Choose foods that are nature made, not man made. For example, are Doritos nature-made? NO. Is a sweet potato nature-made? YES. Keep your eating simple by choosing whole, real food, and avoiding processed foods which are typically loaded with poor quality, low nutrient dense ingredients such as factory farmed meat, sugar, refined grains, preservatives, additives, and unhealthy fats. See a few examples below for a comparison of heavily processed meals vs. whole food meals. Notice that the processed foods are higher in calories and low in fiber, vitamins and minerals, while the whole foods are lower in calories, contain fiber and rich in various vitamins and minerals(1,3).  


McDonald’s Big Mac hamburger 540 28 g fat/45 g carbs/10 g protein

Vitamins: B1 35%, B12 85%, K 33%, folate 30%, phosphorus 40%, selenium 73%, zinc 54%

Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich 440 19 g fat/40 g carbs/28 g protein

Vitamins: B1 44% , B3 82%, B5 22%, B6 34%, folate 28%, selenium 74%, sodium 94%

Simple Salad: 2 cups mixed salad with raw ¼ cup carrots and beets, 1 tbl. Olive oil, and  3 oz baked chicken breast 332 17 g fat/8 g carbs/ 29 g protein

Vitamins: A 550%, B3 83%, B6 54, C 23%, K 249%, magnesium 23%, manganese 39%, phosphorus 37%,  potassium 19% ,selenium 40%, folate 52%, zinc 22%, fiber 5.2 g

Simple Meal: 3 oz baked salmon, 1 medium  sweet potato, and 1 cup broccoli 330 11 g fat/25 g carbs/ 27 g protein

Vitamins: A 1044%, B1 41%, B2 66%, B3 79%, B6110%, B12 108%, folate 50%, C 165%, D 49%, E 49% K 248%, coppe 61%r, magnesium 30% , manganese 49%, phosphorus 55%, potassium 33%, selenium 77%, zinc 22%,  fiber 8.9 g.

Whole food meals on a budget recipe websites:




  1. KNOW YOUR SNACKING FACTS: Choose snacks that contain nutrients, not empty calories

Most snack foods such as chips, cookies, etc. indicate a one ounce (28 grams) serving size on their nutrition facts panel. Compared to a one ounce serving of fruit and vegetables, there is a huge difference in calories and nutrients.  Here are a few examples:

Chips  (Cheetos, potato, tortilla chips, etc.) 140-160 NONE (empty calories)
Cookies (Oreos, chocolate chip, etc.) 140-160 NONE (empty calories)
Apples 15 Fiber, potassium, vitamin C
Carrots 15 Fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron
Red grapes 19 Fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron
Bell peppers 6 Fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron
Orange 13 Fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron



Water is a vital nutrient.  It makes up 60% of our body weight.  Every cell is dependent on water in order to carry out its many functions.  Just a small 1-2% drop in your hydration status can impair your thinking and alertness.  Figuring out how much water you need is completely bio-individual. Many factors affect hydration status including climate, altitude, illness, how much exercise you get, how much alcohol you drink, if you’re taking certain prescription medications and if you’re pregnant or nursing. As a guideline, aim for the 8 x 8 rule: 8, 8oz glasses of water per day for a total of 64 oz/per day(2).


Remember that this is only a guideline.  If you drink herbal tea, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, have soup, smoothies, 100% juice – these all contain water and count towards hydration.  Just be sure to drink pure water everyday as well.

Michelle Solis, MS Clinical Nutrition


  1. https://cronometer.com/
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn2009111
  3.  https://www.nutritionix.com/