March is National Nutrition Month. The theme for 2013 is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.” The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is using this message to encourage personalized healthy eating styles. By recognizing that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices, registered dietitians play a critical role in helping people eat right, their way, every day.
I really like this year’s theme as it supports my personal philosophy when it comes to assisting patients with improving their eating habits. When, where, what and how we choose to eat is a very personal thing, and I can use that information to help identify and build solid changes that will stick for a lifetime. Please visit eatright.org to learn more about these nutrition messages!
On another note, I had the pleasure of attending AND’s Food Nutrition Conference and Expo last October and want to share some very important information I learned. I was invited to a media session sponsored by Pepsico which introduced a new program they are supporting called Wello Women. This program has been in the works for a couple of years and is starting to pick up momentum. I encourage both women and men to take a closer look at it.
PLAY is the acronym for the foundational elements of women’s health: Protein, Liquid, Activity and You-time. As women age, these four elements get put further and further on the back burner. Taking care of others, working, and living life seem to get in the way of staying healthy. Wello has found a way to help women get back on track.
Put very simply, making sure to eat enough protein every day will help keep your body going throughout the day. So, starting with breakfast, shoot for 14 - 21 grams of protein. This can be 2-3 ounces of meat, cheese or eggs, 1/2 cup of cottage cheese or Greek yogurt or a protein fortified beverage.
Liquids aren’t limited to just water. Coffee, tea, milk, diet sodas, flavored waters and juices all count as fluids. Choosing drinks high in sugar and fat are obviously not the best choices but are better than none. Aim for at least eight cups a day to help hydrate your body and keep processes running smoothly.
Activity and You-time can easily come in the same package. Taking 20 minutes for a short walk to gather your thoughts or talk to a friend on your cell phone is an easy way to burn a few calories and reorganize your day. Invite a friend or two to join you! Having the support and friendly peer pressure to remind you to be active is a great way to incorporate activity and you-time into your day.
For more information on Wello Women, please visit their website at wellowomen.com, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Pinterest and Twitter. Tell them I sent you!
(Mary is a clinical dietitian at Banner Churchill Community Hospital and consultant for Pershing General Hospital. Your nutrition questions are welcome--send questions to Mary C. Koch, R.D. in care of this newspaper.)