As a certified personal trainer, Club Julian’s Debby Petitta works with members to help them achieve their exercise goals. But as a certified nutritionist, she also knows that there is more to each individual’s overall wellness plan than just what they do at CJ. That’s why Debby devotes her time and talent toward creating monthly “Healthy Eating Recipes” in an effort to promote the all-important nutritional aspect of wellness.

Healthy Eating photoAvailable to all members at the Trainer’s Desk, Club Julian “Healthy Eating Recipes” are a popular take home item for Club Julian members. Since October 2016, Debby has worked to research interesting recipes on the Internet, then modify them to make them healthier without sacrificing taste. Typical dessert modifications, for example, could include replacing some of the high fat or sugary ingredients with more healthy substitutes. “Baking has always been an interest and hobby of mine, so I have researched what works well as a lower fat substitute,” explains Debby. “For example, if you have a dessert that calls for oil or butter as an ingredient, you can substitute applesauce, crushed pineapple, or even baby food prunes for all or half of the ingredient. All of these substituted ingredients will still work to maintain moisture in the dessert, but they remove some of the fat from the recipe.”

Debby takes a seasonal approach to the monthly recipes. In the summer, she focuses on meals featuring garden fresh ingredients like zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and corn with healthy ways to grill. At the end of the year, the focus will be holiday favorites made healthier. She likes to put out recipes each month for an entrée, side dish, and dessert – with the notable exception of football season when she will include a healthy “Game Day” appetizer or snack.

In addition to ingredients and preparation instruction, the recipes include very detailed nutritional information including calories, total fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar, protein, and more. “Total fat doesn’t tell you enough,” Debby says. “Healthy fats have a job to do assisting with different functions in your body, where saturated fats really don’t. The fats that come from fish, like the Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s, are healthy fats.”

Debby says that in her discussions with CJ members on nutrition, she comes across many misconceptions. For example, people who have given up eating egg yolks or eggs altogether to maintain lower cholesterol. “That’s kind of old-school thinking,” she says. “Eggs are not going to harm your cholesterol, in fact, studies show that they may even increase your HDL, which is what you want! So people who only eat egg whites are losing the part of the egg that may help with good cholesterol as well as giving up a high-quality protein.”

Other examples of common dietary misconceptions revolve around carb consumption. “Eating excessive amounts of fruits and cereal bars may seem healthy, but you are really saturating your body with carbohydrates,” she says. “Fruits, vegetables, and grains are healthy, but ALL are carbohydrates. You need to offset these with proteins.”

She says even when you are working out regularly, if your body cannot utilize the amount of glucose from too many carbohydrates, the excess will be converted to fat and stored. “Ideally, a vegetable (whose glucose content is lower than fruit), and a protein are what you want with each meal.” She suggests yogurt as a staple snack because it contains both carbs and protein. “Fruit is also a very healthy snack, just watch the amount of sugar and try to pair fruit with a protein, like cottage cheese, cheese, or nuts.”

Club Julian is working to archive and post Trainer Debby’s “Healthy Eating” recipes on a website or social media page in the near future to make them more accessible to all. Happy (and healthy) Eating!