When faced with either a box of donuts or the office vending machine, it can be difficult to make good dietary choices. Fortunately, there are people who recommend proper eating habits for a living. To that end, we sought out Rhonda Markman, DTR, ACE, a Hartsdale-based nutritionist and certified personal trainer. And even though she confesses to being “a bonafide grazer,” so as to avoid feeling “too hungry or too full,” Markman shared her recommendation for a healthful three-meals-a-day regimen, as well as some sage advice about sating your sweet tooth.
“I’m a big fan or trying to get protein, fat and carbs in at every meal,” says Markman. “My biggest carb load happens in the morning. I eat a bowl of cereal composed of a combination of high fiber bran, raw oats, and chopped nuts. I top that with blueberries, a few slices of banana, and pour on cashew milk. This breakfast does contain fat and protein, but it’s primarily carbohydrates.” Markman adds that she often exercises in the morning, and eats such a high-carb meal to replace the lost glycogen stores. As for beverages, Markman drinks espresso with milk in the morning. “For the rest of the day, it’s water, water, and more water,” she says. “I also love lemon-and-ginger herbal tea.”
“Three hours later, I’m eating again,” she confides. “This time, I eat some protein—maybe three ounces of chicken breast, half-cup of roasted chickpeas, or an egg.” Then, for a proper lunch, “I make a giant salad. I like to have a salad with many types of lettuces (romaine, radicchio, arugula, red leaf, kale, etc.) and add in both vegetables and some slices of fruit. This includes peppers, cucumbers, carrots, celery, and tomato. For some protein and fat, I add avocado, legumes, and sprinkle the salad with nuts. I never use salad dressing—just extra virgin olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper.”
After a mid-afternoon snack like microwaveable popcorn, nuts or a a small serving of frozen yogurt, Markman explains that, “For dinner, I’ll make chicken, fish, seafood, bean soups, or omelets loaded with vegetables. There is always salad and always more vegetables with dinner.”
Markman admits she has a sweet tooth. “I love the stuff that pulls out fillings—gummy candy, tootsie rolls, Mary Janes, and taffy,” she says. “I try to avoid this as much as possible, but will eat a few pieces of hard candy during the day, and a couple pieces of black licorice. If I get hungry before bed, I’ll make myself a cup of tea and have a small handful of nuts.”
All told, Markman’s diet is more about balance and providing her body with proper fuel, rather than sticking to any hard and fast rules. “I am very sensitive to the way food makes me feel,” she states. “I strive to get my clients to pay attention to this too. Food is fuel. If you put the clean stuff in, you’ll feel great; the unleaded junk fuel will be sludge and make you feel awful.”