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Eat Right, Live Right, Feel Right

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This year’s theme of National Nutrition Month is “Eat Right, Live Right, Feel Right.” Cooper Clinic registered dietitian nutritionists offer their personal take on what this 2019 theme means to them.

Mary Montgomery, MS, RDN, LD
I try to keep “eating right” as simple as possible. While making little changes to the foods or meals that I eat regularly. For example, I started putting avocado or guacamole on a sandwich instead of mayo as a way to cut back on saturated fat intake. I’ve also been adding chia seeds to my oatmeal to increase my fiber, Omega-3 and protein intake. Something else that helps me keep things simple and healthy is planning ahead. I plan ahead by creating weekly meal plans which helps simplify grocery trips and decrease unhealthy impulse purchases. I truly believe that making small changes adds up quickly and reaps many benefits.

Lizzy McCrary, RDN, LD
My idea of “eating right” means eating nutritious, filling, balanced meals, which leads to living right and thus feeling right. It’s a perpetual lifestyle, meaning on a regular basis and most of the time, I try to adhere to a balanced diet throughout the week that is not only filling, but also tasty and satisfying. I try to focus on meals that are packed with lean protein and plenty of fiber and color. I am a fan of afternoon snacks to tide me over when in need – typically something with, you guessed it, more protein and fiber! My go-to snack is light cheese and fruit, or non-fat Greek yogurt and fruit. Exercise helps in myriad ways, especially with stress management, mood boosting and energy levels! It also can bring about confidence and increase strength, endurance and metabolism. Win, win! When I eat right, I feel right and that makes me want to make healthy choices to live right. It’s all about balance and being attune to your body and its needs. Food is meant to help you, not harm you! Be kind to yourself by taking a holistic approach to living right through body, mind and spirit. This means taking care of your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. You are worth it! 

Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE
To me, eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. In my personal and professional life I like to think of food as fuel first and fun second most of the time. When I follow this practice it allows me to feel right both physically and mentally and keeps me motivated to live right. Consistency in simple meal and snack planning makes eating right easy and easy to fit into my lifestyle. I know I feel better when I eat every few hours (though this is not a requirement for everyone), so I like to plan my day around smaller meals and snacks that keep my energy levels going. My favorite go-to snacks are fruit and light string cheese or a Greek yogurt cup and mixed berries. I keep these in my lunch bag Monday through Friday and truly rely on them. These snacks are packed with protein and fiber, not to mention I look forward to eating them! It is easier said than done, but I would rather forgo a piece of chocolate in the office snack drawer and enjoy a snack from home. Finally, my mini-indulgence fun food for the day is a Chilly Cow low-fat ice cream pop which I never pass up!

Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD
I “eat right” at work when I have a well-stocked office drawer and use the breakroom refrigerator. I fill my office drawer with Quaker Lower Sugar instant oatmeal, cashews and diced dried apricots. In the breakroom refrigerator I keep high protein fat-free milk, such as Fairlife, and honey crisp apples. For a quick breakfast I mix a package of oatmeal with milk and microwave until done. After the oatmeal is cooked I like to add nuts, dried fruit and fresh apples.

Cynthanne Duryea, RDN, LD
Broken down into components, “eat right” means eating with purpose and the intent to nourish and fuel my body, not just tantalize the taste buds. Meals can include lean protein, fiber-rich carbohydrates (whole grains, starchy vegetable like a small potato or sweet potato or beans and lentils) and colorful fruits and vegetables. To “live right” means moving my body with exercise and activity that I love to do most days or a minimum of four times per week. It means getting 7-8 hours of sleep on week nights. After eating and living right, I naturally find that the “feel right” follows suit with no further effort. It is amazing how healthy and purposeful eating paired with adequate exercise and sleep, results in naturally feeling good!

Gillian White, RDN, LD, CNSC
The personal embodiment of “Eat Right, Live Right, Feel Right” is not so much about pursuing perfection in how I eat, but finding balance in the way I fuel my body that makes me feel my best. Have I given my body enough fuel and fiber in the form of carbohydrates? Was there enough protein distributed throughout my day to help my body rebuild and restore? How about enough fat to make me feel satiated hour-to-hour? This involves responding appropriately to my body’s hunger with a nourishing meal or snack while remaining vigilant to “pseudo” hunger signaling such as boredom, exhaustion or stress. In these instances a better solution may be going for a short walk, getting to bed earlier or calling a friend as a positive distraction. This world is very diverting and there are numerous things pulling us in different directions at any given time. A pivotal task in life is finding your center in the midst of chaos. We must be aware and intentional about how and what we eat, not allowing ourselves to get distracted with things such as the television, computer or smart phone. How we eat should promote good health but not monopolize all of our time. Enlisting the help of a registered dietitian can be of great benefit in finding a customized balance. In harnessing the power of our own intuition we will find that our bodies are smart; they know what they need and we just need to give them a chance to speak. 

Meridan Zerner, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD
I live by the strategy of “Eat Right, Live Right, Feel Right” in lots of different ways. As a working mom, some of my family’s meals have to be quick and convenient so I choose the healthiest available option and add an extra side salad or fruit cup to balance the equation. I may not always get the perfect 30 minute workout every day, but I will stand more, walk for ten minutes at my daughter’s soccer practice and then lengthen the dog walk by 5-10 minutes at the end of the day to meet the physical activity recommendation for good health. I like to socialize and spend time out in the community, which is part of my "living right.” This could also mean that I choose the dessert instead of a glass of wine or I might choose a light appetizer so that I can afford the signature special of the night. It all comes down to balance and doing the best you can (with your health in mind) in the moment. It is not about perfection but a plan for balance that makes sense for YOU!