ARTICLES ON HEALTH
March Is Your Month to Spring into Better Nutrition
with Grace Ford, FNP-BC
Spring is a time of renewal, so take this opportunity to start a healthy lifestyle with informed food choices during National Nutrition Month. In a few easy steps, you can decrease your risk for conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.
“A healthy diet is much more than just choosing to eat more fruits and vegetables. Some people need more protein in their diets. Some people have to monitor wheat and milk in their diets,” said Grace Ford, Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-BC), who serves patients at SCH’s Family Medical Clinic. “Knowing which nutrients your body needs, the foods that contain them and how much you should eat are all part of making smart choices.”
For instance, most people know that oranges are a good source of Vitamin C, but so are tomatoes and potatoes. Dairy foods like milk are a good source of calcium, but so is broccoli. Whole grains and beans provide fiber, but so do fruits and vegetables. Here are some other nutrition tips:
- Increase the amount of lean protein in your diet.
- Cut back on extra fat, such as butter or margarine on bread, sour cream on baked potatoes and high calorie salad dressings.
- When eating away from home, watch out for “hidden” fats and sugars in salad dressings, sauces and large potion sizes.
- Stay hydrated with no-calorie or low-calorie beverages, such as water, un-sweetened tea or diet soda.
- Save money on fresh produce by eating what is in season and freezing or canning extra portions for future use.
- Read the nutrition labels on foods before you buy them. Often when an ingredient like salt or fat is reduced, more of another ingredient is added to keep the taste consistent. In some cases, the full-fat version may be better for you be-cause it contains less salt or sugars.