A Day in the Diet of a Dietitian

Have you ever wondered how a registered dietitian eats? Now is your chance to find out. In today’s article I will take you through a typical day in the life of my eating habits. I will tell you exactly what I eat , how much of it I eat and I will also share with you how my diet evolved to arrive at that particular food choice.

For your own learning and entertainment, I will also track and tally my Canadian Food Guide Servings and compare them to food guide recommendations. You may be surprised to see the results.

I should also preface today’s article by saying that I am a relatively active individual. I am no athlete, but I do generally engage in moderate or intense physical activity for at least an hour a day on most days. I also love to eat, and one of my biggest motivations to exercise is to boost my appetite in order to be able to comfortably eat more. With that being said, I am not promoting you to eat the same quantities of food that I do. Now that you been warned, let’s take a look at a day in the life of my diet.

A Day in the Diet of Andy the RD 


What I used to eat: I was very much a milk & cereal person in my highschool years, at a time where I did not really give much thought to what I ate. That is not to say that cereal & milk is a bad breakfast choice, I just grew to need something new. As I started to become more physically active, I sought a more calorie rich breakfast. I moved on to eating eggs and oatmeal and things escalated to the point where I was eating a pot full of steel cut oats with between 5-6 eggs. I was waking up 45-60 minutes earlier than usual for work or school just to have the time to cook and eat this mammoth breakfast. Not only was it exhausting to do this on a daily basis, but eating that much for breakfast left me feeling very full and bloated throughout the day. 

What I eat now: As much as I enjoyed the egg and oats breakfast while it lasted, it had too much downside. So, after essentially a lifetime of a grain and animal product-based breakfasts, I decided it was time for something new. I transitioned to a plant-based breakfast about a year ago and have not looked back since. I have been consuming between 4-6 bananas with as many almonds as I feel like eating on given day, based on my hunger. This nutrient rich breakfast works for me on so many levels. It requires no preparation time, it is very portable and it is very easy to adjust to my hunger levels. Eating breakfast in this way also leaves me feeling much lighter throughout the day and gives me a healthy appetite at lunch time

You might be wondering about the protein content in this meal. You need not worry, almonds do contain some protein but even so I still have multiple meals/snacks left throughout the day  to consume more than enough. This breakfast is also an amazing snack at any time during the day, but I won’t blame you if you don’t eat all 5 bananas. 

Food Guide Servings:  5 medium bananas  –  5 food guide servings of fruit/vegetables.

                             1 cup of almonds  –  3 food guide servings of meat & alternatives.

Breakfast Totals: 5 servings of fruit/veg, 3 servings of meat & alternatives.


What I used to eat: For many of us working or in school, lunch is probably  the one meal in the day that varies the most. Whether we are in the mood to prepare lunch in advance, where we happen to be, how much time we have and other situational factors all play a role in determining what we eat for lunch. In highschool and early university, I was in a sandwhich phase and would often bring one from home or purchase one from places such as Subway.

What I eat now: In my working life, I gradually became more physically active and my greater appetite pushed me to start preferring larger, hardier meals. I gravitated towards rice-based dishes that would also contain some sort of protein , usually chicken, and maybe some vegetables. When I didn’t bring my own rice and chicken from home, I would most often be able to find this dish at the Teriyaki Experience fast food restaurant chain, which is found in many food courts around the city. I have always generally eaten a fruit, often an apple, as a lunch “dessert”.

Food Guide Servings: 2.5 Cups of Cooked Brown Rice –  5 food guide servings of grain.

                                      250 grams/8 oz chicken   – 3 food guide servings of meat & alt.

                                      1 medium apple/orange – 1 food guide serving of fruit/vegetables.

Lunch Totals:  5 servings of grain, 3 servings of meat & alts, 1 serving of fruit.

For those who are wondering, I do not personally measure the precise amount of food that I am eating, but I am giving you my best estimation.   


What I used to eat/What I eat now: While my breakfast and lunch meals have evolved over the past 5-10 years, my dinners have remained very much the same.  Dinner is by far and away my favourite meal of the day, as it is generally less rushed than the others and thus the meal that I can relax and enjoy the most. Most importantly, I get to eat alot at dinner because I have the time to do so. If you struggle to get vegetables into your diet, dinner is the time to do so. My dinners generally consist of 4 primary components: 

1) Grains/Starchy Vegetables:  I most often eat dinner at home, but regardless of whether I am home or out, I always try to include either a whole grain or starchy vegetable in my meal. I will most often have baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice or pasta. If I was to have quinoa, I would probably have about 2.5 cups cooked. As for potatoes, I would probably eat between 4-6 medium sized potatoes, depending on how hungry I was on a given night. A note on potatoes, although the food guide technically considers potatoes vegetables, they are actually nutritionally more similar to a grain product. 

2) Protein: To go alongside my starches, I will also have some form of protein from the meat & alternatives group. This might include chicken, fish, beef or tofu.

3) Leafy Green Vegetable + Sweet Bell Pepper: For those of you who have read my box of spinach a day article, you will know that when I say leafy green vegetable, I generally mean a box (142 grams) of spinach ( or other greens such as kale or chard). I have been eating a box of greens with a sweet bell pepper ( usually red or orange) with dinner for as long as I can remember. The food guide recommends at least 1 dark leafy green and 1 orange vegetable a day, and I strive to check that box. Even if I was to go out for dinner, I often will end up eating this vegetable combo at home afterwards.  

4) “Dessert”: I don’t always have “dessert”, but when I do it is generally a piece of fruit such as a peach or an orange. That is about as it is exciting as it gets with me, although I do have icecream sometimes when I am out.

Food Guide Servings:  2.5 cups cooked quinoa – 5 food guide servings of grain

                                       250 grams/8 oz fish – 3 food guide servings of meat/alternatives

                                       1 box ( 142 grams) Spinach – 4.5 food guide servings of vegetables**

                                       1 medium bell pepper – 2 food guide servings of vegetables**

                                       1 medium orange – 1 food guide serving of fruit

Dinner Totals:  5 servings of grain, 3 servings of meat/alts , 7.5 servings of fruit/veg

** How did I arrive at those vegetable serving sizes?

a) 1 cup of raw spinach weighs 30 grams. Therefore there are 4.5 cups of spinach in an 142 gram box ( 142 divided by 30). The food guide says that 1 cup of raw greens is equivalent to one serving, thus 4.5 cups is equal to 4.5 servings. 

b) 1 medium bell pepper, when chopped, fills about one cup. The food guide says that 1/2 cup of vegetables is one serving, therefore one medium bell pepper is about 2 servings. 

Evening Snack 

What I used to eat: For me, the perfect evening snack has always been elusive. I have tried a variety of foods over the years such as greek yogurt, sandwhiches and breakfast cereals, but none of them stuck. In the past year, I abandoned eggs and oatmeal as a breakfast food in place of fruit and nuts which allowed me to try eggs and oatmeal as an evening snack.

What I eat now: I love eggs and oatmeal, so as soon as I made my breakfast swap to fruit and nuts,  I saw a great opportunity to incorporate them into an evening snack. I have not looked back since. I now usually consume  2-4 whole eggs with 1-2 packets ( 45-90 grams) of instant oatmeal and a piece of fruit. If this seems like alot of food for the evening, I do usually workout at night and thus this meal is usually consumed after some moderate or intense physical activity. 

Food Guide Servings: 2 Packets ( 90 grams) of Oatmeal – 3 food guide servings of grain.

                                      4 whole eggs – 2 food guide servings of meat/alternatives.

                                      1 medium fruit – 1 food guide serving of fruit/vegetables.

Evening Snack Totals: 3 servings of grain, 2 servings of meat/alts, 1 serving of fruit/veg. 

Summary & Self-Analysis of my diet

This is the fun part, watching a dietitian analyze his own eating habits. The amount of food that I eat is probably the elephant in the room here. Let’s compare the amounts that I have described here today to the amount of food guide servings that Canada’s Food Guide suggests for a 19-50 year old male. 

Food Guide Recommendations: 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables, 8 servings of grains, 2 servings of meat & alternatives, 2 servings of dairy & alternatives.

My Daily Totals:  14.5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 13 servings of grain, 11 servings of meat & alternatives, 0 servings of dairy & alternatives.

You may be surprised by the fact that I eat about two food guide’s worth of food on a daily basis. Keep in mind that, although I am a big supporter of the food guide,  it is very difficult to produce a one size fits all guide that can perfectly fit over 30 million people. We are all so different , especially in terms of our calorie requirements and the amount we need to eat. I am a great example of this, olympic swimmer Michael Phelps would be another even greater example. What matters the most is that you always strive for balance and proper proportions in your eating style. You will notice that I eat fruits and vegetables in the greatest quantities, grain in the second greatest quantities and meat an alternatives in the third greatest quantities, which remains in line with food guide proportion recommendations. 

You may have also noticed that I do not currently consume milk or milk alternatives. I had been a regular consumer of greek yogurt until about a year ago, when I started losing my appetite for dairy products (I do not recomend you cut out milk or milk alternatives). You may be wondering about my calcium intake. Fortunately, I regularly consume calcium-rich foods such as sweet potatoes, oranges, oatmeal, almonds and tofu.  I also regularly consume fatty fish and whole eggs, which keep my vitamin  D intake well supported. Even so, without dairy/alternatives I probably do fall below my calcium and vitamin D requirements on certain days of the week.

One of the other glaring flaws that I observe in my own diet is the lack of variety. What you see here today is, for the most part, what you get. I eat this group of foods in a consistent manner primarily because it is convienent for me to do so, and because these are the foods I enjoy most. I know I need to do a better job of incorporating variety into my intake, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. I am currently missing out on the benefits of numerous vegetables such as onions, garlic, brussel sprouts and so on. I highly encourage you to ensure diversity and variety in your fruit and vegetable intake. 

I also acknowledge the fact that I eat quite a bit of protein from animal sources. The Canadian Food Guide recommends incorporating alternative protein sources such as beans, peas, lentils and tofu as often as possible. If you have read my plant-based diet article, you know that I am actively trying to do a better job of this. I urge you to do the same as meat alternatives have a variety of unique health benefits. 

I will close today’s summary with a brief mention of grains. I am quite satisfied with my grain intake as I regularly choose primarily fibre-rich whole grains, as per food guide recommendations. Even if I do eat a lot of them! 

As this exercise in dietary self-analysis draws to a close, I do hope you have found it both valuable and highly entertaining. I eat in a way that works for me, that makes me happy, and I urge you to do the same. I feel as though I eat in a healthy way, but this does not mean you need to eat the way I eat to be healthy. Even so, I encourage you to reflect on your own eating habits from time-to-time. The reflection process can often lead to valuable discoveries and gradual self-improvement. That’s all for today folks, I know it was a long one and I thank you for sticking with it. As always, I wish you the best of luck on your food and nutrition journey.


Until next time, Eat Up!
Andy De Santis RD MPH