Food preferences and health concerns both affect our food choices. We all know that what we eat greatly impacts our health and well-being, and the battle between what is “good for you” and what we want is a constant struggle for some. That is why, as part of National Nutrition Month, Regional Medical Center and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.”
“There is a common misconception that eating healthy means giving up all your favorite foods, but that simply is not the case,” said registered dietitian and Manager of Clinical Nutrition at Regional Medical Center Jacqueline Daughtry. “Instead think of how you can incorporate some of your favorite foods as part of a healthful eating plan tailored to your lifestyle, tastes and health needs.”
Daughtry suggests following ideas from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which emphasize a balance of food and beverages and takes the position that the total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating. Most favorite foods can fit within this pattern if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity. “There is no one-size-fits-all way to eat that is right for everyone. Instead of trying to ‘diet’ we should be focusing on maintaining the right balance of calorie intake and physical activity for our lifestyle,” said Daughtry.
Tips for eating right based on lifestyles:
Career - Busy work days and business travel can lead to on-the-fly meals. For desktop dining, keep single serve packages of crackers, fruit, peanut butter, low-sodium soup or canned tuna in your desk. If you’re always on the go, tuck portable nonperishable foods in your purse or briefcase for a meal on the run. Try granola bars, peanut butter and crackers, fresh fruit, trail mix or single-serve packages of whole-grain cereal or crackers.
Athletes - Whether you are a competitive athlete or just enjoy working out, what you eat will affect your performance. Your body needs fuel to function, so eat a light breakfast or snack before you exercise. Try low-fat yogurt, graham crackers with peanut butter, a banana or cereal with low-fat milk. Before, during and after exercise, replace fluids with plenty of water or a sports drink.
Families – Caring for family can be a handful. However, family meals allow parents to be role models to promote healthy eating. And, just because a meal is made quickly doesn’t mean it can’t be nutritious. Keep things simple. Build a collection of recipes for quick and easy family favorites. Choose ingredients that you can use from more than one meal. For example, cook extra grilled chicken for chicken salad or fajitas the next day. And ask for help. Get the kids involved making a salad, setting the table or other simple tasks.
Vegetarian - A vegetarian diet can include just as many tasty varieties of foods as one including meat. For example, nutrient-rich beans are recommended for everyone. Enjoy vegetarian chili, a hummus-filled pita sandwich or veggie burger. Many popular items are or can be vegetarian – pasta primavera, veggie pizza and tofu-vegetable stir-fry.
Learn more healthy eating tips here: