FAQ – Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Q. Why is good nutrition so important?
A. “Think nutrient-rich rather than ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods. The majority of your food choices should be packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients, and lower in calories. Making smart food choices can help you stay healthy, manage your weight and be physically active.” — Christine Buttrey, Registered Dietician

Q. What exactly is a “balanced diet”?
A. “A balanced diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with these recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A healthy eating plan: 1. Emphasizes fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products; 2. Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts; 3. Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.” — Christine Buttrey, Registered Dietician

Q. Sports drinks are better to drink than soda, right?
A. “Sports drinks (like Gatorade and Poweraide) are for the purpose of replenishing the electrolytes that are lost from physical activity. So, if you are out on the field or basketball court, then a sports drink is fine. But it is not necessary to just sip on throughout the day. You are consuming added sugar and calories without any other benefits.” — Christine Buttrey, Registered Dietician

Q. I’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why?
A. “Breakfast is important to everyone’s overall health and performance. It is an early morning refueling stop for your body. After eight to 12 hours without a meal or a snack, your body needs to replenish itself. Studies show breakfast eaters tend to have more strength and endurance, and better concentration and problem-solving abilities. On the flip side, those who skip breakfast often feel tired, irritable or restless in the morning. Breakfast is essential to children’s (and teen’s) health and nutrition and gives them a jump-start on their day’s daily requirements for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.” — Christine Buttrey, Registered Dietician

Q. I eat a lot of fast food, is that OK?
A. “There is nothing wrong with going to a ‘fast-food’ restaurant. Once you get there, the choice is yours! You get to choose either the high fat burger, fries and coke or a more healthy option of grilled chicken sandwich and a side salad. Just make sure you THINK about your choice! — Christine Buttrey, Registered Dietician

Q. Why can some people eat whatever they want and they never gain weight, but some people gain weight really easily?
A. “It’s all in the genes! Just like some people have straight blonde hair and other people have curly brown hair. You might wish ( and try everything possible) to change your hair, when it comes down to it, your hair is part of your heredity – there is nothing you can do about it. Now, on another note, physical activity also plays a MAJOR role in weight gain and weight loss!” — Christine Buttrey, Registered Dietician

Q. I want to start eating healthier, but where do I start?
A. “First start by looking (and writing down might be helpful, too) at what you are currently eating. Then, you can choose one or two eating behaviors that you can change. An example might be that you drink 2-3 regular cans of coke a day. A simple change would be to switch to diet coke, or another low calorie beverage like Crystal Light or how about the free stuff called…water!” — Christine Buttrey, Registered Dietician