CLEVELAND — In high school, Lake County native Britanny Liberatore decided she wanted to pursue a career as a registered dietitian nutritionist.
She was a competitive swimmer and runner who saw the negative impacts unhealthy eating had on her.
“Maybe if I changed up what I was eating for breakfast, like maybe not Pop-Tarts before swim practice and Wendy’s afterward, that maybe I would actually have improved performance and so I started doing a lot more research on health and nutrition and started to just change up what I was eating,” she said. “By the time I was a senior, I was really improving my times and became competitive enough to compete in college.”
Now into her career, she said she enjoys giving advice and helping others meet their nutritional goals.
“So, I have all of my clients start out by tracking their food and food journal or an app like MyFitnessPal, and that really helps them become more aware of their current eating habits,l and when they become more aware of their current eating habits, we can figure out what direction they need to go,” she said.
In the new year, she invites people to implement a meal plan.
“So, every week we actually make a meal plan for the week, which I think is super helpful and just identifying things that we’ll eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner so that we can actually buy the ingredients we need,” she said.
She said cooking allows opportunities for creativity and should be an enjoyable experience.
“Sometimes for sheet pan dinners, we swap the protein out and don’t use chicken sausages. We might use shrimp, we might do, you know, pork sausage that is actually uncooked,” she said. “So, you have to actually cook that thoroughly. We may do things like pieces of chicken, like chicken breasts and stuff like that.”
When making a sheet pan dinner like chicken sausage, cauliflower gnocchi and frozen broccoli, she said people should not fear frozen foods.
“We actually always keep our freezer stocked with plenty of fruits and vegetables all the time,” she said. “Frozen fruits and vegetables are actually picked at the peak of season. So, buying things like whole green beans are great because they are ready to go steam in the microwave, sauté in a pan or even roast in the oven. And they add so much nutritious stuff to your meals. We also have easy protein options that will keep in the freezer.”
She said using seasoning is fine as long as a safe amount is used.
“I love adding this Italian seasoning. It’s usually parsley, some basil, some oregano,” she said. “So, it’s going to have kind of an Italian flair here, and I am going to add a little bit of salt and pepper. A lot of people think that they have to avoid salt completely, that it’s not good for heart health. If you do have high blood pressure, it is important to minimize the amount of salt that you use in recipes.”
She said the biggest advice she gives for the new year is to make small changes.
“I love helping others reach their health and nutrition goals with realizing that health and nutrition makes such an impact on sports performance and just longevity and quality of life. I wanted to help other people.”
Liberatore added it’s also a good idea to keep healthy snacks on hand, like applesauce, nuts, popcorn or even beef jerky to satisfy your cravings in between meals without overdoing it.
For more information on healthy eating and working with Liberatore, you can visit Your Life Nutrition.