The term “healthy eating” may look different to each individual depending on their own habits, medical conditions and fitness levels (Kubala, 2021). While healthy may look different from person to person, nutritionists, dietitians, doctors, and other health professionals generally have their own way of interpreting what this means in terms of diet (Kubala, 2021).
When you begin the Professional Integrative Nutrition Diploma program at Rhodes Wellness College, you can expect to gain the intuitive skills needed to determine what healthy eating looks like for each of your future clients. With interdisciplinary courses in nutrition, coaching, and counselling, you’ll be prepared to address any of your clients’ needs. Continue reading to discover some general boundaries when it comes to healthy eating, and how you can support your clients after nutritionist college.
Importance of Healthy Eating for Overall Wellness
Diet plays a large role in the daily function of the human body, and can drastically affect how it performs. A poor diet, in this case consisting of highly processed foods, especially when paired with a lack of exercise and daily movement, can significantly increase an individual’s risk of developing depression (Pagliai, 2020).
A diet prioritizing ultra-processed foods can increase all-cause mortality and chronic disease risk in an individual, including cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, hypertension, and more (Rico-Campa, 2019). In general, nutrition is widely recognized as a crucial driver for the prevention and development of chronic disease (Mozaffarian, 2016).
As you work to earn your nutritionist diploma, you will begin to understand the gravity of the situation when it comes to nutrition and overall health and wellbeing. While nutrition can cause significant damage to the body (Mozaffarian, 2016), it can also be a driving force for health and healing (Miyamoto, 2018).
Helping Clients Implement Diet Diversity After Nutritionist College
Dietary diversity, which is also referred to as dietary variety, is globally recognized as a key component of a healthful diet (Kuczmarski, 2019). Diversity in dietary choices, provided the foods are considered healthful, increases the opportunity for the body to recognize, absorb, and utilize a number of important and essential nutrients (Kuczmarski, 2019). After completing nutritionist college, you can support your clients by encouraging this idea of diet diversity in their daily lives.
When individuals follow a diet that is rich in different kinds of healthful foods, they support a healthy gut bacteria, which, in turn, helps promote a healthy body weight and protects against chronic disease (Nachvak, 2017). When it comes to helping your clients include diverse foods in their diets, you can recommend that they introduce one new food at a time. This way, it’s not an overwhelming alteration to their daily life, and is a small, manageable goal to begin with. From there, you can recommend they start adding one or two vegetables to each meal to help increase diet diversity and build healthful eating habits.
Targeting Nutrient Density at Every Meal
Another generally accepted tip for achieving healthy eating is the prioritization of nutrient density with each meal (Kubala, 2021). While calories are important to monitor over time, nutrient density should be the main focus when it comes to supporting your clients and their overall health.
Nutrient density refers to the amount of nutrients a food provides in relation to how many calories it provides (Troesch, 2015). While all foods contain calories, not all foods are filled with lots of different nutrients. Encouraging your clients to opt for food choices that are higher in nutrient density, such as nuts, yogurt, whole eggs, fruits, and vegetables, over foods with a poor nutrient profile, such as a candy bar or a box of mac and cheese, can make a huge difference in their health (Kubala, 2021).
Changing dietary habits can be challenging, and is an ongoing process for many individuals. As a graduate from RWC, you’ll have the counselling, nutritional, and coaching knowledge to help your future clients succeed in their healthy eating goals.
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Kubala, J. (2021). The Definitive Guide to Healthy Eating in Real Life. Nutrition. Retrieved on July 4, 2022 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-eat-healthy-guide.
Kuczmarski, M.F. (2019). Aspects of Dietary Diversity Differ in Their Association with Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in a Racially Diverse US Adult Population. Nutrients. Retrieved on July 4, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566273/.
Miyamoto, K. (2018). Dietary diversity and healthy life expectancy-an international comparative study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Retrieved on July 4, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30104730/.
Mozaffarian, D. (2016). Dietary and Policy Priorities for Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity: A Comprehensive Review. Circulation. Retrieved on July 4, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26746178/.
Nachvak, S.M. (2017). Dietary Diversity Score and Its Related Factors among Employees of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences. Clinical Nutrition Research. Retrieved on July 4, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5665746/.
Pagliai, G. (2020). Consumption of ultra-processed foods and health status: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The British Journal of Nutrition. Retrieved on July 4, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32792031/.
Rico-Campa, A. (2019). Association between consumption of ultra-processed foods and all cause mortality: SUN prospective cohort study. The BMJ. Retrieved on July 4, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6538973/#ref1. Troesch, B. (2015). Increased Intake of Foods with High Nutrient Density Can Help to Break the Intergenerational Cycle of Malnutrition and Obesity. Nutrients. Retrieved on July 4, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4517043/.