Recently in a slow-moving checkout line, I learned that there was one super food I MUST eat for a flat belly, that a detox could help me lose 15 pounds in one week and a food I've been eating every day is going to kill me.
All those headlines led to one thought — it is time to dust off and update my SANE diet approach. You won't lose 15 pounds in a week if you follow this but you also won't be driving yourself crazy trying to jump on every nutrition headline. Let’s get SANE — sustainable, approachable, nutrition, enjoyment.
Sustainable means finding a style of eating that you can maintain. This is an individual decision. Some people are healthy and happy with higher protein-low carb intake and others choose a vegetarian or flexitarian route. You can be a lifelong member of Weight Watchers or choose a once-a-day meal replacement. Find what fits your lifestyle and taste buds. Stick with a plan and it will work.
There are helpful books available with sample menus and recipes as well as behavioral tips. I suggest ones written by a registered dietitian. Take your time and pick the plan that appeals to you.
The next step to SANE eating is to recognize that this is an Approach, not the 11th commandment. Stay on your path to healthy eating without becoming a zealot. Enjoying an occasional or even weekly treat does not mean diet doom. In fact, giving yourself permission to splurge once in a while will probably lead to improved compliance with whatever plan you follow.
The N stands for Nutrition. No matter what style of eating you follow, whole, natural, minimally processed foods should be the centerpiece.
I ended SANE with an E for Enjoyment since that is what brings us back to good food. Fresh tastes fabulous. This might be the time to cook a few new recipes and find flavorful ways to introduce fresh vegetables or grains into your diet. Stay SANE and eating well becomes a lot easier.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow @sheahrarback on Twitter.