Tips from our Registered Dietitians

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare has a unique team of 19 Registered Dietitian Nutritionist that work in special areas of health in order to meet the needs of the community. Areas include inpatient care, diabetes management, cardiovascular health, rehabilitation, behavioral health, cancer, and overall wellness. Our dietitians would like to share some of their tips to help you achieve your health and wellness goals as well as improve the health of our community!

Note: These tips are based on general recommendations. For individual needs, consult a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).  RDN’s are the only healthcare professionals trained and licensed to assess, diagnose, and treat nutritional problems.  Ask your doctor for a referral to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at TMH (850) 431-5404.

Find the path to wellness that works for YOU

  • Practice Mindfulness.  Being mindful means - focusing your attention in the present moment without judgment.
  •  Enjoy Your Food the Mindful Way-
    • Include foods from a variety of food groups with more focus on fresh foods.
    • Practice focusing your attention on nourishing your body and the foods that make you feel the best. 
    • Approach your hunger and fullness with curiosity.  Ask yourself before and after you eat, “On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being starving and 10 being uncomfortably stuffed), how do I feel right now?  With this exercise, we can shift our mental focus away from the need for fullness and toward feeling satisfied. 
    • Enjoy your mealtime with family and friends rather than in front of a TV or behind a desk. Savor every bite!

Diabetes Management

  • When looking for a way to hydrate, choose water most of the time. It is also okay to include unsweetened, sugar-free, and diet beverages sometimes.
  • Include a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meat, dried beans, low fat dairy products, and small amounts of healthy fat sources (olive or canola oil, nuts, avocado).
  • Include carbohydrates at your meals, aiming for consistent intake throughout the day. Healthy carbohydrate sources include whole fruits, whole grains, dried beans, low fat dairy products. Try using the plate method to keep your portions healthy.
  • Embrace the Plate Method: Fill half your plate non-starchy vegetables. Fill ¼ of your plate with lean meats and healthy fats. Fill ¼ of your plate with healthy carbohydrate sources. This healthy habit will keep your meals lower in carbohydrates and calories, but higher in fiber and nutrients!
  • Eat at regular times; try your best not to skip meals.

Prevention and Management of Cardiovascular Health

  • Eat high fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas, lentils, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and choose whole grains when eating bread, rice or cereal.
  • Choose lean protein foods like baked, broiled or grilled fish, skinless chicken or turkey, pork loin or extra lean beef instead of bacon, hot dogs, bologna, ribs, sausage and fried chicken wings.
  • Try eating smaller portions of foods and include unsaturated fats like nuts and seeds, olive oil and canola oil, peanut butter, and avocados.
  • Flavor foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.
  • Hydrate with water most of the time and unsweetened/sugar-free beverages sometimes.

Weight Loss Tips

  • Eat at least 3 meals/day and try to avoid long periods of time >6 hrs without food.
  • Choose protein rich foods, like skinless chicken breast, baked/grilled fish or pork loin at meals and items like Greek yogurt or string cheese at snacks.
  • Add dried beans, peas, and lentils as a carbohydrate side at a meal vs. rice/pasta to provide more fiber and protein, which should help you feel full.
  • Try meal replacements like protein shakes, frozen meals or protein bars vs. choosing a fast food meal or take out.

Elective surgery patients and recovery

  • Most patients benefit from protein-rich meals and snacks following surgery- healthier protein foods include: eggs (whites), chicken, turkey, pork, fish, low-fat dairy products.
  • Increase your intake of fiber-rich foods (fruits & vegetables with skins, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, bran) and fluids (preferably water) to promote regularity after surgery while taking pain medications.
  • Consider weight loss if needed after a knee or hip replacement. Achieving a healthy weight will actually help your new joint last longer!

Cancer Prevention & Survivorship

  • Eat a plant based diet. 
    This doesn’t mean that everyone has to be vegetarian, but the more meals you have without meats, the better.  Choose more plant-based proteins, poultry, and fish over red and processed meats.
  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. 
    Colorful produce also gives us phytonutrients—these are nutrients that can potential give us health benefits such as cancer prevention. 
  • Get your vitamins and minerals from foods and not supplements. Antioxidants are abundant in a well-balanced and colorful diet.
  • Choose water as your source of hydration most of the time.  Sweetened beverages and sugar snacks are empty calories with negative health benefits.
  • Strive for a healthy weight. 
    Moving towards and maintaining a healthy weight can decrease risk of cancer development and improve survivorship.  Physical activity and healthy diet can help you achieve this goal.
  • Pay attention to alcohol intake.
    Cancer risk increases with alcohol use.  If you do choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to moderate amounts--2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. 

During your hospital stay

  • Protein is essential for immune function and healing.  Eat high protein foods including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and peanut butter.
  • Lack of appetite is common and you may have higher energy and nutrient needs.  Try a supplement such as Boost or Ensure to make sure you are getting some important vitamins and minerals that may help you recover quicker.
  • If you are prescribed a special diet, it is very important to follow the diet during your stay and when you are discharged from the hospital. 
  • Remember- you have access to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist during your stay. Please feel free to ask to see the Dietitian if you have any nutrition related questions. 

Addiction and Recovery

  • Adequate protein intake is essential in recovery of an addiction.  Eat protein rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products.
  • Your diet should include Omega 3 fatty acids.  Eating a “fatty” fish 2 to 3 times a week such as salmon, mackerel, herring or tuna will add Omega 3 to your diet.  Other good sources are flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil. 
  • Enjoy your meal time without judgment – eat slowly and savor the taste of your meal while including all the food groups as part of your plate.