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Author Sarah Kirton
Sarah Kirton
Created on Nov 22nd, 2022
Fact checked by Emma Vince

Nutrition Authority 2023: Tools For Healthier Food Choices

Brooke Douglas, registered dietitian-nutritionist (RDN) and CEO of Nutrition Authority, chats to us about her brilliant My Nutrition Placemat, an educational tool for the whole family which she guarantees will change the way you think about food. 

With an established career spanning more than 35 years in nutrition education and coaching, what would you say is the key to success when it comes to meeting your health goals?

Perseverance, being steadfast, dedication, and drive have been the key to my success over the past three-and-a-half decades.

My clients are typically pre-diabetic, obese, and have high blood pressure – I receive physician referrals and work alongside people with these conditions.

But one of my biggest challenges has been competing as a nutrition educator with all the weight loss gimmicks out there. So many people want a quick fix. They go on fad diets, lose weight, but will eventually gain the weight back once they stop the diet – they don’t go on to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.

Skipping the crucial step of learning and applying sound nutrition principles from an RDN ends up being their downfall. There is a lot of misinformation out there – diet trends come and go and it’s difficult to compete with the nutrition myth-information, food hype, and social media that accompanies these fads.

To sum up, diets work, but they do not work long term. The key to success is an altered and sustainable lifestyle.

What can you tell us about the My Nutrition Placemat?

I’m so enthusiastic about them! Throughout the years I’ve worked in nutrition counseling, I would have long-term patients say to me, “Oh, I wish you were with me at each meal” or “I wish I could remember all your helpful tips.” That was when I created the first My Nutrition Placemat for adults.

The placemat is available for specific age groups:

  • Age 2-5 – Eat Your Colors

  • Age 6-11 – Food Safari

  • Age 12-18 – Driver’s Seat

  • Age 19 and up – Adult

  • Pregnancy – Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby

Around the outside perimeter of each placemat are age-appropriate nutrition tips such as, eat your fiber foods first, drink beyond thirst, anticipate hunger/plan your snacks. These tips promote a process of positive change towards more balanced eating, not only on your plate, but in your mind.

Each one also offers tips on things like portion sizes and healthy food choices. I’ve heard from clients that reading the placemat daily has helped them to stay focused on feeding their body in a better way.

Do you believe all adults should pay more attention to their calorie intake, even if they’re not aspiring to lose weight?

If someone is trying to lose weight, then calorie regulating is inevitable. For somebody who doesn’t want to lose weight, I would rather they eat a lean, colorful, and varied diet.

If you’re craving a sweet treat, such as a brownie, during the day or after dinner, try slicing up and eating a small apple first, wait 10 minutes, and then cut and enjoy some brownie.

In your opinion, have people’s mindsets shifted over the last few years when it comes to healthy eating?

The answer to this question is multifaceted. When a parent gets home from their full-time job to everything that awaits them; the kids, the laundry, and the daunting feat of cooking dinner, we understand why fast food has become such a part of American culture.

But it’s no secret that obesity is at an all-time high. It’s estimated that by 2030, 50% of the adult population will be obese. Currently, one in three Americans is pre-diabetic, and 90% don’t even know it, so there is still work to be done.

Some argue it’s cheaper to buy convenience food products instead of cooking from scratch. Obviously, this depends on what you’re cooking and according to certain studies, prepping and cooking your own food at home remains the most economical (and healthier) option. 

How important is a colorful diet? 

Colors are everything! Even the adult My Nutrition Placemat is an artist’s palette.

When you add fruit and vegetables to your diet, you’re adding color without thinking about it – add berries to your yogurt, add frozen mixed vegetables to rice, add vegetables to the grill when barbecuing. Strive to add fruit and vegetables wherever you can. 

How does the My Nutrition Placemat tie in with the other services you offer your clients?

Anyone who comes in to see a Nutrition Authority RDN receives one of the adult placemats for free. My goal is to back up what the RDN is trying to teach, and the placemat will help most adults to have a better chance of improved outcomes.

The placemats help maintain a better lifestyle by keeping nutrition at the forefront. It allows for mindful, intuitive, and common-sense eating. No food is ever off limits – instead they encourage progress not perfection and moderation vs. deprivation. These are the keys to success.

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