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Theresa Gilson: Eat right, your way, every day!

Theresa Gilson

By Theresa Gilson

How do you eat right, your way, every day? No matter your lifestyle, traditions, health concerns, and/or taste preferences, it is important to keep in mind two key words - balance and moderation.

As a dietetic intern aspiring to become a registered dietitian, this theme plays a huge role in my life. I am an educator and a nutrition counselor; therefore I help people make informed decisions about eating right, their way, every day.

Being able to live an active lifestyle and to do the things you want to do requires good health. If someone's nutrition status begins to decline, this can have a significant impact on his or her lifestyle.

Now, let's get back to those two key words - balance and moderation. Healthful, nutritious guidelines include low-fat dairy products, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, plenty of water, few fats and sugars. Oh, and we cannot forget about exercising daily!

When do balance and moderation come into the picture? For example, say I eat an excellent breakfast composed of whole grain toast topped with peanut butter and washed down with a 4-ounce glass of 100 percent orange juice. For lunch, my friend invites me to join her for fast food. Fast food is something I rarely eat. I go ahead and get a delicious cheeseburger, fries, and a coke for lunch. This is balance and moderation for me. Knowing that 90 percent of the time I do eat a healthful diet and exercise on a daily basis, I allow myself a special treat every once in awhile.

Eating right, your way, every day - what does this mean to you? Does your family have certain traditional foods that you enjoy, or does someone in your family have a serious health condition and it is imperative that he or she follows a strict diet? If so, trying to eat right, your way, every day could have many different meanings.

No matter the situation, always remember it is possible to make any meal a healthy meal. Sometimes there are substitutions that need to be made to make a healthy meal. For example, if a recipe calls for sour cream, you could substitute reduced fat/fat-free sour cream or even low-fat/fat-free plain yogurt. Or, if a recipe calls for butter, you could substitute applesauce or prune puree (for half the amount of called-for butter) - this is best only for baking. Occasionally, we want the full fat sour cream or the butter and that's OK, but remember - balance and moderation.

So, let's celebrate by getting back to the basics and remembering those two key words - balance and moderation! Eat right, your way, every day and enjoy it!

For more recipe substitutions visit: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes

Theresa Gilson is a dietetic intern with Virginia Cooperative Extension. She is completing her internship program with a concentration in public health community nutrition and is working toward becoming a registered dietician.


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