National Nutrition Month: Eat a variety of nutrition foods every day!

March is National Nutrition Month®️, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants to help give everyone the tools to make informed food choices and develop healthful eating and physical activity habits for life. This year’s theme is to Personalize Your Plate, and this week’s message is to:

Eat a variety of nutritious foods every day!

Follow these tips below to help you know how to eat a balanced diet in a mindful way.

  • Include healthful foods from all food groups – eating a balanced diet that includes all food groups is an easy way to help your body get the nutrients it needs.
  • Fruits – make half your plate fruits and vegetables! Choose fruit that is fresh, frozen,        dried, or canned in 100% fruit juice.
  • Vegetables – make half your plate fruits and vegetables! Choose vegetables that are fresh, frozen, or canned without added salt.
  • Grains – make half your grains whole grains, like oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, brown rice, and whole grain flours.
  • Protein – try different protein foods, like seafood, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, soy, eggs, and lean meats and poultry.
  • Dairy – choose low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, calcium-fortified soymilk, and cheese.
  • Hydrate healthfully – staying hydrated helps keep you healthy and helps your body function like it’s supposed to.
  • Keep water with you throughout the day, and drink it when you’re thirsty.
  • Instead of sugar-sweetened drinks, try drinking water or sparkling water with fruit, vegetables, and/or herbs added. Be creative! Add lemons or limes, strawberries, cucumbers, mint, or basil.
  • Fruits, like cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon, and vegetables, like lettuce, celery, and spinach, are full of water and can help you stay hydrated.
  • Learn how to read Nutrition Facts Panels
  • First, look at the servings per container and the serving size. All information on the food label is based on the serving size, so if you eat more than the serving size, you’re getting more of the nutrients listed.
  • For one serving of food, try to limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and added sugars to less than 5% of the daily value.
  • For one serving of food, try to aim for at least 20% of the daily value for vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Check the ingredient list for whole grains and hidden sources of trans fat (partially hydrogenated oils) and sugar (ingredients that end in -ose, honey, and corn sweeteners).
  • Avoid distractions while eating – eating while driving, watching TV, or otherwise multitasking prevents you from focusing on what you’re eating and can easily lead to overeating.
  • Try turning your phone, computer, and TV off while you eat.
  • Try not to snack while you’re working on something else – take a moment to notice why you want to snack. Are you actually hungry or are you feeling bored, stressed, or just wanting something to do with your hands?
  • Take time to enjoy your food
  • Before you eat, pay attention to how you feel and how your food smells. Are you hungry, stressed, distracted?
  • As you eat, pay attention to what your food tastes like and feels like in your mouth.
  • After you finish eating, notice how your body feels. Are you still hungry, do you feel overly full, or do you feel satisfied?

Check back next week for more National Nutrition Month information! You can also follow us on Facebook and find healthy recipes here.

4 Tips for a Healthy Heart

Your heart plays a huge role in many functions of your body and is worth protecting. Making healthy choices can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Eating a variety of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein can help prevent and manage chronic disease. It is also important to limit the consumption of foods high in unhealthy fats, sodium and added sugar. The 4 tips for a healthy heart below will help you take steps toward a healthy diet.

Fill up on fiber

Fiber is found in plant-based foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes. It is the part of the plant that the body can’t digest or absorb. Fiber helps us stay full longer, lowers cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar and aids in digestion.

To add more fiber to your day:

  • Try switching to whole grains like oats, brown rice and whole wheat pasta.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Be sure to eat the peel of vegetables and choose whole fruit over juice.
  • Eat more beans, peas and lentils. Add them to soups, salads or casseroles.

Choose healthy fats more often

Fat is essential for body function, but it is important to make healthy choices when it comes to the type of fat.

Healthy Fats – Choose these foods more often

  • Unsaturated – These fats are generally liquid at room temperature and come mainly from plant products such as nuts, oil and avocados. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat found in fatty fish like salmon, trout, tuna and sardines. Unsaturated fats help to lower your cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Unhealthy Fats – Choose these foods less often

  • Saturated – These fats are generally solid at room temperature and are found in fatty meats such as bacon, sausage and pork as well as animal products like cheese and butter. Saturated fats can raise your bad cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Trans – These fats are found mainly in processed foods like fried foods and baked goods. Trans fats raise your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol, increasing your risk of heart disease.

Be mindful of what you drink

Drinking water or non-sugar-sweetened beverages like black coffee or unsweet tea can help lower your risk of heart disease by eliminating excess calories from added sugar that could cause weight gain.

Try flavoring your water by adding sliced lemons, cucumbers and fresh mint or combine 100% fruit juice and carbonated water for a healthier version of soda.

Stay active

Healthy choices for your heart do not only involve the foods you eat. Exercise is a great way to strengthen and protect your heart from disease. It can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and can also reduce stress.

Try to reach 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Be sure to include activities around the house like cleaning and yard work. Start small and make physical activity fun!

 

For more healthy tips, follow us on Facebook. For healthy recipes, click here.

National Nutrition Month: Consult a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

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March is National Nutrition Month©.  Join the East Texas Food Bank and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in celebration by focusing on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

This week, the focus is on consulting a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.  Here are some tips to help guide you:

  • Ask your doctor for a referral to visit an RDN – Many registered dietitian nutritionists work in the treatment and prevention of disease by providing medical nutrition therapy. The RDN often acts as part of a medical team, in various practice settings, such as hospitals, physician offices, private practice and other health care facilities.  More information
  • Receive personalized nutrition advice to meet goals – An RDN can help you create measurable, action-oriented and time-bound goals.   More information
  • Meet with RDNs in settings throughout the community – A registered dietitian nutritionist is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements  More information
  • Find an RDN who is specialized to serve your unique needs – Between what you hear on TV and read in the news, eating right can seem like a real challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. A registered dietitian, or RD, or registered dietitian nutritionist, or RDN, will partner with you to develop a safe and realistic eating plan that you can stick with for the long haul. To guide and motivate you, an RD or RDN will use creative and out-of-the-box strategies to help with meal planning, grocery shopping and mindful eating.  More information
  • Thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition – Eating right is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. A healthy plate can include foods from all corners of the globe. In fact, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans says, “Healthy eating patterns are adaptable … Any eating pattern can be tailored to the individual’s socio-cultural and personal preferences.” More information

Information provided by eatright.org

Cooking Matters class help ETFB empower families to make healthier choices

The East Texas Food Bank isn’t just helping feed people, they’re also helping families change the way they think about eating.

Nutrition Education Manager Kinsey Jeffers teaches a 6-week course called Cooking Matters, that challenges participants to rethink the way they shop, cook and feed their families.

“The first four weeks we talk about nutrition education and kitchen and food safety,” Jeffers said. “The fifth week we go on a grocery store tour, and the sixth week is a potluck and we play a nutrition (trivia) game.”
(Read more from Tyler Paper)

National Nutrition Month: Learn skills to create tasty meals

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March is National Nutrition Month©.  Join the East Texas Food Bank and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in celebration by focusing on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

This week, the focus is on learning skills to create tasty meals.  Here are some tips to help guide you:

  • Keep healthy ingredients on hand – When it comes to buying fruits and vegetables, many factors play a role in which types consumers choose, including nutritional value. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says all fruits and vegetables — fresh, frozen, canned or dried — are good-for-you foods that can be enjoyed at any time.  More information
  • Practice proper home food safety – Handling foods safely is much more than throwing away expired milk or washing your fruits and vegetables. While these actions are important, there are several more common food safety mistakes that can result in major consequences.   More information
  • Share meals together as a family when possible – Cooking at home can be healthy, rewarding and cost-effective. And, according to research, taste tops nutrition as the main reason why Americans buy one food over another. The foods you enjoy are likely the ones you eat the most, so make taste a kitchen priority when preparing nutritious, satisfying meals.  More information
  • Reduce food waste – Food waste — when edible items go uneaten, including “plate waste” in retail establishments such as restaurants and cafeterias — is an increasingly important issue in food security. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, billions of pounds of food goes to waste each year.  More information
  • Try new flavors and foods – Eating right is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. A healthy plate can include foods from all corners of the globe. In fact, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans says, “Healthy eating patterns are adaptable … Any eating pattern can be tailored to the individual’s socio-cultural and personal preferences.” More information

Information provided by eatright.org