A guide to nutritious eating, by MyWay to Health Wellness Consultant Maggie Danforth, RD, LD
Many factors contribute to our health and how we feel, yet we often overlook how the food we eat impacts our daily lives. Just as we wouldn’t expect our cars to run on vegetable oil or on empty, we can’t expect our bodies to run well on less nutritious foods.
A well-balanced diet is important for all people, regardless of age, gender, weight, or health goals. It can be helpful to reflect on your “typical day” of eating. Is it balanced or higher in certain nutrients, such as carbs, fat, or salt? When you think about your plate, is there a variety of colors and textures present, or is it mostly different shades of the same color? Different foods provide different types of nutrients, which allows the body to develop and perform properly.
Perhaps eating is one of the last things you think about due to your busy schedule, so you spend most of your day running on empty. This can contribute to brain fog, low energy, and even the dreaded “hangry” behavior. Eating on a regular basis throughout the day can help our bodies and brains function, and make us less prone to overeating when we do sit down for a meal. There is a biological drive to overeat when we are in the ultra-hungry mode, taking us from a completely empty tank to an “unbutton your pants” level of fullness. Keeping a balance in what, how much, and how often we eat can be a rewarding form of self-care.
Thrive tip: Try adding to your meal plan, instead of focusing on what you need to “cut out.” For example, experimenting with a Meatless Monday or working toward five servings of fruits and vegetables per day can be a great start.
Test out some nutritious recipes:
- 1-Pot Pumpkin Black Bean Soup – Minimalist Baker Recipes
- One-Pan Pork Loin with Brussels and Apples – The Real Food Dietitians
- Chicken Noodle Soup (Classic or Immune-Boosting!) – Minimalist Baker
- Farro Salad with Apples, Walnuts and Cranberries – Healthy Seasonal Recipes
WashU employees can meet with a MyWay to Health Consultant (for free!) to create an individualized plan for adopting the 8ight Ways to Wellness. These in-house experts provide sound advice and accountability to help you take charge of your well-being. Their holistic approach focuses on nutrition, weight management, sleep, stress, and physical activity. Learn more about this evidence-based program and its workshops, and schedule an appointment for your free consultation.