Tips for healthy eating

healthy food choices

Colorful food choices and meal packaging ideas were on display at the workshop.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

That was the theme of a nutrition workshop led by Garreth Smoak and Elizabeth Burt to encourage healthy weight loss. (That quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince” was one of the slides in their presentation.)

Eliizabeth Burt

Elizabeth Burt discussed healthy eating strategies that helped her lose more than 70 pounds.

Smoak and Burt brought their own perspectives to healthy eating and weight loss.

Smoak is a physical therapy assistant at ReQuest Physical Therapy and author of the cookbook “Nutritious and Delicious in Florida.”

Burt, a science teacher and mother of two, told the workshop participants that she had yo-yo dieted for more than 25 years. Through the Physicians’ Choice for Weight Loss program at ReQuest, she lost more than 70 pounds and has kept that weight off for more than a year.

The two offered a number of useful tips about healthy eating…and provided some samples of their recipes for us to try. Here are a few of their tips.

Tip #1 – Don’t shop when hungry

We’ve all probably had that experience of going grocery shopping when hungry. Suddenly you’re adding food items to your cart because you are hungry.

Tip #2 – Prepare a shopping list

Don’t go into the grocery store thinking that you’ll decide what to purchase as you walk through the store. You’ll wind up selecting food items based on impulse and you may not purchase all the ingredients you actually need, leading to another trip to the grocery store.

Tip # 3 – Shop the perimeter of the grocery store

Garreth Smoak

Garreth Smoak (on left), author of “Nutritious and Delicious in Florida,” answered questions about food preparation after the workshop.

Burt offered that tip, which I was pleased to hear because that’s the way I grocery shop. Shopping the perimeter means walking the outside edge of the grocery store, which for most grocery stores, means that you will be walking through the store section with the fresh food items – veggies, fruit, meat, dairy products.

From the perimeter of the store, walk into select aisles for specific items rather than walking down every aisle. That way you’ll avoid seeing lots of tempting packaged items you don’t want to wind up in your shopping cart.

Tip # 4 – Plan your meals in advance

Both Smoak and Burt talked about the importance of planning meals and then prepping for the meals in advance. Every Sunday, Burt, her husband and two children prepare ingredients for the week’s meals and veggie packs that are part of their daily lunches.

Tip #5 – Eat a colorful range of foods

Elizabeth Burt's veggie pack

Veggie packs are part of Elizabeth Burt’s weekly lunches.

Smoak discussed the “rainbow” of foods that are part of healthy eating – including green leafy veggies and the blues and purples of fruits. The acronym for healthy foods is G-BOMBS, coined by Dr. Joel Furhman:

  • G = greens
  • B = beans
  • O = onions
  • M = mushrooms
  • B = berries
  • S = seeds

Tip #6 – Eliminate temptation in your kitchen

The two mentioned this concept but didn’t elaborate. We all know what they are talking about – getting rid of any tempting food or drinks that aren’t healthy choices.

Smoak ended on what I think is a great reminder:

Tip #7 – Bounce back from weight-loss setbacks.

Smoak said that in making weight-loss changes we sometimes have a misstep or setback, like super snacking during the Super Bowl. Don’t let that deter you from your weight-loss goals. Start afresh tomorrow.

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