Change The Food You Eat and Change Your Life
INTRODUCING HEALTHY FOOD CAN BE A FUN ADVENTURE
When making a lifestyle change, tackling smaller goals such as an hour at the gym a few times a week might feel manageable, but the other side of the coin, nutrition, is a 24/7 commitment. And sometimes a hand to guide you makes all the difference.
“I like to take a fun approach as your partner in your wellness journey,” says Jessica Schroeder, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at the Greater Green Bay YMCA. “You are the leader, but together we map out your goals and ease into the journey.”
Each person is different, and laying a foundation of knowledge around nutrition is key, explains Schroeder.
“If you don’t understand why eating well is going to help you thrive, you’re missing out on the inspiration. When you’re feeling the benefits of good nutrition, it’s difficult to continually make poor decisions.”
Schroeder sees a variety of clients, including couples, parent-child teams, new moms and elders who prove it’s never too late to make a change.
“The people I work with regularly are the more successful ones. Consistency will help you hit your goals,” says Schroeder. “I’ve been doing this for some time now and I’m also learning how to help people peel back their own layers of doubt to succeed.” Mastering nutrition isn’t easy in a society that values convenience and quick food. Schroeder grew up like many Americans and enjoyed the same comfort foods as most kids. When her husband was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she took a dive into the science of health and wellness to learn how food impacts blood sugar. She became a dietitian.
“This was a big motivator for me. I wanted to directly help people with health changes and my heart fl utters when I know I’ve done so.” In her own life, Schroeder implements her skills as a nutritionist to keep her three-year-old daughter interested in a colorful, healthy diet.
“Younger kids are moldable and the biggest impact you can have on them is what you model for them. They learn by example, so if you want them to eat spinach then you need to eat spinach with them.”
Involving your little ones in the kitchen is key to helping them understand where food comes from, so pulling up a stool for them to watch, taste ingredients and help in a safe way is the perfect place to start.
“Kids are more likely to eat something when they have been part of the process of preparation,” explains Schroeder. “Keep offering them tastes of food they think they don’t like, make the meal colorful and talk to them about where the sweet peppers or kale came from.”
Leading your child through the garden is a great way to spark an interest in food that comes straight from the earth.
“Even if you only grow tomatoes or cucumbers, get them outside to see it. This can start at any age.”
Schroeder recommends designating a day of the week specifically to healthy eating in the home to keep kids excited about meals.
“Choose a day, such as Wellness Wednesday, to make a new meal with a new ingredient your children helped pick out at the grocery store,” says Schroeder. “In fact, I would encourage everyone to buy one new piece of produce every time you’re at the store. Get yourselves excited as well.” While parenthood changes your daily dinner routine in the kitchen drastically, Schroeder reminds us that it doesn’t always have to be mac n’ cheese but it’s okay when those nights happen too.
“Meal planning ahead of time definitely helps the whole family eat nutritiously, but when there isn’t time for that, we are still able to improve with a few key whole ingredients we try to keep in the house. We often have fish in the freezer that we can easily thaw for fish tacos or we can do the same with chicken and make wraps with veggies. Eggs are always a fail-safe, too.” An easy go-to for the morning are smoothies. Schroeder’s favorites include a variety of fruit, some source of calcium, such as yogurt, and oats.
Whether you’re looking to make a few lifestyle tweaks to add enjoyment to your days or you’ve finally decided to commit to running your first marathon, seeking the guidance of someone to give you that extra push may be all you need.