Archive for March, 2011

Kale close up in Norddeich, Dithmarschen

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Didn’t want to wear green today? Observe St. Patrick’s Day and celebrate National Nutrition Month’s “Eat Right with Color” with heaping servings of green foods for dinner. Low-calorie, nutritious, and tasty kale makes an excellent choice.

 For many years I was unfamiliar with kale. Cooked greens consumed in my area consisted mostly of turnip or mustard greens. But I knew curly kale made a great garnish for food trays and dishes. I discovered it tastes great, too.

Kale grows abundantly in the warm south during cooler weather. It has become a part of our “green patch.” We mix seeds of kale, mustard, and turnip greens and broadcast (sows liberally) in our small garden. Kale takes little space, even the corner of a flower bed will do. Young tender leaves soon replace those gathered.

Kale, low in calories, has about 18 calories per one-half cup cooked serving. It is a great source of fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Numerous vitamins and minerals found in kale include thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. A serving of kale provides more than the daily need of vitamin C, twice the requirement of vitamin A, and six times the daily need of vitamin K.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, kale and other green vegetables like spinach, deep green lettuces, bok choy, mustard greens, chard, and mesclun (a salad mix) may protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach.

For a healthier diet, add this mild-flavored, power-pack vegetable to your meals. Go green with kale.

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Today, March 9, is Dietitian Appreciation Day. Too long society has embraced the misconception that anyone who works with foods, especially in cooking, is a dietitian. Not so. Who are these unique individuals who have their own special recognition day? Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition with specific academic and professional training. The term “dietitian” signifies definite qualifications and skills.

  • Dietitians hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with prescribed coursework approved by the American Dietetic Association’s Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education.
  • Registered dietitians (RD) pass an approved national examination.
  • RDs maintain professional credentials through prescribed continuing education.
  • Approximately 50% of RDs hold advanced degrees.
  • The majority of RDs work in clinical settings (55%).  Food and nutrition management, dietetic counseling, or business employs 23%.  Others work in community nutrition (11%) or education and research (6%).

During the month of March, National Nutrition Month, and especially on this day, set aside time to recognize dietitians. Thank these professionals for their part in helping America eat better and stay healthier.

Hug a dietitian!

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Image via Wikipedia

Close acquaintances know of my visual impairment. Others rarely recognize the problem. Like people with different types of disabilities, you learn ways to cope. I make use of color. White pages and folders scattered over my desk all look the same. To find something quickly, I print on colored paper or place special documents or information into colored folders.

So what does that have to do with nutrition? Well, our eating should be the same. To know you are getting the nutrients you need, think color. March is National Nutrition Month. The theme for this year is “Eat Right with Color.” For more information, go to http://www.eatright.org/nnm/ .

How does color improve eating? Think about some of the meals you have eaten lately. Were they colorful or did they fall into the mundane whites or browns? Start with breakfast. What foods can you add to make selections more colorful and at the same time more nutritious. My personal favorite is a bowl of blueberries, high in vitamins and antioxidants.

I enjoy a good hamburger as much as anyone. I’m just careful what goes on it and with it. A perky spinach salad instead of French fries adds color and loads of nutrients. For dinner, try to add at least two vegetables or a vegetable and fruit.

Fill your plate daily with a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy. The American Dietetic Association suggests that a rainbow of colors on the plate serves as the foundation for a healthful eating plan. When we think color, eating more nutritious fares becomes easier.

To “Rate Your Plate” see http://www.eatright.org/NNM/content.aspx?id=5334 .

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