If you asked me to name some of the happiest people I know, I’d tell you they are people who aren’t dieting. They are the people who haven’t bought into the latest eating fads, stocked up on the latest “magic pills” and are not restricting their intake to the lowest possible number of calories; they aren’t on a cleanse or eating only the foods from one specific aisle of the grocery store.
Some of the happiest people I know are those who simply try to make better choices 80% of the time; the other 20% of the time, they give themselves a break and indulge in their favorite food or beverage. This is the way I try to live my life. Food (and eating) is one of the great joys in life for many people, me included. I will never pass up the chance to eat a slice of lasagna (especially if it’s made by my grandma or dad). My favorite dessert is probably cheesecake or ice cream. I’m not a huge chocolate eater but I do like candy (mainly fruity, chewy stuff). Oh yeah, and I’m a dietitian.
People often think that dietitians eat only “healthy” foods, which they assume to be mostly fruits and veggies, weird grains or foods that are only steamed or grilled with little flavor. Others may think that all dietitians are vegetarians or vegans. Some dietitians may fall into those stereotypes but the real kicker is that if someone chooses to eat that way, it’s probably because he or she enjoys it! I grew up eating fluffy white bread just like most people and some of my favorite meals include meat or poultry in some form or fashion. I’ve always loved cheese and milk and continue to eat them today. Choosing organic foods does not have to be scary or risky, and “healthy eating” does not mean you have to give up your favorite foods. It simply means being more aware and not overindulging at every opportunity.
I balance my occasional indulgence in meaty, cheesy lasagna by choosing other foods most of the time. My pantry and fridge are usually stocked with foods like whole grain breads, brown rice, edamame, soy and/or almond milk (Simple Truth now has both varieties, plain or flavored!), yogurt, whole grain cereal and/or granola and of course fruits and veggies (fresh, frozen, canned, whatever). Here are some simple things I do that fit into my lifestyle and allow me to live better:
The other important component of my daily life while “simply living better” is staying active. This has gotten a bit more difficult now that I’m heading into the third trimester of my first pregnancy, but I’ve learned if I can get myself out of bed a bit earlier and fit in even ten minutes of weight training, aerobic activity or yoga, I’m not only more alert throughout the day, but I feel more energized and tend to sleep better that evening. I don’t belong to a gym or spend two hours a day dripping in sweat. I simply try to get the most out of the time I have available, whether that means doing calf raises while brushing my teeth, squats while folding laundry or using my stationary bike pedals that are sitting under my desk at work.
Trying to live better shouldn’t be a chore or a hardship. It doesn’t mean you have to give up things you love to eat, or do things you hate. If it does, then it will never last.
Sarah Koeninger RD LD is a dietitian licensed in Kentucky and Ohio. As a native Kentuckian, she group up as a Kroger shopper and began working in the Kroger Service Center shortly after finishing her degree program at Eastern Kentucky University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in General Dietetics and a minor in business and completed her dietetic internship at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, OH. Her position within The Kroger Co. has always been in the Kroger Service Center, where she dedicates her time to answering customer questions regarding Kroger and banner brand products, gluten status, food allergens, nutrition label reading, ingredient statements, labeling laws and regulations, food safety and everything in between. Though her diet consists mainly of “healthy foods” – including Simple Truth fresh lettuces, fruits and vegetables, and almond milk – she does LOVE ice cream (as well as frozen yogurt, gelato, etc.) and almost all Italian food (her ultimate favorite being lasagna, thanks to her Italian heritage). She likes to cook though does not always follow recipes exactly (thanks again to her heritage) and loves to bake. She has participated in many sports throughout her life including volleyball, softball and women’s rugby, although she now she maintains her fitness through workouts like kickboxing and yoga, in hopes it will increase flexibility, fitness and patience. She lives with her husband, Kevin, in Erlanger, Kentucky, and is eagerly anticipating the birth of their first child in the Summer of 2013.
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