National Nutrition Month

March is designated as National Nutrition Month® by the American Dietetic Association (ADA), with the goal of increasing awareness about nutrition.

Sometimes we need to get back to the basics of what a healthy lifestyle is.  It is easy in the environment we live in to get carried away with the newest and latest.  But it all goes back to eating right, staying fit and being healthy.  This is important for everyone, regardless of age.  Help yourself feel your best by making healthy food choices and being physically active every day.
Be sure to emphasize:
  • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins such as low fat or fat free dairy, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, soy and nuts.
  • Limit added saturated fats (high fat animal products, solid fats), trans fats (processed foods, margarines), cholesterol (high fat animal products), salt (processed and canned foods) and sugars (processed foods, table sugar or other sweeteners).
  • Make your calories count.  Think about choosing nutrient-rich foods rather than labeling foods as “good” or “bad”.  Our lectures at the spa are completely devoted to this topic.
  • Eat a variety of every food group! All foods have different qualities and characteristics that make them unique.  Try different WHOLE grains, more colorful fruits and vegetables, and look for non-animal protein sources such as legumes, nuts, seeds, soy, whole grains and vegetables.
  • Choose fats that will work for you rather than against you.  Monounsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts) should make up most of your fat sources.  This will help to lower your risk for heart disease.  Be sure to watch portion sizes, 1 tsp of butter has the same amount of calories as 1 tsp of olive oil.  Calories still count.
  • Look for ways to be more physically active each day.

There are special nutrient needs to consider for different age groups.  
Special Nutrient Needs for Older Adults

  • Calcium and Vitamin D — Older adults need more vitamin D and calcium to help maintain bone health.  Try to include three servings of vitamin D-fortified, low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt (or dairy alternative) each day. Other calcium-rich foods are fortified cereals and fruit juices, dark green leafy vegetables and canned fish with soft bones. If you take a calcium supplement or multivitamin, choose one that contains vitamin D.
  • Vitamin B12 — Many people over 50 years old do not get enough vitamin B12. Fortified cereal, lean meat and some fish and seafood are sources of vitamin B12. Ask your doctor or dietitian if you need a vitamin B12 supplement.
  • Fiber — Eat more fiber-rich foods to help stay regular. Fiber also can help lower your risk for heart disease, control your weight and prevent type-2 diabetes. Try to incorporate whole grain breads and cereals, beans, fruits and vegetables.
  • Potassium — Increasing your intake of potassium along with reducing salt may lower your risk of high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt are good sources of potassium. Also, choose and prepare foods with little or no added salt.

Healthy Eating Habits for Kids

  • Monkey see monkey do! Be a good example for your children.  Healthy eating and physical activity don’t become habits overnight. Parents can help children improve their eating habits by making healthy changes a part of the daily routine.
  • Make the most of family mealtime. Eating meals together provides the opportunity to help children develop a healthy attitude toward food. It also enables parents to serve as role models, introduce new foods and establish a regular meal schedule.
  • Active kids need planned, healthy snacks. Think of them as mini-meals that contribute nutrient-rich foods. Make those calories count!  Keep a variety of nutritious ready-to-eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods on hand.  Keep treats at a minimum as use them as “treats”.
And just for the record, Wednesday March 11, is National Registered Dietitian Day.  I like Tulips.
I am kidding. 🙂
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD