Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Make nutrition month 100 percent fad-free

March is National Nutrition Month. It is a time for you to recognize and reinforce the importance of balanced nutrition as a key to good health. This year it is about getting back to the basics. Forget the latest food fad or diet – focus on overall health. Here are five ways to do it:

1. Have a plan. Develop an eating plan. Begin by taking a few minutes today to make a list of some of the current meals you eat now. Think of ways that you can step up the nutritional value of each meal: Ask yourself where you can add whole grains like brown rice, wheat pasta, whole wheat bread or whole wheat English muffins. Next think of were you can add in extra vegetables. How about a sweet potato with lunch? A fresh spinach salad with dinner that includes broccoli or cauliflower. And fruits? Can you sneak sliced banana over a whole grain waffle at breakfast? How about berries with yogurt for a snack. Do you usually have a piece of fruit with lunch? Add one! If not you’ll still have a chance to meet your nutrition goal for mid-afternoon.

2. Look at the Big Picture. All foods can fit into a balanced plan. The key is finding that balance.So know your portion sizes. MyPyramid.gov is a good place to start. Go “Inside the Pyramid” and check out their food galleries within each of the food groups. They give serving sizes specific to every food. For example, the grain group. A 2000 calorie meal plan recommendation includes 6 oz. of grains each day. One ounce is equal to 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of dry cereal, a ½ cup of cook cereal, rice or pasta. 3 cups of popcorn is also considered a one ounce equivalent. Make half of these are whole grains. So this means choosing brown rice, whole wheat pastas and breads.
Look at your food intake over the course of a day. Where can you trim down? Next, let go of the guilt and unrealistic expectations. There is no one perfect meal plan. Change takes time, one step, one meal at a time. Be flexible.

3. Learn to spot a food fad. We have all heard of those popular diet crazes, food fads. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) defines “food fads” as “unreasonable or exaggerated beliefs that eating (or not eating) specific foods, nutrient supplements or combinations of certain foods may cure disease, convey special health benefits or offer quick weight loss.”
Red flags for spotting a food fad include:
 A promise of a quick fix
 Lists of “good” and “bad” foods
 Claims that sound too good to be true
 Diets that tout or ban a specific food or food group

Take a life-style approach not a “diet” one. Time, practice and patience are the keys.

4. Balance food and physical activity. Where do you find your motivation?
If you are thinking about joining a fitness center, look locally at the YMCA, WOW or World Gym. For females only, Curves and Butterfly Life are great options. If you prefer to stick close to home, that’s ok, too. Dose it out: 10 to 20 minutes, 3 times a day can get you there. Walking, gardening, biking, climbing stairs and dancing are all great ways to be active. Ten minutes of the activity at a time is best, shorter bursts of activity may not have the same health benefits.

5. Know the experts. Registered Dietitian’s are well educated and know their stuff. So where do you find these experts? Right here in your community. The Backus Hospital dietitians will be hosting supermarket tours on Wednesday, March 21 from 12-1 p.m. at the Norwich Stop & Shop. This is a great opportunity to learn how to navigate your way through a grocery store and come out with the healthiest choices. You’ll learn tips on reading food labels and ways to master meal planning. To register for this event, call 889-8331 ext. 4319 by Friday, March 16. Space is limited.
Backus Hospital’s Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) Outpatient office is an opportunity to meet with a registered dietitian and develop an eating plan that is right for you. Ask you doctor for a referral to this service.

Renee Frechette is a registered dietitian who serves as the outpatient oncology dietitian in the The William W. Backus Hospital’s Radiation Therapy Center. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your personal physician. E-mail Frechette and all of the Healthy Living columnists at healthyliving@wwbh.org.

Thank you Renee for a wonderful article! I think everyone should see a dietician as part of their yearly physical, but perhaps I am a little biased!

Thanks for reinforcing a little bit of planning. So many people complain that they do not have time to make decent meals, and have to resort to fast foods. Perhaps they should spend less time planning for their retirement that they will have less chance to enjoy unless they make changes now!

After researching nutrition and cancer prevention, I cannot agree more on eliminating the fads, and instead adopting a healthy eating "lifestyle".

As a mom of four I have a few practical ideas. The kids all have a goal of getting their five to nine fruits and veges per day. Before meals I put out fresh cut up fruits and veges and wait to serve the main course. I continually remind them that they need variety. This raises the chance that they will get whatever combination of phytochemicals they need, and lowers the risk that they may be exposed to some unknown carcinogen by concentrating on just a few foods.

For those that are TOO busy, take a weekend day and plan and prepare meals to freeze for the month. Things such as vegetable lasagna freeze well. Then adding a few fruits can make an easy weeknight meal.

If the fads worked, there would not be so many!

Thank you so much for what you are doing!

Lynne Eldridge M.D.
Author, "Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time"
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?