Food Confidence: Changing Your "Can't" to "Can"

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I tell people every day – “we make nutrition a lot more complicated than it has to be.” Real time news and social media has increased our awareness and vocabulary on describing the foods we are eating… or rather NOT eating. The purpose of this blog is to help quiet the voices, doubts, and insecurities you have about all the nutrition information out there. My hope is to increase your confidence in the foods you eat, choose, and prepare.

For example, here’s a food, snack, or part of meal example that I made for myself in under 3-minutes – what took the most time to maximizing the nutrition I fueled my body with was toasting my English Muffin. My food choice pictured included: 1/8 cup Blueberries, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, served on ½ an English Muffin. Here are all the things that I can say nutritionally about this simple item. My blueberry, peanut butter, English Muffin…

  • … is good source of fuel (calories) that is provided by carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. These macronutrients will provide me short-term energy for now (carbs), intermittent energy (protein), and a long-term source of energy (fat). By including all sources of energy, I am going to satisfy my appetite for a good 4-hours and have energy for all that I am getting ready to do with my day.
  • … the carbohydrates serve as nutrient-dense energy – meaning that the calories I ate from carbohydrates were packed full of nutrition, vitamins, minerals, and other benefits of plant based foods like fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
  • …. many people classify blueberries as a “superfood,” but to me blueberries specifically are a source of fiber, antioxidants, and provide a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that include Vitamin C, potassium, folate, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6, etc. These vitamins and minerals support the immune system, fuel the brain, fight inflammation, and assist my muscles in working like they should.
  • …. long-term energy source also provides monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help protect my body from inflammation and help my heart to continue to function strong.

“We make nutrition a lot more complicated than it has to be.”
~Keri Stoner-Davis MS, RDN/LD

All this nutrition was received very simply by incorporating 3-whole foods, or 3-of the basic food groups into this meal or snack option.

If I were to use a different nut butter alternative or different fruit – I would still be receiving the same benefits but with different nutrient variety. I really have not changed my fuel sources or total calories. But mixing and matching based upon our basic 5-food groups or whole foods, results in the variety of foods needed from day-to-day, week-to-week to support a lifetime of health.

My ultimate goal is to help you focus on what you CAN eat and what you CAN fix very easily vs. always focusing on what you are not doing. What is intentionally NOT included in this reflection are concerns about the sugars found in foods, or how many carbs this contains, or if the foods were fresh, frozen, canned, or organic. Honestly, those are conversations for another day and are not conversations you should be having on a daily basis with yourself or others. These labels or conversations often limit what people eat. The conversations and understanding of nutrition should always be broadening or selection of foods that we can eat.

We need to focus on WHAT we ARE doing to fuel our bodies – because the positive attributes, components, and benefits of foods far outweigh the concerns. Let’s focus on adding nutrient dense foods back into our diet, instead of focusing on what foods to eliminate.

If I were to name a problem, many of us are lucky that we have TOO MANY nutrient dense foods to choose from on a daily basis, and the real challenge is just deciding what to eat. All foods fit and variety is truly the spice of life.

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