Health Beat: Set Sights on Healthier Eating

Enjoyable Meal Planning: Fun, Social, and Packed with Health Benefits

January 10, 2024
An image from iStock illustrates a printed but blank weekly meal plan list surrounded by samples of fresh pastas, fruits, nuts and vegetables. The benefits of a healthy diet are there for the taking.
The benefits of a healthy diet are there for the taking. (iStock)

Holiday meals may have added a few pounds to your frame, but that doesn’t mean those pounds need to remain as a potential health burden.

Most families have favorite meals, or meals that often make their way into the dining rotation. These regular family meals can often be made healthier with some simple modifications.

The health benefits are there for the taking.

Nora Fey is a nurse at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield who just completed her Master’s in Nursing degree at Touro’s School of Nursing. She has a medical condition that is mitigated in large part through her diet choices.

“I like to cook. It’s kind of like an experience for me,” Fey says. “I was diagnosed with celiac disease almost five years ago, so I really had to learn how to change my lifestyle and my cooking, and how I eat, so I’ve kind of learned how to have fun in the kitchen and make it an event with my friends and my family. Just finding things that make you feel better (health-wise) I think is the No. 1 thing. Whatever makes you feel good is going to benefit you in the future and it’s going to be a great habit.”

Fey, recipient of the prestigious Travis Credit Union-NorthBay Health scholarship while she worked to obtain her Master’s degree, stresses that people should talk with their health care provider about establishing a dietary program that is right for them.

Resources Available Online, in the Community

Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate Plan page for a tool to calculate daily food group targets based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. You can also download My Food Diary to track your meals.

A healthy diet doesn’t preclude eating snacks and eating out at restaurants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips for planning meals and snacks. There are also plenty of ways to provide healthy alternatives for sugary drinks.

Touro University California offers information specific to lifestyles changes people may consider to improve their overall health and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The University’s Mobile Diabetes Education Center, known as MOBEC, provides free diabetes screening and education at sites across Solano County and the nearby region. MOBEC launched with funding from Sutter Health and continues with support from Sutter and other community sources.

Touro University California’s library also offers various nutrition resources, the vast majority of which are available to the public. The resources include numerous TED talks and other videos and podcasts, a list of helpful articles and websites, access to nutrition-related apps, and ways to find a farmers market in your area.