Deborah Brooks on March 7, 2017
OK, it’s National Nutrition Month, so let’s talk about food. Quick: what does a healthy diet look like?
If you are like a lot of people, your answer might include a list of Nos. No sugar. No white foods. No salt. No dairy. No junk food. No processed foods. Veggies are good, but no carrots! Yes, eat fruit, but no pineapple! Or no, don’t eat fruit, it has sugar in it!
The problem with the Nos is that they can’t really define a good diet. And, too often, they leave us feeling limited and restricted instead of open and excited about our food. Is it a good idea to avoid making candy, pop or French fries the cornerstones of our diet? Absolutely! But instead of being a stern disciplinarian with your inner eater, think about this: what can you ADD?
The fact is, most people don’t eat enough fresh, wholesome plant-based foods. Current recommendations are that most people eat 2 ½-3 cups of vegetables (twice as much if it’s a salad!) and 1 ½ -2 cups of fruit every day. I had been a nutritionist for years before I committed myself to doing this, and I’m here to testify – eating like this makes you feel GOOD. Not virtuous good, but healthy, vibrant, energized good. Eating less than our full quotient of produce forces our body to run on lower-quality fuel. When you power up to high-test with your fruits and veggies, your body knows the difference.
When I make room for delicious, colorful foods like butternut squash, chard, beets and berries, I just don’t crave the “No” foods so much.
So this month, I invite you to think about Yes instead of No. What can you do to bring more beautiful healthy food into your kitchen and your mouth? OK, you’re having pizza for dinner, or pasta. Think fresh spinach, sautee’d lightly in olive oil with garlic as a delicious topping. Or you’re rushed in the mornings. Is it time to check out a recipe for a kale smoothie with pineapple or berries? Can you experiment with new vegetables, or new recipes for veggies? Spaghetti squash is a fun alternative to pasta, and tastes delicious mixed with a mild salsa and garnished with avocado. Top it with a poached egg or cheddar cheese for a light meal.
There are dozens of delicious fun ways to invite more fruits and vegetables into your life. If you are looking for more ideas, contact your JCC dietitians, Deborah Brooks or Brittany Reese.
It’s National Nutrition Month! Put your best fork forward, and HAVE FUN!
Celebrate National Nutrition Month with the JCC: Sign up for your first one-on-one appointment with Deborah or Brittany this month and get 20% off. Call 412-697-3509 or fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you very soon.