Coach Q & A: All about nutrition

What foods will give you energy to fuel your day? What should your eating plan look like for weight loss? Here, our Healthy Lifestyles coaches share the nutrition questions they get asked most often – and what they want you to know about eating right.


From Healthy Lifestyles Coach Martha Ramirez:

Q. I’m frequently on-the-go and don’t always have the option to make home-cooked meals. How can I choose healthier options when eating out?

A. Try to plan ahead to see what your dining-out options will be. This way, you can choose what you’ll order ahead of time and take some of the worry out of it. Many restaurants (even fast food) have nutritional facts online. Always look for menu choices that contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains and leaner meats: fish, chicken and turkey. Choose water to drink, and ask the server to not bring the free bread or chips. Skip cream-based sauces and try to choose grilled, baked or steamed options whenever possible.


Q. What are some simple ways to cut calories from my diet?

A. One of the easiest ways to cut calories is to not drink them. Avoid sugary drinks like sodas, juices and sports drinks, and replace them with water. Don’t add sugar to your tea or coffee. Cutting back on condiments can also help: A single tablespoon of mayonnaise and ketchup adds an extra 57 calories. And finally, switch to smaller plates. Research has shown that you tend to serve yourself less (and then eat less) by using smaller plates, without the feeling that you’re depriving yourself.


From Healthy Lifestyles Coach Kimberly Clausen:

Q. I’m worried about eating too much sugar. Is it OK to eat fruit to curb my sweet tooth?

A. Definitely. Since fresh fruit also contains fiber, your body digests it more slowly. This makes it less likely to cause a spike in your blood sugar. Besides fiber (which is also good for cholesterol health), fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. They provide a boost of sustainable energy.


Q. Will drinking coffee and iced tea throughout the day help ensure I’m getting enough water/fluids?

A. No, these drinks contain caffeine and can dehydrate the body even more. Your water intake needs will vary depending on several factors, including your weight and how active you are. Drinking an average of 60 ounces of water each day is a good starting point.



From Healthy Lifestyles Coach Jessica Hunter:

Q. What’s the best diet?

A. This is a tricky question, but the real answer is there’s no single “diet” for weight loss that works best for everyone. I try to help each person find the approach that works best for them. Your body is adaptable to an array of diets, and the best diet for you will be one that’s nutritionally balanced and that you enjoy. This will allow you to stick with it, too. For some people, that’s eating vegan or cutting back on carbohydrates, etc. But most importantly, it’s about making a long-term lifestyle change with a focus on better nutrition rather than a temporary quick-fix diet.


Q. Where do I start if I want to lose weight?

A. To give yourself an edge for success, start small. Pick one small thing you would like to change about your diet and focus on that first. It could be adding more vegetables and fruit, cutting down on soda or eliminating it, reducing how much sugar you’re eating and so on. Whatever it is, we work on that first and then address the next thing you want to do to improve nutrition and on down the list. Making small changes over time can really make a big difference, and when you make them, you’re forming new healthier habits as well.


Add some fall color (and flavors) to your diet

Check out our Healthy Recipes Pinterest board for ideas to keep your healthy eating habits on track, including delicious new fall favorites to try.