Between ice cream on the boardwalk and burgers on the grill, summer cuisine makes it too easy to stray from healthy eating habits. Tryon Medical Partners dietician Allison Chalecki shares some tips on how you can maintain healthy eating throughout the summer and all year long.
1. Stick to water.
Avoid drinking your calories – sodas, coffees and other sweet drinks contain sugar that you’re not even aware you’re consuming. Allison encourages patients to drink water and diet drinks to limit those sneaky calories and carbohydrates. If you’re going to indulge in a high-calorie treat, it is more satisfying to chew it rather than gulp it down. To spice up your hydration, you can turn to a can of seltzer or some fruit-flavored water.
2. Center veggies in your meal.
What is considered “healthy eating” may change from year to year, but one piece of guidance is always consistent: vegetables are great for you and it’s best to center them in your diet. Allison encourages easing into more plant-based meals by trying a meatless meal once a week. There are plenty of vegetable-centered recipes online to explore.
3. Keep meals fibrous and heart-healthy.
Wherever possible, increase your fiber intake. Excellent sources of fiber include: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and starchy sides like beans and lentils. Nutritionally, these fibrous foods provide a lot of bang for your buck. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that something as simple as aiming to eat 30 grams of fiber each day (from sources like brown rice, black beans, popcorn, fruits and veggies) can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure and improve your body’s response to insulin just as effectively as a more complicated diet.
4. Hit the farmers’ market.
Whenever you can, buy local from a farmers’ market. The meat and produce at the farmers’ market is less processed and organic. Additionally, local farmers often consider the ethical treatment of their animals. When the animals are better taken care of, the meat and produce is healthier for us to consume.
Allison adds, “I understand that farmers’ markets can be expensive. For more affordable options with the same benefit, consider cutting back on meat more generally and replacing it with healthier forms of protein including tofu, nuts and tuna.”
5. Make changes you can stick to.
It’s important to consider sustainability when making a diet shift – in six months, will you still be able to commit to your diet plan? Allison emphasizes that the patients who do best on their healthy eating journey are the ones who know it won’t be a quick fix and maintain patience with the process.
This is a framework that Allison consistently works on with her patients. “When they first come in, we do an intake,” she explains. “What are they currently eating? What is feasible for them? It’s important to base the diet plan on where the patient is coming from. Often this isn’t their first rodeo. I want them to be able to make lasting change. Let’s turn the conversation around.”
If you would like additional support and guidance in your healthy eating journey, you don’t have to go it alone. Dieticians like Allison are here to help. Reach out to Tryon today to see when you can book a consultation.