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July 21, 2021 Heart Health

The Building Blocks of Good Nutrition

mother and two children picking carrots at grocery store

By adulthood, most of us have a pretty good understanding of which foods are considered the healthiest. But building a healthy lifestyle isn’t as simple as knowing what to eat.

Our busy, fast-paced lives demand more. We need a community that meets us where we are and makes healthy eating more of an attainable goal, and less of a chore. We need access to inexpensive, natural ingredients, convenient and quick recipes, and motivation to keep going.

As it turns out, Wisconsin’s Fox Cities are up for the challenge, offering support, accessibility and education right where we live, work and play. If you’re ready to pursue good nutrition, here are a few local resources to help you turn your knowledge of healthy food into a healthy lifestyle.

Appleton Farm Market

Sure, the grocery store has plenty to offer when it comes to quality, nutritious food, but if you’re in search of the freshest fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses, breads and baked goods, and specialty food items, the Farm Market in downtown Appleton, WI is your best bet.

Located on College Avenue, the expansive market extends from Appleton Street to Drew Street, as well as Morrison Street and Houdini Plaza. You can enjoy the outdoor shopping experience every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during the months of June through October.

“Because it’s free and open to the public, the Appleton Farm Market is truly one of the most accessible means of providing all members of our community with nutritious, reasonably priced food items,” said Djuanna Hugdahl, Community Partnership Director for Appleton Downtown Inc. “Better yet, it offers an opportunity to get outside, listen to some live music, and enjoy everything downtown Appleton has to offer.”

With more than 150 vendors, Appleton’s Farm Market is the largest in the area. However, there are several additional village and farmer’s markets to take advantage of throughout northeast Wisconsin, including those in Neenah, Kaukauna, Greenville, Menasha and Little Chute.

Chef Larry London

As the Executive Chef at ThedaCare, Larry London knows a thing or two about using fresh, lean and plant-based ingredients to create delicious meals the whole family will love.

“Cooking and eating should be considered an experience,” said London. “Embrace opportunities to visit local markets, plant a garden of your own, try new recipes, and create memories with your children in the kitchen. Once you develop a greater appreciation for the process, eating healthy will start to become a natural part of your daily routine.”

From summer snacking to weekly meal ideas, Chef Larry offers a number of tasty, nutritious and convenient recipes to try. Visit ThedaCare’s YouTube channel to view some of his most popular dishes.

Meal Planning

“What’s for Dinner?”

For many of us, this is a question we hear daily. It can be challenging to find healthy meal options that fit your schedule and family’s preferences – all while trying to balance work, parenting obligations and extracurricular activities. That’s where meal planning comes in.

“Meal planning is a critical component to managing weight and maintaining overall health and well-being,” said Ashley Krautkramer, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist at ThedaCare. “Without proper planning, it’s easy to fall into the habit of making poor food choices or even skipping a meal.”

According to Krautkramer, successful meal planning should include eight key steps:

  1. Determine the duration of meal planning that works best for you. If planning a full week of meals is too overwhelming, start with one or two meals, and increase from there.
  2. Prep ahead. Preparing the next day’s lunches – or even portions of the following night’s dinner – the night before can make the process easier.
  3. Embrace variety. Try to incorporate at least one new recipe a week to avoid growing bored with your meal plan.
  4. Plan for an emergency meal. Always have bottled water and a protein bar or string cheese on hand for instances where you don’t have time to cook or access to healthy options.
  5. Get your family involved. Keep a dry erase board in the kitchen that shows what each day’s meals will consist of, and ask for suggestions from each family member.
  6. Make a list. Avoid making several trips to the grocery store or getting distracted by sale displays. Make a list of what you need, and stick to it.
  7. Stock up on staples. Keep things like frozen veggies, beans and canned meats on hand. These make easy additions to any meal.
  8. Don’t strive for perfection. Start slow, and enjoy the process. Use meal planning as an opportunity to experiment with new foods and learn as you go.

“There are a lot of options out there, and even more distractions,” said Krautkramer. “No matter how much you know about healthy eating, you’re bound to have a misstep or two. Leaning on your primary care provider for advice and taking advantage of local resources and educational opportunities can empower you to make healthier choices for you and your family.”

Good nutrition is critical to your ongoing health and well-being. Speak with your primary care provider about available resources and expertise you can lean on to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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