How and what you eat affects more than just your weight: Food can help protect you from chronic disease and even impact your mental health and sleep cycle.
But eating well doesn’t mean you have to avoid ice cream or pizza. You also don’t need to start a fad diet that can be hard to maintain and even unhealthy for someone with a chronic health condition.
We raided the fridges of 3 Cedars-Sinai dietitians. Here, they share a few favorite foods that nourish their bodies and make them happy.
Alexandra Roberts, clinical dietitian
“Eating well is about enjoying nutritious food with good company, not depriving yourself. Eating things you don’t like because you have to is not sustainable.”
- Peanut butter: Peanut butter is my favorite food, and it’s a good source of protein that fills me up. When you buy it, check the ingredients to make sure it just contains peanuts, and maybe a little salt and oil. I eat it on a spoon, in smoothies, or with apples, bananas, and carrots.
- Oat milk: Plant-based milk is a good alternative for vegetarians or people with dairy allergies. I make it myself: I blend a cup of rolled oats with 2 cups of filtered water, add a couple of dates for sweetness, strain it, and it lasts in the fridge for about 5 days. Oat milk is inexpensive to make and environmentally friendly.
- Lentils: Lentils are a versatile protein source. You can buy them dry or buy them precooked for convenience. I eat them warm, cold, and in salads.
Samantha Boucher, clinical dietitian
“There’s nothing wrong with buying vegetables that are cut up or frozen—sometimes convenience is an issue and that shouldn’t be an obstacle to eating well.”
- Kombucha: Kombucha has lots of probiotics so it’s good for your gut health. It introduces healthy bacteria to your belly. It does contain a tiny bit of alcohol, so avoid it if you’re pregnant.
- Almond flour: I make muffins and cookies with almond flour because it’s low-carb, high-protein, and safe for people with gluten sensitivities or allergies.
- Dark chocolate: A lot of people have sweet cravings, and a chunk of dark chocolate is a good way to curb that without overeating.
Stephanie Cramer, administrative dietitian
“Focus on fresh and whole foods with lots of color. I love to shop at farmers markets because they always carry what’s in season.”
- Avocado: I eat an avocado every day. They’re dense with healthy fats and help you feel full. I usually put one on my salad, but you can even turn them into a pesto for pasta.
- Lemon: I flavor my water with lemon—it helps you stay hydrated if you get bored with plain water. It’s also an easy way to get vitamin C.
- Cauliflower: It’s in season right now. It’s good to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables because they contain the most nutrients when they’re growing the best.