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March brings the time to “Get Your Plate in Shape”

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Each year, March is designated as National Nutrition Month by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association. Americans are encouraged to return to the basics of healthy eating with this year’s theme “Get Your Plate in Shape.”

Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your bowl. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean protein foods contain needed nutrients without too many calories. To “Get your Plate in Shape,” include foods from all the food groups every day.

Try the following:

• Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

Eat a variety of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables plus beans and peas. Choose “reduced sodium” or “no-salt-added” canned vegetables. Eat fresh, dried, frozen or canned fruit in water or 100 percent juice with meals or as snacks.

• Make at least half your grains whole.

Read ingredient lists to choose 100 percent whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice.

• Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.

Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. If lactose intolerant, drink lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.

• Vary your protein choices.

Eat a variety of protein foods each week, such as seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs. Eat seafood twice a week.

• Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars.

Compare the salt (sodium) in foods you buy and choose lower amounts. Use spices and herbs instead of salt. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Select fruit for dessert. Eat sugary desserts less often. Choose 100 percent fruit juice not fruit-flavored drinks. Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food.

• Enjoy your food but eat Less.

Get your personal daily calorie limit at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov and follow it. Avoid oversized portions. Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses.

If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so sensibly. Women should limit it to only one drink a day and men no more than two a day.

• Be physically active your way.

Pick activities that you like and start slowly at least 10 minutes at a time. Every bit adds up with health benefits increasing as you spend more time being active. Children and teens need 60 minutes or more a day while adults need two hours and 30 minutes or more a week.

Find more healthy eating tips at:

www.eatright.org

www.kidseatright.org

www.ChooseMyPlate.gov

By following these “Get Your Plate in Shape” tips you will be on the way to a healthier lifestyle.

 

Helping children cope with disaster

Disastrous events such as our recent tornados, a flood or terrorist attack are difficult for children. Children don’t have automatic reactions to these events. The entire family’s life is disturbed. It becomes hard for parents to provide the security needed by children.

Children watch adults to learn how to react to these tragic events. When parents and loved ones are having a difficult time adjusting themselves, children are confused. 

The University of Kentucky has provided us two excellent publications to help children at these times.

Please call or stop by our office for copies. 

Aid to tornado victims

The recent tornados were devastating to many people across the Commonwealth. Help is still welcome and needed. At this point it appears there is not as much need for urgent relief supplies, but instead for monetary donations. Emergency management authorities recommend the most helpful thing that can be done immediately is to donate through established relief organizations. Here are two:

• Salvation Army: www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf#

• Red Cross: www.redcross.org

 

Grace Angotti is Carroll Co. Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to gangotti@uky.edu.