“The more I learned about nutrition, the more I realize it’s not what you don’t eat that counts, but what you do.”— Kath Younger
Here at GreenChoice, we’re on a mission to empower people to create a healthy, just, and sustainable world through their daily food choices. Improving our food system and the health of our country depends on the action of many people. With all that is going on in the world, we understand how important it is to spotlight people who are living healthy and sustainable lives and inspiring others to do the same.
Know someone living a life of health and sustainability who deserves recognition? Submit them to be featured.
We are excited to introduce you to one of our inspiring Health and Sustainability Role Models, Kath Younger— a Registered Dietitian and mom of two who loves sharing healthy recipes and mindful eating tips on her Instagram. @katheats.
The opinions expressed in this interview are Kath’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of GreenChoice
Why is living a healthy lifestyle important to you?
I originally gained the senior-year-20 in college (much more hard-core than the freshman 15!) and then lost it upon graduation when I started cooking for myself and exercising more. I found a healthy lifestyle to be so much more enjoyable than the one I had been living in college. It was a snowball effect for me – I just kept focusing on health and the weight fell off. A few years later I went back to school to become an RD to help inspire others to do the same. I started my blog around the same time, and it unintentionally became my platform in which to to share my life for healthy living. I now split my time between my two sons, ages 7 and 1.5, and working part time on my blog.
What does living a healthy lifestyle mean to you?
One of the concepts I like to stress is to focus on how you feel when you eat certain ways. A few days into a vacation of overeating and I realize why I prefer salads and lighter meals I normally eat at home. While I started my journey to healthy living counting calories, that was not a sustainable approach to weight. These days I focus on intuitive eating and paying attention to my body. Similarly, we cannot treat the earth with a quick fix approach. We have to develop habits and lifestyle patterns that are both good for us and good for our planet.
What is the hardest part of living a healthy lifestyle?
Everyone is so busy and life is moving a million miles a minute. Many of the convenient products and systems to help us save time are not the most sustainable. For example, a ziplock baggie that you toss in the trash saves you more time than washing out a metal bento box. Finding the balance between time and energy will help us make good decisions that are healthy and sustainable.
What are you looking for when you go grocery shopping?
The more I learned about nutrition, the more I realize it’s not what you don’t eat that counts, but what you do. If you fill up on nutritious, filling, real food, you won’t crave the junk. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store for the healthiest, freshest foods. A healthy diet is also a diverse diet. Try to get as many different colored foods in a day as you can as well as foods from different food groups. If you have toast for breakfast, have a salad for lunch instead of a sandwich with more bread. Try to get protein, healthy fats, whole grains and a fruit or vegetable at every meal or snack for the best satiety and balance. I believe we should be eating real food, which I define as food in its most natural state. So if you have a choice between a wheat berry salad or a cookie made from wheat that has been refined and ground into a flour, the wheat berry salad is the better choice. Look for ingredient lists made up of real foods and avoid those with things you couldn’t make at home if you had the time and simple equipment.
Have you used GreenChoice to implement your healthy lifestyle? What do you think of the app?
Any time you can have someone else do the research you’re saving time! I think the app is a great resource for those who are balancing convenience and sustainability.
What piece of advice would you share with someone who’s interested in living a healthy lifestyle?
The food industry spent so much money and time creating shelf-stable foods and these days people are more into farm-to-table and old fashioned ways of doing things. I think these traditional ways of food production are going to continue to be important to people and we will get creative with ways to “mass produce” these sustainable methods. Hopefully that will help us all out!
You can follow Kath on Instagram @katheats and her website katheats.com.
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