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National Nutrition Month, general nutrition tips (see your doctor regarding nutrition/weight concerns)

by | Mar 13, 2024 | General Wellness

If “diet is a bank account and good food choices are good investments,” it’s a good time to start investing in yourself and your family!
Make every bite count
A healthy eating routine can help boost your health now and in the future, plus showing your children healthy food choices can set them up with good habits all their lives. And a healthy diet and lifestyle are the keys to preventing and managing chronic health issues, such as cardiovascular disease.
Check in with your doctor
While there are generally accepted healthy nutrition choices, your doctor can help you target your and your family’s overall needs, especially if there are underlying health conditions such as diabetes, food allergies, or if you have specific weight goals.
MyPlate, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has replaced the older food pyramid guide, and can also help you stay on track with great choices as well as how much to serve. Generally,
• Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy or fortified soy alternatives.
• Limit added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. If you’re buying packaged food, read the nutrition facts and ingredient list, and look for the Heart-Check Mark to find foods that have been certified by the American Heart Association as heart-healthy.
When it’s too much of a good thing
Good calories can add up, and you may be surprised to learn how much is a serving size. In an average 2,000 calories per day adult diet, the American Heart Association suggests the below; more detail can be found here. Remember that your calorie needs may be different, depending on your age, activity level and whether you are trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight, as well as other dietary needs that your doctor may discuss with you.
Fresh, frozen, canned or dried — Two and a half (2 1/2) servings per day, including dark green, red/orange, starchy and other; examples of one vegetable serving:
• 2 cups raw leafy salad greens
• 1 cup cut-up vegetables
Fresh, frozen, canned or dried — Two (2) servings of fruit per day; examples of one fruit serving:
• One medium whole fruit
• 1 cup cut-up fruit
Grains (Whole grain rather than refined grain products)
Six (6) servings of grains per day; examples of one serving of grains:
• One slice bread or one small tortilla
• 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal flakes
• 1 ounce (⅛ cup) uncooked pasta or rice (½ cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal)
Dairy (Low-fat and fat-free)
Three (3) servings per day; examples of one dairy serving:
• 1 cup milk or yogurt
• 1 ounce cheese (size of one domino)
Choose from legumes and nuts; fish and seafood; and if you eat meat, lean cuts and skinless poultry; avoid processed meats that equal five and a half-ounces (5 ½-ounces) per day. Below are examples of one-ounce servings to combine:
• 1/4 cup cooked beans, peas or lentils, or tofu
• 1/2 ounce nuts or seeds or 1 tablespoon peanut butter
• One whole egg or two egg whites
Note: Cooked seafood, meat or poultry — three ounces looks like a deck of cards

Get the most out of your food budget
Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a lot. Here are some tips and recipes from the American Heart Association:
• Prepare menus and grocery lists ahead to help keep you from making impulse food choices, which often aren’t healthy.
• Use technology. There’s an app for that. Look for a grocery list or meal-planning app with a grocery list feature.
• Cook on the weekends. If your weekdays are busy, prep ahead or cook over the weekend and store the meals in the fridge or freezer.
• Prep snacks. Cut up fruits and vegetables and keep them handy in individual portions in the fridge.
• Buy fresh produce in season. You’ll pay more in the fall and winter when some are shipped from warmer climates. Big idea: When treating yourself and your family, choose out-of-season fresh foods rather than processed foods.
Commit to investing in good health
Proper nutrition for you and your family delivers a return on investment for years to come.
Start today!

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