Taylor’s Top 5!
When I started my degree in the field of nutrition and dietetics, I believed everything I saw on the internet to be true. Weight loss vitamins, fat burner teas and keto fad dieting was all the rage, and I was none-the-wiser. Fast-forward to four years later; I have a degree under my belt and a wealth of nutrition knowledge to share! I know eating well is not a walk in the park, and there is a lot of misleading information floating around when it comes to “dieting” and eating healthier. That’s why I’ve put together my top 5 favorite tools and resources for nutrition education and food tracking. Without further ado, lets dive in to “Taylor’s Top 5 Nutrition Tools”!
Finding what you need has never been so simple. For beginners who are looking to educate themselves on the basics of healthy eating, The Choose MyPlate website has everything you need! It’s user-friendly navigating and easy-access resource database makes finding what you need very painless.
Topics are sorted by knowledge level and age and can be used by all audiences. All the information on the site is evidence-based, meaning there is research supporting the information, so you will never be led astray. The site can be translated to multiple languages for those who are bilingual or do not use English as their native tongue.
The information on the site will cover a lot of bases. There is information related to recipes, eating on a budget, nutrition education toolkits, physical activity, food safety, food waste, and more. If you love learning through visuals or by taking quizzes, there are print-outs and short quizzes available to you! This site is a great place to start learning how to improve your diet.
2. Food Journal
Keeping a food journal is my #1 recommendation for everyone. No matter what stage of your journey you are on, how educated you are in nutrition, or what you are using it for, it will be your most valuable tool.
Whether I am looking to track calories, just curious about what I am eating, tracking how much water I drink or looking for bad habits, I have used a food journal consistently throughout the years. It has always been, and continues to be, my go-to for monitoring my nutritional health.
By writing down everything you eat and drink in a day, you can start to recognize good patterns, bad patterns, where you need improvements, and what you should continue to do. Everyone is different, everyone eats different, so there is no “one size fits all” diet. That means that to make healthy changes, you need to become aware of what you are currently eating, and how it aligns with what you are learning. A food journal will become your best friend!
There are many reasons why you should keep a food journal;
It helps identify poor eating and drinking behaviors
It helps motivate you to make changes in your diet
Great for beginners to better understand your eating habits and why they are happening
It helps address where portion control or trigger foods are causing issues
People with food intolerances can identify what specific foods are causing problems
Anyone with dietary limitations (gluten free, dairy free, low sodium, etc) can track how well their food choices are meeting their needs
Food journals can be as simple as writing down your meals on a blank sheet of paper or in a notebook, but here are two fancier ones that I love:
Low cost- Amazon’s “Daily Food Journal” ($7.95 + shipping)
High cost- Life & Apples “The Wellness Planner” ($24.97 + shipping)
3. ShopWell App
The Shopwell app is a great way to stay on track when you are in the grocery store. If you have some troubles reading and understanding nutrition labels, this can be a trusted partner. It downloads straight to your phone, meaning you won’t forget it! (Unlike the coupons in your kitchen that you left at home AGAIN… woops!).
I use this when I am grocery shopping to make sure that I am not purchasing foods that are highly processed, high in sugars or high in preservatives. It keeps me in line with my “grocery game plan” so that I don’t walk out with a grocery cart full of miscellaneous snacks!
The app makes shopping more interactive, mindful and strategic by giving “scores” to food items that fit within your diet, or do not fit. It provides explanations as to why this item is a good or bad choice. When creating an account, you are given the options to apply filters (“I would like to avoid…” and “My dietary restrictions are…”). If you have a food allergy, if you have high cholesterol, if you are diabetic, this app will help filter out the products that you should avoid, helping you make better purchasing decisions. You can also scan items directly from your phone to pull up the food score information with no hassle. Downloading this app will put your mind at ease when scouring the grocery store for your next meal.
4. The Ellyn Satter Institute
Ellyn Satter, MS, RD is one of the foremost dietitians in teaching mothers and caregivers the importance of positive mealtime experiences for infants and children, and the effects that youth feeding difficulties has on development into adulthood. That’s why the Ellyn Satter Institute is my favorite resource for anyone who wants to learn the proper way to introduce nutrition to young infants and children or combat the challenges of raising a picky eater! This website is packed full of wonderful and pertinent information on why kids act the way that they do, how to change their behaviors about food, and what you can do as a caregiver to provide your child with the best nutritional care.
Through her website and books, the Ellyn Satter Institute provides evidence-based information for public, professional, and organizational use. These resources teach caregivers how to promote positive feeding patterns in their children, how to fix picky eaters, and the nutritional and behavioral needs of the child. There are trainings, blogs, newsletters, workshops, webinars, CD’s and DVD’s available on the site, so you can access this information anywhere, anytime.
5. Diabetes Forecast Magazine
Unlike your typical magazine, the Diabetes Forecast Magazine is directly published by the American Diabetes Association, meaning it provides evidence-based information relayed by experienced researchers, experts and scholars.
Diabetes education is delivered straight to your doorstep! Each issue contains diabetic-friendly recipes for meals and snacks, written by chefs and dietitians. Monthly issues also include motivationals from others living with diabetes, tips and tricks for controlling your blood glucose and insulin, education to better understand diabetes, and up-to-date information on new research, trends, technology and other advancements in diabetes care.
The American Diabetes Association also has a website for free access to additional recipes, blogs and educational materials. To access this free information or to subscribe to Diabetes Forecast Magazine, visit www.diabetesforecast.org.