There's a lot of conflicting information out there about what healthy eating is and how it can and should fit into our lives. As a health resource, it's our responsibility at SELF to deliver trustworthy nutrition advice that's actually helpful—and we take that responsibility seriously. To that end, we're constantly turning to registered dietitians for nutrition advice that's not only doable and useful, but also inclusive and realistic.
As part of this year's Healthy Food Awards, we've put together this list of trustworthy registered dietitians who you should follow for the kind of information, advice, discussion, and recipe inspiration we strive to provide at SELF. Many of the dietitians below practice intuitive eating and aim to help their clients and audiences break free of diet culture. Many are also proponents of the Health At Every Size® movement and its goal to end weight stigma. The 17 dietitians featured come from a variety of different backgrounds, because we also feel it's important that everyone be able to see themselves represented in wellness culture, and because there's a real lack of culturally inclusive nutrition advice out there.
1. Wendy Lopez, M.S., R.D., C.D.E.
Wendy Lopez is a New York area dietitian, and one half of the team behind Food Heaven Made Easy, a site that truly makes healthy, plant-based eating accessible through recipes, a supportive online community, and just enough healthy eating advice. Earlier this year, she took part in SELF's Race and Wellness panel, speaking about the importance of encouraging more people of color to pursue careers in nutrition and other health care fields. She's also a SELF contributor and her piece on the three "food rules" she follows is a must-read. She works as a clinical dietitian in a community clinic in Port Chester, New York.
We love how Lopez focuses on seeing food in a positive light. "By honoring both the pleasure and nourishment we get from food, we're able to develop a deeper satisfaction from our meals," she tells SELF.
2. Jessica Jones, M.S., R.D., C.D.E.
The other half of the Food Heaven Made Easy team is Jessica Jones, a San Francisco-based dietitian. When she's not writing for their blog, contributing to SELF, or recording their podcast, she counsels patients in nutrition therapy for wellness and chronic disease management at the University of California San Francisco.
"As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, my passion is to help people transform the way they eat, make peace with food, and live their best lives," Jones tells SELF. "I use a culturally relevant, patient-centered approach to self-care, with a goal of helping people find a true balance that works for them."
3. Abby Langer, R.D.
Abby Langer is a Toronto-based dietitian, writer, and food blogger. She has been a SELF contributor for nearly two years, and one of my go-to nutrition experts for far longer. Langer's totally no-bullshit approach makes her not only a trustworthy resource, but also a fun person to read or talk to. Her article about why we need to stop complimenting people on weight loss reads like a conversation you might have with a friend, and her insights into being a working mom who strives to maintain a healthy lifestyle is refreshingly honest.
"I've always been a pencil dietitian, not an eraser," Langer tells SELF. "Meaning, I've always loved adding foods to peoples' diets rather than taking things away to make them more restrictive. I'm super lucky and grateful to be able to reach so many people with my writing, because I know how confusing nutrition can be. Teaching people to love—not fear—food, simplifying the physiology of nutrition so it's easily understood by the layperson, and educating anyone and everyone on how to not fall prey to the latest nutrition fads: doing those things is my calling in life."
4. Michelle Allison, R.D.
Michelle Allison is a Toronto-based dietitian and blogger at fatnutritionist.com. She is an outspoken advocate of the Health At Every Size movement, and often writes about less-talked about issues like the politics of diet culture and beauty standards, and how wellness culture is built on our own fears of death. She helps people tune out the noise and get back in touch with their own bodies when it comes to food.
"There is no One True Diet," Allison tells SELF. "Eating is an act of self-defense, and your body belongs to you."
5. Tessa Nguyen, R.D, L.D.N.
Tessa Nguyen is a trained chef and dietitian based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She's currently spending the year teaching English in South Korea, and makes a point to incorporate cooking and nutrition into her lessons. Her work combines her culinary and nutrition background—she develops recipes, teaches cooking classes, and writes about restaurants in the Raleigh area.
"As both a professional chef and a registered dietitian, my mission is to provide culturally inclusive culinary nutrition tips and approachable recipes to the clients, brands and commodities groups I work with," Nguyen tells SELF. "I think eating is an enjoyable pleasure in life and a way for us to share and connect with others around the table."
6. Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., C.S.C.S.
Alissa Rumsey is an NYC-based dietitian. She contributes to several national outlets, writing about food, nutrition, and diet culture. She's also a certified strength and conditioning specialist, making her a great resource for anyone looking to incorporate fitness into their lives, without focusing on weight loss or aesthetic goals.
"Food is more than just nutrition and fuel, it is something meant to be enjoyed for the taste and pleasure it brings us," Rumsey tells SELF. "I practice from an anti-diet, weight-neutral perspective, using intuitive eating to help people heal their relationship with food and their bodies. I aim to help take the focus off of weight loss—which is unsustainable and can lead to disordered eating behavior—by helping people build back body trust and nurture behaviors to enhance wellbeing."
7. Marisa Moore, M.B.A., R.D., L.D.
Marisa Moore is an Atlanta-based dietitian, former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and former president of the Georgia Dietetics Association. In addition to giving realistic, science-based advice for healthy eating, she advises restaurant and food companies on how to incorporate healthy offerings into their menus and product lines.
"To me, healthy eating is about flexibility and balance," Moore tells SELF. "I focus on a minimally processed, primarily plant based way of eating, but nothing is off limits—including cake! As a registered dietitian nutritionist, my mission is to use sound science and practical strategies to empower women to make the journey towards sustainable, lifelong health and wellness; one delicious morsel at a time."
8. Cara Harbstreet, M.S., R.D., L.D.
Cara Harbstreet is a Kansas City-based dietitian who strives to help people mend their relationship with food and exercise. She's open about her own journey with intuitive eating, and her Instagram feed is filled with reminders that foods shouldn't have labels, and that anything can be part of a healthy eating pattern.
“I help people rediscover joy in eating deeply nourishing meals without restriction or fear," Harbstreet tells SELF. "I incorporate Health At Every Size and intuitive eating to create a culture of inclusivity, equality, and access in my practice."
9. Anna P. Sweeney M.S., R.D., L.D.N., C.E.D.R.D.-S.
Anna P. Sweeney is a Boston area dietitian and eating disorder specialist. She works to help clients heal their relationships with food and their bodies through intuitive eating principles and self-care. She has lived with multiple sclerosis for most of her life, and is open about the ways in which the disease impacts her life. (She recently wrote about what body acceptance means for her in her own life as someone with MS.)
"I am a disabled non-diet, Health At Every Size dietitian who specializes in intuitive eating and eating disorder and body image healing," Sweeney tells SELF. "I believe that all foods fit, that rules are made for driving—not eating—and that having a respectful, trusting relationship with food and body is a basic human right."
10. Nazima Qureshi, M.P.H., R.D.
Nazima Qureshi is a Toronto-based dietitian who works specifically with Muslim women. She gives advice for specific nutrition challenges like how to stay healthy during Ramadan, and aims to create a space where women feel understood, welcome, and comfortable. That said, recipes on her Instagram, blog, and here on SELF are universally delicious and great for anyone looking to eat healthy (check out her SELF piece documenting how she meal preps for her family of four to see what I mean).
"As a Registered Dietitian, I'm dedicated to helping Muslim women live healthier and happier lives," Qureshi tells SELF. "I love creating culturally sensitive content that promotes a healthy lifestyle using a non-diet approach (there's always room for dessert!)."
11. Christy Harrison, M.P.H, R.D., C.D.N.
Christy Harrison is an NYC-based dietitian, journalist, and host of Food Psych, a podcast on which she talks to guests about intuitive eating, diet culture, body positivity, self-compassion, and more. She has written for numerous national outlets and has a book coming out in 2019, and is open about how her own past struggles with food have shaped her anti-diet mindset.
"I'm an anti-diet registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor, and I believe that diet culture (including its new guise of “wellness” culture) has wrecked our relationships with food and stolen our time, our money, our well-being, and our lives," Harrison tells SELF. "My work is dedicated to helping people make peace with food and their bodies—at any size—and reclaim the lives they lost to diet culture, so that they can get back to focusing on the things that truly matter."
12. Dana Sturtevant, M.S., R.D., L.D.
Dana Sturtevant is a Portland, Oregon-based dietitian, and cofounder of Be Nourished, an organization that promotes Body Trust® and intuitive eating. She is also a yoga teacher, and the principles of mindfulness and self-acceptance carry over into her approach to food and health.
"The way this culture thinks and talks about food makes people believe that there is one right way to eat for every body, and that what we eat in one meal (or one day) has the power to heal or kill us (or make us gain or lose weight)," Sturtevant tells SELF. "The truth is our bodies benefit from a variety self care practices that we engage in consistently and predictably over time. My Body Trust approach helps people maintain (or reclaim) a healthy relationship with food/body/self. When we centering pleasure and satisfaction, not body size, dietary restraint, or “healthy” eating, our overall well-being improves and food keeps its rightful place in our lives."
13. Laura Thomas, Ph.D., R.Nutr.
Laura Thomas is a London-based registered nutritionist (a U.K. qualifications that requires a degree and three years of professional experience, similar to the registered dietitian qualification in the U.S. and Canada) with a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences. She focuses on intuitive eating and Health At Every Size®, and her practice draws on both nutritional science and behavioral psychology. She also hosts the Don't Salt My Game podcast, where she talks to guests about body positivity, intuitive eating, and common nutrition myths.
"I help people break down food rules and restrictions so they can get their shit together around food and get back to living their lives," Thomas tells SELF. "I use an evidence-based process called Intuitive Eating to teach people how to tune into their bodies to help guide decisions about what, when, and how much to eat, rather than arbitrary external rules that just make us stressed out and anxious about food and eating."
14. Vincci Tsui, R.D.
Vincci Tsui is a Toronto-based dietitian who writes about how to incorporate the intuitive eating principles when you have a chronic condition that requires you to follow specific dietary guidelines. She talks about how many people misunderstand the meaning of intuitive eating and body positivity, and ways in which we can be true to these principles.
"I'm a former bariatric dietitian turned certified intuitive eating counselor and Health At Every Size advocate," Tsui tells SELF. "I'm on a mission to prove that it's possible to improve health without focusing on weight. I believe that we need to stop fearing food and stop fighting our bodies, so that we can focus our energy on pursuing bigger, better things.
15. Rebecca Scritchfield, M.A., R.D.N., E.P.-C.
"The most important thing I can do as a dietitian is to help shift our cultural view of health, away from weight-centered goals to well-being enhancement," Scritchfield tells SELF. "All people have a right to pursue better health and happier life in personally meaningful ways, but when the measure of health is based on how much space someone takes up, people at higher weights are excluded, no matter their efforts to eat better and get good exercise. This weight stigma is harmful to health. Every helping professional needs to accept that as fact and consider the ways in which their work upholds stigma."
16. Jasmin Foster, R.D., L.D.
Jasmin Foster is a Washington D.C.-based dietitian and food blogger. The recipes she shares on mashandspread.com are nutritious and beautifully photographed, and her words about food are celebratory, inclusive, and totally free of "good" or "bad" food labels.
"I believe in healthy relationships with food that are balanced and not depriving," Foster tells SELF. "My mission is to inspire others to seek that balance."
17. Rachael Hartley, R.D., L.D., C.D.E., C.L.T.
Rachael Hartley is a dietitian based in Columbia, South Carolina. She blogs about nutrition, intuitive eating, recipes, and the food she eats, and works to help clients heal their relationships with food. She also works with other R.D.s, helping them grow their own businesses.
"I'm a registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor whose passion is helping people reconnect with the joy of eating and make peace with food and their body," Hartley tells SELF. "I believe pleasure is just as important as nutrition when it comes to nourishing our bodies."