Healthy eating is the most important ingredient for a healthy glow, inside and out. But making sure that what you put in your body is actually good for you can be a tough task to navigate, which is precisely why we like to turn to those who know nutrition best. Enter Molly Rieger, a registered dietician, nutrition coach, and founder of the wellness site Molly’s Best. We picked her brain (and peeped her fridge) to find out her best tips and tricks for eating your way to a happier, healthier self.
How did you first get into nutrition? What drew you to the field?
My interest began after being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in high school. Despite doctors telling me that diet was not associated with my disease, I was on a mission to understand how food affected how I felt. I began cooking healthy meals for my family and I loved how it felt to bring loved ones together through food. I truly believe that the best memories are made in the kitchen or around the dinner table.
What kind of services do you offer clients?
I take an individualized approach to nutrition counseling. Each client has unique challenges, goals, and preferences, all of which influence their meal plan. I like to think of myself as the nutrition angel on each client’s shoulder. A majority of my clients know what they should be doing, but it is my job to keep them accountable and motivated. Eating is a multi-layered, emotional act and anyone who gives you a diet without considering that complexity has it all wrong. Together, the client and I work on eating mindfully and creating healthier habits that keep you looking and feeling your best. I approach nutrition holistically. I discuss stress management, sleep habits, support circles, and exercise, as all of these affect your food choices and ability to achieve your goals.
What would you say your philosophy around nutrition is?
1. Be empowered.
I will teach you how to navigate food labels and what to look out for. If you can’t pronounce a food ingredient listed on the package, or the expiration date is in the next decade, you’re going to want to think again.
2. Choose local and organic when possible.
Get to know your local farms! Be responsible and take the time to understand how your meat, dairy, or produce was raised or grown. We will discuss the effect of inhumane farming practices on your body and the environment.
3. Eat mostly plants, and keep it colorful
Vegetables should be included in every meal. The more colors, the wider variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you receiving.
4. Protein and fiber at every meal.
We will chat about what this looks like and why this is the key to weight management and stable energy with no feelings of deprivation.
5. Fat is our friend.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are vital to our health as they help us absorb fat-soluble nutrients, aid in satiety, and keep our skin, hair, and nails strong and glowing.
6. Limit sugar.
I avoid labeling foods as “good” or “bad”, but in the case of sugar, it is on the bad guy list. Sugar is addictive, toxic, and hidden in a lot of seemingly healthy products. This is a tough one but when you are eating right, the sugar cravings start to subside.
7. Be mindful.
We will do exercises to help you get back in tune with your body. Many of us have forgotten how to listen to hunger and satiety cues!
If you had to pick, what are five of the most important or common things that you always have in your fridge?
Almond milk, berries, hummus, eggs, and spinach.
What are your favorite vegetables to keep stocked?
Spinach (I throw it in smoothies), zucchini (for when I get the urge to spiralize), celery (the best to munch on with hummus or peanut butter), cauliflower (the most versatile veggie), and romaine (I just love the crunch).
What about fruits?
Berries- I eat a variety of berries every day- in smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, on their own; bananas- I keep a bunch frozen for smoothies and always have a bunch ripening for banana bread; apples- when they are in season, nothing makes a better snack that sliced apples with cinnamon and almond butter; cherries -I’m addicted to cherries in the summer; and papaya and pineapple- great skin foods- high in vitamin C and contain enzymes that act like a natural chemical peel.
Are you a frozen fruits and veggies person, or do you always go fresh?
I love frozen fruits and veggies for smoothies as they help thicken the smoothie! If I’m eating them plain I go fresh.
What kind of condiments and sauces do you like to stock up on?
I would honestly put honey mustard on anything and I always love sriracha to add some flavor and spice to eggs or roasted veggies!
What’s your favorite go-to dinner recipe for busy nights?
I always keep Cali’flour Foods frozen cauliflower pizza crust for nights that I have about 10 minutes to make something- I just take it out to defrost, add some tomato sauce, organic mozzarella and any veggies I have and bake! Dinner ready in 10.
What’s something in your fridge right now that you think a lot of people would be surprised to find in a nutritionist’s fridge?
This isn’t so surprising but I always have Gotham Greens’s vegan pesto– it adds so much flavor to vegetables, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, cauliflower pizza, chicken or salmon! The basil adds a ton of antioxidants and the pine nuts add healthy fats as well.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Warm chocolate chip cookies.
What’s your biggest pro tip when it comes to grocery shopping?
Don’t go in hungry and have a list! Stick to the outer produce aisles and stick to your list when it comes to the snack aisles!
Do you organize your fridge in a specific way?
I always make sure to wash and cut any vegetables to make them accessible and convenient. As I tell my clients, your cut up veggies have to be as easy to eat as opening a bag of chips is. I put fresh produce in bowls and cover with saran wrap to make them appealing and easy to grab.