- Author: Conor McCabe
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources recently held a nutrition Facebook Live webinar on how to find healthy food options that fit your lifestyle. Over the lunch break on April 7, participants heard from three UC ANR nutrition experts:
- Javier Miramontes; UC Extended Food and Nutrition Education Program nutrition and program supervisor for Orange County
- Aba Ramirez; UC adult EFNEP nutrition educator for Los Angeles County
- Mary Blackburn; UC Cooperative Extension Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences Advisor for Alameda County
The conversation began with Miramontes and Ramirez discussing the MyPlate nutrition plan, in which participants balance each meal with parts of each food group.
“Half of your plate should be made up of fruits and vegetables, but it's not a one-size-fits-all, as children and adults need different amounts of these foods,” said Ramirez.
The nutrition educators then highlighted choices from each of the food groups that are better choices than others for health.
“When choosing a protein source, make sure to look for low-fat meat options (i.e. grilled chicken instead of fried chicken) to reduce calorie intake,” Miramontes said. “Or try unsalted over salted nuts to cut down processed foods and sodium intake.”
As a follow-up, Blackburn addressed the tensions between a healthy diet and individuals' food intolerances and food allergies.
“A food allergy is when a food activates the person's immune system, whereas a food intolerance means someone will have difficulty digesting a food,” she explained.
People can have intolerances to foods from all across the MyPlate groups, including foods such as whole wheat bread, peanuts and tomatoes. This issue appears to be a growing problem, as Blackburn noted that “every year we see the number of (food intolerance) cases increasing and the number of foods belonging to these categories increasing.”
“We must take matters into our own hands,” Blackburn continued, “by selectively choosing foods and see how our bodies respond; if you find yourself consistently bloated after consuming a meal, it may be best practice to limit one of those foods for some time, and then see how your body responds.”
Blackburn described how individuals – by becoming their own body's scientists – can experiment with adding and removing different foods and seeing how their body responds.
Audience members were invited to ask questions of the speakers and to learn more about what they could do to achieve their own healthy food and nutrition goals.
A full recording of the webinar with captions is on Facebook. To date, the video has been viewed more than 23,000 times. Look for future UC ANR Facebook Lives on the UC ANR Facebook page that highlight the great work Extension educators are doing around California.