Imagine this: you sit down in front of your computer, type in your food preferences, dietary requirements and health goals. With a few quick clicks, the computer’s algorithm spits out a tailor-made meal plan just for you.
No more scratching your head, wondering what to eat or how to meet your nutritional needs. The computer becomes your personal culinary assistant, taking the guesswork out of meal planning.
While that may seem impersonal, Registered Dietitians are educated and trained on how to compute an individual’s estimated energy requirements through utilization of a formula using a person’s age, height, weight and activity level. They then build a meal plan to support this estimated energy amount.
It’s as if RDs are equipped and qualified to tell someone, “this is exactly what you should eat, and when, and if you do, you will see the body and life transformation you have always dreamed of.”
However, does your day-to-day look the same? Do plans always pan out just as you imagined they would? Do your energy needs remain the same on a daily basis?
If you were to be honest with yourself, you might say that your response to these questions is a resounding no. Asking someone to be perfect daily doesn’t support them long term. Asking for someone to stick to a concrete plan doesn’t take into account the complexities of everyday life.
We are all human, so how can we factor our “human-ness” into our nutrition plan? Read on for advice from Skyterra’s Dietitian.
How to Humanize Your Nutrition Plan
If you were given a meal plan that was intended to be followed to the letter, you might feel disappointed in yourself if you gravitated even a tiny bit (or bite) away from it.
At Skyterra, our Dietitians reframe how we help serve guests with our expertise and use of scientific evidence. We know that individuality and variability should be factored into one’s nutrition plan in order for a guest to take what they learn and use it to support them long term. Here’s how you can do that for yourself.
How to Tailor Your Nutrition Plan to You
Reflect on how you feel both physically and emotionally when it comes to your food choices. Do you see food as nourishment? Do your food choices energize you and excite/satisfy you, or result in sluggishness and guilt?
Do you know it’s just as important to ENJOY what it is you are eating as it is to put intention behind eating foods that best nourish you?
Try this: Slow down and aim to be more observant of your physical and emotional self when having a meal or snack. Does this food actually taste good? Does this feel good in my stomach? Am I comfortably full?
Build consistency in your eating schedule to provide your body with the fuel and the emotional satisfaction it deserves with each food choice.
Consistency supports blood sugar balance, reductions in cortisol (our stress hormone), increases emotional satiation throughout your day and supports consistent energy to power your day
Try this: Start with three meals a day and add in scheduled snack times as needed, depending on when meals take place and as physical hunger prevails between meals.
Re-evaluate what you are eating and set a food focus for each meal to ensure you are nourishing yourself adequately and optimally.
Here are some best practices for setting up your meals:
- Breakfast and snacks: Opt for a fiber-rich food (e.g. whole grain, fruit, vegetable) and pair this with a protein or a fat source to support sustained energy (e.g. yogurt, cottage cheese, meat stick, egg, hummus, nuts/nut butter, seeds, avocado/guacamole)
- Lunch and dinner:
- Prioritize your vegetables and vary your selection as you are able. Whether preparing a meal from scratch, dining or ordering out, have 50 percent of your plate or meal consist of non-starchy vegetables that you enjoy, ensuring you prepare them in a flavorful and enjoyable way.
- Pick a protein to be 25 percent of your plate or meal. For meat, fish/seafood, poultry and tofu, aim for a portion at least the size of the palm of your hand. Add in beans, legumes, nuts and seeds to increase the protein content of your meal. Protein has a variety of functions, one being supporting satiation at mealtime.
- Choose a carbohydrate for your fuel to be 25 percent of your meal or plate. If you are looking to make movement more of a part of your life, carbohydrates are your body and brain’s main fuel source! Opt for whole grains, fruit and starchy vegetables as you are able. These sources are particularly supportive of cardiovascular and gut health.
Lastly, don’t forget to add a few fat sources, whether it’s a sprinkle of nuts, seeds, nut butter, avocado, olive or avocado oil, hummus or cheese, a little goes a long way and often a meal will NOT be satisfying and sufficient if fat is lacking within your meal of choice.
Get Expert Nutrition Guidance at Skyterra Wellness Retreat
For guests who meet with our Registered Dietitian at Skyterra, the goal is to help reframe guest perceptions around weight and health to move from “body distrust” to “body trust,” with a Health at Every Size(™)- aligned approach. We aspire to educate and empower guests so they can make confident food choices in their everyday life to support their physical and emotional well-being, no matter their wellness journey.
Physical and emotional satisfaction should exist when determining what we want to nourish ourselves. No one person is the same and we meet people where they are. We encourage you to view your food choices and others’ around you as something unique to that individual.