Above, Christine Dorn Dressler, RN works with Day Habilitation participants on healthy food choices.
Although we are incorporating information from myplate.gov as well as from many other sources, there are 4 main course areas that we are addressing:
- Real whole foods. Think caveman or Paleo--you want food that is the same as you would find it in the wild. Whole fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, legumes and grains should be in their purest state. If it comes in a box or a bag, it's probably not whole. If a food is manmade or processed, leave it alone.
- What foods to include. We will be learning which specific foods are good for what area of their health to encourage individuals to feel good about what they are eating. We will be teaching to eat "colorfully" and to be plant-centric during meals. Meals need to also include protein and healthy fats, such as avocados and fatty fish in order to process the nutrition you are getting. Add in cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and or garlic for an antioxidant boost!
- What foods to avoid. We are also teaching that meals should be lower in sugar and carbohydrates. Did you know that the typical 8 oz juice box contains 15 grams of sugar? The daily recommended intake of sugar is generally between 25 and 35 grams! And there are 43 grams in one cup of spaghetti noodles, which is at least 1/3 of the currently recommended daily intake. That might not seem like a lot, but as more research is being done those recommendations are likely to be going down. And if your participant is diabetic, those numbers decrease drastically.
- Portion sizes. Portion sizes should be much smaller than we are used to seeing. Of course we want to avoid processed foods already, but especially avoid terms like "king sized" and "value pack". More is not more, it is bad for you.