The first segment of the class was developed by Bee-Fit registered dietitian Nancy Trails and the second segment was developed by Melissa Ramel, a registered dietitian with Nutrition Services housed within Health Promotion, Education, and Marketing of the Health Department. Nancy discussed some tricks and tools of the trade for weight management. Her take-away messages included: drink more water, bring food to work (so that you are not resorting to unhealthy options all the time), utilize technology to keep track of your food, pay attention to portion sizes, and shop smarter at the grocery store (perimeter of the store, look at labels, etc.). Many of the same messages were then reiterated during the cooking demo portion of the class. The recipe for the class was chosen for its flavor profile, ease of preparation, and heart-healthy ingredients. Melissa had prepped many of the ingredients before hand, such as chopping the onions, peppers, and cilantro, but also asked for brave volunteers to assist with recipe completion. The black bean avocado quesadillas received rave reviews and many class goers indicated they would try the recipe at home.
Recent studies suggest that following a plant-based diet, one full of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds can be protective for your long-term health. Plant-based doesn’t have to mean that you are adopting a vegetarian diet with exclusion of all animal products, but it does mean you adjust your traditional meal to focus on the plants (i.e. vegetables and fruits) first and the meat last (if at all). The typical American diet is excessive in calories, fat, sodium, and sugar while incomplete in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. By reconfiguring your thinking and choices about meals and snacks to include more vegetables and fruits, you can swiftly improve your diet and health. Small changes made to your ingrained daily eating behaviors can have a large effect overall.