The best diet

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In a time when diets are frequently talked about, I’m often asked, “What is the best diet out there?”

As a registered dietitian, I have strong opinions on the efficacy of common crash diets. I believe diets should be individualized and promote a change that becomes a lifestyle.

The biggest problem with most diets is they are restrictive; they have a starting and ending place, but no plan on how to move forward after it’s over. People feel lost with how to sustain their new results after they are off the diet. Most commonly, this leads to the regaining of the lost weight and starts the cycle of yo-yo dieting.

It’s very hard to put everyone into a one-size-fits-all approach because we are all different. We all have different likes, needs, intolerances, and beliefs when it comes to food. I often encourage my patients to adopt a new lifestyle from the beginning. We look at ways to design a “diet” that includes all foods but focuses meals on the most nutrient-dense foods including fruits and vegetables, lean and plant-based proteins, whole grains and heart-healthy fats.

We also place an emphasis on portion size. As we know we can overeat on any food if we are taking in more calories than we are burning. I like to help my patients play an active role in determining what “their” diet will look like. There is no start and end; it’s just, “this is my new lifestyle.”

So, how do I know what foods I should focus on including into my new “diet?” I like using the Mediterranean diet as a foundation for my nutrition. Most recently, US News and World Report named the Mediterranean diet as the best overall diet for 2019. What I like most about the Mediterranean diet is, it’s not a diet. It’s more of an eating style that teaches us what foods/food groups should be included most often and which ones we should try and limit.

Numerous studies have found the Mediterranean diet and its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression, and cancer. The Mediterranean diet not only focuses on changes to our nutrition habits but also encourages family meals, mindful eating and physical activity as a center to a completely healthy lifestyle.

In my next article, we will dive deeper into the Mediterranean diet and how to adopt a more Mediterranean focus in our own lives.

As you move through 2019, look at ways you can make small, sustainable changes to your current diet. Change doesn’t have to be a daunting and overwhelming task. Pick one to two things you can commit to changing today. It can be as simple as, eating a serving of vegetables at dinner, drinking one less sugar-sweetened beverage or having an extra glass of water.

When we take the focus away from feeling we need to change everything all at once, we actually set ourselves up for greater success. Know it’s okay not to be perfect. None of us are and none of us will ever be -- but strive to be better.

Others shouldn’t drive your goals and habits, you should. identify what you want, throw away the excuses and go for it. My biggest piece of advice, don’t wait for tomorrow, start today! Change is never easy, but if we wait until tomorrow, then tomorrow may never come.

Mediterranean Frittata

1 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup spinach

½ tsp onion powder

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped

Dash of red pepper flakes or black pepper

2 tbsp fresh basil

2 tbsp crumbled feta

8 eggs

2 tbsp skim milk or milk alternative (soy, almond)

Optional: Avocado and sliced Kalamata olives


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Whisk eggs and milk together. Add feta, stir and set aside.

Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat and add oil. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute. Next, add the mushrooms, cook for 1-2 minutes; add spinach, onion powder, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until wilted and mushrooms are soft. Add sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Remove from heat.

Pour egg mixture into skillet and place immediately in the oven. Bake for 14-17 minutes until eggs are set. Serve warm and top with sliced avocado and sliced olives.

Adapted from:

• • •

Sarah Nave is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist with Heritage Health. She graduated from the University of Idaho with a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences with a major in Foods and Nutrition, dietetics option; and she is currently working towards her Masters in Movement & Leisure Sciences. Sarah was born and raised in North Idaho and currently resides locally with her husband and their two kids. In their free time they enjoy camping, boating and recreating on all the area’s lakes and rivers.

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