Sarah Frederickson

Why Creative Eating?

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I treat most things I do like artwork.  Whether it be exercising, cleaning, doing homework, or eating—it’s always a form of art.  My artistic side mostly comes in handy in the kitchen or at the UNH dining halls.  First, I take a look at all my options.  Next, I make decisions based on flavor, color, variety, and nutrient density.  Finally, the hungry paintbrush residing in the right side of my brain goes to work—voila!

It doesn’t take much thought for me to create a nutritional masterpiece for a meal.  It’s something that I just have an eye for.  Realizing that this talent is semi-unique, I have taken it upon myself to think of ways to teach others how to get creative with food.  Thus, with a little help from the dietitian, I started the Creative Eating project at UNH.  This project is meant to relay the benefits of eating healthy, to present the five key factors needed to follow through, and to introduce fun and delicious meal ideas.

The five basic guidelines that I believe are simple to keep in mind when trying to make smart choices are:

1.  Monitoring Portion Sizes

2.  Eating a Variety of Foods

3.  Eating Less Energy Dense Foods

4.  Eating More Nutrient Dense Foods

5.  Thinking Creatively!

Portion sizes, variety, and creativity seem to speak for themselves; however there is often confusion on the topics of energy dense and nutrient dense foods.  In lieu of this confusion, I will explain.

Energy dense foods are those that have a high calorie concentration because of ingredients like saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars.  Low volumes of these foods usually contribute to a large amount of calories in the diet and may not even keep us full.  Examples of energy dense foods are things like soft drinks, potato chips, cookies, cake, French fries, etc.  Excess calories from these types of food are easily converted to body fat.  An easy way to rule out whether or not food is energy dense is to judge how much processing it had to go through to make it to food shelves.

Nutrient dense foods are foods like whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.  These foods are important in making you feel satisfied with few calories and they also benefit your body in many ways.  Most fruits and vegetables have high water and fiber content which are key to making us feel full and satisfied.  The USDA suggests that you maximize the amount of nutrient dense foods that you consume by limiting or staying away from energy dense products.

The important thing to remember is:

Our hunger is not satisfied by number of calories, but rather volume.

Therefore, you want to choose nutrient dense foods that fill you up on few calories.  The following image is an excellent example of how to get more food for fewer calories:

Shapiro, HM. Picture Perfect Weight Loss 30 Day Plan

Also, when making a choice, consider how the food will be benefiting your body.  In general, the less processing the food has been through, the better.

  1. Sarah,
    Excellent information and so artistically put! Well done (pun intended!)

  2. Love your blog so far, Sarah.

    I look forward to eating creatively with your advice as a guide.

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