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Healthy Eating is Always in Season
As National Nutrition Month comes to a close, it is important to remember that healthy eating is always in season.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics initiated “National Nutrition Week” in 1973 as a week-long event; in 1980, it became a month-long observance in response to growing public interest in nutrition. This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape,” which encourages the public to remember to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy on their plates every day.
In celebration of National Nutrition Month, White County Medical Center associates were encouraged to get their plate in shape in the cafeteria by selecting specially marked items. Many associates took advantage of the discount available to those who made healthy choices.
“Everything in life is about balance,” said WCMC Clinical Dietitian Chassie Sharpmack. “Just as we balance work and play, we should balance healthy eating with our favorite treats. If you enjoy fried catfish then have that every other weekend. It’s what we do most of the time that matters most. Eating healthy means living healthy and a healthy life is a happy life.”
Here are a few ways to “Get Your Plate in Shape” from the food and nutrition experts at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
• Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables: Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange varieties. Add fresh, dried, frozen or canned fruits to meals and snacks.
• Make at least half your grains whole: Choose 100 percent whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.
• Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk: Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. For those who are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.
• Vary your protein choices: Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs. Keep meat and poultry portions small and lean. And be sure to choose seafood as the protein at least twice a week.
• Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars: Compare sodium in foods and choose those with lower numbers, and season your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt. Switch from solid fats to healthy oils like olive and canola oil. Replace sugary drinks with water and choose fruit for dessert.
• Enjoy your foods but eat less: Avoid oversized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl and glass. Cook more often at home where you are in control of what’s in your food. When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options.
• Be physically active your way: Adults need at least two hours and 30 minutes of physical activity every week. Choose activities that you enjoy, and start by doing as much as you can.
ABOUT WHITE COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER
As the leading healthcare provider in a six-county area, White County Medical Center associates strive to create a healthy community by providing quality patient care and participating in community health events. White County Medical Center is the largest employer in Searcy with more than 1,500 associates. The facility has a combined total of 438 licensed beds and a medical staff of 150 physicians that specialize in various areas of healthcare.