I’ve always liked the behind the scenes butler-type character (you know, when they’re not the murderer at the end). Alfred from Batman, Jeeves from Jeeves and Wooster, Zhu Li from Legend of Korra. The character in the background who just gets stuff done so the main character can save Gotham, or bumble around society, or execute mad scientist schemes. I want to be that background person for my clients.
My clients are the ones who have to choose their goals and do the work to accomplish them. But I can make it way easier by doing the research, making decisions (collaboratively and respectfully obviously), applying my knowledge and experience, and sometimes by actually doing the cooking or shopping work. That’s my goal – just give you the tools and sometimes the plans, so you can just do it.
Also, those characters are supportive. They aren’t promoting their agenda nor are they critical or judgey of the main person (at least not outwardly). I’m not here to be the food police, make you feel guilty for what you’re eating, or not, or shame you into making changes. I might offer some knowledgeable guidance, or an honest assessment, but you get to choose what to work on and how you want to do that.
Anyway. I’m here to be your Alfred. Are you ready to be Batman?
You may be thinking honesty matters to me because if my clients don’t tell me what they really eat I can’t help them. This can be somewhat true, but this is actually about why it’s important for ME, the dietitian, to be honest with YOU.
One of the ways I respect my clients is by listening to their goals, values, preferences, what they feel their limitations are, etc. (Read or watch more)
Another way I respect them is by being honest. When I share evidence-based information, recommendations, practical tips, experienced opinions and advice honestly (but kindly), that means clients can make the best informed decision for them. (A realistic one you know)
And this goes for the way I run my business too — If I think working together will serve you well, I’ll tell you! If I think what I offer isn’t a great fit for your needs, I’ll tell you that too and hopefully be able to point you to someone or something that will be helpful.
That being said, I really appreciate when clients are honest with me, because that helps me help them, but this post is about my honesty.
Respect and collaboration are essential to Nutrition for Real Humans because solutions I create for clients (meal plans, recipe collections, etc.) need to be realistic for THEM.
I bring my knowledge and experience about nutrition and practical food selection and preparation, but my client knows best what is important to them, what their limitations are, what they care about, what they’re willing to do.
If I don’t respectfully listen to what my client needs and wants or take their ideas into consideration (the collaboration part), likely the solution won’t fit them. It won’t solve their problem, or it won’t be realistic for them, or they won’t like the food I chose because I didn’t listen to their preferences so they won’t eat it.
That’s what sets Nutrition for Real Humans apart from a meal kit service or other meal plan service – your meal plan or recipes are not just tailored to your needs, they are tailored for what you want them to do for you!
If you want to reduce your environmental impact and reduce packaging while increasing your protein intake – we can do that!
If you hate garlic, it will be hard for me because I use garlic in everything, but we can avoid it! If you want to reduce your prep time and effort because you are super busy and just need something that will feed your surprisingly picky family – we can do that too!
There’s a bunch of suggestions out there for ways to eat more vegetables. Today we’re focusing on the best way to eat more vegetables FOR YOU.
Not in general, not just how anyone can, but what about you?
What will help YOU eat more vegetables?
By the way, you can use this same process for any goal you want to work on, (doesn’t even have to be nutrition-related) so if you’ve got another goal that comes to mind, just read [your goal here] instead of [eat more vegetables].
1) Start with a question: Why do you want to eat more vegetables?
To get more fiber? To lower your blood sugar? To help you lose weight? Because you want to eat fewer animal products? Because you want to broaden your palate? To have beautiful Instagram salads? Because someone told you to?
Why you want to eat more vegetables may help you narrow down the best way to go about doing it.
If it’s to get more fiber, look up some high fiber vegetables to start with – or see how many of your favorite vegetables you need to eat to reach your fiber goal.
If it’s to lower blood sugar, make sure the vegetables you are choosing will actually help you lower your blood sugar.
If it’s to broaden your palate, you will want to choose a variety of vegetables – maybe quality over quantity is your goal.
If you’re not sure why, or you’re doing it just because someone told you to, take some time to figure out why you want to.
If you know why, it’s easier to maintain long term motivation.
2) Ask the next question: What keeps you from eating as many vegetables as you would like?
Really think about this.
Is it that you get bored of eating broccoli and carrots all the time?
Is it because you hate mushy-textured boiled vegetables?
Is it because you’re intimidated by cooking vegetables?
Is it because you hate washing your cutting board?
Is it because you don’t have a place to store fresh vegetables or they are difficult to afford and go bad too fast?
Is it because your family doesn’t eat veggies and you don’t want to be/are tired of being the only one eating them?
Make sure you know your barrier (or barriers). Only then you can move onto the next step.
Guess what, it’s another question:
3) How can you solve the problem?
Brainstorming any and all ideas can be helpful, but make sure that whatever solution you choose is something you can actually picture yourself doing. Something that’s realistic and might even seem easy or too simple. Successfully completing a goal (even a small one) can propel you toward the next one, so choose a step that you are as likely as possible to do
If you’re bored of the same veggies, can you pick one new vegetable to try each time you go to the store or sign up for a CSA near you?
If you hate mushy veggies, are you ok with eating crunchy raw veggies or crispy roasted ones? (Lots of different ways to eat veggies can be found at itsavegworldafterall.com)
If you’re intimidated by cooking vegetables, can you start with those microwave-in-bag vegetables? Can you buy pre-chopped vegetables if you really hate chopping or washing your cutting board?
If you can’t store much fresh produce, can you look up some recipes for ways to use canned or frozen vegetables? Are there resources you can connect with to help you afford some more vegetables? (In the U.S. you can always call 211 to find out what local services are available near you)
Very important note: Choosing a very achievable and realistic step may not bring you to your ideal yet- your ultimate goal. That’s ok. The important thing is that this steps brings you closer to your ultimate goal
4) Do it.
Do the thing (or things) that will make eating vegetables easier for you.
Then, hey look at that! Either you’re eating more vegetables now, or you’ve realized that there were barriers you didn’t initially think of that you can now figure out how to overcome because you know what they are. Either way, you’ve moved forward toward your goal.
If you are stuck on any of these steps, a dietitian (like me :D) should be able to help you figure them out 🙂
Also sometimes just talking through these steps with a good listener (even if that’s your dog, your toddler, or your favorite houseplant) can help you realize what you already know, if you know what I mean.
What goals are you working on? What goal setting strategies work for you? What are the barriers you’ve identified? And how are you overcoming them?