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Nutrition Weekly Nourishments

Nutrition and Mental Health

Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC


Nutrition plays a critical role in supporting our physical health, but research has also shown the powerful impact it can have on our mental health. As we know, a full wellness approach can support the mind and body, so taking into account physical activity, stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation, as well as nourishing nutrition can help to fully support your health. Let’s review the recent literature together to learn more about the correlation between nutrition and mental health and which steps you might like to take to better support your wellness goals.


When it comes to mental health, major depression is one of the most common psychological diagnoses. In 2020, approximately 21 million US adults had experienced at least one major depressive episode. People with major depression tend to have high levels of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in their brain. When the body has excess monoamines, which are a type of neurotransmitter such as dopamine and serotonin, MAO is the enzyme that breaks down these excess neurotransmitters. Unfortunately, for people with major depression and therefore potentially high levels of MAO, serotonin and dopamine levels can be abnormally low due to the excess breakdown of these neurotransmitters. Fortunately, nutrition research has shown that some foods naturally inhibit MAO activity to prevent excessive breakdown of these important neurotransmitters for psychological regulation. For example, apples, berries, green tea, onions, peaches, and pears all contain phytonutrients that have the ability to inhibit MAO activity. Overall, research participants who consume more fruits and vegetables demonstrate increased levels of happiness, energy, and an overall sense of calmness compared to control participants. If you are experiencing depression or have in the past, working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian one-on-one can be imperative to create a safe, feasible, and realistic nutrition plan together that meets your individual preferences and goals, while taking into account any medications and lifestyle factors. 


Anxiety and other panic disorders are a common diagnosis among US adults. Currently, approximately 40 million US adults experience anxiety or other panic disorders each year. Research has indicated a growing association between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and depression and anxiety. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, nuts and seeds including flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts, and vegetable oils such as soybean oil and canola oil. As you work with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian, together you can review if you are consuming adequate amounts of omega-3 PUFAs. Patients diagnosed with anxiety and other panic disorders may also be advised to limit caffeine and alcohol intake. Food and beverage sources of caffeine and alcohol may worsen symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders. Your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can creatively meet your dietary preferences by suggesting alternative solutions to meet your needs, while still supporting your taste preferences and matching your lifestyle.


Nutrition has shown that it may play a role in impacting obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Researchers have noticed that patients with OCD tend to have lower levels of vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which may demonstrate that vitamin B12 and vitamin D may be involved in the etiology of OCD, as well as the severity of the disorder. Alternatively, researchers have argued that vitamin B12 deficiency or insufficiency may be a side effect of OCD, rather than it having a causational effect. Either way, ensuring adequate vitamin B12 intake regardless of mental health status is vital to prevent deficiency. Food sources of vitamin B12 include animal-based proteins and products, including meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. Plant-based vitamin B12 food sources include nutritional yeast and fortified foods, but working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian is imperative to ensure adequate amounts of plant-based vitamin B12-rich foods are included in your diet because absorption is impacted by dose and food source. Vitamin D-rich foods include fatty fish such as salmon and eggs, as well as vitamin D-fortified foods such as orange juice and cereal. Your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can review your intake and work with you individually to make sure you are consuming enough vitamin D-rich foods. Your nutrition specialist can also assist with supplementation recommendations if needed. Of note, research has shown an improved correlation between stress management (specifically yoga) and OCD. Integrating yoga with its many different forms may be something that patients with OCD also consider as part of their lifestyle routine. No matter the reason you may seek a yoga practice, Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness offers both in-person and virtual yoga classes with all experience levels welcome!

Bipolar disorder has a growing and variable amount of research when it comes to its relationship with nutrition. Some studies have indicated the importance and impact that omega-3 fatty acids may play on the disorder, while other research has shown no correlation. In this case, your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can provide you with the latest evidence-based research and will take into account your medications, any other diagnoses you may have, as well as your overall nutrient intake in order to provide you with individualized nutrition therapy recommendations.

Nutrition has also proven to play an influential role in optimizing brain health and delaying brain aging. Approximately 5.8 million people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias in the United States. Research has demonstrated the association between oxidative stress and chronic, low-grade inflammation as major risk factors for brain aging and dementia. Therefore, antioxidant-rich foods have demonstrated their effectiveness at preventing or delaying the onset of dementia and improving brain cognition. Overall, increasing fruits, vegetables, and nuts have shown to be beneficial in improving cognitive ability. Specific antioxidants that have been of focus in the literature include carotenoids (specifically lutein and zeaxanthin) and flavonoids (specifically anthocyanins). Lutein and zeaxanthin-rich foods include spinach, kale, and collard greens. Berries, red cabbage, plums, and cherries are rich in anthocyanins and can be easy and delicious additions to your meals and snacks. Working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can be supportive when beginning to include antioxidant-rich foods. Together, your dietitian can modify your current recipes and suggest affordable and delicious approaches to increase these foods in your life in a simple manner to optimize brain health.


For clients looking to focus on their nutrition for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there is a growing body of literature on this topic with still many mixed results and inconclusive evidence. Some studies have demonstrated specific nutrient deficiencies, while other research has shown that suboptimal nutrient intake due to the nature of the disorder may be the cause of the nutrient deficiencies, rather than the deficiencies causing the disorder. Emerging research on the gut microbiome and its influence on ADHD has shown few results, however it may be worth considering probiotics in specific situations. Ensuring a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet assisted by consistent intake can be one of the most supportive approaches for patients with ADHD. Your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can provide you with realistic lifestyle modifications that may include reminders and cues to ensure adequate, high quality intake. The dietitian will also keep you up-to-date with the latest evidence and information regarding ADHD and diet. Patients looking to implement an elimination diet, followed by a re-introduction phase should always work with a Registered Dietitian. These clients can greatly benefit from the expertise and guidance of a dietitian given the restrictive nature of these diets and their multifactorial approach to avoid over-restriction, potential deficiencies, and lifestyle disruption.


The importance of regular, consistent intake along with a positive relationship with food has also shown to have a significant impact on our mental health. A positive relationship with your food intake allows for increased meal and snack satisfaction, flavor enjoyment, and adequate and accurate satiation. A relationship with food that needs healing can impact our mental health, as it can contribute to circular, distracting thoughts about food. Equally, the opposite can occur as well. If our mental health has us thinking about foods in a negative context, labeling or judging foods or food groups, or creating any level of guilt, then it can impact our relationship with food. This process can then become cyclical with our relationship with food impacting our mental health and our mental health contributing to our relationship with food. Working with an interdisciplinary team that includes a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Therapist or Psychiatrist or Psychologist can have a profound impact on healing your relationship with food or working through any mental health considerations that may be impacting your relationship with food. We want the experience of eating to be enjoyable for you! We want you to be able to enjoy the taste, texture, fullness, satisfaction, satiety, traditions, memories, and nostalgia that food provides. If this relates to you, working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can help you build an individualized plan to heal your relationship with food.


Many clients may consider turning to supplements to help boost their nutrient intake in order to support their mental health. Unfortunately, supplements are not monitored nor approved for effectiveness by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Preference may be made towards increasing nutrient intake by choosing whole food sources. Choosing foods rich in specific nutrients helps increase your intake in a safe, satisfying, and often cost-effective manner, while also having the benefit of consuming other nutrients in the food. For example, omega-3 which walnuts also provide fiber, protein, copper, manganese, vitamin E, and magnesium. While an omega-3 rich supplement may only provide the omega-3 fatty acids. Of course working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian is vital to create the optimal supplementation plan for you. In some cases, supplements can be safe and may better meet your lifestyle and nutrition needs. Your dietitian can also review any drug-nutrient or nutrient-nutrient interactions to be aware of when choosing foods and supplements to ensure maximum safety and optimal absorption.

Although we have reviewed just a small number of mental health topics and diagnoses, your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can discuss any mental illness or mental health concerns you may have. Your specialist will take into account your individual needs after reviewing your medical history, current lifestyle, dietary preferences, and eating patterns. Together you will create a safe, realistic, affordable, and delicious individualized plan that supports you to meet your goals and preferences.




Brierley, Mary-Ellen E., et al. “Lifestyle Interventions in the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders: A Systematic Review.” Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 83, no. 8, 2021, pp. 817–833., 

Esnafoğlu, Erman, and Elif Yaman. “Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Homocysteine and Vitamin D Levels in Children and Adolescents with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.” Psychiatry Research, vol. 254, 2017, pp. 232–237., 

“Facts & Statistics: Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA.” Facts & Statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, 

Hammond BR;Miller LS;Bello MO;Lindbergh CA;Mewborn C;Renzi-Hammond LM; “Effects of Lutein/Zeaxanthin Supplementation on the Cognitive Function of Community Dwelling Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Masked, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 

Klevebrant, Lisa, and Andreas Frick. “Effects of Caffeine on Anxiety and Panic Attacks in Patients with Panic Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” General Hospital Psychiatry, vol. 74, 2022, pp. 22–31., 

Lange, Klaus W. “Micronutrients and Diets in the Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Chances and Pitfalls.” Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol. 11, 26 Feb. 2020, 

Larrieu, Thomas, and Sophie Layé. “Food for Mood: Relevance of Nutritional Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Depression and Anxiety.” Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 9, 2018, 

Lindbergh CA;Mewborn CM;Hammond BR;Renzi-Hammond LM;Curran-Celentano JM;Miller LS; “Relationship of Lutein and Zeaxanthin Levels to Neurocognitive Functioning: An Fmri Study of Older Adults.” Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 

“Major Depression.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 

Marzo, Claudio Marcello, et al. “Inhibition of Human Monoamine Oxidases A and B by Specialized Metabolites Present in Fresh Common Fruits and Vegetables.” Plants (Basel, Switzerland), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 Jan. 2022, 

Mewborn CM;Terry DP;Renzi-Hammond LM;Hammond BR;Miller LS; “Relation of Retinal and Serum Lutein and Zeaxanthin to White Matter Integrity in Older Adults: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study.” Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology : the Official Journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 

Millichap, J Gordon, and Michelle M Yee. “The Diet Factor in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” Pediatrics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 9 Jan. 2012, 

Saunders, Erika F., et al. “Adjunctive Dietary Intervention for Bipolar Disorder: A Randomized, Controlled, Parallel‐Group, Modified Double‐Blinded Trial of a High N‐3 plus Low N‐6 Diet.” Bipolar Disorders, vol. 24, no. 2, 2021, pp. 171–184., 

Pinto, Sofia, et al. “Eating Patterns and Dietary Interventions in ADHD: A Narrative Review.” Nutrients, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 16 Oct. 2022, 

“The Truth about Aging and Dementia.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Aug. 2019, 

Upadhyaya, Suneet Kumar, and Archana Sharma. “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Due to B12 Deficiency: Justification Required.” Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, vol. 34, no. 3, 2012, pp. 298–299., 

Vilarim, Marina Machado, et al. “Caffeine Challenge Test and Panic Disorder: A Systematic Literature Review.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, vol. 11, no. 8, 2011, pp. 1185–1195., 

Nutrition Weekly Nourishments

Eating Mindfully: One Bite at a Time

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

What does eating mindfully mean? Eating mindfully encourages you to be aware of your meal, surroundings (including any distractions), appetite, pace, and emotions at meal and snack time. All of these components help shape us to be more mindful at each meal and snack. Eating mindfully not only helps us meet our nutrition goals, but it provides surprising benefits, such as promoting meal enjoyment and gratification. Today we’re going to focus on the pace of our meals and how being mindful of our pace can help us to meet our nutrition goals.

In a world of convenience and fast-paced schedules, our meals tend to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. Convenience, take-out, increased commutes, and busy schedules have all led us to speed up our meal and snack times. Many people find themselves eating on the go more than ever before. We may eat in the car, while running in-between errands, during a family member’s sports event, or throughout the workday. Unfortunately, getting more time to spend at meals isn’t always the easiest, but understanding the importance of being mindful wherever your mealtime occurs, may encourage you to make mindfulness your priority.

No matter where your meal or snack takes you, whether it’s on the go or sitting down at the family dinner table, time plays an important role. Firstly, our appetite and hormones depend on the duration of our meal. It takes time for our digestive system to send fullness signals to our brain, telling us that we’re no longer hungry. If we eat our meal very quickly, that fullness cue may not be received yet. If our brain still thinks we’re hungry and we don’t feel full, then we may venture for additional servings of our meal before those hormone signals get to their final destination. However, if we take our time at our meals and allow our hunger/fullness signals to work, then we can accurately assess if our body needs to be nourished with additional servings. If we take 20-30 minutes to complete a meal and we are still feeling hungry afterward, then we know our bodies our telling us that we need more nourishment.

By slowing down our eating pace at meals, we’re able to savor our meals and really enjoy the hard work and money spent on the meal. Take note of the flavors, aromas, colors, temperatures, and textures. Do these characteristics change from the beginning to the end of the meal? Can you brainstorm how you will prepare the meal differently next time? Can you substitute simple swaps to nourish your body differently the next time you prepare this meal? For meals eaten out, can you prepare the meal similarly at home? Can you request substitutes for simple swaps to nourish your body differently the next time you order the meal? Slowing down the pace of our meal helps us be more aware of the meal we are eating. It gives us a moment to sit, eat, and reflect. Time is so valuable to capture these nourishing details.

Now that we know some reasons as to why we want to slow down our meals, let’s discuss some tips about how we can slow down our meal pace. One approach is to put your fork or spoon down in-between bites. If your meal has finger foods, you may choose to place your hands in your lap in-between bites. This habit may take practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be enjoying your meal one bite at a time.

You may also find it helpful to avoid cutting up your meal at the beginning. Instead, choose to slice or cut each bite individually as you eat your meal. This will help to slow down the meal time and allow you to be mindful of your pace.

Another tip you may find useful is to use your non-dominant hand when eating. Often times, we may rush through our meals using our dominant hand without taking a break. Sometimes we have our next bite loaded on our fork before we’re mid-way through chewing our current bite. Due to lack of coordination, our non-dominant hand often slows down the pace of our meal naturally.

As we know, we can’t always control where we eat, including our busy schedules. But, if you find yourself eating on the run or in a short period of time, try to maximize that time and lengthen your eating pace within the time you have. For example, if you only have a 30-minute lunch break and you typically finish your meal in the first 10 minutes, work to pace and lengthen your meal to take the full 25-30 minutes you have. If you find yourself eating in the car in-between errands, the tips above can help to lengthen your meal.

Enjoy your food and any company that may be joining you in-between bites. If you’re alone, savor the meal and note the characteristics we discussed earlier. Engage in conversation or think about your meal. Your new pace will allow you to reflect on your appetite, emotions, and overall feelings about the meal.

Every person has their own individual nutrition goals. The few tips reviewed here are just a short list of the full toolbox that you and your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can use to help focus on meal and snack time pace. Not all tips work for every individual, so working closely with your consultant will bring you the most individualized success to meet your goals and improve your mindfulness at meals. Touch base with the your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to review your current mindfulness and brainstorm additional tips of how to improve mealtime mindfulness overall.

Nutrition Weekly Nourishments

Eating Mindfully: The Power of a Distraction-Free Meal

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

As we’ve reviewed previously, eating mindfully encourages you to be aware of your meal, surroundings (including any distractions), appetite, pace, and emotions at meal and snack time. All of these components help shape us to be more mindful at each meal and snack. Eating mindfully not only helps us meet our nutrition goals, but it provides surprising benefits, such as promoting meal enjoyment and gratification. In the past, we’ve talked about the importance of meal pace and slowing down our meal and snack times. As we venture on our journey to learn more about mindfulness at meals, let’s review the importance of distraction at mealtime.

Distraction is a valuable component that we can try to reduce when eating meals and snacks. When we are distracted, we are removed from being in the moment. When it comes to meals and snacks, this means that being distracted reduces our attention span. We pay less attention to the foods’ flavors, the pace of our meal, our hunger/fullness cues, as well as the hard work put in to prepare the meal. If we pay less attention to our pace and hunger/fullness cues, then we are likely to consume more than our body requires. On the other hand, if we are distracted and aren’t mindful of our portion sizes, then we may also not nourish our bodies enough. Distraction can also draw us away from paying attention to the meal or snack details. The flavors of our foods are so rich and varied. Paying attention to these flavors and enjoying them plays a significant role in our ability to nourish our bodies and feel satisfied. Taking note of the hard work you or someone else put in to prepare the meal or snack creates appreciation for the meal, which helps to add satisfaction to the meal or snack.

Reducing distraction at meals takes some self-awareness. Reducing distraction is possible no matter where you are when you eat your meal or snack. If you typically eat meals at home at the dinner table, take note if the television is on or if your phone is nearby. Evaluate who you eat with as well and if they bring distractive items to the table. Eating with others is less of a distraction and more of an asset to your meal if all members are engaged in the meal and with each other. If you are on the run and find yourself eating in the car, can you wait to eat your meal when you park or when you arrive to your destination? Driving while eating is very distracting and can also be unsafe. If you typically eat at your desk at work, see if you can take a moment to pause and eat, instead of working while eating.

Most of these behaviors have become habit for many of us, so making a change may take time. Start small with these behavior change goals and work to achieve a new habit over time. For example, if you typically eat with the television on each night at dinner, aim to reduce screen time by 1 night every week. If you typically eat while driving, see if you can plan to eat either before or after driving once each week. For those people who eat while they work at their desk, choose one day each week to take pause and eat lunch away from the computer or workload. Even if this means eating half your meal away from your workload at first, know that you’re making progress!

For some people, removing these distractions feels like an uncomfortable change. You can easily substitute non-distracting behaviors in place of distraction to help you stay mindful at meals. For example, if you typically eat meals in front of the television, see if you can replace the television with some of your favorite music. If you are eating with friends or family, engage in conversation. Encourage children at the table to talk about the meal and all of the ingredients it takes to make something so delicious. Take the time to talk about your day or things that are on your mind with your family or friends. If you’ve chosen to limit eating while working but feel tempted to just pick up your phone instead, see if you can try just a few minutes at a time sitting and eating without any screens or work. Take note of the foods you’re consuming. If you eat near a window or outside, take in the view if possible. If you’re not near a view and are sitting at your desk with the computer and phone off and your workload put aside, take note of the flavors in your meal as you enjoy your food bite by bite.

It may feel a bit out of sorts at first but taking the time to mindfully eat with less distraction is a powerful tool to keep you on your nutrition and wellness journey. Touch base with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to review how you can individually reduce distraction at meals. These recommendations will be tailored just for you to help you meet your individual goals and stay on track because we all have our own specific goals.


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Nutrition Weekly Nourishments

Creating a Lifestyle Change

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

Now more than ever, we are focusing on our health and wellness. We are recognizing the importance of our overall wellbeing and the significant impact it can have to support our lifelong goals and long-term health. Investing in your health now may not only save you time, money, and complications down the road, but it can give you years back in your life, filled with rich wellbeing, so that you can be your best self for the rest of your life. When you work with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer, or Yoga Coach, you know that you are investing in your health with the guide of trained and certified professionals with years of experience, ready to provide you with evidence-based recommendations. When you invest in your health with Nuleeu, you make the decision to create a lifestyle change.

Now, you’re asking, “what’s the difference between a lifestyle change and a diet or a fitness program?” The answer is everything. A lifestyle change doesn’t have bookends. There’s no start and stop like many diets or regimens function. There’s no yo-yo dieting, circling through nutrition trends, or feeling deprived for temporary periods of time, just to look forward to enjoying the real foods you like when the plan finishes. A lifestyle change doesn’t include unrealistic fitness routines and demanding requirements. This type of transformation is all about changing your life so that you can eat, play, and live doing the things that feel fun instead of like work and eating the foods you love.

At Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness, your lifestyle change starts the day that you decide to put your health and wellness first. A lifestyle change will change your life forever and for the better. An individualized lifestyle change is exactly what we all need so that the changes we make support our lifestyle and meet our own specific goals. There’s no one-size-fits-all lifestyle change. Your life is so unique to you and the changes that need to occur have to be just as unique and specialized!

The best thing about a lifestyle change is that it’s manageable and sustainable. Lifestyle changes take time as they need to fit into your life to be practical. They take time because they rely on building habits. Habit building is a journey in itself, since research shows that it takes approximately 66 days to start a new habit and stick with it. Developing and creating these habits are just what we all need in order to implement a lifestyle change tailored just for ourselves. We have likely all been there before. Starting a new routine or plan and feeling excited and enthusiastic in the beginning. But because the plan isn’t realistic and manageable, the newness ends up fading and we fall “off track”. In order for your health and wellness goals to be met for the rest of your life, we all have to stay on track- and that track is just living your life.

No one wants to feel like they’re “on a diet”, “on a meal plan,” or “on a fitness regimen.” We all just want to live and be our best selves every day. Nourish and support your body so that it has the fuel and energy to do all the things you love to do. A Nuleeu lifestyle change will ensure your body has everything it needs to run errands, be a coach for your kids, enjoy vacations, manage stress, and spend time with grandchildren, just to name a few of the millions of activities we want your body to be nourished for. A Nuleeu lifestyle change also ensures that your body safely engages in these activities as you incorporate safe, effective, and practical fitness into your life.

Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness has a number of individualized lifestyle change options. Whether you work one-on-one with a Nuleeu Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer, or Yoga Coach, or you dive into our tailored, affordable, state-of-the-art Nuleeu Connect Memberships, prepare to experience a lifestyle change that will support you for years and years to come. There’s no better time to choose to put your health and wellness first. If you’re waiting for the perfect moment to start a lifestyle change, know that today is the moment to make your lifestyle change perfect.

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Nutrition Weekly Nourishments

Our Non-Diet Approach

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

How many of us have ever been on a diet? How many people do you know who have ever been on a diet? Do you see how many hands are raised? If I had to guess, I would say everyone has their hands up. We can likely all say that we have either been on a diet ourselves or know someone who has. Diets are so common in our culture. In fact, they’re almost synonymous with holidays! Think about New Year’s Day. It seems like the entire country starts on a new diet on January 1. Since diets run so common around us, they must be successful, right? There certainly must be a best diet out there that always ensures success. Now the real question is: how many of us have been on a diet or know of someone who has, and experienced long-term, forever success while enjoying their food, meeting their wellness goals, and living their best, sustainable life?

Unfortunately, not many of us (if any) have our hands raised now.

This is the reason why your professionals at Nuleeu encourage a no-diet approach. This is because diets don’t work. We love food and we follow the idea that all foods fit.

Of course we all want results, something guaranteed, and perhaps something with quick outcomes. Knowing that your health takes patience and invested time, diets don’t work because they’re like bookends. They have a clear start and a clear end. After we stop, we usually see our results fade and our previous state come right back to where it started. This can be anything! Whether it’s your blood sugar uncontrolled again, poor sleep, reduced strength, or added weight gain, when we’re “off the diet,” we’re back to reality. And the reality is that diets are unsustainable, difficult to follow, and frankly, unenjoyable. They’re also lonely! When we’re on a diet, we’re usually starting off that “I’m on a diet” sentence with, “No, thank you…I’m on a diet” or “I can’t because….I’m on a diet.” Restrictive, unsustainable diets create walls around us. Many clients describe feeling excluded at holidays and parties when they’ve been on a diet in the past. If you our someone you know has been on a diet, it’s common to feel excluded or separated from friends and family as they eat out at restaurants or share in the experience of eating potluck-style at parties and holidays. 

Diets always bring the hype in the beginning. They’re something new and exciting to follow, so they bring hope. No matter your nutrition goals, diets are exactly as their name implies. They’re something temporary. Since we say we’re “on a diet,” this implies that we’re on something and will later be off of it. In fact, it’d be great if we could call them “short-term food changes,” “unenjoyable restrictions,” or even “expensive ways to see results for a short period of time.” 

The cost of a diet adds up in the end because we’re left investing in something that didn’t last. Some diets make us jump through hoops, sometimes restricting foods we love, counting and calculating numbers throughout the day, or paying for bland meals, shakes, and snacks, just to name a few. Diet trends have been endless. But these diet components can lead us nowhere. If we restrict food, we may end up craving those foods even more later. If we spend our days counting and calculating, we lose our valuable time without gaining insight into the core of the nutrition information. If we only receive pre-prepared meals, snacks, or shakes without education, then when the deliveries stop, we’re left confused and uninformed about how to carry on.

Ideally, instead of saying, “I’m on a diet,” we at Nuleeu want to change that to, “I made a lifestyle change and this is how I eat and live now. And I love it!” Our non-diet approach is individualized and tailored to you, because we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all recommendations. We’re all different and we all require different needs, modifications, and recommendations. What works for one person, may not work for another. What works for one person in the beginning, may not work for them in the long-run, so we work together to find the most successful, sustainable nutrition changes for you to change your life.

One of the best parts of making such a nutrition lifestyle change, is that you get to share this information with your friends, family, and loved ones. Healthy habits are contagious and motivating! So instead of feeling excluded at a cookout or holiday gathering, you’ll have a healthful mindset that includes balance and inclusivity. 

We want to share our evidence-based recommendations with you, so that when we’re done working together, you continue to meet your wellness goals without the need of your Nuleeu coach. The great thing about a non-diet approach, is that it’s easy to follow forever. This way, you can enjoy living your life independently and sustainably, while successfully maintaining your wellness goals for years and years to come. Contact your Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness Registered Dietitian or professional coach to discuss the best program options for you to meet your specific needs and start your path of lifelong success.


Ready for a diet-free holiday?

Join us for our Diet-Free Holiday Celebrations!

We are hosting several workshops through the holidays to support lifestyle living without dieting. We focus on lifestyle changes not fad diets or extremes to support long term wellness.

Grab a spot in a free workshop! All Workshops 
Workshops are Sundays from 1-3pm
A deep Relaxation experience, join us for a yoga flow that supports deep relaxation and recovery and experience a Sound Bath with Eileen that uses sounds and vibrations to support total relaxation!
Ready to have fun with fitness? Join us as we explore new and fun ways to move your body without the shame, guilt or stress!
we all know sleep is key to wellness. Join us as we explore movement and meditation that can support improved sleep!
All workshops are 90 minutes to 2 hours in length. Workshops are for a smaller group of participants but allow for deeper learning. Participants will leave with a plan to maintain the information in their daily routine. Workshops come with workbook, additional materials and more!
Nutrition Weekly Nourishments

Consistency, Reminders, Intention

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

Making any behavior change requires intention and consistency to achieve our goals. Any new change that you set to accomplish in your life will require a new habit to be formed. Of course, we want to achieve our goals as quickly as possible, but we also want them to be safe, long-lasting, and achieve the outcomes we intend. When looking to make changes in your nutrition, fitness, or wellness lifestyle, starting with a habit is key.

Research shows that it takes approximately 66 days to start a new habit and stick with it. This is quite a bit of time to allow ourselves some grace as we may forget our new habit until it becomes routine. Knowing up front that it will take some time to create a habit, helps to set the ground for realistic expectations. For example, say your new goal is to incorporate at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable at every meal. Evaluating where we are starting at, we notice that we currently only eat 1 fruit at lunch and 1 vegetable at dinner. We have room to make improvements with our nutrition and we find ourselves eager to get working towards this goal. First, you may plan out your meals and choose fruits and vegetables ahead of time that you intend to incorporate in your meals. Having a plan is a great way to follow a path to your goal. Of course, life doesn’t always go as planned, so having back-up options available is a great idea. You may keep a banana, orange, or raisins at your desk at work to have as back-up in the event the cafeteria doesn’t offer a fruit or vegetable option that you like one day. You may keep a bag of pre-washed, ready-to-use spinach in the refrigerator to quickly add to sandwiches or prepare a side salad for quick, last-minute weeknight meals. For those times when you are attending a birthday party or cookout, you may plan to have your fruit or vegetable as a snack after the get-together in the event that fruits and vegetables are not offered. Due to the time commitment involved with forming a habit, give yourself flexibility with establishing your routine.

Once you have intention set, it’s important to have cues and reminders set to keep us on track. Reminders help to cue us on the behavior change we’d like to see. Let’s take our fruit and vegetable example again. If at every dinner, you serve your protein and grain on the right side of the plate (instead of the center), then there will be an open area to be filled on the left side of the plate, perhaps reminding you to fill that plate with at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable. Some people benefit from visual cues upon an action. For example, if you pack your lunch daily for work or school, you may put a sticky note near where you store your lunch bag. Every time you go to get your lunch bag to pack, you’ll see the sticky note reminding you to double check your lunch and if it includes at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable. If you typically make oatmeal for breakfast, you may put a sticky note on the oatmeal box or microwave to include a fruit or vegetable. Other people prefer to stay digital, so setting reminders on your phone at the time you go to lunch every day, or the time you typically eat or prepare dinner is another great reminder method! Another option is to include others. Tell your spouse, roommate, or colleague about your goal, and recruit them to help keep you on track. Consider your route. Review the route that you take and evaluate if another route would help you meet your goals. If you typically drive home and stop at a particular fast food location that offers limited fruit and vegetable options, consider driving another route home to break the habit. Think of other restaurant options that may better help you meet your goals, or skip the fast food altogether and plan to prepare your meal at home. If you’re headed to the workplace cafeteria, see if you can walk first by the fruit and vegetable station instead of the vending machine to remind you of your goal. Be forgiving of yourself if you forget to meet your habit even after seeing the reminder. Feel free to make adjustments to your reminder locations, times, and methods.

Keep your intention at the forefront of your mind. When we stay invested in our goals, we’re more likely to follow our cues and reminders to form the habits we need in order to achieve our goals. Review why you set your goal to begin with. Reflect on the accomplishments you’ve achieved along the way. Some people prefer to see it visually, so feel free to create a calendar or schedule that marks your achievements. Create a calendar with breakfast, lunch, and dinner written on every day. Every time you include 1 fruit and 1 vegetable at a meal, give yourself a checkmark or a sticker!
In the end, you’ll have compiled a number of achievements that you can reflect on. These achievements will help you stay motivated along the way.



Lally P, van Jaarsveld CHM, Potts HWW, Wardle J. How are habits formed: modelling habit formation in the real world. Euro J Soc Psychol. 2010;40:998–1009.


Nutrition and Fertility for Women

Author: Mattie Hinson, ACE-CPT, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Weight Management Specialist and Health Coach

Factors affecting fertility are great and varied amongst women. Nutrition and exercise can have big impacts for fertility health.

FIRST, let it be known that fertility health is for all premenopausal women. Often, we think about fertility equating to the act of becoming pregnant. While this is often true, your fertility has great impacts on the rest of your body health. In other words, how “fertile” you are is a great indication of your overall health. In fact, having a regular, predictable, and manageable menstrual cycle (not birth control bleed) is one of the best windows into your fertility health.

But, hold on, I said fertility health is for all women to care about even if you are not actively trying to get pregnant. Why? Your fertility is directed by other systems in the body. Often, if you are having trouble with your menstrual cycle, getting pregnant or fertility issues, something else is going wrong in the body. Fertility reflects adequate metabolic health, protects bones, and is important for cardiovascular health.

Luckily, there are some easy things you can do and include in your lifestyle to help increase your fertility and strengthen your reproductive health.

-REDUCE STRESS. This is huge. Stress in any form—be it physical, mental or emotional is a fertility killer. Make sure that you are taking time out of your busy life to do things that you enjoy and to rest.

-TRACK, TRACK, TRACK. Keep a “period journal” and write down everything from feelings, moods, hunger levels, exercise, cervical mucus (yes, you need to pay attention to that). Get in touch with your cycle length, what stressors affect it and how you feel. Having a regular, predictable cycle is a winning way to get pregnant easily. Also, there are lots of apps out there that help you keep track of what is happening with your cycle!

-SLEEP well. Ensure that you get adequate and quality sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours per night.

-EAT PLENTY. Not the time to diet. Living in a calorie deficit may cause ovulation problems which can interfere with your ability to get pregnant.

-FLAX SEED. Include about 1 tablespoon per day. Flax seed is a phytoestrogen that can help

increase natural estrogen levels in your body. It has also been found to help regulate cycles.

-VITAMIN C. You may consider a Vitamin C supplement if you have a short window from the time you ovulate to the time you start your period. This is called a short luteal phase and has been linked to trouble getting or staying pregnant. Vitamin C can help extend the luteal phase!

-FULL FAT DAIRY. Ditch the fat free and low-fat products (and never go back again). Full fat dairy is protective of ovulation while low-fat and fat free dairy has been found to contribute to ovulatory dysfunction.

-FATS. Make sure you eat enough fats which help with hormone production. You will need this to make a baby, folks. Include sources like nuts, nut butters, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, avocados.

-Exercise MODERATELY. Probably not the time to start a 5-day per week boot camp program or train for a marathon. While exercise in moderation is great for your body in so many ways, it is a stressor. Remember, stress is not so good for fertility. Incorporate moderate exercise like walking, jogging and strength training a few times per week. Skip the high intensity for now.

-PRENATAL. Consider including a high-quality whole foods prenatal vitamin. Ensuring that your vitamin and mineral levels are topped off will help to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy. A LOT of baby development happens before many women even know if they are pregnant so ensuring good nutrition before pregnancy is a great idea.

-ANTIOXIDANTS. These are components in foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains and work to keep your cells healthy. Instead of trying to aim for one type of antioxidant, include a rainbow of colors on your plate. Antioxidants help make healthy cells which will encourage a healthy cycle and fertility.

-Reduce ALCOHOL. Chronic and excessive alcohol ingestion puts a major strain on your organs and can contribute to nutrient deficiencies. However, don’t be afraid to include alcohol in moderate amounts. There are benefits including antioxidant content, micronutrients, and stress reduction if alcohol is something that you enjoy.

-TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. In whatever form that means. Prioritize your health—physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Chill out and find something to smile about. Have “you” time. Practice self-care. Enjoy the time before you have children. It is ALL so precious.

Remember to reach out to an expert at Nuleeu for more guidance on how your diet and exercise might be impacting your fertility health!




Schedule a Free Initial Consultation to Learn More







Shmerling R. Fertility and Diet: Is there a Connection? Harvard Health Publishing. 2018.


Panth N et al. The Influence of Diet on Fertility and the Implications for Public Health Nutrition in the United States. Front Public Health. 2018.


Snacks for the Little Ones

Doesn’t it seem like our child’s days revolve around eating? It’s true! Children are hungry little ones and rightfully so because their bodies are growing so quickly and they have endless energy that needs fueling! Kids’ little tummies can only hold so much at mealtime. Three meals are important to maintain structure in a child’s diet, but snacks are important to help bridge their nutrition in-between meals.

Healthy, kid-approved snacks are a great way to ensure that children receive a balanced diet. Snacks not only provide calories, but can also provide important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients. Use these five tips to make perfect healthy snacks that any child (or adult) will be sure to eat.

Food group pairings

In order to help kids eat a variety of foods from all of the food groups, try to incorporate at least 2 food groups in a snack. Check out the following examples of kid-friendly snack ideas that pair different food groups:

  • Protein + grain = hard-boiled egg + crackers
  • Vegetable + protein = baby carrots + hummus
  • Fruit + protein = apple + peanut butter
  • Dairy + fruit = yogurt + berries

In order to help kids eat a variety of foods from all of the food groups, try to incorporate at least 2 food groups in a snack. Check out the following examples of kid-friendly snack ideas that pair different food groups:

The meaning of snack size

Children’s stomachs are small and since they empty quickly, children need small portions frequently throughout the day. It’s important to maintain meal size and snack size though, and avoid letting children snack or “graze” all day long. If children are allowed to nibble on snacks throughout the day, they miss out on feeling hungry and full. These important cues for children to learn. Of course many children would love to snack on chips, cookies, or other snacks with little vitamins and minerals. If children snack throughout the day, they never get hungry enough for a nutritious meal. It’s then more difficult to fit in healthy foods. Check out the following snack size tips:

  • Use small bowls and side plates and avoid eating directly from the bag or container. For example, portion out crackers in a small bowl or divide a portion of pretzels on a side plate.
  • Return the bag, box, or container back to the cupboard or pantry after serving snacks. For example, after serving crackers, close the box and return it back to the pantry to avoid second servings.
  • Use reusable storage containers or snack-size bags for portioning. For example, store trail mix in snack-size containers or bags.

Pre-portion snacks to grab and go

Now that we have snack size in mind, pre-portioning snacks and storing them in the pantry or refrigerator can save you time. This also helps to ensure that older children and teenagers grab appropriate portions instead of eating directly from the container. When days are busy, pre-portioned snacks help to save time and ensure healthy choices are made. For example, instead of heading for the cookies in the cupboard, having pre-washed grapes portioned in snack bags in the refrigerator makes it easier to eat a healthy snack on the go. Having ready-to-go foods such as clementines, pistachios, boxed raisins, or bananas make it easy for travel. Grab pre-portioned or ready-to-go snacks before a day of shopping, when running to activities after school or work, or have them on hand after sports or other children’s activities.

Get those little hands to help!

Many children love to help and snacks are a perfect opportunity to include them in the kitchen. Children are also more inclined to try a new food if they are involved in picking or preparing it. Children can portion popcorn into snack bags or count celery sticks into snack containers. If you have a picky eater, this is a prime opportunity to give them control. For example, if your child often declines vegetables, you can say, “what would you like with your hummus: sliced peppers or baby carrots?”  As the adult, you ensure a vegetable will be included, but it gives the child some control.

Out of sight out of mind

If there are snack foods that cause confrontation in your home, avoid having them in the house altogether. For example, if candy is in the home and children know it’s available, then it’s more difficult to encourage children to have a healthier snack. If only healthy snack options fill the kitchen, then the options for sugary snacks won’t be there. This change is helpful for not only children, but adults too!

Now that you’re snack smart, use these tips and ideas to make the healthiest kid-friendly snacks for your family. When you meet with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian, you will review additional healthy snack ideas that are individualized for you and your family to help you meet your goals. We look forward to working with you!

-Elizabeth Fay, MS, RDN, CNSC


5 Tips for Better Family Meals

When it comes to healthy eating for you and your family, the approach is certainly a team effort. Nutritious family meals can support every member of the family. Family mealtime offers one meal that can incorporate everyone’s food preferences and avoid parents and caregivers from being short order cooks. Let’s say goodbye to having the “kid’s” meal and the “adult” meal (unless, of course, there is a food allergy involved or food safety comes into play… more on that later!). Here are 5 tips to help you shape the most nutritious family meals for every member in your household.

1. Include fruits and vegetables at every meal

Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into children’s meals as soon as they start eating solids helps to create a custom. Eating different fruits and vegetables becomes the routine for all family members and over time, a meal almost feels “empty” without fruits and vegetables filling half of your plate. Don’t worry if you have older children or only adults in your family. It’s never too late to incorporate more fruits and vegetables and start a new routine!

2. Be a role model

Family members, especially children, will be more inclined to eat the family meal when they see their parents, caregivers, family members, etc. also eating the same meal. We want to be good role models for our children and family members, so we have to lead the way. For example, on homemade pizza night, children will be more responsive to eating the salad on the table if they see the adults eating the same.

3. Make one meal and stick to it

In order for family meals to be successful and simple, one meal should be prepared. Family members will quickly learn that only one meal is being prepared and there are no alternates. To help make the one meal a success, meal planning can include other family members. For example, each family member can pick a day and choose the menu. This helps to ensure everyone’s preferences are being accounted. Of course food allergies and taste preferences should always be taken into account. If there’s a food allergy, the food item should be avoided from the meal. If a family member has a specific taste preference, that item could be left out or added later. For example, a family member may dislike mushrooms. If stir-fry is for dinner, then the meal can be prepared and portioned out for that person and then finished with mushrooms for the remaining family members. When it comes to food safety, all precautions should be taken. Infants less than 1 year of age should not be given honey or foods containing honey. Young children’s meals need special attention to ensure all foods with choking hazards are avoided and meals are provided in bite-size pieces. Raw and undercooked foods such as meat and eggs should be avoided, but especially for children and older adults.

4. Cook in bulk and freeze leftovers for busy nights

When it comes to busy schedules, sometimes we’re faced with cooking very late or with little time. When you meal prep, you set yourself up for success for such days. Recipes can be doubled or tripled to portion and freeze extras to have on hand for busy nights. Even cooking and freezing staples such as rice, barley, beans, or quinoa can be very helpful to grab and go when you’re short on time. For example, it could be very helpful to have beans pre-cooked and ready to use on burrito night or have quinoa pre-cooked to quickly prepare a salad without having to start from scratch.

5. Recruit help

We all need help when it comes to family meals and extra hands can help bring success to mealtime. Adults, teens, adolescents, and even young children can be excellent helpers in the kitchen and dining room. Young children can set the table and set out condiments and other items. In addition, adolescents can help set the table, wash fruits and vegetables, pull out ingredients, wash dishes, and load the dishwasher. Teenagers and young adults can add extra help by chopping vegetables, washing pots and pans, and cleaning up as the meal is prepared. Other adults can help with meal prep by dividing and conquering the recipe. For example, one adult can chop the vegetables and prep items, while the other family member is in charge of stove top items such as preparing the sauce, cooking pasta, etc. Help from family members can promote pride. Children learn responsibility and they may be more inclined to eat the family meal after having contributed help.

When you receive your custom Nuleeu meal plan, use these tips to help speed up your meal prep or apply these tips on busy days and nights when plans may change unexpectedly. During your nutrition consultation, your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can also walk through additional family meal tips and provide individual recommendations for you and your family to ensure mealtime success!

-Elizabeth Fay, MS, RDN, CNSC


What’s a Serving Size?

As I grew up, I always thought that a serving was the amount of food I put on my plate. Although this is somewhat true, the nutrition in our food is based on the serving sizes we eat. If only the nutrition of 1 pizza slice equaled the nutrition of 3 slices I serve myself!

To help standardize nutrition information about our food, the USDA has standard serving sizes (also called portion sizes). This is particularly helpful when reviewing your custom meal plans created by your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian Nutritionist or when comparing the Nutrition Facts labels of different foods. Now that we’ve reviewed MyPlate in our previous blog post, we’re going to walk through each food group and review common serving sizes found in each category. Some of these servings may come as a surprise to you! You’ll also find examples of how many servings someone may eat when following MyPlate guidelines, based on an 1800-calorie diet.


Fruit servings are most often measured in cups. Picture a household measuring cup that you might use in the kitchen. Sometimes this is helpful to estimate fruit portions like grapes or raisins. For solids fruits, picture a tennis ball, which is equal to a medium piece of fruit or 1-cup serving. Below are some examples of 1-cup equivalent portion sizes of different fruits:

  • Applesauce= 1 cup
  • Dried fruits (prunes, raisins, etc.)= 1/2 cup
  • Grapes= 1 cup or 32 grapes
  • Orange= 1 large orange
  • Pineapple= 1 cup chunks, slices, etc.
  • Plum= 3 medium or 2 large plums
  • 100% Fruit Juice= 1 cup

For people following an 1800-calorie meal plan following MyPlate guidelines, it’s recommended that they consume 1 1/2 cups of fruit per day.


Fruits and vegetables are identical in their serving size approach. They both measure portions out using cups. Picture a baseball for easy reference when picturing a cup of vegetables. For leafy vegetables, the serving size is equal to 2 cups or 2 baseballs. When leafy greens are cooked, the serving size is 1 cup. Below are some examples of 1-cup equivalent portion sizes of different vegetables:

  • Beans= 1 cup whole or mashed
  • Broccoli= 1 cup chopped or 3 long spears
  • Celery= 1 cup or 2 large stalks
  • Kale= 2 cups raw or 1 cup cooked
  • Pepper= 1 cup chopped or 1 large pepper
  • Tomato= 1 cup chopped or 1 large tomato
  • Tomato juice= 1 cup
  • Spinach= 1 cup cooked and 2 cups raw
  • Squash= 1 cup cooked, sliced, or diced
  • Sweet potato= 1 large sweet potato

For people following an 1800-calorie meal plan following MyPlate guidelines, it’s recommended that they consume 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day.


Grains get a little tricky with serving sizes, but we’re here to help! Grain serving sizes are measured in both ounces and cups. Since they are measured by weight and most of us don’t weigh our food, one trick is picturing the size of common items. One slice of sandwich bread the size of a CD cover is equal to a 1-ounce portion. When it comes to cold cereal, rice, barley, quinoa and other grains, think of a baseball as your measurement comparison. For a piece of baked bread such as cornbread, picture a bar of soap as a comparison size. Below are some examples of 1-ounce equivalent portion sizes of different grains:

  • Cornbread= 1 small slice (2 1/2” x 1 1/4” x 1. 1/4”)= 1 ounce
  • English muffin= 1/2 muffin= 1 ounce
  • Mini bagel= 1 mini bagel= 1 ounce
  • Oatmeal= 1/2 cup cooked= 1 packet oatmeal= 1 ounce
  • Popcorn= 3 cups popped= 1 ounce
  • Rice or pasta= 1/2 cup cooked= 1 ounce
  • Sandwich bread = 1 slice= 1 ounce
  • Tortillas= 1 small tortilla (6” diameter)= 1 ounce

For people following an 1800-calorie meal plan following MyPlate guidelines, it’s recommended that they consume 6 ounces of grains per day.


Protein foods are measured by weight as well. Since most of us aren’t weighing our food, protein foods can get tricky to calculate what’s a serving. Have no fear! We’re here to help you with tips and tricks. Here are some common examples of different protein foods and their ounce equivalents:

  • Almonds= 24 almonds= 2 ounces
  • Beans= 1/4 cooked beans= 1 ounce
  • Chicken= 1 small chicken breast the size of your palm= 3 to 4 ounces
  • Egg= 1 egg= 1 ounce
  • Egg White= 3 egg whites= 2 ounces
  • Peanut butter= 1 tablespoon= 1 ounce
  • Pistachios= 24 pistachios= 1 ounce protein equivalent
  • Tuna= 1 can of tuna drained= 3 to 4 ounces
  • Turkey slice= 1 deli slice= 1 ounce
  • Steak= 1 small steak= 3 1/2 to 4 ounces
  • Vegetarian bean burger= 1 patty= 2 ounces

For people following an 1800-calorie meal plan following MyPlate guidelines, it’s recommended that they consume 5 ounces of protein per day. This may be surprising for some of us because you may find restaurants serving an 8-ounce steak, which could be equal to the protein you need for one and a half days! Remember, protein itself can be found in all of the food groups, so we don’t have to rely on protein foods themselves to meet our protein needs.


Now we’re back to something a little more common. Dairy foods have a mix between foods measured in cups (think baseball again or a measuring cup) such as milk and yogurt, as well as measurements by weight such as cheese. Here are some examples of common dairy foods and their serving size equivalents.

  • Almond milk fortified= 1 cup
  • Cheese block= 9-volt battery= 1 cup dairy equivalent
  • Cheddar cheese= 2 slices= 1 cup dairy equivalent
  • Cottage cheese= 2 cups= 1 cup dairy equivalent
  • Evaporated milk= 1/2 cup= 1 cup dairy equivalent
  • Frozen yogurt= 1 cup
  • Milk= 1 cup
  • Shredded cheese= 1/3 cup= 1 cup dairy equivalent
  • Soymilk fortified= 1 cup
  • Yogurt= 1 regular container (8 ounces)= 1 cup

For people following an 1800-calorie meal plan following MyPlate guidelines, it’s recommended that they consume 3 cups of dairy foods per day.

Everyone has his or her own individual nutrition needs. Some of us need to consume more portions and some of us should consume fewer portions. As you receive your custom Nuleeu meal plan or Nuleeu meal delivery, look at the serving sizes and compare them to the knowledge you now have!

-Elizabeth Fay, MS, RDN, CNSC

1. “All about the Dairy Group.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 14 Dec. 2018,
2. “All About the Fruit Group.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 4 Jan. 2018,
3. “All about the Grains Group.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 3 Nov. 2017,
4. “All about the Protein Foods Group.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 10 Aug. 2018,
5. “All about the Vegetable Group.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 4 Jan. 2018,
6. “MyPlate Graphic Resources.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 3 Dec. 2018,
7. “MyPlate Plan: 1800 Calories, Age 14+.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 14 Aug. 2018,