There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to healthy eating—we all enjoy different foods for various reasons. No one has to eat the same foods as someone else, even if they’re working towards the same goal. In honor of this year’s National Nutrition Month theme, “Personalize Your Plate,” we’re bringing together ideas on how to eat well in a way that works for you (and your tastebuds).
When someone wants to improve their health, whether it’s related to weight loss, improving A1C, or any other reason, one of the first questions a registered dietitian will ask is, “What are you eating currently?” It helps to understand someone’s current food habits and preferences and keep those in mind when discussing making shifts to their eating.
One common misconception people have about making healthier choices regarding their diet is the belief that you need to stop eating your favorite foods. Rather than focusing on reducing or eliminating foods, a registered dietitian will help you focus on what foods you can include more.
An excellent food group to kick off your journey toward healthier eating is vegetables. Does this mean everyone needs to eat several servings of steamed broccoli at every meal? Not at all. If someone can’t stand broccoli, but they love mushrooms, bell peppers, and daikon, their strategy would include ways to incorporate more of those foods into their day in a way that makes sense for them. There’s no need to force ourselves to eat foods we don’t like. You can and should personalize your plate to fit your health needs, goals, and taste preferences.Here are a few questions to ask yourself when working on including more nutrient-dense foods (like vegetables) in your diet:
- I want to include more _______ in my diet; what meal would be easiest to do this?
- Do you have more time to prepare food for dinner compared or lunch? Adjust your meal prep accordingly.
- How could I prepare _______ in a way that I would enjoy?
- Can you prepare your favorite foods in a new way? There are so many ways to prepare foods that change the texture and taste: roasting, steaming, throwing in a sauté pan, grilling, and eating raw—to name a few.
- Could I add more variety and excitement with _______?
- Are there spices or herbs that you love?
- Can _______ be thrown into a favorite dish rather than eating it separately as a side?
You deserve to eat from a personalized plate with food that you enjoy. Your likes, dislikes, goals, culture, and personal preferences are important, not just for National Nutrition Month but also for every day of your health journey.
How will you personalize your plate?