Fueling for a Fresh Start

Gilbert dietitian, Gillean Barkyoumb, shares her nutrition tips for 2024

Gillean Barkyoumb has been a media dietitian for over a decade. She’s worked with many brands and has valuable experience breaking down complicated nutrition concepts and making them easy to understand. She now educates people on nutrition through her blog, and founded the “What’s For Dinner Club” to make dieting more accessible for even the busiest of people. 

“Nutrition, fitness and health are all tied together,” Barkyoumb says. “You really can’t have one without the other. You will eventually hit a plateau, but if you work on all of it together, you will reach your goals and maintain your results – that’s the biggie.”

She also says another important factor in goal-making is visualizing what you want your future self to be like.

“I love a good meditation focusing on who your future self is when trying to achieve new goals,” Barkyoumb says. “Sit down for a few minutes every couple of days, close your eyes and just envision what you want that person to be like. How do they feel? What are they wearing? Who is with them? What does their house look like? When you can see the whole picture, you know where you are heading. If you are not a meditation person, then journaling works too. Think about the small details like what is on your future self’s kitchen counter, and dream big too.  Are you now a fitness instructor? Did you join a hiking club?”

While it can be easy to shoot for the stars when it comes to making healthy changes, nutrition doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Barkyoumb broke down her nutritional philosophy that may help some change their mindset and create sustainable healthy habits.

“It’s not one big decision,” Barkyoumb says. “It’s thousands of little decisions. It’s not one decision to follow a new diet or cut out a certain food. Nutrition is about making little decisions every day and being intentional with how you fuel your body and the foods you eat. It’s about saying no to the office donuts. It’s about getting an extra serving of vegetables and it’s also about deciding when you really want that delicious piece of cake from your favorite bakery, eating it, enjoying it, and feeling zero guilt about it. All those little decisions add up.”

To make it even easier for those looking to make lasting changes, she provided her top nutrition tips, gave a glimpse inside her pantry and shared her family's go-to meals. 

Barkyoumb’s top nutrition tips:

  • Make half your plate veggies - This is such an easy tip. When you look down at your plate, divide it in half, and that much should be vegetables.

  • Follow my “Snack Formula” - When you have a snack (usually 2 times per day, once mid-morning and once mid-afternoon), you want to have protein + produce. Protein will keep you full and produce (fruits and veggies) provide energy so you don’t get that between-meal lull. 

  • Focus on protein at each meal - Whether it’s plant-based protein or meat like chicken or beef, getting a good source of protein at each meal helps you feel full and can support weight management goals.

  • Portion control - This is where I tell everyone to start. Just look at the amount of food you are eating. Are you eating enough vegetables? There is a time and place for it all but maybe you are out of balance.

  • Hydration - If you feel super overwhelmed with all the diet to-do’s, start with just making sure you have enough water every day. To know how much water you need, take your body weight in pounds and divide it in half. You need that many ounces of water per day. For example, if you are 150 pounds, you need 75 ounces of water per day.

  • Stick to a routine - Most healthy people have a routine. They wake up around the same time. They have their snacks and meals around the same time every day. They fill up their water first thing in the morning. They take their vitamins right after they eat breakfast. Find your routine and stick to it. 

Staples for delicious and healthy meals:

  • Rotisserie chicken

  • Eggs

  • Sourdough bread

  • Sparkling water - Pour into a fancy glass for a mocktail. 

  • Trail mix

  • Bagged salads

Barkyoumb family favorites:

  • Fajita tacos - I love a one-sheet meal. I lay out tortillas and top them with shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced bell pepper and onions, and cheese. It’s also easy to make a few cheese crisps on the try for picky kids.

  • Cheeseburger salad - Take a burger patty plus all your favorite burger toppings and add to some mixed greens! Tomato, pickles, onion, cheese, etc… and drizzle with yogurt-based ranch dressing.

  • Snack plate - This is a favorite in our house. We load up our places with veggies, hummus, fruit, nuts, cheese, salami, crackers, and whatever needs to get eaten up in the fridge or pantry.

From nutrition philosophies and mindset advice to easy meals and pantry staples, Barkyoumb is committed to helping Gilbert individuals and families reach New Year’s resolutions. These practical strategies can be applied to anyone’s life, but for specific guidance sign up for Barkyoumb’s “What’s For Dinner Club,” where she provides weekly recipes with gluten-free, plant-based and kid-friendly options.

For more information, visit Barkyoumb’s blog, follow her on social media and listen to her podcast.

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