Aug 17, 2018
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National Nutrition Month 2013: “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month. Every March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics designates a special theme for National Nutrition Month with the goal of educating and encouraging healthy lifestyles and making informed food choices. The theme for the 2013 National Nutrition Month is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”. The focus for this year’s theme is to encourage individualized, healthy eating styles and identify that as individuals, we all have our own food preferences, lifestyles, cultural and ethnic traditions, and health concerns that all play a role in making our food choices.

With a focus on the elderly population, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when making your own individualized food choices:

  • Grains
    • Remember to make half your grains whole. Read food labels and choose products that read “whole grain” on the label.
    • Fiber is beneficial for heart health, diabetes, and overall regularity; so choose breads, pastas, and cereals that are high in fiber.
  • Fruits & Vegetables
    • Save room on half your plate for fruits and vegetables and make sure to have a variety every day!
    • Go for fresh, frozen and canned vegetables, but make sure the label reads “reduced sodium” or “no-salt-added” on canned vegetables.
    • Try snacking on fruits, like apple slices or grapes, canned fruits in water or 100% juice, or dried fruits. Vegetables also make great snacks. Popular choices include baby carrots, cut celery, cherry tomatoes, or sliced peppers.
  • Dairy
    • As we age, our bodies require higher amounts of calcium and vitamin D for bone health, so aim for three servings of fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese every day.
  • Fat, Sodium, & Sugar
    • A few suggestions to reduce your intake of these would be by reading food labels, using herbs & spices while cooking in place of salt, cutting down on processed meats & cheeses, and limiting sweets and sugar drinks.
  • Portion Control
    • In our older adult life, we generally require fewer calories to maintain overall health, so be sure to monitor your serving sizes to ensure portion and calorie control.
    • Have control over the calories you eat by cooking and eating at home more often rather than dining out. However, when dining out, go for the “healthy”, “low calorie” options on the menu if available. Make specific requests when ordering your food to ensure it is a healthy choice. If the portion is too large, share the meal or take half home with you.  

Physical activity is an important aspect to our health at any age. Choose activities that you enjoy so you will continue to stay active. It is important, however, to discuss with your physician before starting any new exercise regimen to ensure your health and safety. To better understand how to personalize your own individual food choices, seek a Registered Dietitian near you, as RDs play a vital role in educating people to make the appropriate food choices and to eat right, their way, every day!