Young African Woman Cooking SaladWe were talking about it as we walked into the session: My colleagues and I know what a healthy diet looks like; we just don’t take the time to do what we know we should.

“I don’t have time for this. (Eating Well When Life Gets Busy)” was the topic of a presentation to INB employees by Erin Spenner, RD (Registered Dietitian for Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center).

“You really have to put Eating Well on your To Do List,” says Spenner. But by setting aside some time each week, month or even every few days, you’ll find when you’re hungry you’re prepared to make the healthy choice.

Preparation begins with really understanding what makes up a healthy meal. While we started the session thinking we knew everything, Spenner clarified some things for us and even made us rethink what we thought we knew. For example, she says “Fat is not the enemy.” She says we should choose 1 to 2 fat choices per meal, being considerate of where those fats come from. Switching out foods that contain saturated fats, like cheese sauce, for foods with unsaturated fats, like guacamole can go a long way towards improving the quality of your diet. She also said, “’Carbs’ is not a dirty word.” We need carbs to make our body function. She just says we need to watch how many we eat and what kinds of carbs we are eating. For example, both poptarts and berries contain carbs, but you don’t need to be a dietitian to know which the healthier option is. The added sugars in poptarts raise to total amount beyond what an average diet should contain, while the natural carbs in the berries keep the total number of carbs low
and the amount of fiber high.

After talking a bit about fat, carbs and protein, Spenner helped us maneuver around the grocery store. Surprisingly, she said it’s okay to buy a frozen meal. She recommends keeping a healthy one or two in the freezer. Then she reminded us that half of our plate at each meal should be filled with fruits and vegetables, and that most people need to eat more fiber.

Then there’s the harder food choices . . . those you make when you go out to eat. She says, “thinking vegetables” will help you make the good call, adding, “I can tell you what a dietitian will eat.”

  • A salad with no dressing
  • Noodle bowls with spinach leaves instead of noodles
  • Unwiches instead of sandwiches. And baked chips

In summary, Spenner told us eating right and exercising takes time. Then she reminded us, “You only get the one body; you need to take care of it.”