The theme of this year’s National Nutrition Month is "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day," and according to a nutrition expert at Baylor College of Medicine, nutrition decisions come down to each person’s individual tastes.
"Losing weight is all about calories, portion control and physical activity, but it all comes down to your tastes and what makes you happy," said Molly Gee, registered dietitian with BCM. "You have to ask yourself if you’ll be happy with the reduced fat or lower fat version of certain foods, or if you’ll be happy eating a smaller amount of a specific food."
Gee said that if you’re making sacrifices on your favorite foods but are not satisfied, sticking to the nutrition plan becomes increasingly difficult.
The food industry has been responsive to people’s needs to eat healthier, so there are multiple versions of foods in the grocery store, such as low-fat and low-calorie options. It’s up to each individual to decide which foods they are willing to sacrifice, whether skipping some foods altogether or simply passing over the full-fat or full-calorie versions.
"Each person has something they’re watching out for, whether it’s sodium or sugar or fat, and there’s not a single perfect food out there that will help everyone achieve their goals," said Gee.
She also emphasizes that there is not one single food that will totally destroy your health or waistline - that’s where portion control comes in.
Gee also offers the following reminders for maintaining a healthy diet:
- Establish regular meal and snack times
- Don’t go without eating for longer than four hours
- Don’t skip breakfast
- Fill up on fruits and vegetables
- Try to drink water every time you eat and in between meals and snacks
Gee emphasizes that although there is a trend toward more natural and organic foods, these foods are not necessary to maintain a healthy diet.
"There is no research to show that they are better for you, but if they make you feel better and if you can tell a difference in taste, then go for it," she said.
To make a healthy diet sustainable, it has to meet you and your family’s lifestyle, Gee said.
"Sometimes people get confused about healthy eating decisions, but there is no right or wrong, just be practical and not perfect," she said.
She also said to check with your physician to be sure that your diet is fulfilling the micronutrients that your body needs.