The Power of Food
Morgan Davis of Fork to Fit on maintaining health
While working a summer internship at a doctor’s office, MORGAN DAVIS spent some time working with a registered dietitian where she learned the importance of wellness.
“A lightbulb went off as I learned about optimizing wellness and preventing disease and illness by using food as medicine,” Davis says. “Upon returning to school for the fall semester, I promptly changed my major and pursued my degree in nutrition.”
In 2014, Davis, a registered dietitian and nutrition counselor, founded Fork to Fit in Wilmington.
Before opening Fork to Fit, Davis worked in various capacities as a registered dietitian.
“While I enjoyed the outpatient setting and working closely with clients in achieving their nutrition goals, the facility’s approach to nutrition was not aligned with my own values and practice philosophy,” Davis says. “I knew that I could make the biggest impact for my clients if I could practice and advise nutrition on my own terms.”
In 2018, Davis switched to providing more virtual services to keep up with Wilmington clients.
“This approach has been helpful in expanding my reach to more people and is especially useful in times of social distancing,” she says. “I currently offer virtual and in-person one-on-one nutrition and wellness counseling, virtual group challenges and meal planning boot camps, meal planning services, and in-person and virtual nutrition classes.”
Her favorite service is a fairly new one, she says.
“Each month I lead a virtual ‘Zoom Appétit’ cooking class. In 90 minutes, I teach participants how to use food as medicine as we cook amazingly tasty, nourishing recipes in the comfort of everyone’s own kitchen,” she says.
Davis shares how she works with clients, tips for healthy eating and maintaining good habits.
WILMA: What is your approach to working with clients?
Davis: “I meet clients where they’re at. If I start working with someone who is grabbing takeout or fast food for 75% of their meals, I am not going to recommend cooking everything from scratch. Instead, we may come up with easy breakfast and lunch options that they can put together quickly at home. I also believe in individualized approaches; there is some really cool research coming out indicating that because of our genetic differences, individuals metabolize nutrition (protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals) differently. So, a diet approach that works for one person may not work for another- it’s science!”
WILMA: What your practice philosophy?
Davis: “I believe in celebrating food, not villainizing it. Food has the power to heal, nourish, provide pleasure, bring us together, create memories, touch each of our senses, and take us on new experiences. When I help someone improve the quality of their diet and meet personal nutrition goals, I believe in adding more nutrient-dense foods to their diet versus taking foods away. If we work on adding wholesome foods to our meals, we naturally displace some of the more processed foods. I believe in my role as supporting my client, educating, and guiding them, as they take the lead in creating sustainable lifestyle changes. I believe in creating small changes to optimize the balance between proteins, carbohydrates and fats so that my clients stay satisfied, feel good, perform well, move more, and enjoy better cognitive function and mood.”
WILMA: How do you maintain your healthy eating habits?
Davis: “With two young kids at home, I definitely see how people can struggle with making healthy eating choices at home. To maintain good habits, it is vital to plan meals. Having a (flexible) meal plan each week is essential for me to get healthy food on the table for myself and my family. Otherwise, it is too easy to fall into the trap of running out of time and giving into the temptation to order takeout or choosing a less wholesome meal choice. I teach my clients how to meal plan quickly and effectively, with the goal of making life easier during the week. Of course, with the kids at home, I also employ plenty of strategies for ‘selective eaters’ so that we are all eating the same meal together… those strategies could probably take up a whole other article.”
WILMA: Do you have tips for healthy eating?
Davis: “My checklist for healthy eating:
1. Fill half your plate with vegetables and/or fruits at each meal
2. Focus on variety, filling your plate with different colors throughout the week
3. At baseline, drink half your body weight in ounces of water (i.e. a 150 lbs. person should aim for 75 oz at baseline though some need more or less)
4. Try to take advantage of omega 3 benefits, choose fish and seafood twice per week
5. Include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods like leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.), berries, turmeric, sweet potatoes and winter squash, nuts, and seeds
6. Don’t fear fat- foods like avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds help to keep us full, contribute to cognitive function and help us absorb nutrients
7. Eat probiotic-rich foods daily to optimize gut health- yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.
8. Choose whole grains over refined to increase fiber intake- grains like quinoa, teff, farro and bulgur add fun variety and new textures
9. Plan your meals each week- many apps can be helpful for this
10. For the easiest low-hassle meals, plan to repurpose leftovers- leftover roasted vegetables can be thrown in a frittata for a quick meal, leftover grilled chicken can be made into a colorful chicken salad, and leftover shrimp makes a great taco filling.
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