeping your body functioning at its best, helping you feel full, and it makes food taste pretty amazing—bonus!
Ever since I weaned myself off sugars two years ago and added more satiating healthy fats to my diet, I don’t need to snack as much. I used to get really “hangry” midmorning and late afternoon and thankfully that rarely happens anymore.
If I do need something in between meals, I’ll go for a simple balanced snack—one that includes protein, fat, and carbohydrate—like green apple wedges with nut butter. The fat and protein in the nut butter curbs my hunger while also preventing my blood sugar from dipping or spiking too much.
8:30 p.m.: Dinner
Dinner is always something quick, simple, and homemade. My husband and I take turns cooking and rotate through a handful of easy recipes that we are both comfortable preparing on the fly. We always aim to make half the plate nonstarchy vegetables—another great trick or strategy to eat more fresh produce.
This particular night was one of my favorites—wild-caught salmon with greens sautéed with ginger, red chili pepper, and coconut aminos.
Other go-to dinners include vegetarian stir-fry bowls; zoodles or chickpea pasta with homemade tomato-basil marinara, organic chicken sausage, and vegetables (shown above); and homemade soups.
I also make a point to plate my meals thoughtfully and consider the details, whether it’s adding a parsley garnish, keeping fresh flowers on the table, or using fun gold flatware. Eating should be joyful, and these small things make average weeknights feel more special.
I don’t crave sweets very often. I know that sounds totally lame, but it's the truth!
On nights that we manage to eat earlier and I feel like a treat, I might go for fresh fruit with cinnamon, a scoop or two or dairy-free froyo with a handful of stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, or a small piece of my vegan dark chocolate salted freezer fudge—something I always have on hand…you know, for emergencies.
10 p.m.: Bedtime
There you have it!
I have to add the caveat that while this style of eating works for me, it’s important to avoid the comparison trap and figure out what works best for you.
The one thing that I believe is true for everyone? Eating an abundance and variety of whole, real foods—mostly seasonal plants—is a great place to start your path to better health!
If you want help learning how to understand what foods will help you thrive, let’s chat! I’d love to hear from you.