March 12, 2009
National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign spearheaded annually in March by the American Dietetic Association. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
This year’s theme encompasses the message of the American Dietetic Association: Eat Right. Eating right and staying fit are important no matter what your age. Eating right not only helps with health and weight control but can also help you feel your best.
Get back to basics this month; along with the American Dietetic Association, I offer you some easy steps to better eating:
- Keep working on adding more fruit to your diet. Eat fruit for a mid-day snack, with your lunch, and as a snack before dinner.
- Include a nice serving of vegetables daily. Try vegetable soup at lunch, add veggies to your sandwiches, and include a vegetable and/or salad with dinner.
- Choose lean cuts of a variety of meats. Include fish weekly. Skip the skin on poultry. If you are a new vegetarian, include a good protein source with meals, such as beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, or soy protein. Read labels for saturated fat and trans fat; limit these foods.
- Even if you aren’t vegetarian, add beans to your diet! They are full of nutrients and fiber.
- To lose a pound a week you have to create a calorie deficit of 500 daily. This means either you eat less, or burn more, or both. Many people make the mistake of exercising without working on the calorie deficit. You need to do both.
- Choose a colorful diet. Eat foods that are orange, yellow, green and blue (as in blueberries).
- Choose canned fruits and vegetables if you can’t always purchase or have fresh available. Canned produce still contains fiber and nutrients. Keep your eye on sodium if you are sodium-sensitive or have been told to follow a low sodium diet.
- Get our of the white bread rut. It’s time to grow up and try whole grain breads. They are yummy and good for you!
- Do not obsess about “good” or “bad” foods. Most foods can fit into most people’s diets.
- Stay fit, or get fit. You will be so pleased with your accomplishments and how good you will feel if you begin an exercise program. Challenge yourself to improve, no matter what your fitness level. Find local support in your own neighborhood or at a local gym. Exercising with a friend will help you meet your goals. The goal is to engage in 30 minutes every day. You can break up your physical activity into 10-minute sessions. If you are currently inactive, start with a few minutes a day, and increase gradually. Seriously, you have ten minutes. Do it.
If you are an Older Adult:
- You need more Vitamin D and calcium for bone health. Include 3 servings of vitamin-D fortified non-fat or 1% milk or yogurt daily. You can also include some calcium fortified juices, cereals, or ask your doctor about a supplement
- You need more Vitamin B-12 too, which is found in cereals, lean meat, fish, and seafood.
- You need to include more fiber. It helps lower risk for heart disease, controls weight, and controls blood sugar levels in persons with diabetes. Find it in fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grain breads and cereals, and beans.
- You need more fluids. Drink plenty of water when incorporating more fiber to avoid constipation.
- You should include foods rich in potassium. All fruits and vegetables are good sources. Dried fruit is especially high in potassium as are potatoes, oranges, and bananas.
Encouraging Healthy Eating in Children:
- Parents can help kids eat right by making healthy eating part of the daily routine.
- If you are working to make better choices, let your children know that you are doing so to stay healthier and it is a good idea for the whole family.
- Balance is important. Eating from the food groups should be encouraged, but don’t deprive children of snacks or junk food.
- Eat a meal together. Studies show that families who eat a meal together have healthier habits in the long run. Not only does nutrition improve but also conversations at the table help open doors for better habits at school and in social lives.
- The table is a great place to showcase new foods. The more often a child sees and smells a new food, the better the chances he or she will eventually try it. Be patient with your picky eater.
- Plan healthy snacks and have them easily available. Children need to eat between meals and after school. Have fresh fruit, cut veggies, yogurt, cheese, whole-wheat crackers, whole grain cereals (try Cheerios® or Quaker Oat Squares®), or granola bars available for them.
- Set a good example for the children around you. New evidence shows that children are becoming too fixated on what to eat or not eat. Relax. Offer a variety of foods, including treats, and encourage children to take appropriate portions and quit eating when full.
- Check out http://www.mypyramid.gov/kids. It is loaded with hands-on activities that can help educate your child about a healthy diet. Super Kids Nutrition offers great resources for mom and the whole family http://www.superkidsnutrition.com
©Rosanne Rust 2009
March 3, 2009
National Nutrition Month® 2009: Eat Right
March is National Nutriton Month®; a special time to focus on setting goals for better eating habits. Most people know what they should be eating, they just do not focus on doing it.
Here are some sample goals you can make for yourself this month. Pick one per week and try to stick with it. Before you know it, you will have accumulated four great new habits by the end of the month! Keep it up all summer too!
- I will choose whole grain bread the next time I order a sandwich.
- I will choose whole grain cereals with 3 or more grams of fiber per serving four times a week.
- I will eat 2-3 (three-ounce serving size) servings of lean beef, poultry, fish, tofu, nuts, beans, or lentils per day.
- I will eat some protein source with each meal (sprinkle nuts or beans on my salads, have bean and lentil soup
- I will avoid fried foods and choose foods that are baked, broiled, or grilled.
- I will choose low fat dairy products.
- I will limit high fat desserts to a couple of times per month.
- I will eat fast food no more than four times a month, or less.
- I will add berries, raisins, sliced bananas, or sliced apples to my cereal each morning.
- I will add sliced fruit to yogurt for a snack or part of my breakfast.
- I will eat low sodium vegetable or tomato soup with my lunch or dinner to help add vegetables.
- I will keep fruit available in my home and at work for snacks.
- I will eat 3-4 servings of high calcium foods such as: low fat dairy products (milk, cottage cheese, yogurt); fortified soy products, fortified cereals, almonds, kale, or sardines.
- I will take a yogurt to work for a mid morning snack.
- I will eat nutritious snacks and not skip meals.
- I will cut back on my portion sizes and avoid second helpings.
- I will carry bottled water in my car when I run errands.
- I will bring a bottled water with me to work to drink during the work day.
- I will choose water or soda water in place of soda 3 days a week.
- I will drink a minimum of 6 eight-ounce cups of water per day.