Get Back to Balance this Holiday Season

December 12, 2014

Bring your life – and diet – back to balance this holiday season by forgetting about restriction and embracing everything you love, cookies and eggnog included!

Balance, Moderation, Variety

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Back to Balance Coalition. All opinions are my own. 

You’ve heard this trio before, especially from me. After all, that’s the backbone of a healthy lifestyle including your diet. It may be challenging to adhere to these fundamental principles, but at the end of the day they are the most practical and achievable recommendations for people to follow.

A recent survey of healthcare professionals, including registered dietitians, nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants, showed that this total diet approach is the best one we can provide to individuals working to improve their diet and lifestyle. Commissioned by the Back to Balance Coalition, the survey found that 95 percent of health professionals support practical, balanced dietary guidance that shows consumers how to build a healthy diet versus restrictive guidance that condemns certain foods and limits their choices. That means no more talking about food as “good” and “bad,” something I have advocated for a long time.

back to balance coalition
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So what does a practical, achievable, and non-restrictive approach to dietary guidance look like? Here are a few ways that healthcare providers can implement this type of approach:

  • Allow and assist people to make food choices based on taste and cultural preferences, accessibility and affordability of food, their personal lifestyle, and their cooking and food preparation skills and tools.
  • Make room for people to choose from a wide variety of foods to account for the factors mentioned above.
  • Guide people to choose from a range of foods, rather than a limited list with many restricted foods.
  • Include recommendations and guidance for physical activity, a key to a balanced lifestyle that allows room for all foods in the diet.

Throughout my career as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), I have implemented the approach outlined above. Whether I am working one on one with a client who is looking to lose weight or suffering from an eating disorder, teaching people cooking skills and how to get healthier meals on the table, or working with food and beverage companies to improve their products and help consumers achieve a healthier lifestyle, these are the the messages I always come back to. And it seems like fellow healthcare providers and food industry organizations are getting on board if they haven’t already.

Earlier this week the Back to Balance Coalition was launched with the support of healthcare professionals and over 18 food organizations who want to help consumers reach their dietary goals in a healthy, sustainable way that is backed by science – not through public policies that malign and restrict certain foods. Everyone can benefit from the resources provided by Back to Balance, so take a look at what they have to offer and I think you’ll learn a thing or two about how to reach your lifestyle goals while still enjoying everything you love. After all, that’s what Nutritioulicious is about, right?

How will you practice a balanced lifestyle over the holidays?

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