Extension and Ag Research News


Take Steps to Eat Healthfully

March, National Nutrition Month, is a good time to learn how to develop a healthful diet.

Nearly one-third of North Dakota adults are obese, making North Dakota the state with the 14th highest adult obesity rate in the nation, a 2013 national study shows.

The State of Obesity study, a project of the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also found that 13 percent of 2- to 4-year-olds, 15.4 percent of 10- to 17-year-olds and 13.5 percent of high school students are obese.

Obesity is a major health concern because it can increase a person’s risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer.

“March, National Nutrition Month, is a good time to learn about ways you can lessen your chances of developing a chronic disease,” says Julie Garden-Robinson, the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s food and nutrition specialist.

“This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is ‘Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle,’ which is a good reminder that a big component of reducing your risk of chronic diseases is making healthful food choices,” she adds.

Here are 10 tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help you develop a more healthful diet and lifestyle:

  • Make half your plate veggies and fruits. Vegetables and fruits are important sources of nutrients. Choose red, orange and dark green vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli.
  • Add lean protein. Choose protein foods such as lean beef and pork, chicken, seafood, turkey, beans or tofu.
  • Include whole grains. Aim to make at least half of your grains whole grains. Look for the words “100 percent whole grain” or “100 percent whole wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, such as fiber, than refined grains.
  • Don’t forget the dairy. Pair your meal with a cup of fat-free or low-fat milk. Low-fat and fat-free milk provide the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but they contain less fat and fewer calories. Don’t drink milk? Try soymilk or include fat-free or low-fat yogurt in your meal.
  • Avoid extra fat. Using heavy gravies or sauces will add fat and calories to otherwise healthy choices. For example, don’t top steamed broccoli with cheese sauce. Try other options, such as a sprinkle of low-fat Parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon.
  • Take your time. Savor your food. Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Eating very quickly may cause you to eat too much.
  • Use a smaller plate at meals. This will help with portion control. You’ll be able to finish your meal and feel satisfied without overeating.
  • Take control of your food. Eat at home more often so you know exactly what you are eating. If you eat out, check and compare the nutritional information. Choose more healthful options, such as baked instead of fried.
  • Try new foods. Pick out new foods you’ve never tried, such as mangos, lentils or kale. You may find a new favorite. Trade fun and tasty recipes with friends or find them online.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthful way. Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert: fruit. Serve a fresh fruit cocktail or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon.

Visit http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/food for more information about nutrition, building a healthy lifestyle with programs such as “Eat Smart. Play Hard.” and “Nourishing Boomers and Beyond,” and healthful recipes.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - Feb. 20, 2015

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu
Source:Katie Odland, (701) 231-7486, katie.e.odland@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
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