My Guilt-Free RD® Philosophy (Hakuna Matata)

Jul 28, 2014

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I’m the Guilt-Free RD®.

Because food shouldn’t make you feel bad.

Since 1993, I’ve worked as a dietitian in many different settings (ranging from treatment to prevention) with many different types of patients and clients (including weight management, diabetes, eating disorders, heart health, maternal and child nutrition, and more). The common thread throughout my career, and in fact, the primary reason I became a dietitian, was to help people:
1. get past the nutrition fads, media hype and celebrity advice they hear every day;
2. make sense of nutrition information and make their own decisions based on facts, not fear;
3. and make healthy changes that they could really live with that would actually make a difference in their lives (and that wouldn’t be a waste of their time, money or worse yet, leave them feeling like nothing works so “why bother”).

My own personal experiences have shaped my approach to nutrition and have allowed me to better relate to those who struggle with nutrition and health issues.
Through my own life experiences and counseling others on nutrition and behavior change, I realized that feeling bad or guilty about food is very counterproductive.  On the contrary, when you feel empowered, you make better choices, you feel good about those choices, and you are better able to maintain healthier choices and behaviors.
I learned that there’s a lot of nutrition nonsense in the media and that the “headlines” don’t often match up to the “bottom line” takeaways people need to make meaningful changes in their diets and lifestyles.
I learned that we’re all trying to do the best we can and that no one wants to feel guilty, especially when it comes to their food.
I learned to embrace the sentiment that food should be enjoyed, savored and celebrated.

I didn’t always feel this way as I’ll explain along the way.

Whether to buy organic or conventional, what to make your family for dinner, which dessert or snack is the better choice on any given day….I’ll tackle these questions and more, sharing my guilt-free philosophy and insight, credible resources, and dietitian-approved tips and tools in order to help you make your own well-informed decisions and take meaningful steps toward better nutrition and health.

I also want to shout from the top of every mountain that dietitians are not the “food police”! We are more like coaches than referees! So if you need nutrition guidance, a dietitian is the key ingredient in your recipe for success. To find a dietitian near you, click here.

Below is just a sampling of my “guilt-free” views on food. Stay tuned for the next course!

In my professional experience, the average person eats too many carbs and yet fails to get enough whole grains and fiber in their diet. We know that most of us are lacking in fruits and vegetables, as well.  I’m not immune to these challenges and neither is my family. Here are a just a few ways we are addressing them.
We seek out fun sources of whole grains, such as popcorn, and are enjoying the new “sprouted grains, seeds and beans” trend! We enjoy whole fruits whenever possible (would you believe I used to feel guilty and avoid whole fruit?) but also utilize frozen, canned and dried fruits to help stretch us to our daily intake goals. I created a “Veggie Challenge” Pinterest Board to document and share real-life ways we get veggies in our diet in hopes that it will help others do the same.

While most of us are getting “enough” protein (to prevent a deficiency) – there is actually quite a wide range of acceptable protein intakes within the recommended range of 10-35% of calories from protein. And I am very intrigued by research that shows getting high quality protein in the diet (distributed throughout the day) is an effective way to manage weight, manage diabetes and fuel our bodies for various activities as well as aging.
My favorite ways to get protein are through dairy, eggs, beef, nuts and nut butters.  But getting more protein, especially at breakfast, can be challenging. Aiming for a serving of dairy at meals and/or snacks, adding whey protein to my water or iced coffee, having a bowl of hard-boiled eggs on hand at all times, and enjoying a lean cut of beef at lunch or dinner are some of the ways I get my protein throughout the day.

I’m keeping an eye on the emerging science (and the never-ending media attention) on the different types of fats in our diets and will share my impressions as I navigate these waters. I’ll also share how I try to strike the right balance when I choose oils, spreads, and other high-fat foods.

OK it’s not a food – but let’s face it, it’s a really big part of the equation! But not necessarily the calorie equation. I’ve gone from ballet to triathlons – and back! I’ll be talking about how my relationship with exercise has changed over the years and how different perceptions, expectations and approaches to exercise can make a difference.






If you’re hungry for realistic options that empower you to make healthier choices while bringing back the enjoyment of food, and thirsty for credible, meaningful, guilt-free nutrition insight, then I hope you’ll enjoy this blog and share it with others!

For more info on my background and credentials, click here and here.

To check out other posts on my “Food for Thought” blog, click here.

If you’re interested in my interviews with other dietitians, and their nutrition insight, click here.

Thank you for visiting my site! I hope you have a Guilt-Free day!




  1. Mary Klinger on September 9, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Great Post!

  2. […] Melissa’s Guilt-Free RD philosophy […]

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Thank you for stopping by!
ABOUTI’m the Guilt-Free RD® – “Because food shouldn’t make you feel bad!™”. So, on my Food for Thought blog I’m exploring the secret ingredients needed to enjoy your food with health in mind.  I’m also a “Dietitian Enthusiast” so I’m showcasing interviews with dietitians.  My “How To” Series shares practical advice to help boost communication skills and gain more visibility, influence and success.

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