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Care New England Wellness Center
Care New England Wellness Center

Special order: Create your own healthy eating plan

You’ve read the books and the magazine articles. You’ve bought the pre-packaged foods and the meal supplement shakes. Some work but most don’t.

This month, try something different. It’s different only because it’s something you can create specifically for you. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has introduced “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.”

“The concept is to encourage basic healthy eating that is tailored to individual food choices and preferences while enforcing a balance of all food groups and allowing you to enjoy your favorites in moderation,” explains Kathy Shilko, RD, LDN, CDOE, CDE, a registered dietitian, licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes outpatient educator with the Care New England Wellness Center.

This is very different from the eating plans that restrict certain categories of foods, an approach that might show faster results in the short term but is not as effective in the long term as a lifestyle.

“This concept is not new but people tend to forget that eating healthy does not mean you have to eliminate certain foods or food groups,” Shilko says. “It means getting a variety of food groups, balancing those groups in each meal, watching portion size and staying physically active.”

Whatever you need

“Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” can help you lose weight or just refocus your eating patterns on consistently healthy choices. Each client who goes in for an appointment at the Wellness Center is assigned a different number of daily calories to eat and exercise to perform based on their ability, health and goals.

“Staff at the Wellness center use all these concepts when we see clients for our Healthy Steps Program, nutritional counseling or exercise programs,” Shilko says. “We meet with clients one on one so we can tailor their meal plan and exercise program to their lifestyle and their desire to lose weight if needed or just remain healthy for long-term success.”

Tips for success

The “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” program offers these suggestions for success:
  • Make healthy choices most of the time
  • Understand that nutrition is not one size fits all
  • Take into consideration your personal food preferences and choices when planning meals, grocery shopping, and cooking to maximize enjoyment at mealtime
  • Stay true to your cultural beliefs and traditions when it comes to meals
  • Understand that another person’s road to success may not be the right road for you
  • Know that you are unique and you should celebrate who you are and what works best for your life, budget and schedule
  • Remind yourself that success is slow and involves consistency and commitment
Shilko also adds that the price of fresh produce in the winter time should not be a deterrent for healthy eating.

“Eating healthy can be economical even in winter months if you modify your shopping choices to fit the season,” she begins. “In cooler months, use canned fruits (in juice or water), frozen vegetables and seasonal items like apples in the fall, cabbage, carrots and root vegetables in the colder months.”

Canned beans, lentils and whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa are also economical and healthy choices that can be used in a variety of ways in the winter, she adds.

To speak with a nutritionist about designing your own diet and exercise plan, call the Care New England Wellness Center at (401) 732-3066 or go to wellnessctr.org/nutrition.
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