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There’s no such thing as perfect eating

AmyWhile the pandemic has presented many challenges and adjustments to her lifestyle, Amy continues to stay healthy by taking advantage of the many outdoor activities that B.C. has to offer such as hiking and biking or skiing in the nearby mountains. Amy recommends getting outdoors as much as possible and she says it “helps clear my mind and distract from the difficulties of the pandemic.” 

The uncertainty of the current environment can feel especially overwhelming but Amy believes that diet and establishing healthy routine can support our mental health and well-being. To better cope, she says “I prioritize making home cooked meals, and I feel more positive as a result.  Eating well also helps motivate me in other areas of my life.  It is important though to not be hard on ourselves if we feel we don’t eat “perfectly”, as there’s no such thing as perfect or one right way of eating.”       

The good news is that throughout the pandemic she is finding that more people have been cooking at home. In doing so, they are sharpening their skills and increasing the variety of foods they eat. And Amy believes this will result in more people emerging from the pandemic with more confidence in the kitchen, including better meal planning skills.  

There are a few common misconceptions about healthy eating, but for Amy, the biggest one is around what works for each individual – as we are all different. She believes that all foods can be enjoyed, it’s just a matter of balance. “Everyone has their own culture, food traditions, budget, lifestyle, and nutritional needs, and these should be considered and appreciated in meal planning.” Canada’s food guide provides examples of food choices that can contribute to healthy eating, but these are just examples.  Ultimately, it’s important to feel comfortable exploring our own traditions and preferences to find what’s right for us individually, and not feel limited to what we see portrayed on social media as the right way of eating.  

“Ultimately, it’s important to feel comfortable exploring our own traditions and preferences to find what’s right for us individually, and not feel limited to what we see portrayed on social media as the right way of eating.” 

Although Amy doesn’t have a specific nutrition goal for 2021, she says that the way she eats evolves over time and she tries to be open to new foods – whether it be a seasonal vegetable from the farmer’s market that she has never cooked before, or something on the menu at a new restaurant in my neighborhood. And that “One thing I do want to do more of this year is to grow more herbs and vegetables on my patio.”  

So, what is Amy having for dinner tonight? She says, “I often make something like this Easy Red Lentil Dahl recipe as it is quick to make and great for weeknights.” You can find the recipe here.  

Amy Van Ooyen, RD, is a dietitian for Sodexo’s healthcare sites in BC. She currently resides in Vancouver, BC. 

March 02, 2021

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