Contrary to popular belief, healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring and bland. I should know. My name is Katie Hake and as a registered dietitian nutritionist at Indiana University Health, I specialize in working with bariatric patients to help them lose weight in preparation for surgery. In addition to being followed by a team, our patients also receive individualized nutrition counseling post-operatively. Throughout each patient’s journey, we work together to help them best identify barriers and solutions.
In addition to helping patients watch their diet, I also aide people in reaching their health and fitness goals as a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. For me, it’s a personal win to see my patients discover that eating healthy and being active can be enjoyable. Cooking up healthy dishes doesn’t have to be a burdensome challenge. I love being able to help people integrate simple nutrition, fitness, and wellness tweaks into their daily routines to create long lasting lifestyle changes.
Wondering where to start? Consider making some of these swaps below. These convenient shortcuts can cut the fat, sugar, and calories quotient from meals and add in extra nutrient value– without sacrificing flavor.
- Instead of pasta: Try spaghetti Squash or zoodles. Spaghetti squash easily pulls apart in strings with a fork after being roasted. With the help of a spiralizer or mandolin, zucchini can quickly become ‘zoodles.’
- Instead of dips or mayo: Try Greek Yogurt. This dairy product is backed with bone-building calcium and figure-friendly protein to keep you feeling fuller longer. Greek yogurt is versatile. It can be used as a dip with veggies or fruit or a spread on sandwiches.
- Instead of colas: Consider sugar-free items. Many Americans drink their calories, also known as empty calories, which do not fill us up or provide nutrients. So, consider using sugar free sweeteners like Crystal Light, True Lemon, or sparkling waters like seltzers to quench your thirst. You can add a few frozen grapes, fresh berries, cucumbers or a squirt of lime to beverages if you want to amp up their flavor.
- Instead of heavy condiments: Consider lighter options. Try to avoid heavy creams like mayonnaise, ranch and gravies. Lower calorie choices like mustards, salsas, spices or even wedges of fresh lemon or lime can add a nice flair and variety to any dish.
-- By Katie Hake, RD
Indiana University Health