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Breathe: Well Fed

Feb/03/2024 / by abhijit-masih

A dietitian shares her secrets for healthier and more mindful eating

We all live hectic lifestyles, and eating well can often fall to the bottom of the priority list. But by making small tweaks, we can amp up our habits to live a more balanced life. To uncover some of these impactful lifestyle changes, we spoke to Priyanka Jonnalagadda MS, RD, a registered dietitian with Culina Health, to get her advice on what steps to take for better nutrition.

Perfect Your Portions When creating a nutritious meal, focus on the right combination of nutrients. A good mix of protein, healthy fats, and fiber can help you feel full and satisfied while also preventing blood sugar spikes. Start by filling 1/4 of your plate with a lean source of protein, such as lentils, beans, chicken, fish, or tofu. Another 1/4 of the plate can be filled with high-fiber grains or starches, like quinoa, brown rice, or sweet potato. The remaining half of the plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, cucumber, or tomatoes.

Lastly, add a golf ball size of a healthy fat source on the side or to cook your meals, such as avocado oil or almonds. For example, using avocado oil, you could prepare one whole wheat roti, 1/4 plate daal, 1/4 plate palak paneer, and 1/4 plate gobi masala. As a bonus, adding some dahi or Greek yogurt on the side will provide additional protein.

Never Skip a Meal Eating breakfast within 1-2 hours of waking up, along with
or before your coffee or tea, is essential to balance your blood sugar effectively. To start your day on the right foot, have a well-balanced breakfast that includes protein, fiber, and healthy fats. If you skip meals throughout the day, you may find yourself feeling hungrier and more prone to cravings later in the day. In our fast-paced world, convenient foods can be a lifesaver when it comes to planning meals and snacks. For example, opting for pre-cut fruits and vegetables, frozen fruits and vegetables, and shelf-stable microwaveable grains can make meal prep much more manageable.

Track With Tech Some individuals may find it beneficial to record their meals in a food diary or by using an app like MyFitnessPal. This approach can raise awareness and accountability about daily eating habits. Meal tracking enables people to identify patterns and areas where they can improve and develop a more balanced diet.

While tracking apps can be helpful, consulting with a Registered Dietitian can provide individualized care toward recognizing opportunities for support, building sustainable habits, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.