Fargo VA Health Care System
Shape up your Nutrition!
March is upon us and so is National Nutrition Month! This year's theme, "Get Your Plate in Shape", focuses on the importance of making informed food choices, developing sound eating habits and being more physically active.
Research shows that people who eat right and exercise live healthier, happier lives. So before you eat, think about what goes on your plate and follow these guidelines to "Get Your Plate in Shape"
- Vegetables: Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables plus beans and peas. Air for 1 1/2 cups of vegetables per day.
- Whole Grains: Increase whole grains by choosing whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Make at least half your grain servings whole grains.
- Protein: Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, most adults should consume at least 5 1/2 onces of protein daily.
- Fruits: Add fresh, frozen or light canned fruit to meals and snacks to get your two cups a day. Moderate evidence in adults suggests that increased intake of fruits and/or vegetables may protect against weight gain.
- Low-fat or fat free milk, yogurt and cheese or fortified soy beverages: Include 3 cups per day for calcium, vitamin D, protein and potassium.
- Salt: Sodium intake should be less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) daily. Further reduce intake to 1,500 mg daily among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.
- Saturated Fat: Saturated fats that come from foods like whole-milk, dairy products, butter and meat should be limited to less than 10% of your daily caloric intake. Consuming high amounts of saturated fats can contribute to cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. Instead consume heart healthy fats such as canola oil, olive oil and flaxseed.
- Cholesterol: Consume less than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day. The major sources of cholesterol in the American diet include eggs and egg mixed dishes, chicken and chicken mixed dishes, beef and beef mixed dishes, and all types of beef burgers.
- Sugar: Limit the amount of added sugars you consume from soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks, grain-based desserts, sugar-sweetened fruit drinks, dairy-based desserts, and candy. By reducing the consumption of these sources of added sugars, you will lower the calorie content of your diet.
- Portions: Rather than eating large meals two or three times a day, try eating smaller portions frequently throughout the day. This can promote healthy weight loss.
- Exercise: Good nutrition and regular physical activity work hand and hand. Additionally, regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases. They Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans reccommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every week and 2 or more days a week of muscle strengthening activities. Remember to check with your health professional before starting any rigorous workout regimen.