7 Food Rules Real Nutrionists Use

By Mindy Berry

The secret to no-guilt eating? Variety. No platefuls of rice cakes or all-day water binges here. These sane R.D.s know how to eat -- flavorful, healthy, filling stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here, the rules they use to stay slim.

Related: How Many Calories Are You Really Eating?

Rule #1: They love to eat.

"Enjoy every bite of food that goes into your mouth," says Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D. "Food should be pleasurable. When it is, you won't feel the need to compensate by overeating later."

Related: The Top 10 Foods the Pros Keep in the Kitchen

Rule #2: They hate low-fat salad dressing.

These diet experts would rather have a small drizzle of the good stuff than a bigger serving of fake dressing.

Related: Yikes! Your Salad May Have More Calories Than You Think

Rule #3: They drink wine.

For most, it's a personal preference -- they like the taste of wine better than beer or hard liquor. "I have half a glass of white wine almost every night with dinner," says Ellie Krieger, R.D. "It completes the meal."

Related: Drinks on Us: Low-Calorie Cocktails

Rule #4: They choose fish over red meat.

From sushi to snapper, our food pros love the flavor for fewer calories that fish delivers, whether it's grilled, baked or pan seared.

Related: The Best Healthy Fish Recipes

Rule #5: They eat a variety of vegetables.

Not because they have to, but because they want to. The key: Experiment with new veggies like kale and squash in the winter, and try sautéing and roasting them to enhance the flavor.

Related: Eat More Veggies! Our Favorite Vegetable Side Dishes

Rule #6: They're not carb-phobes.

Yes, they eat bread and pasta, but they do like to see whole-wheat flour listed as the first ingredient. Look for pastas with six grams of fiber per serving and breads with three grams of fiber per serving, our nutritionists advise.

Related: Eat Carbs for Breakfast (Without Guilt!)

Rule #7: They exercise most days of the week.

"In order to balance what I eat, I exercise for an hour every morning," says Kathy McManus, R.D.

Related: Your 7-Day Slim Down Plan

More from FITNESS Magazine: