A healthy plate of food would encompass the colors of the rainbow. The flavors would be varied depending on the season and availability of the items on the plate. Keeping those two thoughts in mind, I’d like for you to celebrate National Nutrition Month by eating a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried before. That’s right. I challenge you to go to your local grocery store or market and pick up something colorful that you will buy and take home to eat. Something new. Something different. If you don’t like it, that’s ok. You gave it a try. You were open to new and unfamiliar things. Applaud yourself. And if you liked that new fruit or vegetable? You’ve unlocked new possibilities for healthy recipes that you and your family can enjoy. With food being one of the most important and enjoyable things we have in life, don’t stop yourself from finding happiness any way you can get it.
Our March focus is on making informed food choices and developing good eating habits. Let’s take a look at a few ways we can do this:
Know the difference between a portion size and a serving size. A portion size is what you put on your plate. A serving size is the amount that is used to calculate the nutrients in our food; it’s what is on the food label.
Read food labels. There is a lot of good information on that label such as serving size, calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, protein and the ever-important ingredient list. If you’re on a special diet, unsure of serving size or just want to know what you’re eating, take a look at that label. You’ll be a more informed consumer.
Become familiar with MyPlate. The United States Department of Agriculture uses the image of a regular plate to recommend what a healthy diet would include. The plate is divided in half with four sections for fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins. Eating a variety of food isn’t difficult if we use this plate method as our guide. Get familiar with it and strive for that rainbow on your plate. https://www.choosemyplate.gov
Strive for healthy eating. Eat fresh. Mix up your diet for nutrients and taste. Choose your snacks wisely. Aim for meals three times a day and space those meals out at regular intervals. Never skip breakfast as it fuels your day after fasting all night. Limit soda and other sugary drinks. Watch that salt intake. Choose foods with good fats like nuts and olive oil. Eat whole grains like whole grain pasta, cereals, bread and brown rice.
Learn more about processed foods. How do we separate the minimally processed from the heavily processed? That name gets a bad rep, but many items can be called ‘processed’ that are good for us. Have a read and be able to separate the good from the bad. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/avoiding-processed-foods
If you have specific questions about healthy eating, ways to prevent type 2 diabetes, information about food allergies or any other food related questions, ask your primary care physician for a referral to a Registered Dietitian (RD). An RD has met academic and professional requirements with an accredited nutrition curriculum and exam. They are your “go to” person for anything related to nutrition.
For people who are specifically at-risk for type 2 diabetes, there is even more of an urgent need to start eating healthier and increasing physical activity. The National Diabetes Prevention Program was developed at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It is a lifestyle change, year-long program for adults with a high risk for type 2 diabetes. Participants learn how to include healthy eating and physical activity into their daily lives. The program consists of sixteen sessions of core learning followed by six sessions for the last six months to reinforce and build on content. PTI has lifestyle coaches who can bring this program to your organization. Contact Harmony at email@example.com or 248.475.4736 for more information.
As we enter the season of spring with all its aspects of renewal related to the outside environment, let’s focus on our inside environment first. Be good to yourself by making informed food choices and strive to eat that rainbow. It helps create an opportunity for your best health.