How a Philly Dietitian Eats During a Busy Week
Amy von Sydow Green shares her week of healthy eating and exercise, all around raising three kids and seeing nutrition patients.
Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money people invest in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one Philadelphian to spend a week tracking everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email [email protected] with details.
Who I am: Amy von Sydow Green (@amysilveria), 40, West Philadelphia (originally from Gothenburg, Sweden, but a proud Philadelphian for past 10 years)
What I do: As a registered dietitian, I primarily see patients with diabetes and overweight/obesity. I help my patients manage and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I feel so lucky to get to see and work with lots of wonderful people every day! If I do my work well, my patients leave the office with a big smile, and the confidence that they can make gradual changes towards a healthier life. I’m also a big foodie and cookbook writer, currently working on my fourth book, that will be published in Sweden this spring. I enjoy writing about healthy restaurant eating here a Be Well Philly, and run my Instagram account with mostly healthy ideas for eating and cooking. Last but not least, I do nutrition consulting for restaurants and food companies needing help with menu development and nutrition analysis.
What role healthy living plays in my life: Healthy living allows me to feel my best, and to be the sort of multi-tasking, passionate, fun-loving, and happy person I want to be (and try to be)! Yes, I’ve got my share of less than perfect days, but sticking with a mostly healthy and balanced routine helps me keep those at minimum. I have a busy life with a career I love, three kids (Kitty, 12; Stella, 9; Morris, 4), and an equally busy and hard-working husband. To manage it all, I definitely need to take care of myself. To me, healthy living is all about preserving the ability to enjoy and make the most out of life!
Health memberships: I pay $120 a year for the Sweat app (that comes out to $2.30 per week! I’m a fan.)
7:14 a.m. — My four-year-old wakes me up for some snuggling. He is my human alarm clock.
8:03 a.m. — Ask (order?) kids to brush teeth and put on shoes. This happens nine times. Yes, seriously.
8:42 a.m. — Kids are off. This is a work-from-home day. I make a latte with two Nespresso capsules and some one percent milk. Fix a bowl of plain Trader Joe’s yogurt with mixed berries and almond butter. Edit recipes and get started writing the introduction to my next cookbook.
11:03 a.m. — Cyber Monday interferes with my work! I rationalize that I deserve a shopping break to get some amazing deals and save all that money…
12:15 p.m. — I have now purchased our holiday cards 50 percent off, tickets for the family to go to The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music, Blue Mountain ski passes for our Presidents’ Day trip, an instant pot, and a variety of Hanukkah and Christmas present.
12:43 p.m. — Slight guilt. Did I do too much shopping? I contemplate while prepping a simple lunch. Avocado on two slices of the most delicious Danish multigrain and chia bread that my parents always bring for me when they have a stop over at the Copenhagen airport.
1:42 p.m. — Another Nespresso latte and a Kind bar. More work!
3:53 p.m. — Decide I need some movement! I take a 20-minute walk/run through the Woodlands cemetery, and come back and do the 30-minute full-body Sweat app workout in my living room.
4:10 p.m. — Get phone call from Penn Tennis Center. Turns out my middle child wore Ugg boots on and now will not be able to play tennis. Oh well…
5:20 p.m. — Pick up my littlest at daycare. He plays with Legos while I do dinner prep.
5:52 p.m. — Sit down to dinner with the kids. Bolognese meat sauce from last night (red wine is my secret ingredient! And I also sneak in veggies…), pasta, and Trader Joe’s carrot spirals (I’m obsessed).
8:15 p.m. — My husband comes home from teaching an evening class to undergrads at Penn. Those college kids are lucky, and class always includes dinner. Yup! This week it was Indian food and husband brought back the leftovers.
9:10 p.m. — I grab a piece of Naan bread to have with my huge cup of Earl Grey tea (with milk) and almost finish reading the book for tomorrow’s book club. This evening also included all that homework/bedtime routine stuff I won’t bore you with.
11:30 p.m. — Lights out.
Daily total: $0
7:45 a.m. — I abruptly wake up when child calls to me, “Mom, it’s 7:45, why are you sleeping?”
7:52 a.m. — I’m dressed and ready to go. Big kids already helped themselves to breakfast down in the kitchen. They are disappointed in their sleepy mom, but I explain to them the importance of sleep.
8:20 a.m. — Walk to work (0.8 miles). This is a Starbucks morning. I get a grande non-fat latte, extra shot of espresso and sous vide egg white bites (with spinach and roasted red pepper, they’re so good!) for breakfast ($9).
8:32 a.m. — Head up the stairs to our ninth floor office. I try to fit in exercise whenever I can! Those stairs are perfect for getting my heart rate up, phew.
9 a.m. — Getting started with the day’s patients. Seeing people non-stop until lunch.
12:10 p.m. — Stomach is growling and I’m definitely ready for a break. I packed last night’s leftovers for lunch (bolognese with carrot spirals) and added arugula for some greens. Hits the spot!
12:32 p.m. — Head out for a 20-minute walk and listen to the Hidden Brain podcast on NPR. Shankar Vedantam may very well have the best radio voice on earth.
3:04 p.m. — Get a little pause, and I snack on a Siggi’s Simple Sides honey yogurt with figs and walnuts.
5:24 p.m. — Walk home. Catch up with my husband about the day during my walk. We will see each other at home in 10 minutes, but then three kids will want 100 percent of our attention!
6:15 p.m. — Everyone is around for dinner tonight. And we all love Chicken Tikka Masala! Those leftovers really come in handy. I add a plate of veggies, and the last of those Trader Joe’s carrot spirals (how do they last this long, you may ask? It’s because I’m the only one in my family eating them.).
7:04 p.m. — After dinner, I give my youngest a bath, and sit in the bathroom and speed read the last couple of pages of my book.
8:05 p.m. — Head to book club with neighborhood moms. We read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, and next up we’re reading An American Marriage. I make quick stop at CVS to pick up some Lindt chocolates ($4.99). No time for homemade sweets tonight!
8:33 p.m. — Lots of snacks and interesting conversations! I have some creamy and delicious cheese from the Clark Park farmers market with crackers and raw broccoli (surprisingly good combination).
9:10 p.m. — Time for something sweet. I pick a dark-chocolate-covered mint Oreo with candy cane chunks and two chocolate mint candies. Oh, and two glasses of red wine.
10:45 p.m. — It was a fun evening! Heading home, in bed soon after.
Daily total: $13.99
7:05 a.m. — Up on time today. I get all those morning routines rolling.
7:43 a.m. — Breakfast is my rushed weekday special, a protein shake made with water, ice, a banana, large handful of kale, vanilla protein powder, two scoops of collagen peptides (I’ve seen a couple of studies on collagen intake and healthy skin, and I’ve decided to believe in it!), and just wait for it, instant espresso powder. This shake has got everything to get me through the first couple of morning hours.
8:23 a.m. — Walk to work (0.8 miles) and take those nine flights up the office while scrolling through Instagram.
10:43 a.m. — Mid-morning I get hungry and have a Chobani Caramel Apple blended yogurt. I LOVE yogurt with caramel.
12:08 p.m. — Lunch is basic: two slices of that Danish bread with half an avocado. Not super hungry since I snacked on that yogurt.
3:16 p.m. — Catch a break and fit in a 20-minute brisk walk to do a bank errand. I also pass by Starbucks and feel the latte need. Turns out I have a free rewards drink. Barista and I agree it makes no sense not to get a Venti ($0).
5:26 p.m. — We got a HelloFresh delivery this week. Husband and I cook together (and have just one small disagreement about what’s considered “medium heat” on the stove…)
6:05 p.m. —The dinner did in fact take about 30 minutes to prepare, as promised! It’s a really delicious Vietnamese chicken bowl with carrots and rice.
6:37 p.m. — Drive daughter and her friend to gymnastics at the Vare Recreation Center.
7:15 p.m. — While my daughter is in her gymnastics class, I do a Sweat arms and abs app workout. A five-year-old girl who is waiting for a sibling joins me and counts out all my reps. She is a tough coach. I brought a can of La Croix Grapefruit sparkling water for after my workout.
9:23 p.m. — Kids in bed. Husband at poker night. I’ve taken a shower and now catch up on This Is Us. Sip on Moroccan mint tea and snack on Trader Joe’s dried mango, a Moser Roth dark chocolate with sea salt mini bar, and a spoonful of peanut butter.
10:37 p.m. — I’m in bed. This is a win for me. I totally value a good night’s sleep, but there’s just so much stuff to do in the evenings that getting in bed before 11 p.m. is hard to do.
Daily total: $0
7:46 a.m. — Breakfast is that weekday special protein shake again! I sip on my shake while ordering those kids around. Brush teeth, put shoes on, don’t forget the hair.
8:43 a.m. — Take a breath after having tackled those steps up to the 9th floor at work. Change from sneakers into some heels.
10:50 a.m. — Feel hungry and snack on a string cheese.
12:05 p.m. — Lunch is that Danish bread with avocado. I add a side of plain Greek yogurt with pecans and raspberries with a sprinkle of brown sugar.
3:14 p.m. — This is another busy day with patients. I end up with eight minutes to take a moment, sip on some lemon ginger tea and eat another string cheese and a tangerine.
6:13 p.m. — We make another HelloFresh dinner: chicken, pineapple, and bell pepper quesadilla with pico de gallo. I added a side of greens. Rarely do I not make a little tweak to those meals!
8:03 p.m. — Settle down on the couch with the husband and my girls. We drink tea and have some chocolate-covered Oreos I brought home from Tuesday’s book club.
11:43 p.m. — Nope, didn’t make it to bed before 11 today.
Daily total: $0
7:15 a.m. — Wake up without alarm, human or other sort.
7:36 a.m. — Fix that weekday special shake.
7:43 a.m. — Run out the door and about 30 seconds later I walk by my friend Fern’s house and we head to yoga class.
8 a.m. — Arrive at Studio 34 for the best yoga class ($6, yes that is the real price) with wonderful teacher Nicole. We talk about holiday stress and do shoulder work.
9:12 a.m. — Walk home from yoga with Fern, and treat the two of us to cafe au laits from Milk & Honey ($6).
10:03 a.m. — Settle in for a work from home day, realize I have a book deadline soon. Oops. Stress is building, and I put on holiday music to feel better.
12:05 p.m. — Head out to Trader Joe’s to make it there before the weekend crowds. I make a stop at The Nesting House with a bag of outgrown kids’ clothes. When I drop stuff off, I always get a store credit, and I use it to buy LunchBots containers.
12:22 p.m. — Trader Joe’s is my happy place. I browse all the seasonal specials and get too many pretty flowers and plants. I stock up on the pizza dough (the best quick weekday dinner; I always keep pizza dough in the freezer) and other TJ’s staples such as nuts, yogurt, mixed nut butter, and those carrot spirals ($202.18).
2:04 p.m. — Back to work! I snack on dried mango and a handful of cashews. Sip on tea.
6:14 p.m. — Getting into true weekend mode, and I’m excited! I’m going to use my Instant Pot for the first time. I make butternut squash soup with ginger and apples. It really is delicious.
7:23 p.m. — Girls’ dinner with my daughters, their BFFs (who just happen to be sisters), and their mom. Coziness! We have soup, baguette, and three types of cheese (cheddar, something super creamy, and a Stilton). The moms share a bottle of red wine.
9:03 p.m. — Kids watch a movie. Moms continue to chat. Dessert is dark sea salt chocolate and peppermint covered pretzels. I’m feeling all the Friday feelings!
Daily total: $214.18
Money spent: $228.17
Sweat app workouts: 2
Yoga classes: 1
HelloFresh meals: 2
Protein shakes: 3