In a world plagued by diet culture, health fraud, and food trends, determining how to best achieve good nutrition can appear daunting. Romaine calm, your registered dietitian nutritionists have come to the rescue with the facts. You know what they say…evidence-based research is like kryptonite to false advertisement.
March is National Nutrition Month and the eighth of this month also marks Registered Dietitian Day. Yeah, they’re kind of a big dill! Lettuce celebrate this momentous occasion by hearing from our dietitians to debunk some of the most common nutrition and food misconceptions.
Myth 1: “You shouldn’t put dressing on salad because then you might as well have the cheeseburger!”
Submitted by: Kristen Avera MS, RDN, LD, CDCES; Dietitian and Nutrition Services Coordinator
The best way to balance your relationship with food is to understand that all foods can fit within a healthy eating pattern. We encourage you to avoid the health halo effect which is an assumption or overestimation of a food’s healthfulness whether there is supporting evidence or not. This phenomenon can often occur because of clever marketing tactics. Food does not have morality, but its nutrient density can be identified on a spectrum. Now, we know what you’re thinking: can I have the salad dressing? Yes! No need to have a mediokra bowl of greens. Salad dressing can be a great source of healthy fat which helps to manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Consider drizzling over leafy greens, lean protein, lots of non-starchy vegetables, and whole grains.
- Limit dressings that are high in added sugar and sodium.
Myth 2: “Eating with diabetes is too expensive. I have to buy special food for myself and regular food for my family.”
Submitted by: Amy Elsasser, RD, LDN; Dietitian, Satellite Coastal Coordinator, and Cooking Matters Instructor
To better manage diabetes, focus on eating complex carbohydrates, not skipping meals, and pairing carbohydrates with protein. Build each meal with the Plate Method in mind: fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables and equally split the other half of the plate between protein and carbohydrates.
Gouda news! These recommendations can be appropriate for anyone, even if they don’t have diabetes. Consider it a teaching moment for the rest of your household, and remain patient with any hesitation. Here’s an example:
- Purchase one container of standard vanilla ice cream for the whole family.
- Set out different toppings and create a build-your-own ice cream bar.
- You may decide to portion out the ice cream (vitamin A, vitamin B-12, calcium) and top it with nuts (protein), shredded coconut (anti-inflammatory), and dark chocolate chips (antioxidant) for a balanced treat.
- Present these toppings as well as your family’s favorites and give them the freedom to build their own. Share your combination with them and encourage them to give it a taste.
Myth 3: “I need to get on a 1200 calorie diet so I can lose some weight.”
Submitted by: Alex Covington MS-MPH, RDN, LD; Community Dietitian
This might sound bananas, but a 1200-calorie diet may not guarantee you weight loss. A more accurate calorie calculation can be made with your dietitian considering:
- basal metabolic rate (BMR): how many calories you burn at rest
- activity level
- health conditions
- body composition (fat and muscle mass percentages)
In queso you didn’t know, mindful eating, joyful movement, and non-scale victories (energy, sleep quality, improved mood) are also important for a successful journey!
Myth 4: “Since my diet starts on Monday, I’m going to eat all the things right now.”
Submitted by: Jenn Baugh RDN, LD; Community Dietitian
Fun Fact: The reason we are often encouraged to start new habits at the beginning of the week, month, or year is a result of temporal landmarks. These are defined as moments in time that create a sense of breaking away from your past self and looking forward to your future self. Research supports that we can use this psychological phenomenon to positively affect behavioral change.
Wait…there’s more! What if we told you that you donut have to give up all of your favorite foods? Traditional diets that encourage an “all or nothing” mentality and restriction are often unsustainable. We encourage you to incorporate positive nutrition approach which focuses on adding nutrient-dense foods into your current diet rather than eliminating nutrient-poor foods. This creates a natural shift toward balanced intake.
Myth 5: “Can you make me a meal plan?”
Submitted by: Laura Samnadda MS, RDN, LD; Dietitian and Director of Nutrition Services
Okay, okay…this one isn’t egg-xactly a myth. Dietitians can provide you with an individualized meal plan, but they can also do so matcha more! Our goal is to educate, encourage, and empower you to make progress and improve your overall wellness. The most effective meal plan will also leave room for flexibility with respect to cultural tradition, budget, food intolerances, and taste preferences.
Well, well, well…look at the thyme! We must go for now, but we leave you with this final advice. We hope it brings peas and inspiration!
“Doing one healthy behavior a day can go a long way. Here are 7, 1% lifts. Choose one:
- Add an extra fruit or veggie to a meal.
- Drink an extra cup of water.
- Stretch for 5 minutes.
- Take a 15-minute walk.
- Cook a nice meal at home today.
- Step away from the computer every hour.
- Don’t skip any meals.
When you wake up every morning and do one healthy behavior, they add up. They make you feel better, and they become habits.” -Dalina Soto MA, RD, LD