Thinking for Diet: Lifestyle changes are the key to maintaining a healthy diet

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LAKE MOSES – There is a lot of information about food, a million different diets, meal plans, menus. It can be difficult to know what to eat.

Devin Town, dietician and nutritionist at Samaritan Healthcare of Moses Lake, said there are basic guidelines for eating well.

“I would recommend whole foods as much as possible; the less processed, the better, ”she said. “Vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains rather than refined grains. Fish, small amounts of meat, such as beef, pork and poultry, moderate amounts of dairy products, all in addition to an active lifestyle.

Food is part of a bigger picture, Town said.

“It’s really about making healthy lifestyle changes, not a diet per se. It’s just about choosing healthier things more often and less healthy things less often. It can still include some of your favorite foods, but maybe not as much or as often. It doesn’t sound as restrictive that way.

There is that time – usually around New Years – when people resolve themselves, give up these unhealthy eating habits and now eat properly. No more cheese shavings, just steamed broccoli and roast fish. And it can work, but there might come a day when this diet seems too restrictive.

Town suggested a more gradual approach.

“Baby steps,” she said. “Start small, doing the things you think you can tackle first rather than cutting out all of your favorite foods and depriving yourself of those things.

“I would probably start by trying to cut out or cut down on processed foods, foods with added sugars, drinks with added sugars, and incorporating more fruits and vegetables. And if you’re less active, increase your activity. It all works together, ”she said.

To be permanent, changes must be acceptable.

“I would think about what’s going to be sustainable,” Town said. “Is this a lifestyle change that you want to make indefinitely? Because oftentimes if you can’t maintain it then any weight loss or health improvement may not be sustained. But if it’s something that you think you can maintain, then it may be more successful than something more drastic.

People considering different options should make comparisons, Town said.

“Look at what you generally eat, versus what diet or dietary restrictions you are considering, compare the two and see how far that diet is from you, compared to what you do, and did he l sound like something you can do? she said.

Healthy eating can hold room for restaurants and restaurant food, Town said.

“I think the most important thing with dining out is that the portions tend to be very large. Be aware of this, ”Town said.

There are resources to help people do some of these assessments. Town recommended the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website, www.eatright.org, and information on the US Department of Agriculture website, www.myplate.gov.

The old USDA food pyramids from 40 years ago have been replaced with a plate. USDA’s My Plate focuses on the whole meal, rather than the individual components of a diet, Town said.

The USDA recommends that about half of this plate be made up of fruits and vegetables, with smaller amounts of protein (meat and fish, among others) and dairy products. Grains must be whole grains.

Of course, food choices play a major role in overall health, and nutritionists and dietitians are trained to help people understand the diet that will help them achieve their goals, whether it is to lose weight. , to manage an illness or simply to be in good health.

Town said she has been interested in nutrition and its role in health for most of her life.

“As an athlete in high school and college, I think that played a role. It became an interest and I wanted to help people adopt a healthier lifestyle. I also have a degree in exercise science, so they kind of work together, ”she said.

She has been working at Samaritain since November 2020.

“I see patients mainly on an outpatient basis, so I see patients who are referred by their doctors for a variety of reasons – weight loss, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, kidney disease, heart disease, all kinds of things,” he said. she declared. .

Cheryl Schweizer can be contacted by email at [email protected]


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