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By Jessica L. Giffin, MPH, CHES, NBC-HWC, Director of Health Partnerships, YMCA of Metro Denver

Food gives us energy and the nutrients we need to survive. Food can be comforting, delicious, and exciting and it can be a way to pass on culture to our loved ones.

There are a lot of diets that try to convince us that following their plan is the only way to be healthy. It’s hard to know how to hold on to the flavors and customs that we love when it comes to food, while still making sure we are taking care of our bodies. The good news is that there isn’t one way to eat healthfully.

What is Precision Nutrition?

Not only do we have different food preferences from one another, but your nutritional needs can change from one year to the next. We like to refer to this concept as precision nutrition. Nutrition shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. It should be custom to not only what you need but also what you like and what works best for your lifestyle.

For example, spinach is considered a superfood because it is loaded with calcium, iron, antioxidants, and many other minerals and vitamins. But whether it’s baked into an enchilada, included in a smoothie, or used to create a saag (Indian spinach dish) is up to you! Not a fan of spinach? Try out other leafy greens to see which ones taste best to you and work them into your family recipes.

Meet with the YMCA Nutrition Team!

Our nutrition team at the Y delivers precision nutrition daily. You can set up a free Nutrition Discovery Session today to talk with one of our nutritionists.

The YMCA of Metro Denver also runs a program for the community called, Beyond Hunger to give food to people in our community who need it. Our nutritionists work with Beyond Hunger to make sure people get items that will nourish them, help them feel good and are culturally relevant.

Finding what makes you feel good and nourished and also tastes great can take some time and trial and error. But it’s worth it when you find a diet that strikes the balance.

One day, we hope there will be quicker and easier ways to determine exactly what foods are best for our nutritional needs, that way we can skip some of the trial and error and jump right to the delicious recipes. If you want to help health experts learn even more about the way our needs, preferences and cultures come together to impact our well-being, you can participate in research.

Want to share what makes you unique?

The National Institutes of Health is building a group of volunteers to share information about their lifestyle, health needs, family health history, mental wellness, and more so that health professionals—like nutritionists—can put together a more complete picture of health. That way, they can make personalized recommendations just for you!

If you’re interested in sharing information about what makes you unique for researchers to learn more about how to create precision solutions, Join the All of Us Research Program.