Dr. David Katz, Sun Basket's Chief Science Adviser, on Finding the "Best" Diet
Spoiler alert: it's not a diet.
Healthy living requires more than delicious, nourishing food. You also need a reliable resource that cuts through fads and false claims to give you fact-based information about eating well. That’s why we’re thrilled to welcome Dr. David Katz, Sun Basket’s new Chief Science Adviser, to our team. Dr. Katz is globally recognized as a leading authority on nutrition, wellness, and the prevention of chronic disease, having served as the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, founder of the True Health Initiative nonprofit, and author of The Truth About Food. In the year ahead, Dr. Katz will collaborate with Executive Chef Justine Kelly and our registered dietitians on recipes, educational content, and wellness tools to empower you to discover your kind of healthy.
To kick off the year, we asked Dr. Katz to answer a few questions about how to plan for a healthier 2019. In the weeks ahead, he'll explain why good nutrition has little to do with complicated macro counting or demonizing entire food groups, and more to do with maximizing the quality of our food choices.
People are often inspired to start a new diet at the beginning of the year. Is there a particular one that you recommend?
There are hundreds of diets out there, but when we ask which one is best, we’re asking the wrong question: it's not about which diet you follow, it's the quality and balance of the food you eat that determines its healthfulness. This year—as with last year, 10 years ago, and even 100 years ago—the best diet is one made up of wholesome, minimally processed foods, with an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. These are fundamental truths about eating well, and they don’t change when we hang up a new calendar.
My advice is simple: eat plenty of plants and fill your plate with nutrient-rich whole foods that you enjoy. Use these basics of a healthy diet to develop a habit of eating that supports your lifestyle, your food preferences, and your values.
So what specifically do you recommend to someone who wants to improve their eating habits in 2019?
- Ditch the diet mentality. Resist the temptation to jump onto the latest trend. Stick to what’s tried and true: follow a sustainable eating pattern that you truly enjoy and nourishes your body with nutrient-rich whole foods.
- Discover Your Kind of Healthy. Nutrient-rich whole foods that you enjoy should be the foundation of what you're eating. You can be a pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, or follow a Paleo diet, just as long as you stick to the basics. Explore, experiment, and always eat the foods you like. Discover “your kind of healthy” and learn to love the food that loves you back. Your eating pattern should be as unique as you are.
- Embrace change. Your body is dynamic, and so is your environment. Be empowered to adjust your food choices to support whatever season of life you find yourself in. Maybe you recently signed up for a marathon and your body is asking for extra fuel, perhaps you’re a mom-to-be and you find yourself gravitating towards or away from certain foods. How you eat should evolve over time and respect the changes around you.
- Look beyond the plate. We are what we eat, but the more important thing is that we are what we repeatedly do. Yes, your food choices affect your health, but so does sleep, stress management, physical movement, and relationships. Your health is a reflection of your habits. This year, I encourage you to take a more holistic approach and commit to building habits that support true health.
- Dine at the intersection of health and happiness. Remember, we aren’t pursuing health just for the sake of health—the real goal is happiness. If your approach to health feels more like a burden than a bonus, take a deep breath and remember the big picture. Food should be fun. Eating is a pleasure. Your approach should be uplifting and life-enhancing—always.
Find Your Kind of Healthy on the Sun Basket menu this week
Whatever your kind of healthy is, you can find it at Sun Basket. To make it easier to eat plenty of plants and more nutrient-rich whole foods this year, we’re introducing our new 5-Minute Salads. Made with organic crisp greens, crunchy mix-ins, and our house-made Signature Dressings, these salads are filled with the delicious, wholesome ingredients that are the foundation of truly healthy living. Try them now.