Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March is National Nutrition Month!

Jennifer Koslo, PhD, RD, CSSD, CPT
FT Faculty, School of Health Sciences

March is National Nutrition Month® and today is actually Registered Dietitian Day! Wahoo! I say that because I am a Registered Dietitian, and while I didn’t get the day off from work or anything I am still going to celebrate my profession in this post. National Nutrition Week started in 1973 in response to a growing interest in nutrition by the general public and by 1980 it turned into a month-long observance. Registered Dietitian Day was started just 4 years ago as a way to highlight the important work that nutrition professionals do.

So what is the theme this year? “Eat Right with Color”! For all of you visual learners out there this slogan should bring to mind bowls of red cherries, salads brimming with various shades of green from lettuces, broccoli, arugula, avocado, bell peppers; red from tomatoes, white from button mushrooms, orange from carrots, and maybe even some tans and darker colors contributed by sunflower seeds, black beans, and olives. While many of you are in locations where you have been seeing nothing but the white of snow and the brown of barren trees, your plate is one place that you can make festive by including a rainbow of foods that includes a palette of nutrients. I often tell my students to “eat from the rainbow” because it is a way to ensure that you get a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, all of which are important for health and longevity.

Using the colors of MyPyramid is one way to incorporate recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and create a healthful eating plan. The bars each represent a different food group: orange is for grains, green for vegetables, red for fruits, blue for dairy, yellow for oils, and purple for meats and beans.

Here are some suggestions to brighten up your plate by using this color guide:
Green: Fruits: Kiwi, honeydew, lime, grapes
Vegetables: Broccoli, asparagus, peas, artichoke, leafy greens, edamame

Orange and deep yellow: Fruits: Cantaloupe, citrus, mango, pineapple, papaya
Vegetables: Sweet potatoes, carrots, yellow corn

Red: Fruits: Cherries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, pomegranate, watermelon
Vegetables: Beets, red onions, red potatoes, rhubarb

Blue and purple: Fruits: Blueberries, blackberries, plums, raisins
Vegetables: Purple potatoes, eggplant, red cabbage

Tan, brown and white: Fruits: Banana, brown pear, white peaches, dates
Vegetables: Cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, white corn, white potatoes

Focusing on simple and practical ways to make positive changes to your diets is as easy as “Eating Right with Color”. By including a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy every day you will be getting a variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals that can protect against heart disease and certain types of cancer.  So let the artist in you shine and use your palette to create a colorful plate!


Jennifer Neily, MS, RD, CSSD, LD said...

Great post Jennifer! As a fellow RD - I celebrated with you!

body lift said...

I celebrated it with my friends and family with lots of care about nutrition. I missed you at that time.

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