Tag Archives: National Nutrition Month

Eat Right With Color

Colorful mealDuring National Nutrition Month, the American Dietetic Association encourages everyone to “Eat Right with Color.”

One of the ways to incorporate color into your healthful eating plan is to include the colors of MyPyramid. Developed by the United States Department of Agriculture, MyPyramid is part of an overall food guidance system that emphasizes the need for an individual approach to improving diet and lifestyle.

Each color of the MyPyramid symbol represents the recommended proportion of foods from each food group and focuses on the importance of making smart food choices in every food group, every day.
Here are tips to make sure all the colors of MyPyramid are part of your healthful eating plan:

Grains (Orange)
• Use whole-grain for sandwiches.
• Opt for oat or whole-wheat cereal for breakfast.
• Substitute brown rice for white rice in favorite recipes.
• Add whole barley to soups and stews or bulgur wheat to salads and casseroles.

When looking for whole-grain choices, make sure the label says “100 percent whole grain” and the ingredient label says “whole” before the grain listed.

Vegetables (Green)
• Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite dip or low-fat salad dressing.
• Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and low-fat or fat-free cheese.
• Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Top with a low-fat dressing.
• Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Try any combination of chopped tomatoes, onions, green pepper, spinach or mushrooms plus some low-fat or fat-free cheese.

Fruits (Red)
• Start your day by adding sliced fruit to your cereal or on top of whole-grain waffles or pancakes.
• Add fruit to salads. This boosts nutrition and adds texture and taste. Add orange slices or strawberries to spinach  salads or toss grapes into a mixed green salad.
• For dessert, add sliced bananas, berries or peaches to non-fat yogurt or as a topper on angel food cake.
• Dried fruit makes a handy snack and can be equally as nutritious as fresh. However, be mindful of serving sizes.

Oils (Yellow)
Used in cooking and baking as well as for flavor, oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature. There are a variety of oils that come from many different plants. Common types include: canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, sunflower, walnut and sesame oils. Besides their essential fatty acids, oils are the major source of vitamin E for most Americans. However, oils do contain about 120 calories per tablespoon, so keep portions in mind.

Milk (Blue)
• Low-fat cheese in a sandwich
• Yogurt dips with vegetables
• Low-fat shredded cheese on soups and salads
• Evaporated low-fat or fat-free milk in recipes that call for cream.

Meat and Beans (Purple)
• Choose lean cuts of meat. Look for words like loin or round in the description.
• To prepare lean cuts of meat, try broiling, grilling, roasting, panbroiling, braising, stewing or stir-frying.
• Choose fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce your risk of heart disease and may help reduce the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.

For more information please contact Zach Deaton, Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian, at 919-742-5641.


Happy Eat a Rainbow Week!

It’s Eat a Rainbow Week! We will celebrate all this week by blogging about the health benefits and fun of eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Check back daily to the Eat a Rainbow page (see the tab above the header photo) for new tips, recipes and other information about eating the theme color of the day. (Check out today’s post on Red fruits and vegetables!) Join in the celebration by eating fruits and vegetables of the theme color each day and by trying new meals and snacks that help you fit a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables into your life. We encourage you to let us know how you are celebrating through the “leave a comment” function at the bottom of each blog post. For your reference, the theme colors for the week are:

Monday, March 7th: Red

Tuesday, March 8th: Orange & Yellow

Wednesday, March 9th: Green

Thursday, March 10th: Blue & Purple

Friday, March 11th: Celebrate the whole rainbow!

Silk Hope students' artwork hanging at the Silk Hope Grill

Be sure to check out the Eat a Rainbow activities happening around the county. Several local restaurants will be joining in the celebration by displaying fruit and vegetable art made by local students or by highlighting the fruit and vegetable options on their menus. Check out the fun this week at Angelina’s Kitchen, Bella Donna, the CCCC Natural Chef Café, S &T’s Soda Shoppe and Virlie’s Grill in Pittsboro; Bestfood Cafeteria and Compadres Restaurant in Siler City and the Silk Hope Grill in Silk Hope!

Perry Harrison and Silk Hope students' artwork hanging at Chatham Marketplace

Additionally, Chatham Marketplace will be discounting produce that matches the color of the day. And, the Chatham Community Library will have fruit and vegetable related-books on display and the regular Tuesday morning story-time will have a fruit and vegetable theme.


March is National Nutrition Month

 As trends continue to indicate Americans are interested in improving their diets and leading more healthful lifestyles, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) reminds everyone that an easy way to focus on eating better is to “Eat Right with Color,” which is this year’s theme of National Nutrition Month. Each March, the ADA focuses attention on returning to the basics of healthy eating. This year’s National Nutrition Month theme encourages consumers to remember to include a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy on their plates every day.

Initiated in 1973 as a week-long event, “National Nutrition Week” became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. Additionally, to commemorate the dedication of Registered Dietitians as advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world, the second Wednesday of March has been designated “Registered Dietitian Day.” This year marks the fourth annual Registered Dietitian Day.

The recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend an increased focus on a plant-based diet. This combined with including lean meats, fish and poultry, and low-fat milk and dairy products creates a rainbow of colors on the plate that serve as the foundation for a healthful eating plan.

For more information please contact Zach Deaton, Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian, at 919-742-5641. You can also go to www.eatright.org.


Eat a Rainbow Week- A Success!

Eat A Rainbow week was a great success at  Moncure
and JS Waters schools and for the staff of the Chatham County Public Health Department’s Community Health Promotion and Advocacy Division (CHPA).  During Eat a Rainbow week, each day had a theme color. Participants ate fruits and vegetables of the theme, and learned about the importance of eating a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables.

Here are some of the activities that took place during Eat A Rainbow week. 

Kindergarten through second grade
students at JS Waters drew some of their favorite colorful fruits and vegetables in art class and these pictures were on display in the JS Waters cafeteria during the week. Seventh and eighth graders at JS Waters also wrote messages for the morning announcements about the theme color each day. 

Moncure staff members participated in a fruit and vegetable eating challenge.  Pairs of staff members competed to see who could reach the goal of eating 8-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day during the week.  This is the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables for adults.  The winning team was Ms. Rapacuk and Mrs. Biggs with 119 servings!!

Jenny Burris, a teacher at Moncure School said, “Eat a Rainbow week was a great success!  People brought fruit to share with each other and someone even brought a smoothie maker that everyone was welcome to use.”

The cafeterias at both schools gave students the opportunity to eat the color of the day by serving 3 different theme-colored fruit and vegetable options each day.  Friday was Blue and Purple day, so purple cabbage, blueberries and purple grapes were on the menu…Yum!

CHPA staff members challenged themselves to
eat as wide a variety of fruits and vegetables as they could during the week.  They ate a total of 54 different fruits and vegetables spanning every color of the rainbow. 

We hope to organize Eat A Rainbow week next year as well, so if you have any suggestions or want your school to be involved, please contact Ellie Morris, School Health Liaison with the Chatham County Public Health Department at 919-545-8514 or elizabeth.morris@chathamnc.org or visist the health department’s school health website at www.chathamnc.org/schoolhealth.


Nutrition from the Ground Up

March is National Nutrition Month® – a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the American Dietetic Association.

Initiated in March 1973 as a week-long event, “National Nutrition Week” became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

During National Nutrition Month®, the American Dietetic Association reminds everyone that an easy way to focus on eating better is to start with the basics: build your nutritional health from the ground up.

  • Start with the basics. Eating right 
    doesn’t have to be complicated. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and nuts. A healthy eating plan is also low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.
  • Make calories count by thinking nutrient-rich rather than “good” or “bad” foods. Most food choices should be packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients — and lower in calories. Be aware of portion sizes. Even low-calorie foods can add up when portions are larger than you need.
  • Focus on variety
    by eating a variety of foods from all the food groups. Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, canned or frozen. Look for locally grown produce that’s in season. Vary protein choices with more fish, beans and peas. Include at least three servings of whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day.
  • Make the most of family mealtime.
    Eating meals together provides the opportunity to help children develop a healthy attitude toward food. It also enables parents to serve as role models, introduce new foods and establish a regular meal schedule.
  • Balancing physical activity and a healthful diet is your best recipe for managing weight and promoting overall health and fitness. Set a goal to be physically active at least 30 minutes every day.

This and more information can be found at http://www.eatright.org/ or by contacting Zach Deaton, RD with the Chatham County Public Health Department at 742-5641.