Nancy Ferriello: Good Nutrition Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

In 30 years as a nutrition consultant and wellness coach, Nancy Ferriello has seen everything.

Including a psychiatrist who hated vegetables.

Rather than plumbing his feelings about them, she offered suggestions. “Try putting lemon on broccoli,” she said. “That gives it a nice, citrus-y taste.”

She refuses to judge. “Maybe that was the way he was raised,” she suggests.

Nancy was raised differently. Her mother was born in Italy. Her father made wine at home. Meals were savored.

She grew up in the Bronx. But for many years starting at age 5, her large family spent every Sunday at Sherwood Island State Park.

Nancy wanted to live here. Twenty-five years ago, she and her husband bought a house on Saugatuck Island.

Nancy Ferriello

With a master’s in nutrition education and community nutrition from NYU, she found plenty of work. She did all the menu planning for the Westport Senior Center — and 12 other senior centers in Fairfield County.

Nancy got on the Westport Public Schools’ food service committee. The state Board of Education hired her as a nutrition consultant.

She ran wellness programs at Sherwood Island — talk about paying it forward! — and for her Saugatuck island neighbors. She spoke at the Westport Library, and Saugatuck Church.

At the same time, Nancy provided health coaching for Fortune 500 companies.

When she worked with Whole Foods — training employees about their demos — she realized that although Westporters have beautiful kitchen, many people rely on takeout or restaurants for their meals.

So 3 1/3 years ago, Nancy started a blog. Part of her goal is to show readers how to eat healthy, using 5 ingredients or fewer. Making good meals does not have to be time-consuming, she says.

She also showcases healthy choices on local restaurant menus.

Eating well at John’s Best.

As part of her consulting, Nancy meets private clients at restaurants and supermarkets. She shows them how order (“be assertive about how dishes are made — most chefs are very flexible,” she says), and how to read labels. She calls this “nutritional literacy.”

It’s all about helping people improve the quality of their lives, Nancy says. Eating well gives them more energy, and helps them sleep better.

Including — hopefully — that psychiatrist who couldn’t stand vegetables.

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