Plattsmouth Hy-Vee’s new dietician Maxine Lickteig has some advice anyone can live by: “To be healthy, stop stressing over what you’re eating. Get over calorie counting. If you’re stressing over eating the right foods and exercising so many minutes a day — that becomes unhealthy.”
Maxine is a registered Dietician and Licensed Medical Nutritional Therapist in the state of Nebraska. She was raised in Auburn and graduated from the town’s public high school.
After attending a Northwest Student Dietetic Association meeting, Maxine was determined to seek a college degree in food and nutrition. “These are my people,” she said after the meeting. “I tried history and I tried accounting. They were all interesting but not what I wanted to do.”
She first discovered her interest in nutrition when she took a basic science and foods class while in high school. “I always loved food and nutrition and in high school I got into healthier eating and being more active,” Maxine explained.
The teacher of the class asked her what vegetables she liked. Maxine didn’t know how to respond because she hadn’t eaten many of them while growing up. Her mother, Denise Lickteig, agreed to start purchasing more fruits and vegetables for her to eat. “Every week I’d try something new in either vegetables or fruits. Next thing I knew, I dropped 80 pounds and started running more,” she said.
After high school, she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in dietetics from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo., in December 2016. She completed her internship at the Health Sciences Center at the University of Oklahoma City in September 2017.
Her next career stop was working as a dietician at the Hy-Vee in Le Mars, Iowa. While in Le Mars, she began to be homesick for her brother Hank and parents, Denise and Scott Lickteig. “I started there Sept. 18, 2017, and started here in Plattsmouth, Feb. 19, 2018,” she said. “I love going home and seeing my brother and my family.”
No matter where Maxine is working, she encourages people who want to lose weight to make some changes in their diet by adding more whole foods, vegetables and fruits.
“Find something you like and that will work for you. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it. I hate kale and it’s one of the superfoods, so I don’t eat it,” she said.
One of her clients let her know immediately that he liked to eat bacon. She told him to go ahead and eat it. “Sprinkle bacon pieces on your vegetables to get that taste. Just don’t eat a pound of bacon at one time. Keep it to a couple of slices a week,” she said.
Failure is the result of many fad diets, Maxine explained. “People go on carb-free diets without realizing you need carbohydrates to live. If you starve yourself of them, your body will start craving the candy and the carbohydrates,” she said. Instead of fad diets, Maxine urges people to develop a healthy eating routine they can follow.
“Your diet is an eating routine you follow. Do something you can do the rest of your life,” she said. “It’s best to have a set time to mindfully eat and it’s best to eat with others. People are not always giving themselves time to ingest the food. They’ve got to make time for it.”
Nutrition, she added, isn’t a difficult subject. “Listen to what your body wants. Your body craves the nutrients it needs. We started studying nutrition in the 1950s and 60s. It’s a fairly new science, because humans have been eating since we got here. Before, humans didn’t have all this processed food. They ate when they were hungry and stopped when they were full,” she said.
Fit and trim, Maxine loves to participate in running, kayaking and outdoor sports. She also enjoys cooking and baking desserts and other foods. “I love to bake and share it with other people. Everything I do is from scratch, so people really love to try things I make.”
With a background in nutrition and food, Maxine developed a philosophy about eating and life. “Self isn’t determined by our pant size. Do you want to be remembered for your size or for being the person who you are, who likes to help people? Eat whole foods and eat your treats on the side. The leanest people on this earth eat a diet of 80 percent carbohydrates. Our society needs a reality check.”