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Dietitians fight for healthy eating

From exercising more and eating healthier to losing weight, one quick Google search shows when it comes to new year’s resolutions, people are placing health goals at the top. But forcing drastic change overnight seldom works in the long term.
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From exercising more and eating healthier to losing weight, one quick Google search shows when it comes to new year’s resolutions, people are placing health goals at the top.

But forcing drastic change overnight seldom works in the long term. Willpower quickly fizzles out, and restricting food choices becomes defeating.

That’s why the St. Albert and Sturgeon Primary Care Network (PCN) is launching a new event to help people naturally live healthier lifestyles.

Grocery Store Tour – Eating Well 365 Days of the Year takes place Jan. 30. The tour guides participants through Safeway as dietitians discuss different food choices and flavourful recipes.

Instead of making food the enemy, the program will help people develop a healthy attitude towards the food that enters their body.

“It’s a new initiative to help people see actually in the store, how they can change their health,” said Heather Lyseng, clinical manager at the PCN.

This is the first time the program is running. Lyseng decided to organize the program to help participants expand their views on food choices. Dietitians will, hopefully, give them an insight on foods they perhaps hadn’t thought of before.

That includes pulses like dry beans, lentils, peas and green beans, to name a few.

Emily Mardell, one of the dietitians at the PCN, said many people don’t realize grocery stores are designed to draw people to certain foods. Brand placement is key, with the most unhealthy products sitting at eye level when you walk into the store.

But rather than telling people they need to scrap their entire diet over night, dietitians at the PCN help people make small changes – like introducing a little fibre and protein into their diet – that tend to have lasting impacts.

Food festivities

For many, Christmas comes with large dinners heaped with unending food and treats.

Rather than forcing restrictions or feeling guilty over food portions, Mardell said it’s better to enjoy the food with family.

“Finding not a diet but an eating pattern that reflects you (is the) healthiest lifestyle you can enjoy,” she said.

Overall, she said buffet-type meals are often difficult to manage when it comes portioning, so Mardell recommends making your plate colourful. By introducing different foods, she said it’s likely you’ll take in a wider variety of nutrients.

“When we look at nutrition overall, the more varied the diet – the more colourful, the more seasonal, the more diverse – variety and nutrition go hand in hand,” she explained.

Once the holiday festivities finish and you’re ready to make your resolutions, tackling the grocery store can be intimidating if you don’t know where to start.

The tour will be a chance for people to bring recipes or ask questions on what foods are the healthiest.

The dietitian will also help people match lifestyle with more nutritious foods, so for those who hate cooking or don’t have time, the PCN will provide quick and healthy meal tips.

Lyseng said it's likely the grocery store tours will run every month, with different topics each time. While this one is focused on new year’s resolutions, in the future they’ll have tours for those with celiac, diabetes or other health issues.

For more information on the tour visit: http://www.saspcn.com/event/grocery-store-tour-eating-well-365-days-of-the-year/.





Dayla Lahring

About the Author: Dayla Lahring

Dayla Lahring joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2017. She writes about business, health, general news and features. She also contributes photographs.
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