Nutritionist review

by - Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I went to my nutritionist appointment yesterday with two questions in mind:

First, I wanted to know how much protein I should be getting in my diet and how to make sure I was getting enough/what foods were the best sources.

Second, I wanted to learn some quick meal options that were easy to take to work for lunch because I really struggle in that area and usually end up with a frozen Lean Cuisine because they're easy to transport and I lack creativity.

When I walked into her office, I wasn't sure what to think at first. It was very small and there was a window for a receptionist that was boarded over. That struck me as a little odd. When the nutritionist came out to greet me, she was very friendly. Before going into the appointment I had to fill out a form with information about the kinds of food I eat in a typical day and what I was hoping to get out of the appointment.

She started off the appointment by reviewing the information on the forms and then answering my questions.

In regards to the protein question, I learned women ages 14 and older should get about 45 grams of protein per day. I'm probably lucky if I get half of that. The nutritionist reminded me that almost all foods have even a little bit of protein and I might be getting more than I think. Then she recommended beans, nuts and seeds as great, non-meat sources of protein, pretty basic information that I already knew. As an experiment, sometime this week I'm going to try to count the grams of protein I get in a day because I'm curious to see just how close to that 45 I get.

As far as suggestions for good meal options for lunches, she didn't have many. She suggested taking in leftovers from meals I cook the night before. Well the problem there is that I don't cook a lot at night. I usually eat a lighter dinner, like cereal or PBJ because it's late at night by the time I get home from the gym. She also suggested cooking in bulk and freezing leftovers for later.

Throughout the 40-minute appointment I did pick up two tips that I thought were interesting.

First, she recommended that I think of food as fuel and that I plan how big or small a meal will be around what I have yet to accomplish that day. By that thinking, breakfast should be pretty sizeable, maybe more than my standard bowl of cereal. Lunch should also be larger since I work out in the evenings after work. And then dinner should be something small and simple. That's pretty much the opposite of what I do now, but it seemed like interesting advice.

The other thing I picked up on was that she kept saying that candy/sweets/junk foods, were "fun" not "food" and that we have to think whether we need food to fuel our bodies or are in the mood for something fun as a small treat. I thought that was valuable advice too.

Overall though, I wasn't impressed and I didn't learn very much in my appointment. I took the consultation with her because it was a deal that I found and thought it could be interesting. If I ever decide to go the nutritionist route again, I will make sure to research what the person's specialty is and look for someone who does most of their work with athletes. I think someone with that kind of background would be able to offer me more than just your basic dietary info, that's great for a newbie, but not for me.

Have any of you been to see a nutritionist? Did you learn anything valuable?

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  1. I've only experienced a nutritionist in a class setting, not 1:1

    But I echo that it is difficult to get the protein we need. Even with a concerted effort, it is hard to get it all in...

  2. I tried a nutritionist a few years ago. A lot of I was stuff I already knew but ignored on a daily basis.

    The "food as fuel" mindset is something that I need really embrace.

  3. Anonymous9:29 AM

    Sorry to hear the experience wasn't what you thought. Maybe looking in to a nutrionist that specializes in sports or working with atheltes.

  4. Hmm... sounds like she wasn't as helpful you hoped. Seems like a lot of information a reasonably-healthy person would already know but the protein tip is good. I bet you already get enough -- I used to measure mine when I counted calories and would usually get anywhere from 50-70 (probably too much haha) from all the produce and beans.

  5. Ya that does sound like pretty basic info. I am tracking my protein intake today because I'm curious to find out much I do usually have in a day!

  6. My nutritionist friend Marni is having a series of articles you might be interested in. My nutrition book sez that I need 1 gram of protein per pound. That's 180 grams per day! and that's just to maintain. I need more after workouts.

    I like this idea, part of what I got from the biggest loser, and part of what I got from Marni. My base is 2400 calories (2600?!?). So, divide that by 4 gives me 600 calories per meal. With three meals a day, that gives me two 300 calorie snacks. All snacks should include protein. When I workout, my recovery snack in the 30 minute window should make up the calories I used during exercise.

    I'm not there yet, but its a work in progress. I've taken to putting 20 almonds in a little plastic container every day. Protein keeps me full, longer.

  7. Hmm doesn't sound like the best meeting. I do eat the majority of my calories early in the day and have found that works for me at the moment...hmm fun v food..interesting

  8. I'm lucky, my cousin is a dietician and is only a text message away.

  9. Awe, sounds like the nutritionist wasn't stellar. The sad thing is we have the basic knowledge, we just choose(or chose) not to use it.

    Freezing meals in bulk is an awesome idea. When I am running low on time, I grab homemade chicken soup out of the freezer and I am set :)

    Thanks for doing the review :)

  10. with my m&m addiction i keep being told i need to go to a nutritionist. at the same time, i feel like i know the basic things i *ought* to do - i'm just a little too lazy to actually do them. sorry it wasn't everything you expected!

    my sister will often cook a couple dishes up over the weekend when she has more time and then heats them up thruout the week for dinner (though you could use for lunch if that's your bigger meal). just an idea.