When choosing fruit and vegetables, try to eat as many of the colors of the rainbow as possible, says registered dietitian Vickie James.
Laugh, Fly and Eat Cake: Nutritionist offers tips for healthy living
James says eating, having fun should co-exist in a happy lifestyle
July 17, 2020
MANHATTAN, Kan. – A national nutrition educator and Kansas State University alumna told an online gathering July 15 that staying healthy during the pandemic includes having a little fun and being mindful about what you’re putting into your body.
Vickie James, a 1976 graduate of K-State’s College of Health and Human Sciences and former director of the Healthy Kids Challenge, said she’s often guided by a phrase she once saw spray-painted on a wall: Laugh, Fly and Eat Cake.
“When’s the last time through the COVID-19 pandemic that you laughed so hard that it made your ribs hurt?” James asked. “It’s important during these times to find laughter, or fun things about each day.”
James, a registered and licensed dietitian, said each person controls their attitudes, kindness, how much news they consume daily and even whether to observe social distancing or wear a mask. “We control our actions, and as such, we can fly, or rise above the rubble.”
“And eat cake. What does that mean?” James said. “Well, have some fun every day. When it comes to eating, choose your calories and enjoy those, just don’t over-do it with the high sugar or high fat foods.”
James’ 30-minute talk was jam-packed with tips for eating healthy and remaining active during anxious times. Among her advice:
- Assess your eating habits. “Are you eating because of boredom or stress? Or are you really ready to eat?” Keep a notepad on the refrigerator and when you have the urge to graze, write down the time of day and what you were going to eat. Once you recognize patterns in your eating behavior, you may be better equipped to change them.
- Assess what you are eating and drinking. You need ‘Breakfast Go Power,’ not just several cups of coffee, juice or high sugar breakfasts. Consider simple breakfasts, such as a tortilla with peanut butter, a piece of fruit or even the previous night’s leftovers. Water and low-fat milk should be a priority.
- Snacks are okay. Growing kids need extra food between meals and in the evening. Think ahead of time so that those snack choices are healthy, including fruit, vegetables, string cheese, nuts and lean protein.
- Fruit and vegetables. Regardless of what size plate you use for meals, half of it should be filled with fruit and vegetables. Then, the other half can be filled with lean protein, grains, dairy or other foods. Fruit and vegetables help to strengthen the immune system.
- Eat the colors of the rainbow. Ask children to draw a rainbow. Then use that as a guide to eat foods that match all the colors of the rainbow. Red foods – strawberries, cherries and watermelon – are easy this time of year, but challenge yourself to eat other colors.
- Plan your shopping list. Before you shop the grocery store, shop your pantry, refrigerator and freezer to know what foods you already have on hand. “Talk to your family and work together on what you’d like to eat that week.”
- Play every day. It is estimated that adults often sit eight hours a day, and 80% of jobs require no physical activity. Make time to exercise, or at the least, stand at a workstation several times a day. Stretch every 30 to 40 minutes, whether standing or sitting.
James said donating goods or volunteering time also contributes to a healthy outlook.
For more tips on healthy eating and living, visit the K-State Research and Extension food, nutrition, dietetics and health web page.