Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

You are your own food guide

As a registered dietitian, I am well aware that March is the designated month to promote nutrition. Dietitians everywhere pull out all the stops to remind their audiences to “eat right.” This year’s appeal has those very words spelled out with fruits and vegetables forming the letters.

Each year’s theme is a new play on MyPyramid. This updated food guide now has a stick figure climbing up the pyramid’s side to remind us of the importance of physical activity. The information in the pyramid itself is very instructional. In case your forgot, it tells you to eat your fruits and vegetables and not too much sugar and fat.

Ironically,the pyramid has become the perfect stumbling block. If you allow the pyramid to get in your way, you might stub your toe on the “servings per day” it tells you to eat. I used to trip over the way it made me feel bad about the foods I wanted. Often, people ask me, “Where does ‘xyz’ fit?” That’s a great question. Let’s say ‘xyz’ is blueberry pie. Do blueberries, baked in a pie, suddenly zoom to the top of the pyramid to be categorized as a cautionary food?

Isn’t that the trouble with guides? Too directional.

It’s the pleasure you derive from eating the foods you like that keeps pushing you along to become more and more adventurous with your food selections. According to Ellyn Satter, “The key to nutritional excellence is variety growing out of genuine food enjoyment.”

Starting with enough food is essential. Don’t go back on that–moving along requires that you maintain what you achieved at the previous levels.

Your natural inclination is to seek out variety and you will once you get over being told what to do. You are the best food guide for you.

Permission to reproduce and distribute Satter’s Hierarchy of Food Needs granted by Ellyn Satter.

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