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Posts Tagged ‘Dietary Guidelines’

colorful plate of international foods

The world of nutrition spans different cultures. Have you ever considered celebrating and learning about different cuisines? Have you ever wondered what your plate would look like with Asian cuisine? Filipino cuisine? Latin American cuisine? The possibilities are endless. You can use MyPlate as a guide and  enjoy  various cuisines from all over the world.

The dietary guidelines recommend  consuming at least half your grains as whole grains, increasing your overall fiber intake. Sources include fruits, vegetables, and grains. It is  recommended to eat lean protein, which can be fish, chicken, beef, and other animal products. Healthy fats are important for heart health and can be found in nuts, seeds, and oils.

 Ginisang Gulay is a sautéed vegetable dish that has okra, squash, okra, eggplant, string beans, and shrimp. Shrimp is a protein that provides vitamin B12, selenium, and choline.  Pinakbet is also a great choice, since it contains vegetables with beans, a plant-based protein, and can be served with whole grain noodles. This dish is a 4-food group powerhouse!

Who doesn’t like yogurt? It contains protein, probiotics, and taste great! In the middle eastern dish Keshek, there is sundried powder yogurt and stir-fried lean ground beef. Double protein, double the yum! You can incorporate grains and fruit by adding a piece of whole grain pita bread and side of fruit. Now for an important question, who likes pancakes? I know I do! Besan cheela are savory pancakes made from chickpea flour and vegetables. In this dish you are getting grains, vegetables, and protein. All from pancakes, sounds too good to be true right?

One of my personal favorite dishes is the Salvadorean pupusa. The pupusa is made of masa or a corn cake texture and can be filled with different meats, cheese, topped with salsa, and curtido, a type of fermented cabbage. The curtido is fermented in vinegar and contains probiotics, which can help with gut health. From this dish there is protein when meat is added, dairy from the cheese, vegetables from the curtido, and grains from the masa.

All the dishes listed both demonstrate how you can still get your fruits, vegetables, protein, and grains from trying different international cuisine. Do these foods sound delicious?  

Interested in learning and trying more international foods? This month try cooking a new international food so you can learn how to cook with different ingredients. If you normally pan or deep fry, try baking, air frying, or grilling, which can reduce fat by 50-80%. On top of experimenting with new food you can also learn about the countries culture and symbolism of using certain spices and food pairings. Happy eating!

Written by: Ashley Denise Ascenio, Intern with Wood County Extension, Bowling Green State University Graduate Student in Food and Nutrition, asencia@bgsu.edu

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Wood County.

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Do you have a favorite Super Bowl snack? Many individuals and families have go-to foods for their Super Bowl watching parties and festivities. Unfortunately, many of those go-to foods are high in saturated fat and sodium. According to a survey from Statista, the most popular Super Bowl foods in 2021 were chips and dip, chicken wings, pizza and nachos. The good news is that there are healthier ways to prepare those items! The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend we:

  • Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage
  • Customize and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions and budgetary considerations
  • Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages
  • Stay within calorie limits
  • Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium
  • Limit alcohol consumption

If you want to prepare, serve, or enjoy a favorite Super Bowl snack that aligns with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, try one of the following methods or recipes:

guacamole and crackers

Chips and Dip – Make a veggie-based dip such as guacamole or spinach dip and serve with whole-grain crackers or tortilla chips.

Chicken wings – Instead of ordering out, buy frozen chicken wings and prepare them in an oven or air fryer.

English muffin pizzas topped with olives

Pizza – Whether you order or make your pizza, load it up with veggies! If cooking at home, try a herbed garden pizza or English muffin bite-sized pizzas.

Nachos – Swap out the chips for veggies in this unique Bell Pepper Nacho recipe. Not a fan of bell peppers? Try these loaded potato skins with buffalo chicken and/or your favorite nacho toppings.

If you have a favorite Super Bowl recipe that features fruits and veggies, please share using the comment box below!

Written by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

Reviewed by Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Miami County

Sources:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/

Celebrate Your Plate. https://celebrateyourplate.org/

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Charcuterie boards have recently become one of my favorite ways to create a meal. I have created a charcuterie board for various meals and snacks.  According to Eat Cured Meat, the modern definition of a charcuterie board is, “a selection of food that offers contrasts, various textures and different colors. Consumed in a group, the focus of the charcuterie board is food that that is easy to eat, finger food is the goal.”  In other words, it’s simply a mixture of numerous foods, all artfully arranged on a serving board. They are fun, easy to assemble, and can be filled with all sorts of delicious and nutritious foods!

food arranged in containers in a sqaure container

When I assemble my charcuterie board, my goal is to make it colorful and nutritious. Portion sizes are often smaller but include a variety to choose from. One of my favorites is a portable “breakfast charcuterie board.” The great thing about preparing it ahead of time is it’s already assembled and ready to grab from the refrigerator before work. In the picture, you’ll see I have included an egg bite with veggies, 2 whole wheat mini pancakes, vanilla Greek Yogurt, and berries. I also put any sauces or additional add-ons in souffle containers with lids to keep them separated. I have also included all 5 food groups from MyPlate! I prepare my portable board the night before so I can quickly grab it before heading to work.

Another favorite I like to make is a snack charcuterie board. You can customize it based on how many you’re serving, what you have on hand, what’s on sale, and personal preference. This snack charcuterie board includes a variety of foods that support good brain and heart health. The board includes the following foods:

  • Veggies paired with hummus: I used cucumbers, carrots, and celery. Peppers and cherry tomatoes would add even more color. Hummus can also be replaced with a spinach artichoke dip or other dip of choice.
  • Black olives have plenty of healthy fats in them that support your heart and brain health. I recommend rinsing under water prior to serving to reduce the salt
  • Berries are quick an easy finger food that are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and other important nutrients. You can also add grapes into the mix!
  • Trail mix made with dark chocolate, mixed nuts, and whole grain cereal. Dark chocolate contains Flavanols that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. This is satisfying treat full of protein.
  • Pistachiosresearch suggests consuming about one palmful or ¼ cup of nuts at least five times per week for optimal health. Pistachios, as well as trail mix can also help you meet this recommendation.
  • Tuna salad- is great to use as a spread on a whole grain cracker. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 90% of American’s don’t meet the seafood recommendation. This is a great way to boost your seafood intake
  • Yogurt topped with granola – yogurt provides calcium and protein and can be topped with granola!
  • Turkey and cheese are nice to roll up and add to the board. Instead of rolling the cheese, another option is to use various sliced cheeses to your board.
Food arranged on plates

Next time you are hosting a gathering, try creating a snack charcuterie board for your guests. Also, challenge yourself to create portable charcuterie board for one of your meals. Breakfast ones are great to make ahead since we are often short on time in the morning. It’s a fun way to plan ahead, while incorporating MyPlate into your meal planning.

Written by: Shannon Smith, RD, CDCES, Program Coordinator, OSU Extension, Wood County

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Wood County

Sources:


https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf


https://eatcuredmeat.com/what-is-a-charcuterie-board-with-pictures/

https://howtocreate.com/ –> How to Make a Charcuterie Board

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Picture of a family holding hands and the 1943 USDA bulletin with the words National Wartime Nutrition Guide. U. S. Needs US Strong, Eat the Basic 7 Every Day.

In January, I wrote about the newly introduced Dietary Guidelines for Americans. However, did you know that the United States Department of Agriculture has been providing dietary recommendations for well over 100 years? The first dietary advice by USDA was a Farmers Bulletin created in 1894, by W. O. Atwater. Atwater was the first person to publish tables of food composition and dietary standards. He recommended diets for American males based on protein, carbohydrate and fat content and their minerals. Interestingly, many minerals and vitamins were not even known back in 1894. The concept of eating a variety of foods, eating a well balanced diet, watching portion sizes and moderation for health and well being is the basis for today’s Dietary Guidelines, and its roots go way back to 1894.

If we look at dietary guidance over the years, some have certainly changed, however, many things still resonate today. In the 1920’s the government was concerned about food safety and foodborne Illness was prevalent in the USA. Our refrigeration technology was certainly not what it is today. For example, not all Americans had a refrigerator with a freezer. Therefore, perishable products such as milk and meat would go bad quickly. As we moved to the 1930’s there were more advancements in science and nutrition. We learned more about vitamins and minerals and their role in the body. In 1943, USDA released the Basic Seven Food Guide, a publication called the National Wartime Nutrition Guide. The Basic Seven advised choosing specific foods such as green/yellow vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, milk and milk products.

After World War II, USDA developed Food and Fitness- A Daily Food Guide. This publication focused on four groups; milk, vegetables and fruit, bread and cereal. It focused on eating with family, healthy meals and budgeting. This was the first time serving sizes were introduced. In 1977, the Dietary Goals of Americans was released. The focus was to address the issue of Americans consuming too much sugar, fat and salt. In 1980, the first Dietary Guidelines as we know it today was published “Nutrition and Your Health- Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” Since then, USDA has published recommendations on Dietary Guidelines every five years, to the most recent Dietary Guidelines 2020 to 2025.

The format of these documents have evolved from  paper copy bulletins, websites, blogs, pictorial images such as My Pyramid and MyPlate. Yet, USDA has been providing dietary guidance for over a century. The research has certainly expanded over the years to keep up with todays lifestyles and food consumption. However, in spite of all these rapid changes, the more things change, the more they resemble the past.

Written by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, Zies.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Smith, MFN, RD, LD, CDCES, Program Coordinator, OSU Extension, Wood County, Smith.11604@osu.edu

Sources:

  • History of the Dietary Guidelines | Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Dietaryguidelines.gov. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/about-dietary-guidelines/history-dietary-guidelines. Published 2021. Accessed March 1, 2021.
  • Jahns L, Davis-Shaw W, Lichtenstein A, Murphy S, Conrad Z, Nielsen F. The History and Future of Dietary Guidance in America. Advances in Nutrition. 2018;9(2):136-147. doi:10.1093/advances/nmx025
  • https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/42215/5831_aib750b_1_.pdf
  • Schneeman B. Evolution of dietary guidelines. J Am Diet Assoc. 2003;103(12):5-9. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2003.09.030
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.

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While many of us are just happy to be able to watch the madness of basketball tournaments this March – we know that it will not be like other tournament years. We will not be gathering for parties, many of us are still not eating in restaurants/pubs, and we cannot watch the games live yet (in most cases) – so you will likely be fixing the game day snacks yourself. When you plan your game-day menu, do not throw out your goals of a healthy diet – keep in mind that there are better snack choices.

You may have heard of the new 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans which focus on several messages that you can follow for a great game-day snack plan:fruit tray

  • Limit food and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium
  • Limit alcoholic beverages (eat your calories instead of drinking them)
  • Focus on eating nutrient dense foods which include a variety of vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins (including meatless meals, nuts, eggs, and fish)

Looking at those guidelines lets choose a few tourney time snack options that keep us on track for a more healthful diet overall:

  • A vegetable tray with hummus or bean dip instead of high fat (and usually sodium) dip
  • Cheese and whole grain crackers or bread
  • Fresh fruit skewers with yogurt and nut butter dip
  • English muffin mini pizzas with veggies on top (instead of ordering takeout pizza)
  • Buffalo cauliflower bites (instead of wings, I personally LOVE these!!)
  • Homemade Banana Nice Cream
  • Infused water made with fruits the color of your favorite team (mine will be scarlet berries)

Most of these snacks can be made the night before for easy game-time serving, you will just need to make your mini pizzas quickly and heat your buffalo bites. I will share a buffalo bite recipe that I enjoyed recently (and I do not even like cauliflower). If you compare this recipe to many others online, it has no butter and a lot less breadcrumbs – and trust me – it still tastes great! I preferred the oven-baked to air-fryer, but air-fryer was super quick.

I cannot wait to hear your favorite healthy versions of tourney time snacks. Comment below to let us know what you serve.

Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe

 

Source: Start Simple with MyPlate Today, file:///C:/Users/barlage.7/Documents/Dietary%20Guidelines%202010/2021%20-%202025/DGA_2020-2025_StartSimple_withMyPlate_English_color.pdf

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Roseanne Scammahorn, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Darke County.

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picture of fruits, vegetables, and meat and poultry foods.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were just released! While much of the information they contain has been carried over from previous guidelines, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) continue to review research and present evidence-based recommendations for a healthy life. Below are the main themes and takeaways from the 2020 guidelines.

“Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.”  This guideline emphasizes the importance of healthy eating at every stage of life to promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. For infants to 6 months of life, the guidelines recommend the exclusive consumption of human milk. If human milk is not an option, it is important to choose an iron-fortified infant formula. Regardless of human milk or formula, infants should also be given a vitamin D supplement. At 6 months, infants can begin to eat nutrient-dense foods. When introducing new foods, do so one at a time in case there is an allergic reaction. From 12 months on, the guidelines recommend eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods and establishing a healthy dietary pattern that can span one’s lifetime. This will help meet nutrient needs, maintain a healthy weight, and ultimately reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and obesity.

“Customize and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations.” The current American population is vastly diverse and culture extends to the plate. The current document welcomes this diversity and looks to customize the guidelines to fit an individual’s cultural background.

“Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages and stay within calorie limits.” Throughout the document, the phrase nutrient-dense comes up quite a few times. What is the difference between nutrient-dense and calorie-dense? Simply put, nutrient-dense food contains many nutrients with minimal added sugars, saturated fat, or sodium. Calorie-dense foods, on the other hand, tend to be high in added sugar, fat and sodium with limited vitamins and minerals. Filling your plate with nutrient-dense foods to meet your caloric needs will result in a healthier life.

“Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages.” The guidelines recommend individuals age two and older limit added sugars and saturated fat to less than 10% of calories per day. Sodium intake should be less than 2,300mg per day. Men should limit their alcohol intake to two beverages a day and women to one drink per day.

two hands holding a beverage in glass

Modifying one’s diet can be daunting, but there are tools to make it easier to eat better. MyPlate can help you visualize your plate, and the new MyPlate planning tool can help you customize it! Eating better for one’s health does not have to be a difficult endeavor, or one you embark upon alone.

Written by: Emily Beasecker, BGSU Graduate Student interning with Ohio State University Extension, Wood County Extension, and Susan Zies, Extension Educator , Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, Zies.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County, Lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

Home | Dietary Guidelines for Americans [Internet]. Dietaryguidelines.gov. 2021 Available from: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/

MyPlate | U.S. Department of Agriculture [Internet]. Myplate.gov. 2021 Available from: https://www.myplate.gov/

American Heart Association (2018). How can I eat more nutrient-dense foods? https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/how-can-i-eat-more-nutrient-dense-foods

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June is moving right along which means the summer growing season is upon us. June is also National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.  It is a great time to focus on eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. June is a good time to remind ourselves to make half of our plate fruits and vegetaveggiebles since most Americans don’t eat enough of either.

Locate a farmer’s market in your area and make it a point to visit to see what locally grown produce vendors have to offer.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with the nutrients our bodies need for healthy growth and development. They provide many important vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber. Since most fruits and veggies have a high water content, they help keep us hydrated. Snack on some watermelon on a hot day to help cool you off and to hydrate you!

By eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, you can help reduce the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke and protect against certain types of cancers.

Vegetables are divided into subgroups based on the different combinations of nutrients they provide. It is important to eat a variety of vegetables and to eat from all of the subgroups throughout the week.  The table below breaks vegetables into subgroups to assist you with choosing a variety to eat.

veggie subgroup chart

 

As I mentioned earlier, very few Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines. Below are some suggestions to help you make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

  • Serve salads or a vegetable as a side dish at dinner.
  • Choose a fruit instead of dessert.
  • Create or order mixed dishes like casseroles or stir-fry.
  • Snack on fresh fruits or vegetables, like grapes, bananas, carrots, or cucumbers.
  • East a piece of fruit with breakfast every day.
  • Build your meals around fruits and vegetables when meal planning.
  • Cool off this summer with a fruity homemade smoothie or popsicle. You can even get adventurous and add some veggies to your recipes.

fruits

 

Did you know……fruits and vegetables consumed in almost all forms count towards your daily total?  These can be canned, dried, frozen, or fresh.  Canned and frozen foods are processed within hours of being harvested so their nutritional value and flavor are preserved.

 

Author:  Tammy Jones, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pike County

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Perry County

Sources:

Brooks, A. (2014).  All About Smoothies.  Virginia Cooperative Extension.  http://blogs.ext.vt.edu/eatsmart-movemore/2014/04/03/all-about-smoothies/

Fruits & Veggies More Matters.  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fresh-frozen-canned-dried-and-100-juice

Fruits & Veggies More Matters.  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/key-nutrients-in-fruits-and-vegetables

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.  https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/a-closer-look-at-current-intakes-and-recommended-shifts/#table-2-1

United States Department of Agriculture.  https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables-nutrients-health

United States Department of Agriculture.  https://healthymeals.fns.usda.gov/features-month/june/national-fresh-fruit-and-vegetable-month

 

 

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ginormous

Did you know the body needs only a very small amount of sodium in the diet to function? According to the American Heart Association, that amount is less than 500 mg per day, which in cooking terms is about ¼ of a teaspoon. The reality, unfortunately, is that very few of us come close to keeping our sodium intake that low.   Most people consume a lot more—a whopping 3,400 milligrams per day on average.  What’s even scarier? 97% of Americans do not know, or seriously underestimate, their daily sodium intake. The newly released 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting our daily amount of sodium consumption to 2,300 mg or less per day.

The majority of sodium we consume in the diet is in the form of salt. Where is it hiding, you ask? Approximately 77% of sodium intake comes from restaurant meals, processed foods and prepackaged foods.  To illustrate, fresh broccoli contains a mere 27 mg of sodium. However, if it’s processed into canned cream of broccoli soup, it shifts from 27 mg to 770 mg of sodium!

Which foods are the top sources of sodium? The list includes:

  1. Breads
  2. Lunch Meats
  3. Pizza
  4. Soups
  5. Sandwiches, including burgers
  6. Cheese

Here are five tips to help you limit your sodium intake:

*Read labels and make yourself aware of serving sizes. This can be a real eye opener when looking at the sodium content in many products sold at the grocery stores.  Foods that contain 20% or more of the % Daily Value for sodium are considered high in sodium; 5% or less is considered low.

*At a restaurant, ask the chef or cook to prepare your food without salt.

*When shopping, choose fresh and/or less processed vegetables. If purchasing frozen, try to avoid added salts and sauces.

* Don’t put the salt shaker on the table. Even though salting at the table only accounts for about 6% of our total salt intake, every little bit helps.

* Use herbs and spices to flavor food instead of cooking with salt.

 

Sources: The American Heart Association  http://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/

 

Written by: Susan Zie, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension – Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

 

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extesnion- Erie County, Green.308.osu.edu

 

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Exciting news, the 2015 – 2020 updated Dietary Guidelines were just released. These Guidelines are updated by a team of nutrition and medical experts from across the country focusing on scientific and medical evidence in the nutrition field. This exclusive group of committee members included experts from Harvard, Yale, Duke, Tufts University, and our own Ohio State University. The results of their work are found in five basic guidelines: dietary guidelines

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. To reduce your risk of chronic disease, choose foods and beverages at an appropriate level to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. Plan to include a variety of vegetables especially dark green, red, orange, and legumes (beans and peas). Eat fruits, fat-free or low-fat dairy and whole grains. Consume a variety of protein foods like seafood, lean meats, eggs, nuts, soy products, and legumes.
  • Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Look to foods and beverages in their simple state and avoid those with added sugars, fats, and sodium.
  • Shift to healthier food and beverages choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and reduce less healthy choices. Examples might include colorful vegetables and fruits, whole grain pasta or rice, low fat milk or yogurt, and a variety of proteins including beans, eggs, poultry, fish, and other low-fat choices.
  • Support healthy eating patterns for all. We each have a role in creating and supporting healthy eating – from home to school to work to community.

This eighth version of the Dietary Guidelines has less major changes than past versions, with the apparent changes being an increased focus on less sodium, fat and sugar (especially those that are added to foods or drinks); and less emphasis on cholesterol content of foods. By following a healthy eating pattern with a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, seeds or nuts, and low-fat dairy we will all have less risk of chronic disease like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. This version of the guidelines also includes a wonderful reminder that we all have a role in making healthy eating a priority.

What change can you make to shift your diet to a healthier pattern? Small changes to improve, as well as poor choices both add up. For further information go to http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

Sources:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.

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Saturdays are an exciting day our house. My wife and I head out to run (separately) in the morning, each of us with a dog in step, and when we return sometime in the early afternoon, it’s time to EAT. And eat. And eat.

Saturday my wife cooked up a pot of homemade mac & cheese with a layer of spinach tucked inside. After being out in the cold all morning, this was the perfect meal to cozy up with… for her. Given that I do not eat animal products (cheese being one of them), she had the entire pan to herself. My silver platter was a brunch type skillet of potatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, and some baked tofu.

photo (1)

A vegan husband and a carnivorous wife. Can this last?! Well, I’m pretty confident we can manage. But the point is we both try to eat healthfully while including the foods we love, which tend to be different between the two of us. Our canine children are much less picky.

March 1st was the kick-off to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics National Nutrition Month® and each year the Academy selects a different theme for the month. This year’s theme is “eat right, your way, and every day.” The goal is to encourage healthy eating while understanding that personal preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions, and health concerns all influence our food choices.

Often nutrition professionals neglect the fact that food is so much more than a substance ingested to sustain life. Food is love, food is celebration, food is culture, food is tradition, and food is different to everybody! Although “healthy eating” is defined by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (they’re not outdated, they just revise them every 5 years) and My Plate, these recommendations only provide direction on amounts and proportions of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and vitamins and minerals; the choice in foods to meet those recommendations is up to you!

Celebrate National Nutrition Month® by thinking about what food means to you. Check out the Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate to see how you can develop your way of eating right, every day. Don’t be discouraged by television personalities demanding you eat certain exotic superfoods or encouraging you to give up your favorite foods. “Eat right, your way, and every day;” What does eating right mean to me? What are my favorite foods? How can I enjoy these foods within the recommendations? Take some time to think about these questions and be sure to spread the word about National Nutrition Month®.

I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month

Check out:
http://www.eatright.org/nnm
http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/DG2010Brochure.pdf
http://www.choosemyplate.gov

Written By: Ryan Leone, dietetic intern with Wood County Extension FCS Program, currently pursuing these advanced degrees- Master Food and Nutrition Program, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Master of Education in Human Movement, Sports, and Leisure Studies, Focus in Kinesiology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.

Reviewed by Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences.

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