Nutrition can be confusing, especially when there are different sources a bunch of “pseudo-science” information on food trends, supplements, and personal anecdotes. Discerning what to trust can be overwhelming. A simple Google search for “carbohydrates” brings up hundreds of conflicting articles and opinions. These mixed messages can lead to yo-yo dieting and restrictive mindsets.

Nourishment AND Enjoyment

Balancing your body’s needs can be simplified by understanding and responding to internal signals. It is possible to respect your health and taste by choosing foods that are nourishing and pleasurable. This looks like eating a wide variety of foods to provide your body with a mix of carbohydrates, protein, fats, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.

Respect your mental health by embracing the freedom that can come with food. Enjoying the taste and social aspects of food are equally valuable as the nutritional “health” aspects. More importantly, honoring your health and nourishment doesn’t require perfection. True balance is not achieved with rigidity, rules, and restrictions.

Seek a trustworthy outside opinion

As dietitians, we have the education, experience, and credentials to offer evidence-based nutrition information that you can trust. When in doubt, ask your dietitian how to create healthy meals, examples of on-the-go snacks, and the best ways to nourish your body with food. Although every person is different, you can use the chart below as a guideline when referencing portions and different food (fuel) groups.

A good rule of thumb is making sure each of your meals has 4-5 fuel groups, including a carbohydrate, protein, fat, and some type of produce of a fruit and/or vegetable. Snacks can vary depending on your specific needs and lifestyles, but we generally recommend at least 2 fuel groups to be paired together. Ensuring that meals and snacks have these components will provide balanced nutrition that will help fuel your body and brain.

Using visuals for portions in each of the fuel groups (baseball, ping pong ball, and the palm of your hand) is another way that to make sure that you are receiving adequate fuel to meet your needs.

There is no “exact” science with nutrition. We know our bodies change day-to-day and year-to-year, so remember to keep flexibility in mind. And remember that your food choices should prioritize both health and pleasure!