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My Nutrition Philosophy

In the last year, I’ve really come into my own in developing my personal philosophy towards food and nutrition that I wholeheartedly believe in and use with clients.

If you find yourself struggling with your relationship with food, this is how we get there.

As a dietitian, I don’t believe in telling you not to eat foods. Here are some other beliefs I have when working with clients.

  • I don’t tell them that all they can eat moving forward is fruits, veggies and protein.
  • And I definitely don’t tell them to let external numbers guide their desire for eating or need for nourishment. As a matter of fact, I don’t like to use a lot of “don’ts” in sessions.
  • We focus on what you can do, things you can eat and include, and why it’s important to prioritize yourself. We talk a lot about nourishing your body in many different ways.
farmers market with tomatoes

Rather than focusing on eating from specific food groups, we talk about the differences between each and how they balance together.

And in some instances, when you may want to prioritize one over the other.

For example, finishing up a hard workout or long run? Get carbohydrates and protein. Fiber and fat are less important during this time because they blunt the effects of glucose in your bloodstream.

After a workout, you want your muscles to get fuel to help speed up recovery.

Or, what if you’re hungry now, but you have a group dinner in an hour?

In this instance, it may make sense to have a simple carbohydrate for a snack that can nourish you now, but still leave you hungry for your next scheduled eating.

I wrote an ebook all about managing hunger and fullness for exercise

chocolate chip cookie and kevita drink

Maybe you’ve been told to eat whole grains under all circumstances because they are “healthier” and have more fiber.

Sometimes, I think the way we stress about food choices and fear certain foods can actually be more detrimental to our health than the actual food choices themselves.

Not an Extreme Dietitian

I’m not going to tell you that you have to do one thing to lose weight.

I’m not going to tell you to cut out processed foods, desserts, or alcohol, because you don’t have to do those things to be healthy.

Cutting things out you enjoy is called deprivation and that doesn’t end well.

If you struggle with the idea of avoiding anything “bad” or processed or not organic, we’ll look at some research and talk about it.

We talk about food flexibility, and how choosing a salad isn’t superior to choosing a cheeseburger.

burger with cheese and tomatoes

Every single one of you is so different. Maybe the salad is a better choice if you’ve gone a few days without veggies. You know you need a push of fiber for that digestion.

Self-care in that instance might mean getting the salad because you know your body needs the nutrients. Maybe your iron is low and you’re feeling fatigued.

Or, you’ve had a tough week of exercise and feel short on protein. Maybe the burger is what you want in that moment.

Perhaps you just want to get to the point where you don’t even think twice about what you want, you trust yourself enough to just order what your body needs in that moment. Many of my clients have been there, but we can change.

If you look at it through this lens, no one choice is superior – each is different and individual for YOU. Maybe you just want a comforting cheeseburger and fries because it’s been one of those weeks and you can’t stand to look at veggies anymore.

I won’t tell you to cut out one food or food group, or to start over every Monday.

I won’t tell you to exercise for an hour every day to be healthy.

And, I definitely won’t tell you to eat under x many calories per day.

Because all of these lifestyles that we think will bring us health, won’t.

girl holding ice cream cone

Health is not deprivation. Health is not feelings of guilt around food.

How I Work with Clients

I will…..

  • Take the time to learn your health history, habits, likes, dislikes, stressors and motivators. We talk about movement you enjoy and that is maintainable. Maybe that’s more, maybe that’s less than it is now.
  • We will talk about intuitive eating, hunger cues, feeling satisfied vs. feeling full.
  • If you’re a runner, we will talk about fueling enough for exercise, and see if we can find what fueling system works best for you. We talk about your goals and how to get there. I’m big on finding more positive role models or influences for my clients.

Not all dietitians are going to cut your calories. We are trained to treat you as an individual and meet you where you are.  If you are looking for assistance in your health journey, I am taking new clients now.

Also, if you’re looking for some new books and resources, these are some of the best intuitive eating books to use in practice and with clients.

Has there been one thing you’ve done or changed this year to better your health? Personally, I’ve put more of a focus on sleep! Less screen time in the hours before bed has been MAGICAL.

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  1. “The way we stress about food choices and fear certain foods can actually be more detrimental to our health than the actual food choices themselves.” SO RETWEETING THAT! Love this post, and it’s so wonderful that dietitians like you are changing the game. Thank you for what you do <3

  2. I really, really love your nutrition philosophy, Sarah! I’ve gone through a journey of my own to establish my “nutrition philosophy” for myself and man, does it feel good to have so much freedom around food and to focus on all of the things I CAN eat rather than following food rules!

  3. I love your food and nutrition philosophy and think mine is very similar! Honestly always reading your blog makes me wish I worked in food and nutrition to help people make choices for themselves as their is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to nutrition.

    1. It seems like you are a positive role model for health and wellness. If it’s worth anything, I went back to school for nutrition after being in my career for 4 years because I was so drawn to it 😉 Always a possibility. Totally agree with you about there not being once size fits all!

  4. LOVE this!! 🙂 I agree wholeheartedly. While I choose not to eat meat for personal/ethical reasons, I don’t say “no” to any certain food groups. I find that when I eat this way, it actually causes me to eat healthier and feel better overall.

  5. This is WHY I hands down love your blog so so so so much. Health is not deprivation or guilt around food. And you never ever preach that through your example. I really love that you eat ice cream and salads and pizza and sandwiches and basically anything. I like that you don’t hold down rules for your clients, but you are more about the do’s than the don’ts. And I really appreciate that you talk way more about nutrients, because as someone who has struggled with obsessively calorie counting, your blog never makes me want to obsess over calories. Thank you Sarah!

    1. You leave the most thoughtful comments, Emily. Thank you for sharing, truly. This feedback helps propel me to keep continuing what I do.

  6. Your blog is so relatable and I certainly knew your nutrition strategy without your specifically stating it. It simply comes through 🙂 One thing I’ve done to help my health is not worry about “too much” of anything. If my body wants it, then there’s a reason:-)

  7. Honestly, the world needs more dietitians like you, Kylie, Robyn and the others. The times I’ve worked with dietitians, they weren’t necessarily unsympathetic but trying to apply a certain standard protocol that didn’t suit me and in one case even made me feel sweets were bad. Stupid. And I was supposed to develop a healthier relationship with food as well as gain weight. I don’t want to imagine what these people told clients who wanted to loose weight …

  8. One thing I’ve noticed – and what helps tremendously with healthy eating – is that I physically feel better when I eat healthy. That’s just a fact and it makes it easier to plan for healthy foods. BUT, I am also a big believer in giving into cravings… because if you deprive yourself all the time, food becomes punishment and that is never a good relationship to have with food.
    Balance is everything.

  9. “…we’ll look at some research and talk about it.” This is always most helpful to me. It can be so easy to create “facts” and “stories” in our brains about why we should/shouldn’t eat something. But anytime I’ve had a dietician actually go to the books, and discuss the TRUTHS behind these “facts” I’ve learned, it’s been so much easier to battle those restrictive thoughts.

    You are a winner and I’d be so lucky to work with you.

    1. I think the research and biological nature of the body is important for people to know, and sometimes it helps for understanding.

  10. I love that a dietitian is saying that it’s not about cutting things out of your diet to be healthy! It’s way more important to enjoy life than not have a piece of cake and feel guilty on your birthday.
    One thing I’ve done this past year is get back into running! It’s been amazing and I’ve lost some fat around my middle which wasn’t the main goal but a nice effect 🙂

  11. I truly appreciate your balanced approach to wellness! This year so far, I’ve been more diligent about getting more sleep and continuing to battle overexercising.