Studying nutrition has been an interesting and exciting journey. Before starting school and even a little way into my classes, I remember hearing about every nutrition claim in the media…and not knowing how to feel about nearly all of them. “Does this really work?” “Is this just popular talk or is it actually scientifically based?”
Juice cleanses…organic…low-carb diets…probiotics…apple cider vinegar………and the list goes on and on. Being near the end of my academic journey puts me in a special place in terms of perspective. I’m not too far past the beginning of studying nutrition that I have forgotten how confused I used to be about which foods I should eat, yet I am far enough along that I can generally decipher what is sound advice versus what is just another fad. So let me share some insight on the biggest points that reflect not only my studies but also the reality of implementing my head knowledge into real life action.
- Food First: Aim for choosing food over supplements, and if possible, shop for the foods around the perimeter of the store. Boxed or packaged products are often higher in calories and are easier to eat in larger quantities. Eating the real deal will give you what you need.
- Be Intentional: Even as a nutrition major, I have to be intentional about choosing vegetables. My diet has improved since I’ve been studying nutrition, but it has come with making choices about implementing what I know is best for myself. Book knowledge didn’t change my taste buds into immediately wanting to snack on raw broccoli.
- Progress: Raw vegetables used to be something I ate simply because I knew they were good for me, not because I was truly excited about eating them. I noticed I liked cooked veggies pretty well so I started eating more of those until I started choosing to keep beefing up my vegetable game. I was eating more vegetables than I used to, but I challenged myself to keep going to where I knew I wanted to go.
- MyPlate: This tool truly does give you the template for success. Who knew that what I learned in grade school (then as MyPyramid) would be the foundation of my professional career. For nearly everyone who is asking what he/she should be doing nutritionally, this is a great place to start.
Nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated. Food first and veggies can lead to more changes in your health than any number of popular diets or supplements.