Note to Reporters: The following column was written by Melissa Wdowik, PhD, RDN, an assistant professor at Colorado State University in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and director of the Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center.
CSU’s nutrition center has a new name, but its mission remains the same.
The Nutrition Center @ CSU was born in January 2008 as an outreach arm of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Three years later, it became the Kendall Anderson Nutrition Center, thanks to generous gifts from Pat and Larry Kendall as well as Danette Anderson. Now, effective July 1, we are pleased to change our name to the Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center, with congratulations to Danette on her marriage, and with much thanks to her and her new husband, Monty Reagan, and the Kendalls for their continued support.
While our name has evolved, our qualifications and nutrition philosophy are consistent. Our registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) hold graduate degrees as well as certificates of training in lifestyle coaching, nutrition counseling, mindfulness, adult weight management, food allergies and lactation education. Our combined 30-plus years of experience include everything from diabetes and heart disease to sports nutrition and corporate wellness. Our accreditation as RDNs requires ongoing continuing professional education in disease prevention and management, nutrition though the lifespan from infancy to elderly, healthy lifestyles, farm-to-table topics and more.
We believe everyone can benefit from good nutrition without sacrificing taste, pleasure, flexibility or finances. In essence, our philosophy can be summarized in five beliefs.
1. All foods fit. Unless you have a food allergy, intolerance, dislike, or religious or value-based reason for avoiding a food or food group, you should not feel the need to restrict something you like. You have probably heard the term “balance” since childhood, and it still holds true: If you enjoy a daily piece of chocolate or handful of chips, balance them with a variety of selections from every food group throughout the day, including fruits, vegetables, proteins, whole grains, dairy and healthful fats.
2. Each individual has his/her own needs. There is no one-size-fits-all diet or approach, be it paleo, gluten-free, raw or organic. Instead, my overarching recommendation is to fuel your body, feed your brain and nourish your soul. You can do this with a variety of — surprise — fruits, vegetables, proteins, whole grains, dairy and healthful fats.
3. Eating should be enjoyable. It is OK to eat what you like, just make some compromises to eat healthfully. If your diet consists of processed foods, you will feel better by cleaning it up. Keep the breakfast pastry but omit the lunchtime fries; have a coffee drink weekly instead of daily. Slow down and eat mindfully to enjoy every bite.
4. Moderation is the responsibility of the eater. Instead of blaming food companies for the abundance of sugar, salt and fat in foods, and the toxic environment that is fast food on every corner, make an effort to cook from scratch and pack your own lunch. It can be as easy as boiling noodles instead of buying a noodle mix, or making a PB&J instead of grabbing a burger. At the same time, try smaller portions of everything.
5. Nutrition habits should not break the bank. Instead of saying you cannot afford to eat right, take an honest look at better choices you can make. Salmon and quinoa may be too expensive to eat every day, but you can fit them in occasionally if you skip the bottled water. Fruits and vegetables appear expensive, but they are affordable if they take the place of soda, prepared foods, crackers and cookies. Beans are less expensive protein choices than cheese and meat, oats less expensive than boxed cereal, and plain brown rice less than rice mixes.
With planning, the right attitude and a little help from KRNC, good nutrition is definitely doable!