A Day in the Life of a Nutrition Expert
By Katherine Villavicencio, Assistant Editor |
Ever wondered what it would be like to eat, sleep and breathe health? From the nutrition-packed meals to the energy-boosting workouts, get the scoop on how to stay healthy and fit as these nutrition gurus dish on their daily health habits. Take a walk in their sneakers for a lesson on healthy living no matter what your day throws at you.
Ashley Koff, Celebrity Dietician, Nutrition Expert, Health Advocate
You may remember celebrity dietician and nutrition advocate Ashley Koff from when she gave us the lowdown on gluten-free dieting. When it comes to Koff’s health philosophy, this qualitarian believes optimum health starts with making nutrition choices based on the better quality—most often the natural and organic—option.
What’s a typical day like for a celebrity dietician?
Just like I tell my clients – there will be no typical day. Even when I am on a cleanse that serves the same thing for three days, I never have two days that are the same.
Do you have a morning routine?
I like to start my day off with water, typically with organic lemons from my garden or the farmer’s market. If I’m going for a run, I like a macchiato (with hemp milk and cinnamon) plus a banana. If I am going to power pilates, I may grab a Pure Bar or half a serving of oats sprinkled with a spoonful of fruit.
Do you snack post-workout?
I like to drink organic green juice after exercising but If I’m craving something more substantial, I’ll make the juice into smoothie using nut butter or hemp seeds. Then I’ll follow that with some sardines, either on toast or mixed with hot sauce and cucumbers.
Ashley Koff, Celebrity Dietician, Nutrition Expert, Health Advocate (continued)
What’s on the menu for dinner?
One of my favorite dinners is some type of sustainable fish with spices or herbs and a side of local, seasonal veggies.
Do you follow any sort of consistent plan/method to your eating habits?
I try to adhere to my nutrition plan, which consists of a perfect balance carbs, proteins and fats, alongside unlimited non-starchy vegetables. I also have a large green salad or bowl of cooked cruciferous vegetables daily, almost without fail.
And the question we are all waiting for: what about sweets?
Whether in a drink or smoothie, or part of my mid-afternoon energy-boost, I will always have cacao at some point throughout the day. If I have a glass of wine with dinner, I typically skip dessert. But if out with a friend, we may share something and that’s preferably chocolate!
What led you to this career?
From childhood to young adulthood, dieting was so much about what I was told I should have, which didn’t allow for a very good connection to how my body felt or what foods I enjoyed. Nowadays, my food choices are all about quality and satisfying my palate while always taking into consideration what I think my body needs.
Lisa DeFazio, Registered Dietitian, Media and Television Nutrition Expert
Lisa DeFazio, a certified registered dietician, understands that there’s no such thing as a perfect diet. Her health philosophy is based on the realistic, doable approach to eating well and staying in shape.
On a typical day, what types of foods do you eat?
I will usually eat fish, chicken or beef accompanied by rice and salad. I also like to incorporate fruit and a protein shake somewhere into my day. I usually eat the same basic meals each day as these types of foods give me a balanced diet and keep my weight managed.
What’s your take on snacking?
With the right combination of protein and carbohydrates, snacks can be a great way to satisfy cravings while staying fit and healthy. My typical snacks could be anything from sliced apples with string cheese and pita with salsa to rice cakes with almond butter and raw veggies dipped in hummus. If you need a salt fix, reach for salted almonds. To satisfy your sweet tooth, replace candy with dried fruits.
What inspired you to lead a life dedicated to health and nutrition?
I worked in a gym during high school and at age 15, I became interested in nutrition and exercise.
Lisa DeFazio, Registered Dietitian, Media and Television Nutrition Expert (continued)
How often do you exercise?
I joined my first gym when I was just 14 and realized how exercise could bring a sense of calmness, focus and happiness to my life. I usually exercise about four times a week.
Do your workouts vary?
Yes. I am either walking, or using the elliptical supplemented with weights. Even if you don't have time for a full workout, even just walking for 20 minutes in the morning or doing sit-ups while you watch TV will inspire you to live healthier overall.
Lastly, what advice do you have for readers on how to get into/back into shape?
When starting on getting back into an exercise routine, start slow. Just go for a walk so you don’t overwhelm yourself or feel pressured. As for your diet, try to make one change a day. This can be as simple as cutting out soda or adding a salad to your dinner. I also encourage my clients to keep a food journal and to keep tabs on their caloric intake when possible. It’s also much easier to stay on track when you keep plenty of healthy food in your house. And remember, you can always get back on track at your next meal if you accidentally overeat!
Nicolette M. Pace, Registered Dietitian, Writer and Media Spokesperson
From CBS and Fox News to the New York Times and Fitness Magazine, Nicollete Pace has earned quite the healthy reputation when it comes to dishing out nutrition advice.
How do you incorporate exercise into your day?
What used to be a challenge is now a routine. I always look for “exercise opportunities” despite my demanding schedule. If it’s a 10-12 hour workday, I may get up earlier for a 20-30 minute morning interval and then either take a mid day break or exercise in the evening, usually averaging to about 60 minutes a day. Other days are spent doing recreational activities, such as biking, kayaking, gardening and hiking, all of which help me clear my mind and have fun.
Do your workouts vary?
Absolutely. This is a key part of looking forward to exercising and keeping workouts fresh and flexible. However I still work in a basic routine so I’m able to maintain consistency and measure my performance and progress.
What advice do you have for readers on how to get into/back into shape?
Half the battle is addressing your mindset. Many fall into the trap of exercising to lose weight, which only leads to disappointment. (To lose one pound, you would have to work out at a moderate to very active pace for 60 minutes every day.) Not only does an abrupt jump into exercise have a high risk of lapse and injury (especially if you’re out of shape), it can also stimulate your appetite and disrupt your hunger signals.
What are your go-to exercises?
Cardio first; I absolutely love the charge. It’s an infusion of energy and positive feelings, almost euphoria. I usually go for the elliptical machine first and combine it with treadmill or stationary bike. I also walk frequently. I couple the cardio to strength training either individually, in a group or with my trainer. I also try to attend group classes, like yoga or pilates, for balance, flexibility and toning.
Nicolette M. Pace, Registered Dietitian, Writer and Media Spokesperson (continued)
On a typical day, what types of foods do you eat?
Having basic ingredients available makes for an easy lunch or dinner after a long workday. I begin every meal with whole, raw ingredients. My daily staples include at least one salad – consisting of fruit, nuts or cheese in addition to marinated veggies and proteins like hard cooked eggs, tuna, shrimp, chicken or steak—one citrus fruit (grapefruit, lemon, lime or orange) and a raw or cooked tomato. I also love soups and frequently combine veggies with eggs to make healthy frittatas, omelets or tortas. Both are convenient and serve as lighter lunch or dinner options.
Do you eat the same basic meals each day?
While my meals vary, most consist of Mediterranean cuisine with others having European, Middle Eastern or North African influences. I am also quite taken with regional American dishes and frequently make a variety of local seafood dishes. Other favorites include all types of Asian, Caribbean and Mexican foods. You could say I’m a foodie!
Do you snack? What kind of snacks?
I don’t use the word snack but rather “in between, mini meals,” that act as a source of nourishment and a practical way of eating that matches the way my body works. If there is a long gap between meals, it’s prudent to have something in between so that your hunger doesn’t overwhelm you at the next meal.
What I eat would depend on the desire for something either sweet or savory. Some of my favorites are watermelon, pineapple, grapefruits, shrimp cocktail, cherry tomatoes, eggs, nuts, cheese, raw veggies and olives.
When led you to a health-conscious lifestyle?
I was raised to cook fresh and quickly went from helping my mother prepare foods at age four to making them myself at age eight. I was always interested in fancy foods and expert preparation so I studied cookbooks and began mixing new ingredients and experimenting with flavors. I also had a garden growing up and spent a lot of time in Europe where I learned first hand how to look at food in a healthy way. Later, I found myself gaining weight, which led me to leave my catering business and pursue health care and nutrition.