Generate good health with food and lifestyle choices

Generate good health with food and lifestyle choices

By Life@TheU

Generate good health with food and lifestyle choices

By Life@TheU
UHealth experts share how dietary changes can make a big difference with your health and help you reach your short- and long-term goals.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight or want to focus on better health, small dietary changes can make a big difference. It’s important to be prepared, plan ahead, and find balance, according to Elizabeth Ferrer, a clinical dietitian at the University of Miami Health System. Learn more about making good dietary choices.

Make healthy choices.

When feeling stressed, it’s easy to seek comfort by emotionally overeating or by reaching for crunchy, starchy foods. Support your immune system by limiting junk foods and including more nutritious meals. An eating schedule can help you avoid routine snacking and keep your blood sugar levels from spiking and crashing. Learn more about mindful eating and find healthy snacking tips.

Spending more time at home—as most people have been during the pandemic—can mean a combination of ordering plenty of takeout or constantly cooking and cleaning up. But being in quarantine provides an opportunity to experiment with new cooking styles, ingredients, and recipes, according to Federika Garcia, a clinical oncology registered dietitian at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Find more tips to help you eat healthy at home.

Not all carbohydrates are created equal.

In order to function properly, the body needs some naturally-occurring carbohydrates—the sugars, starches, and fiber found in food. Without carbohydrates in a balanced diet, the body can experience constipation, nutritional deficiencies, and chronic health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. No matter your weight loss goals, a balanced nutrition plan can help you find lifelong success. 

Whole foods—or foods in their natural state—are the foundation of a healthy nutrition plan, according to Dr. Michelle Pearlman, a board-certified gastroenterologist with the University of Miami Health System. While popular and frequently available, man-made food products and baked goods are highly processed and lack the nutrition needed to feel and function best. Find tried-and-true guidelines for consuming whole foods.

Find alternatives.

Made from whole grain oats blended with water, oat milk has recently become an alternative to cow’s milk. Whether you reach for almond, soy, cashew, rice, or cow’s milk, Dr. Pearlman suggests identifying which nutritional values are important to you and considering your specific nutrition goals, food intolerances, and taste preferences. Learn more about how to determine the best option for you.

Get the right protein.

Protein powders may seem appealing for various reasons. Fitness enthusiasts like the muscle-building boost protein provides while the supplements can help older adults maintain their muscle mass, which can help if you’re managing an illness. While there are benefits to incorporating protein powders into a diet, consumers don’t always know if they are getting what they are buying. According to Jason Stevenson, a registered dietitian and board-certified sports dietitian at the University of Miami Health System, protein powders can have a place in a healthy diet, if used properly. Learn more about the benefits of protein powder and how to use them properly.

Consider dieting—carefully.

Many different diets have been popularized over the years. While most involve some valuable ideas, it’s difficult to sustain them for a long period. Among the more popular options recently, the keto diet has gained some appeal. The theory behind the keto diet involves sending one’s body into ketosis—when the body breaks down fat (rather than carbohydrates) and converts them into ketones to provide energy. To get started, take high-carbohydrate items and swap them out for low-carbohydrate alternatives. Learn more about the keto diet and if it’s the right choice for you.

Another new diet works differently, focusing on longevity instead of getting thin. The “Blue Zones” diet examines how people eat in the regions of the world where the life span is long. Its principles promote a way of living and not just dietary guidelines, according to Jessica Moya, a clinical dietitian with University of Miami Health System. Learn more about the “Blue Zones” lifestyle.

Support long-term, weight-loss goals.

Those who have undergone or are considering bariatric surgery as a way to maintain and manage their health, should remember there is no one-size-fits-all plan when it comes to weight loss. Taking the time to learn easy, realistic, and time-saving cooking techniques, especially before surgery, can help make the weight-loss journey successful, long after the procedure. As Dr. Pearlman shares, no matter the type of surgery, making dietary and lifestyle changes and learning basic nutrition principles will make a positive difference in the long run. Find more tips for creating healthy habits after surgery.


Access the medical care you need at a UHealth facility or via telehealth by scheduling an appointment. Find additional information about scheduling or call 305-243-4000.

Live Well with UHealth is a series highlighting curated content from articles previously published on UMiami Health News, a site that shares useful health tips and insights into research discoveries that change lives, brought to you by the experts at the University of Miami Health System. This story highlights the following articles: