Meet NuVal Mom Nancy Carvara!
Photos: Nancy Carava, our latest NuVal Mom, taking her daughters on a stroll last Summer.
Just over a couple of years ago, Swansea, MA local and new mom Nancy Carvara faced the task of losing 70 pounds. She had a great reason for her recent weight gain—she was pregnant with triplets!
“I knew that I had to take the weight off, get back into being active and most of all, get energy to be the best mom I could be for three little babies,” she said.
After giving birth to three beautiful girls (on Christmas Day!), Nancy began an exercise and eating plan that got her back to her pre-pregnancy weight and now, she says she’s never felt healthier. Helping Nancy get back into shape was the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System, which guides consumers to the most nutritious foods available. We asked Nancy how she was able to meet her fitness goals:
What inspired you to get healthier?
“I have always maintained a pretty healthy lifestyle. I actually enjoy to cook and eat healthy dishes. (Once the triplets were born) I knew that now ‘I was a mom’ and I had to start making more nutritious choices. The ‘crash diet binge deprivation thing’ was not going to work for me. I wanted to eat a healthier more nutritious diet, especially since I was going to be raising three girls I wanted them to grow up learning what living a healthy lifestyle was and respecting their bodies. I wanted to be a role model for them.”
And how did you come across NuVal Scores?
“I wanted quick and easy (health plans) since I didn’t have a lot of time. I started searching for recipes in magazines and in health blogs, ones that used more nutritious ingredients, tasted good and most of all satisfied me. In my search for a more nutritious based diet, I came across the ‘NuVal Scoring System’ (note: Nancy found out about NuVal in the Carrots n’ Cake blog, written by Tina Haupert, who blogs for NuVal on tradingupdowntown.com). This seemed like a no-fail, save-time approach to my diet. Most of the higher scoring foods were ‘whole’ unprocessed foods. Many of the scores surprised me since before I had kids, I ate a lot of the more processed lower scoring items thinking they were ‘diet and light’ food, or ‘better for me.’”
How did NuVal Scores help you in choosing what to eat?
“The NuVal score system is terrific. Taking a hard look at my diet using NuVal made me realize that maybe those processed ‘diet and light’ foods were doing more harm than good. Were they actually nutritious and were they keeping me satisfied? Were they providing me the energy I needed? Or did they make me think of deprivation, and that is why I binged? I also find that eating a ton of different types of vegetables and fruits keeps me full and satisfied, which is great since they are lower in calories naturally. I have much more balanced meals and do not deprive myself.”
Have NuVal Scores changed the way you prepare foods for your family?
“It definitely helped me make better decisions for food choices for myself and now food choices for my family. It also helped me expand the variety of foods I was eating. I never knew how great brussels sprouts tasted when you cooked them the right way, or what the heck quinoa was and how great it was. Eating this way, in turn, made me make better choices; it didn’t deprive me and in the end helped me lose weight. It also increased my energy and made me feel great, not sluggish, deprived or cranky.
“We have definitely added more ‘whole’ foods to our table. Those scores are always really high on the scale. We have also limited the overly processed foods. Sometimes I find that I incorporate healthy tweaks in recipes and my husband doesn't notice. He feels that if it is healthy it won't taste good.”
Has using NuVal Scores helped in raising triplets?
“Since introducing solid foods to them, having them eat healthier choices has been a struggle. I try to sneak every bit of whole foods in their diet. Using the NuVal scores, I have managed to have their breakfasts, lunches, and dinners include 2 foods with very high NuVal Scores. Unfortunately, they do tend to gravitate to the lower scoring items, but making little swaps to their diet makes me feel like they are receiving adequate nutrition. I know they are still young but we want to set a foundation now for them to become healthier eaters.
“The other thing is that due to them being premature and triplets, they are on the smaller side, but balanced proper nutrition is key to getting them to thrive. I hope I can continue to guide them down the path of enjoying healthier choices and hopefully NuVal helps me do that.”