Rethink your plate - indulge in a healthy way

My body is nourished by a real food, whole food, balanced, plant strong diet.

This is how I stay healthy and well, it's how I am reducing my risk for disease and it's how I choose to fuel my active lifestyle.
As a clinical RD who specializes in sport nutrition, I enjoy helping others learn to appreciate a more real food, plant strong, balanced diet but also how to let food enhance life.
Above all, a healthy relationship with food is a top priority when it comes to living a quality life with a healthy body and mind.
I am very passionate about life for I only have one chance at it. I want to live a good life...no, I want to live a great life. I absolutely love using my body for sport but also to be productive in my career and to make memories as I age.
So to help me live a great life, I do not support an off-limit food list. I have to enjoy food in order to enjoy life for food is part of our society, not to mention we need to eat to live.
 If there is anything that can assist in having a healthy relationship with food, I am a firm believer that food should make you feel good when you eat it and after you finish eating it.
How many times or when was the last time you said "Oh, I should not have eaten that or that much?"
So if you are currently seeing a food as bad or off-limit for whatever reason, I want to make sure that your relationship with food is what's helping you use food to enhance your life.

A good place to start is rethinking your plate so that you don't feel restricted in your diet.
There are many ways to eat "healthy" and many ways to describe a healthy diet. I think that's great that we can all live our own life and discover our own ways to live a healthy life.
What works for me may not work for you BUT as a health professional and licensed RD, I have absolutely nothing to hide when it comes to my diet and what I feel may work well for others.
There is great research showing what "works" when it comes to healthy eating
When it comes to eating, I'm an open book. I share my pics on social media because I am so proud of what I choose to put into my body but also what helps me live a healthy and active lifestyle.
I love to eat around others and I never lecture others about food (I am not the food police). You will never hear me say "don't eat that - it's bad". EVER!
Practicing what I preach allows is important to me but also, I can help others, treat others as individuals and also relate to many real-world situations which involve food.
A common issue for many is indulgences. Often times, these indulgences - pizza, cake, ice cream, cookies, candy, chips, pastries, etc. - are found on a "bad" food list and often times, people feel "bad" or guilty when an indulgence is consumed. Perhaps an individual needs to recognize that the food is not "bad" but instead, the relationship with food can be changed but for many, it's very easy to overeat something that tastes oh-so-good and not feel so good afterward.
Because many of these calorie dense foods are often found on an off-limit food list when it comes to diet plans, I want to help you learn how to indulge in a "healthy" way.
Although, we do not want to treat ourselves every day because then when a special occasion does come (birthday, anniversary, wedding), we may not feel the same about the indulgence that is often consumed in celebration for something special.
Compare eating brownies on valentines day versus eating brownies in your office because they were on sale at the grocery store.
So when you find yourself about to indulge - for whatever reason - think about creating a plate that will leave you satisfied, feeling nourished and great when you finish and allows you to indulge without feeling guilty.
I have so  many great ways that I maintain a healthy relationship with food, nourish my body to reduce risk for disease and illness, fuel my active lifestyle and live an awesome life as a travel and make memories with Karel.
Here is one example as to how I enjoy one of my favorite indulgences.....pizza (which I LOVE while traveling and on occasion at home). What's great is that I can enjoy the perfect portion of pizza to fill my mouth with flavor but also feel satisfied thanks to a healthy portion of nutrient-rich food (packed with volume, fiber, vitamins and minerals).
If you are trying to change eating habits for a more real-food diet, if you current struggle with overeating, feel a bit stressed when it comes to indulging at parties, use the word "cheat" in your diet or often feel "guilty" when you indulge, let's work on it.
Consider taking the same approach to your favorite indulgences:
Instead of a large cookie straight from your hand, have 4 ounce plain Greek yogurt in a small bowl and 1/2 cookie crumbled on top.
Instead of a large bowl of ice cream, have a cup of fruit in a bowl with 2-3 spoonfuls ice cream on top.
Instead of eating chips straight from the bag, top a hearty salad with a small handful of crumbled chips.
Instead of a large bowl of pasta, serve steamed veggies in a large bowl and top with 1 cup pasta.

 Super Bowl Dinner tonight
(Bottom plate)

Here's my experiment to show you that you can asbolutely indulge and feel great about it and NOT have an off-limit food list or feel as if you are "cheating" with pizza.
Top right: 1 slice pizza on a large plate
Well, that doesn't look very filling despite being "calorie-controlled".
Top left: 2 slices pizza on small plate
At least we have a "filled" plate which may make you think that you are eating a more filling meal but we still haven't solved the issue of creating a plant strong, nutrient dense plate.
Bottom plate: 1 slice pizza sliced into thirds on small plate, served with roasted broccoli, mushrooms and onions.
Not only does this plate look filling but you still get your pizza AND veggies to leave you satisfied as you indulge and feel great about what you are eating.
Perhaps you'd like two slices of pizza with veggies or a salad - that works too! Have fun with rethinking and recreating your plate so that you can indulge and feel great about it.