A Dietitian Answers Top Questions about Healthy Foods

healthy eating

Food-related research, advice, news — it can seem like a fire hose of information. How can you get it down to a manageable and useful trickle? Ask a dietitian! We called on our top expert, Brian Zehetner, to give us some insights on the most common questions — and, more importantly, some clear nutrition tips.

1. How can I manage to eat healthy foods on vacation?

There’s no doubt that it can be tricky to eat healthy when you’re traveling. A busy schedule plus new foods can lead to not-so-nutritious choices. Try to stay at least a little on track by carrying healthy snacks wherever you go, booking a hotel room with a kitchenette (or at least a minifridge), and finding a grocery store with fresh fruits and vegetables. But also remember that it’s a vacation! If you veer away from your normal eating habits, relax, enjoy it, and plan to get back on track once you’re home.

2. I know water is great for my health, but it gets boring. Are there healthy alternatives?

Water is optimal, but yes, it can be a chore to chug. Try sprucing it up by adding fruits and vegetables to your glass or pitcher. Think strawberries, lemon slices, cucumbers, even mint leaves. Tea is a good alternative since it has immune-boosting antioxidants. If those aren’t appealing, you can water down a juice you like, or juice your own fruits and vegetables.

3. Is it okay to eat fast food sometimes if you stick to healthy foods most of the time?

Yes, but there are a couple important points to keep in mind. First, make sure it’s an occasional trip through the drive-thru, not a regular event. Second, choose wisely. This shouldn’t be an "anything goes" moment. Look for the nutrition facts chart in fast food restaurants and do your best to avoid foods that are super high in calories, sugar, sodium, and fat.

4. My busy schedule means I sometimes skip meals. How can I get back on track?

Time for some planning! Make sure you’re making nutrition a priority in your life just as much as everything else on your schedule. Then, pick a day (Sundays work best for some people) to plan for the week ahead. Prep some healthy foods for snacks and lunches, and figure out some dinners, too. These might seem like trivial strategies, but they can make a big difference when it comes to hitting your nutrition goals.

Listen to Yourself, Too!

When it comes to nutrition tips, there’s one great authority you might not hear all the time: yourself. Pay attention to how it feels when you eat healthy foods — as well as not-so-healthy choices — and, if it helps, keep track of how you react to certain foods and meals. Over time, you’ll become a top nutrition expert on your own body!