NEW CASTLE —
When I realized we were about to enter the third month of this year (shocking!), I did a little research and found out that March is the 40th anniversary of “National Nutrition Month.”
The annual campaign is created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year, the focus is on the importance of making informed choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
The theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” is centering on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, and MyPlate messages. MyPlate is a visual concept to aide in choice making. A round plate is divided into four quadrants, one each for vegetables, protein, grains and fruit. It is a guide that suggests easy choice making, similar to the food pyramid guide. A small blue circle next to the MyPlate diagram also serves as a reminder to include dairy.
MyPlate Messages include:
•Enjoy your food, but eat less, and avoid oversized portions.
•Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.
•Drink more water.
•Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
•Make at least half your grains whole grains.
Also, there are shopping tips for MyPlate:
•Purchase nutrient rich foods (fresh fruits, veggies, lean sources of protein.)
•Keep convenient lower-fat foods on hand for quick meals.
•When purchasing convenience items, focus more on fresh and lightly processed foods. Examples include pre-cut fruits and vegetables; prewashed lettuce, plain frozen fruits and vegetables; dried fruit; and fruits canned in water or 100 percent juice.
March 13 marks the sixth annual Registered Dietician Day. This is showing how strong the trend is toward getting individual counseling and support to making the lifestyle decisions.
Registered dieticians are an important resource when you decide you really want to focus on eating right. They are your strategists for finding “your way,” at two very key levels. First, registered dieticians can guide you through the maze of what will work to enhance your outcomes and meet your goals. They point you towards more of this, less of that — especially if you have health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Also, registered dieticians can bring in that “Burger King” affect, with individual coaching toward healthy choices so you can “have it your way.” Each of us has preferences, likes and dislikes. If we use the educated input of the dietician to help you meet your taste and texture preferences, you will more likely enjoy the choice to become healthier. Success!
People have asked me, “What is the difference between a registered dietician and a nutritionist?” Education, approach and licensure are the three factors. Dietitians must have a (four-year) bachelor’s degree in dietetics to call themselves registered dietitians and are often in a clinical setting (although some have a private practice.)
Nutritionists do not have to meet the same requirements, though many are well qualified and often have completed programs in dietetics from private colleges and universities. Often, nutritionists have knowledge based on their own experience due to researching health issues or a specialized background, such as athletes.
Both have an expertise that can contribute to meal planning counseling.
Moira’s Texas Caviar
One of our Jameson nurses shared this with me. She and her son enjoy it on “Quesadilla Night.” It is also great with tortilla chips or bread.
- 1⁄2 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 (8 ounce) bottle fat-free zesty Italian dressing
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground corriander
- 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
In a large bowl, mix together onion, green bell pepper, green onions, jalapeno peppers, garlic, cherry tomatoes, zesty Italian dressing, black beans, black-eyed peas and coriander. Cover and chill in the refrigerator approximately 2 hours. Toss with desired amount of fresh cilatro to serve.