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Ask the experts: Stay focused, healthy by eating right

By Virginia Bridges
vbridges@newsobserver.com
G79RETRF.6
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Tracy Owens, owner of Triangle Nutrition Therapy in Raleigh.

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Many small-business owners are their business.

So, “they really have to take care of themselves so they can take care of business,” said Tracy Owens, who has 25 years of experience as a registered and licensed dietitian. Owens also owns and operates Triangle Nutrition Therapy in Raleigh and is a sports dietitian at UNC-Greensboro.

Here are Owens’ tips on how owners can stay healthy and focused.

• Don’t skip meals.

“When you don’t eat during the day, you can end up making bad choices by the end of the day because you haven’t eaten and you are starving,” Owens said. “And you can end up over-eating.”

In order to stay energized and focused, eat every three to four hours.

“Every three to four hours, it’s either time for a healthy meal, or it’s time for a healthy snack,” she said.

• Add protein, including lean meats, low-fat cheeses, nuts and beans, to meals and snacks. Combing proteins with healthy carbohydrates will help you to feel full longer.

“That is something that a lot of people don’t recognize,” she said. “When we eat carbohydrate foods, even when they are healthy, they just get digested very, very quickly. And you don’t keep that focus, and you don’t really stay full.”

Trends point to eating healthy, local, homemade and organic foods; therefore, being healthy is sometimes interpreted as an elaborate, sometimes overwhelming process, Owens said.

“It has really become a lot more time-intensive than it needs to be,” she said.

Eating healthy, however, can be as easy as having simple meals such as canned tuna on whole grain crackers, or a scrambled egg or egg whites with spinach, or snacks such as Greek yogurt or an apple with some nuts, she said.

“We can be healthy and simple at the same time,” she said.

• Color up your meals. If you drew pictures of your food, would you end up just using the color brown? If so, add some color, Owens said.

“We really want the colors in your diet and your food intake every day just to pop,” she said. That means you need to bring in some reds, greens and oranges. Also, she said, aim to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.

Bridges: 919-829-8917
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