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Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital

 

March is National Nutrition Month

This bowl of fruit is overflowing with color.

This bowl of fruit and vegetables has been on display in the main lobby at Truman VA for National Nutrition Month. It’s time to “Eat Right with Color.”

By Tina Giltrap, RD & Renee Hollandsworth, RD
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It’s National Nutrition Month and the theme is “Eat Right with Color.”  The American Dietetic Association suggests that you make healthy choices by creating meals using a rainbow of colorful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low fat dairy.   National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign sponsored by the American Dietetic Association to promote nutrition awareness and education.  Also, Registered Dietitian Day was celebrated on March 9.  A registered dietitian can put you on the path to lowering weight, eating healthfully and reducing your risk of chronic disease.

Steps to a Healthier You

In 2005, the Food Guide Pyramid received a makeover.  MyPyramid emphasizes the importance of exercise along with following a balanced diet.  Current dietary recommendations are:

  • Grains: Aim for 6oz daily.  Make at least ½ of your grain servings whole grains by choosing whole grains breads, pasta and cereals, and brown rice.
  • Vegetables: Aim for 2½ cups daily.  Include more color by choosing dark green, red and orange vegetables.
  • Fruits: Aim for 2 cups daily.  Add a variety of colorful fruits to your meals and snacks.
  • Milk: Aim for 3 cups daily.  Choosing low-fat dairy products, including milk, yogurt, cheese, lactose-free milk and fortified soy beverages, ensures adequate calcium, vitamin D, protein and potassium without excess calories and fat.
  • Meat and Beans: Aim for 5½ oz daily.   Choose low fat or lean meats, poultry and seafood.  Beans, nuts, peas and seeds are a high protein alternative to meat.
  • Fats and Sugars: These provide excess calories and fat with little nutritional value and should be limited.

Color Your Plate

Including a variety of deep, rich colorful fruits and vegetables increases your intake of health-protective antioxidants.  Antioxidants have a variety of benefits, including decreasing one’s risk of cancer and heart disease.  You can add color to your plate in a multitude of ways, such as by adding artichoke hearts, bell peppers, beets, broccoli, tomatoes and zucchini to your spinach salad or homemade pizza.  You can grill colorful vegetable kabobs made with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.  For a healthier breakfast, try adding blueberries, cranberries or strawberries to your oatmeal or other high fiber cereal.

Did you know…

There are many resources available to you at the Truman VA Hospital.  There are registered dietitians on staff to help you meet your nutritional needs.  There is also the MOVE! weight management program for those interested in weight loss.  For more nutrition information, visit www.mypyramid.gov or visit the Nutrition and Food Service site for nutrition handouts.

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