Put your best fork forward

March is National Nutrition Month and Springfield Medical Care Systems encourages everyone to “Put Your Best Fork Forward” by making small, healthy shifts in food choices – whether cooking at home or dining out.

Robyn Priebe. Photo provided.

Choosing a variety of healthy foods across and within all food groups helps reduce the risk of preventable, lifestyle-related chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

“Understanding the role healthy diet and lifestyle choices can make in preventing diseases before they occur is vitally important,” says Robyn Priebe, registered dietitian. She continued: “During National Nutrition Month and beyond, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging everyone to make small, healthier food choices – one meal at a time.”

Priebe encourages everyone to base diet choices mainly on unprocessed plant foods, focusing on the list below:

·      Non-starchy vegetables: include a wide variety of colors  (corn, green peas, and potatoes are high-starch vegetables and should be treated like grains)

·      Legumes: beans, split peas and lentils

·      Whole fruit, avoiding juice

·      Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, oats, barley, rye, etc.

·      Small amounts of fat-free or low-fat dairy including milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified non-dairy, unsweetened milk replacements

·      Protein foods: including seafood, lean meats, poultry, and especially nuts & legumes

·      Healthy fats: including avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil, peanut oil, and organic canola oil.

“Everyone can probably identify things they’d like to improve when it comes to the way they eat.  I encourage people to pick one dietary change to focus on at a time. Giving oneself adequate time to practice a new habit around food makes it more likely the person will stick with that dietary change. Attempting to change too much about how you eat all at once is typically overwhelming for people and not likely to be sustainable,” Priebe continues. “At SMCS, we offer a number of educational opportunities for the public, whether one-on-one personal consultations or group classes. A registered dietitian can help you in your personal health journey and can provide encouragement and sound, easy-to-follow nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.”

For information on programs and classes available, please contact the SMCS community Health Team at 802-886-8946 or visit www.springfieldmed.org.

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