Choosing the Right Diet for You - Nutrition Advice from your Pawling Hannaford Dietitian

I recently co-hosted a webinar that took a deep dive into the science behind today’s popular diets, which included examining the Keto, Atkins, South Beach, Paleo, Carb Cycling diets and more. With over 300 registrants on the webinar, it was clear that this was a topic many of you are intrigued by (it can still be viewed online by visiting I’m always a supporter of anyone who wants to adopt a way of eating that helps them meet a wellness goal. That said, it’s very important to consider what diet is right for you. For long-term success, a diet needs to be a safe and sustainable choice that will truly have the positive impact on you it says it will.

While there are several popular diets – and many of them can help someone embark on a healthy journey – there are also many that are not trustworthy and can’t be counted on to have the result they claim to. Choosing the right diet is just as important as knowing how to spot a fad diet that should be avoided. There are clear signs that a diet is a fad diet or one you should be cautious about. Here are some of those signs.

It’s All or Nothing.

If a diet offers rules that need to be followed and claim that any error in following it would result in “failing” at the diet or needing to return to “phase one” then it is likely a fad diet that is seeking to sell you a program rather than a way of life.

It’s Too Good to Be True.

If a diet claims to help you lose weight faster than you can believe, then chances are there is good reason not to believe it. Any goal worth meeting takes time, attention, and maybe even a bit of discomfort.

It’s a ‘One Size Fits All’.

Very little in life is one size fits all, so it makes sense that diets wouldn’t be either. What works for your friend may not be the best fit for you. Your personal approach to eating should make sense for you, your broader health goals, and your lifestyle. If it doesn’t, you are unlikely to follow it for too long.

There Are Too Many Rules.

If the diet appears to be more about the “rules” of following it than focusing on your hunger, fullness and the role that food plays in your day then it’s likely a fad diet that is not based on sound advice.

It’s Very Restrictive or Difficult to Follow.

If the diet has a long list of foods you aren’t allowed to eat, and if that list appears to include foods that you have otherwise considered as healthy (like whole grains) then it’s likely a fad diet.

It’s Expensive.

Following a healthful diet takes patience and mindfulness, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. If a diet requires you to buy certain supplements, books or more in order to follow it then reconsider what that diet is really doing for you and if you’ll be able to follow it long term.

As your local Hannaford Dietitian, I’m pleased to be sharing my advice and simple tips. Please visit for my in-store schedule of classes, demonstrations, and store tours, or call (845) 855-0553 for more information.


Quinoa & Chicken Enchilada Skillet (3 Guiding Stars)

Three Guiding Stars is the best nutrition. For more healthy winter recipes and information on the Guiding Stars guidance program, visit online.


1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced

¾ cup quinoa

1 cup low-sodium enchilada sauce

½ cup water

1 bell pepper, sliced

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. cumin

1 cup no-salt-added black beans, rinsed

1 lime, zested and juiced

1 avocado

⅓ cup fresh cilantro

½ unsweetened almond milk

¼ t. salt


Heat oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sear on both sides, about 1 minute per side.

Add quinoa, enchilada sauce, water, pepper, garlic powder and cumin.

Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook until most of the liquid is gone and the quinoa is soft (about 12 minutes). Stir in black beans and zest.

While quinoa is cooking, place lime juice, avocado, cilantro, almond milk and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until well combined.

Serve hot, topped with the avocado sauce.