As people begin setting resolutions for the new year, many are hoping for a more healthy lifestyle in 2021.
John Lamberson, a local dietitian and one half of the Nutrition Pair, says that when establishing new goals he and his wife Angie — also a dietician and the other half of the Nutrition Pair — often advise clients to use the SMART technique. The acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, he said.
Lamberson suggests people who want to live healthier set specific goals that are realistic, measurable and attainable. Goals should also include a timeline for achievement, he said.
For example, instead of setting a general goal of eating more fruits and vegetables, you actually should specify which fruits and vegetables you are going to eat and how many.
“Avoid fad diets,” Lamberson adds, noting they can lead to “frustration” in the long term.
“It is not a quick fix,” Lamberson said of improving ones nutrition. “Give yourself a time frame.”
You are also more likely to stick to goals or resolutions if they are attainable and you have “ample opportunity” to see progress over time, he said.
Besides being dietitians, John and Angie Lamberson are also certified diabetes educators and integrative health coaches. The couple, who have two children, met in graduate school at James Madison University while earning their master’s degrees in nutrition and dietetics.
As the Nutrition Pair, the couple work with clients to provide integrative health coaching and medical nutrition therapy. They provide individualized services and have a client-centered approach, Lamberson said.
That’s because there is not one set way to create a path toward a healthy lifestyle. While some people prefer a regimented process, others like more variability.
Lamberson said one tip he gives everyone is to include more fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. It doesn’t matter if the fruits and veggies are fresh, frozen or canned, he said.
With canned fruits and vegetables, though, people should check out the nutrition label to see the amount of sodium they contain, and then select those with less sodium, he said. Canned fruits should also be packed in their own juice, which avoids consuming a lot of added sugars.
When preparing vegetables, Lamberson said many frozen varieties offer an easy, in-bag steaming option.
He also recommends non-starchy vegetables over starchy vegetables if you are trying to lose weight or control blood sugars. Non-starchy vegetables, like asparagus, broccoli, carrots, greens and zucchini, are lower in calories and carbohydrates, he said.
When preparing salads Lamberson recommends paying attention to the amount of salad dressing you’re using.
Beverages can be key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Drinking water and staying hydrated is vital, according to Lamberson.
“A lot of people get themselves into trouble with sodas and specialty coffees,” he said.
Because the number of calories in certain beverages can be high, Lamberson recommends seeking out alternate versions to limit sugar consumption. Instead of sweetened tea, try unsweetened tea, for example.
People trying to limit their salt intake can use different spices and herbs for recipes, Lamberson said.
Since the start of the COVID pandemic, Lamberson said many people have started to cook at home. Utilizing healthy recipes and ingredients can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle, he said.
Lamberson said while some people have benefited from cooking at home, some have also become less active.
“There is no reason you can’t get outside and exercise,” Lamberson said.
With more people at home in front of a computer it is important to take breaks. Lamberson recommends getting up and moving every 30 minutes. You can set an alarm on your phone or device alerting you when it’s time to move around, he said
Lamberson also recommends taking 10-minute walks three times a day. People can start small by walking outside around their house, he said.
“Set up a plan,” Lamberson said.
If you have not exercised since COVID began, you may want to see your physician and get a checkup before you start any new fitness routine, he said.
Lamberson said he and his wife continue to meet with clients in-person. They also offer a telehealth option as well as meetings via the Zoom app.
Lamberson said the Nutrition Pair also offers a virtual diabetes prevention program that can be accessed online. Sessions of the program, which restarts in January, are currently full but those interested may call (252)335-9355 to see if there is space available.
In addition to working with clients, the Nutrition Pair offers consulting services. The Lambersons are also featured once a month on a WRVS 89.9 FM radio show.
For more information about the Nutrition Pair visit their Instagram, Twitter, Facebook pages or website at www.nutritionpair.com.