A Dietitian’s Cheat Food

I’m not like a lot of dietitians. I work predominantly with people who struggle with disordered, compulsive, or emotional eating. So my job is to help my clients feel less obsessed and connected to food on an emotional level, so they can get to living a healthy full life that isn’t centered around food 24/7.  And part of that work is helping my clients be at peace with any and all foods.  

So I was entertained by an article written by Jenna Bell-Wilson PhD, RD.  She asked thousands of dietitians which foods they indulge in.  A lot of people assume that because dietitians know a lot about nutrition and because our professional lives center around healthy living- we eat super healthy, all the time.  I can assure you, this is simply not so! (Just ask any of my friends and/or family members.)

Jenna took these responses and crafted a clever article about what kinds of “cheat foods” dietitians love to eat, even though they don’t offer much in terms of nutritional value.  And she also discusses the importance of incorporating these foods into your diet (in moderation of course!) just for the sake of their yumminess!

This got me thinking about my own favorite indulgences and I had a hard time narrowing the list.  Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order: cupcakes, Mint Oreos, Hot Tamales.  Here’s to celebrating a diet that is full of whole grains, fruits, veggies, and a consistent sprinkling of the not-so-healthy indulgences as well.  Now that is a diet I can live with!


  1. Curious: What would you consider to be “in moderation” with these indulgences?

  2. I don’t have a particular issue with the idea of consuming a small portion on a daily basis: two oreos, handful of hot tamales, small cup of ice cream, etc. If it’s a heavier indulgence (say a slice of cheesecake) probably best for once a week. One fascinating thing to note is that when I work with clients to consistently eat balanced meals, cravings for sweets actually begin to diminish. So when you are eating well, you don’t have the same drive to eat lots of treats! Hope that helps.

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