March is National Nutrition Month: Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day

Posted 2/28/2013 in Nutrition

 If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or hypertension, a carefully planned diet can have a significant impact on managing your symptoms and improving your health. The theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month® is "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day." RMC encourages you to do just that by developing a healthful eating plan that keeps health concerns in mind while incorporating individual needs such as personal nutrient requirements, food preferences, lifestyle and level of physical activity.

Most people understand the role diet plays in overall health, but specific diseases can actually be prevented and managed by eating healthfully. The following are some helpful tips to help you "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day" while also preventing and managing some of the most common food-related medical conditions:

Diabetes
Understanding how foods and nutrition affect your body can help you successfully manage diabetes. Good health depends on eating a variety of foods that contain the right amounts of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats, as well as vitamins, minerals, fiber and water.

• Eat meals and snacks at regularly scheduled times.
• Eat about the same amount of food at each meal or snack.
• Choose healthful foods to support a healthy weight and heart, including whole-grain breads, cereals, pastas and rice; vegetables and beans; fruits; lean meat, fish, poultry and tofu; low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt; and healthy fats like olive oil.
• Carbohydrates affect your blood sugar more than protein or fat. Keep track of the amount of carbohydrates you eat to ensure your blood sugar stays in control.

Hypertension and Heart Disease

• Balance calories with physical activity to manage weight.
• Increase the variety of nutrient-rich foods you eat, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products and seafood.
• Consume fewer foods with sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars and refined grains.

Food Allergies and Intolerances

When foods are cut from your diet, you may be short-changing yourself on important vitamins and minerals. A registered dietitian can help ensure you get the nutrition you need for your health and lifestyle.

• Learn about ingredients in foods. Eggs, wheat, milk and other food allergens often are called by other names. Food companies specify on product labels if any major allergens are contained in the food.
• Read labels carefully. Manufacturers might change ingredients of products without notice, so double-check ingredient labels every time you buy a food, even a familiar one.
• Talk with your day care, school and workplace. Make sure school faculty and staff are aware of your child's food allergies and that they know how to respond to adverse reactions your child may experience. Similarly, inform your coworkers of allergies you have. Some people are familiar with food allergies and know what to do if a person has a reaction; others may not and will need your help in keeping your risk for exposure low.

Obesity

  • • Establish a new balance between calories consumed and calories burned through physical activity.
  • • Include fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, which offer plenty of vitamins and minerals without plenty of calories while keeping you feeling full longer.
  • • Watch portion sizes to help manage calorie intake and cut back on empty calories from added sugars.

No matter what health concerns you have, RMC’s registered dietitians can work with you to put together a daily meal plan that takes into account your food preferences, level of physical activity and lifestyle. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Cara L. Recker, RD, LD, CNSC, CDE, at 563-927-7430, Jaya Ginter, MPH, RD, LD at 563-927-7582, or Donna Peitz, RD, LD, MPH, at 563-927-7582.