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March is National Nutrition Month. The theme on this 40th anniversary is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.” What do these terms mean when it comes to your lifestyle, food habits, cultural and ethnic choices, and health concerns?

  • Eat Right. Foods aren’t good or bad, but some are healthier than others. Even calorie–laden decadent desserts may have their place in a diet if reserved for special occasions and eaten in moderation. Eating right may encompass varied practices such as regular mealtimes, appropriate size servings, or choosing more healthful selections as recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines (http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf) and the MyPlate messages (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/). To check your current eating, try a fun way at this link (http://www.eatright.org/nnm/games/#) and click on “Rate Your Plate.”
  • Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day

    Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day

    Your Way. Is it necessary for you to eat exactly as others eat? When I taught nutrition, students would walk past my table at lunch time to see what I was eating. They wanted assurance that I practiced what I preached—that I ate right. But it isn’t about what I choose to eat. It’s about your choices.

We are unique individuals with different tastes and varied likes and dislikes. We enjoy some foods more than others. But we can give healthful choices a fair chance.

Brussels sprouts were never my favorite vegetable. Recently, I purchased a container of the fresh vegetable and decided to give them another try. After washing and trimming, I dropped them into a small pot with a minimal amount of boiling water and cooked, uncovered, about five to six minutes. I chose not to add salt, but most will find a light seasoning more acceptable. I gently lifted the bright green heads from the water, placed them into a serving dish, and topped with butter. The small amount of seasoning gave me enough saltiness and a delightful flavor. If you limit your choices of vegetables, find ways to make them more appealing. It may surprise you how tasty you find those disliked vegetables.

  • Every Day.  Should you fail one day to get all your fruits, veggies, whole grains, protein foods, or low-fat milk products, you will not come down with some terrible disease. Continual disregard for these foods, however, may affect your health. Seek to include these healthful choices daily. At the end of the day, mentally ask yourself if you had the recommended amounts. Adding a missed fruit, low-fat milk product, or other low-calorie food after your evening meal could be a good idea if it helps to meet your nutritional needs.

It’s your life and your choice. Eating right, your way, every day makes sense and will help to keep you healthier. For more information to accomplish your healthy eating goals, go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at http://www.eatright.org/. See more information about National Nutrition Month at http://www.eatright.org/nnm/#.UTfIljDRFy3 .

 

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It almost seems un-American not to cook out on July 4th. Families throughout the nation celebrate this annual event with grills blazing, whether at a community event, a favorite park, or in their own backyard.

This happy time can result in unpleasant food poisoning unless foods are handled carefully. Follow these tips adapted from articles by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) to keep foods safe.

  • Wash, Wash, Wash. Sure, you know to wash your hands before eating. But extend that washing to many times in food preparation to prevent cross contamination, especially when handling uncooked meats. Wash any surfaces and utensils that come in contact with raw meats. That includes those tongs used to transfer raw portions to the grill and back to serving dishes or plates.
  • Check Temperatures. Looks can deceive when it comes to doneness. Use a meat thermometer to make sure meat cooks to a safe temperature. Hamburger should show an internal reading of 160oF before serving to family and guests.
  • Hold Foods at Safe Temperatures. Even in optimum conditions, prepared foods should not stay out more than two hours. With a July heat-wave, that time drops to one hour or less. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold until serving time, either in your refrigerator and warming oven at home or in separate insulated containers when away from home.
  • Store Leftovers Appropriately. Place foods in airtight, shallow containers. Put uncooked meats in the lower part of the refrigerator and store other foods above.

Follow these guides to assure a food-safe and festive holiday. God bless America!

To see AND articles about keeping food safe, check the following sites.

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442470753

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442470663

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