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  • Lending Hearts

Registered Dietitian Day: The Importance of Healthy Eating

It can be challenging to make lasting changes in your life, especially when it comes to your eating patterns. We are faced with making choices at several meals and snacks per day, seven days a week, and it seems that there is conflicting information everywhere you look regarding the best practices for your health. Dietitians can be an excellent resource for your nutrition concerns. Providing nutrition education is part of our training. I am so honored that I have the opportunity to work with the Lending Hearts community every month. We discuss current nutrition topics while preparing delicious food that can be part of your healthy pattern, and sometimes we have cook-along demonstrations! It is great that there is free access to the demonstrations, and we are able to interact during the discussion!

A Registered Dietitian can help you modify your eating patterns with sound nutrition advice and help you make lasting changes. Why is our eating pattern so important? Our eating patterns greatly influence our internal and outward health; hair, nails, skin, and weight. People tend to focus on outward health since that is what is visible. But what about our diet's effects on the inside of our bodies, especially if we choose processed foods over whole foods, sugar over fruits and vegetables, or fuel with caffeine instead of protein and complex carbohydrates? In the short term, we can feel sluggish or irritable, but in the long term, we can be in a chronic state of inflammation that can eventually lead to chronic disease.

A dietitian will equip you to make the choices that will fuel you for the day, manage chronic disease, or help you to achieve a healthy weight to avoid chronic disease. I help my clients be fueled with food to face whatever their day may bring them and provide them with the tools to build a well-balanced eating pattern that will help them achieve long-term goals. Depending on what point you are at in your wellness journey, you may need to make several changes to improve your health. A dietitian can identify the priorities and outline the steps to help you achieve your objectives. I work with my clients to set realistic short and long-term goals that are measurable and achievable. Achieving milestones can go a long way to staying motivated in the process and help visualize success. Working with the Lending Hearts community, we identify any barriers, like special occasions or ongoing treatments, and work to provide them with practical strategies to overcome them.

Remember, a single day of eating poorly will not significantly affect our health and progress, but when it becomes part of a pattern, it will. Putting strategies in place like meal prep and planning and having nutritious snacks readily available will help you stay on track when life gets busy, or you are too tired to prepare meals. Identifying triggers, like stress or social situations, and replacing our response to those triggers with new behavior will help start new habits. Remember, changing your eating pattern is a process; if you feel like you could have done better at lunch, you have another opportunity to do the next right thing at dinner. Reach out to a dietitian; it's a great time to make lasting changes for better health!

Laura Zervos, MBA, RDN, LDN


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