Healthy eating doesn’t mean giving up your favorites

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Registered dietitian nutritionist Marcia Pell knows people groan when they hear her title. “People really do have this negative connotation of registered dietitians,” said Pell. “Like we’re gonna take away their favorite food.”

However, she’s hoping to change that image.

“I love what I do because I’ve had so many people say I can’t believe I can eat a potato,” said Pell. “I don’t take anything away and I don’t really tell people what they have to eat.”

Pell said everyone is different, meaning they have different nutrition needs.

“How I like to work because it’s the only way I know that really works, is to talk to the person I’m working with. What are their goals, what are their concerns, what do they like to eat, what are their preferences, and just start where they are,” said Pell.

She also said most diets are just a bunch of rules that work in the short term, but are just not sustainable in the long term. She has a different approach.

“We talk about changes that we can make to get them to the goals that they want,” said Pell. “We’re not putting you on a strict diet that you can’t follow.”

Some diet plans advise people to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store and stay away from anything packaged.

“That doesn’t make sense as far as the reality,” said Pell. “Cause I want to get convenient foods. I’m too busy.”

Pell was quick to admit she doesn’t like to cook. So she looks for the easy way out which doesn’t always mean eating out.

“One of my favorite sources for recipes is generally dietitians who do like to cook,’ said Pell. “They’re very realistic, quick and easy and healthy and good.”

Many of the recipes include ingredients we usually already have in our cabinets.

There may be a question for some about what’s better fresh or organic.

“There’s not really any evidence that organic is healthier,” said Pell. “It’s a farming method and they use different pesticides but they do use pesticides.”

Pell is also a certified diabetes care and education specialist.

“I work with people with diabetes and weight issues, cardiovascular problems, chronic kidney disease,” said Pell.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can have three giant platefuls of greasy fried foods. But it does mean you don’t have to give up your chocolate, and other favorites.

If you’re interested in getting in touch with Pell you can check out her website There you can find her phone number and other information.

Copyright 2022 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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