3 nutritionists share what they eat in a day

Vegetables being sliced
Nutritionists talk about what they like to eat, from vegetable curry to overnight oats, in a typical day. (Getty Images)

Ever wonder what nutritionists eat to stay healthy? We do too. With that in mind, Yahoo Life contacted three dietitian/nutritionists, aka food experts, and asked them to reveal what they typically eat at breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time — and why they choose those specific foods.

While their healthy food choices can serve as inspiration when planning your next meal, dietitian Rhyan Geiger, founder of the Phoenix Vegan Dietitian, tells Yahoo Life that it’s important to remember that everyone’s diet is different and what's presented here are just a few examples. Vandana Sheth, a plant-based dietitian and diabetes expert, agrees, telling Yahoo Life: “Identifying your unique needs and having a clear action plan that allows for flexibility and mindfulness will help you enjoy food while also supporting your long-term health and wellness goals.”

Whether a family-focused dietitian, a vegan expert or a specialist in Indian cuisine, each of our commentators share practical tips for having balanced and nourishing meals and snacks throughout the day. Read on to learn more about the tasty and healthful foods they reach for on the regular.

Dietitian Sarah Schlichter sometimes eats leftovers for lunch, such as tofu with white rice and broccoli.
Dietitian Sarah Schlichter sometimes eats leftovers for lunch, such as tofu with white rice and broccoli. (Getty Images)

As a dietitian and mom of three young children, Schlichter takes a realistic approach to nutrition. “While I love cooking and think it is important, I also acknowledge that time is a barrier and challenge for many people, myself included,” she tells Yahoo Life. Fortunately, nutrient-dense convenience foods, such as canned beans, frozen fruits and veggies, and pre-cooked chicken sausage, are quick and easy for families. “Variety is key,” she adds, “and trying to add in nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, whether it be fresh, frozen or canned, can go a long way in diversifying your diet.”

Breakfast: Bowl of hot oatmeal, baked oatmeal or overnight oats with nuts and fruit

“My kids also like oatmeal so it’s easy to just prep one thing for breakfast for all five of us,” explains Schlicter. Heart healthy oats provide complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals. To kickstart the day with enough protein, she adds protein powder, nuts, seeds or Greek yogurt to the oats, along with extra fresh or frozen fruit for added fiber and antioxidants.

Lunch: Leftover peanut tofu with white rice and broccoli, followed by a piece of dark chocolate

Working from home, Schlichter appreciates that lunch — like reheated leftovers or scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes on whole wheat bread — is quick and easy to make. “I often like to end lunch with something sweet, like a piece of dark chocolate, chocolate-covered almonds or a homemade energy oatmeal bite,” says Schlichter.

Dinner: Homemade quesadillas using white tortillas, canned black beans, shredded cheese, onions, diced peppers and shredded chicken

While dinner with three young children can be chaotic, Schlichter values family meals and takes advantage of prepared items to help get a balanced meal on the table. “I usually try to prep a few ingredients or components earlier in the day,” she says. Homemade chili is another convenient kid-favorite meal that only requires a few canned goods such as tomatoes, broth and beans, combined with ground beef and spices.

Snack: Bowl of full-fat Greek yogurt with cereal and fruit

“I am cognizant of getting enough fat into their [children’s] diets since it is so important for growing brains,” explains Schlichter, “and this way, we don’t have to buy several different kinds of yogurt.” Adding cereal, such as Cheerios, Crispex or granola, and fruit, such as half of a banana, packs in more fiber and antioxidants. “Every time I eat, I try to add a fruit or veggie, which is a good reminder for many of us to get in those important micronutrients,” she says.

Dietitian Rhyan Geiger is a fan of mashed avocado and edamame on sprouted grain bread with tomatoes.
Dietitian Rhyan Geiger is a fan of mashed avocado and edamame on sprouted grain bread with tomatoes. (Getty Images)

As a vegan, Geiger creates 100% plant-based meals and recipes, meaning she consumes no animal products. “I ensure a balance of macronutrients and micronutrients, like calcium and iron, and meals that are filling and tasty,” she says.

Breakfast: Mashed avocado and edamame on sprouted grain bread topped with tomatoes, chili crisp and nutritional yeast

Geiger tells Yahoo Life that mixing edamame with avocado increases its protein and adds fiber, which helps you stay satisfied between meals. “If avocados are pricier at the grocery store, peanut butter overnight oats topped with fresh fruit and chopped nuts, are another go-to option,” she says.

Lunch: Veggie sandwich with lettuce, hummus, vegetables and olives

“For lunch, having something quick to grab saves a lot of time,” says Geiger. Her sandwich includes all the essential nutrients: protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and fiber. For an even quicker balanced lunch she’ll make a classic peanut butter and jelly with homemade jam and a side of carrots.

Dinner: Lentil walnut nachos

“Dinner is the most fun meal because there is usually more time in the schedule to get creative,” says Geiger. Living in Phoenix, her family prefers Southwestern and spicy food, often cooking Mexican-inspired dishes like veggie tacos, baked taquitos and vegetable fajitas. “These options are not only tasty, but when preparing, I load the recipes with extra veggies and utilize an air fryer to bake the meals,” she says.

Snack: Cut apples with an almond butter drizzle

“Pairing a protein like nut butter and seeds with a carbohydrate like apple and grapes creates a well-rounded snack that helps provide sustainable energy and keeps you full for longer,” explains Geiger. Another favorite option is frozen grapes with a side of pumpkin seeds.

Dietitian Vandana Sheth likes to make upma — a South Indian breakfast made with cream of wheat and semolina, vegetables, nuts, lentils and spices.
Dietitian Vandana Sheth likes to make upma — a South Indian breakfast made with cream of wheat and semolina, vegetables, nuts, lentils and spices. (Getty Images)

As a dietitian, diabetes specialist and expert in Indian cuisine, Sheth promotes eating habits that are practical, culturally inclusive and sustainable. “I believe that food has the power to heal, energize and improve our quality of life,” she says. Sheth takes a plant-forward approach that emphasizes nutrients and flavors without compromising the joy of eating.

Breakfast: Upma — a savory South Indian breakfast made with a combination of cream of wheat and semolina, vegetables, nuts, lentils and spices.

Other breakfasts in rotation include a tofu scramble with spinach, mushrooms, peppers and spices, and avocado toast on whole grain bread topped with tomato, microgreens and hemp seeds. “These breakfast options provide a nice mix of protein, fiber and healthy fats that help with stable blood sugar as well as feeling energized throughout the morning,” explains Sheth. They are quick to prepare, offer a variety of textures and flavors and provide essential nutrients and antioxidants to support health.

Lunch: Nourish bowl with chopped vegetables, beans or tofu, and quinoa

“I love ‘nourish bowls’ because I can pull together a variety of ingredients that are available in my fridge and pantry to make different combinations,” explains Sheth. Her lunches include plant-based proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats for a well-rounded, nutrient-dense meal.

Dinner: Veggie curry with lentils or beans, rice or roti (a round flatbread) and yogurt

This veggie curry is packed with protein and fiber, and supports digestion and balanced blood sugar levels. Adding yogurt boosts the protein and provides probiotics for gut health. “The variety of spices I use such as turmeric, cumin and red chili are flavor enhancers but also provide anti-inflammatory benefits,” Sheth says.

Snacks: Jicama with lime and tajin (a sweet and spicy blend of spices) paired with nuts or seeds

A balanced mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat, this snack provides a burst of flavor and texture while helping to maintain energy. It also helps people feel fuller between meals. Sheth’s other favorite snacks include air-popped popcorn, fruit with nuts or seeds, roasted edamame and protein bars.

Maxine Yeung is a dietitian and board-certified health and wellness coach.