Expert A healthy diet doesn’t have to be a lofty, expensive goal/Public News Service

March is National Nutrition Month, and North Dakotans are being reminded of ways to better manage their health through personalized diet plans emphasizing flexibility without all the pressure.

In a post-pandemic world, people may want to lose unhealthy eating habits they developed during the early stages of COVID-19. Or perhaps the crisis has motivated them to pay more attention to preventing disease and improving their health.

Bailey Holmquist, a registered dietitian based in Fargo, said fewer processed foods should play a role. For example, there are certain proteins to keep in mind.

“I tell my patients, ‘Do what you can, but if we can get good grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, wild-caught fish,'” explained Holmquist. “So that we get the most nutrients from those animals.”

But if such items aren’t in your budget, or you don’t have time to look for them, she suggested buying the easiest protein to find. Canned beans are considered a good complementary choice. And affordable peanut butter is made from healthy ingredients. Holmquest emphasized that it’s not about being perfect with your diet, but instead focusing on consistency.

Holmquest also pointed out that specific guidance on healthy diets doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s important to figure out what your body can handle.

“If someone has kidney disease and they hear ‘protein’, that’s not a good thing for them to hear,” Holmquest noted. “Because protein is very, very hard on the kidneys, when a person has weak kidney functions.”

For fresh fruits and vegetables, she recommends rinsing them before use, which helps remove any pesticides used to grow them. When it comes to meal planning, Holmquest suggested storing plenty of your favorite nutritious “go-to” items in your kitchen, making it easier to whip up something healthy on a busy night.

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