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Marching Into National Nutrition Month

Marching Into National Nutrition Month

 

            National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

            The theme for 2016 is "Savor the Flavor of Eating Right," which encourages everyone to take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives. How, when, why and where we eat are just as important as what we eat. Develop a mindful eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods — that's the best way to savor the flavor of eating right!

            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.

            With the first "National Nutrition Week" in 1973, it was embraced by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a way to deliver nutrition education messages to the public while promoting the profession of dietetics. In 1980, the week-long celebration expanded to become National Nutrition Month®. Over the years, the theme has reflected trends and culture of the time, but has always remained true to its original purpose: "To increase the public's awareness of the importance of good nutrition and position Academy members as the authorities in nutrition."

            As part of National Nutrition Month, aim to lower your risk of heart disease or to manage your existing disease, by trying these tips in preparing meals.

Limit Saturated and Trans Fat

  • Select lean cuts of beef and pork, especially cuts with "loin" or "round" in their name.
  • Cut back on processed meats high in saturated fat, such as hot dogs, salami and bacon.
  • Bake, broil, roast, stew or stir-fry lean meats, fish or poultry.
  • Drain the fat off of cooked, ground meat.
  • When you make a stew or soup, refrigerate leftovers and skim off the fat with a spoon before reheating and serving.
  • Eat fish regularly. Try different ways of cooking such as baking, broiling, grilling and poaching to add variety.
  • Include plant foods as sources of protein, including soybeans, pinto beans, lentils and nuts.
  • Replace higher-fat cheeses with lower-fat options such as reduced-fat feta and part-skim mozzarella.
  • Thicken sauces with evaporated fat-free milk instead of whole milk.
  • Move toward using lower-fat milk and yogurt. Start with 2-percent products, then move to 1-percent and finally to fat-free to adjust to the new taste.
  • Use liquid vegetable oils and soft margarine instead of stick margarine or shortening.
  • Limit trans-fats often found in foods such as cakes, cookies, crackers, pastries, pies, muffins, doughnuts and French fries. Many food manufacturers have removed trans-fats from their foods. Check the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels to see if trans-fats are listed.
  • Use a small amount of oils such as canola, olive and soybean in recipes and for sautéing.
  • Make salad dressings with olive, walnut or pecan oil.

Eat Foods Containing Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Select oils that provide omega-3 fatty acids, such as canola, flaxseed or soybean oil.
  • Add walnuts to cereal, salads or muffins. Try walnut oil in salad dressings, too.
  • Eat two 4-ounce portions of fatty fish each week, such as salmon, lake trout, albacore tuna (in water, if canned), mackerel and sardines.

Reduce Salt (Sodium)

  • Prepare foods at home so you can control the amount of salt in your meals.
  • Use as little salt in cooking as possible. You can cut at least half the salt from most recipes.
  • Add no additional salt to food at the table.
  • Select reduced-sodium or no-salt-added canned soups and vegetables.
  • Check the Nutrition Facts panel for sodium and choose products with lower sodium content.
  • Season foods with herbs, spices, garlic, onions, peppers and lemon or lime juice to add flavor

            Revising our favorite recipes to be a healthier version of themselves can be a great cooking adventure.  In the following recipe, Macaroni and Cheese has a surprise ingredient!

New You Mac & Cheese

8 ounces whole-grain macaroni noodles, uncooked
1 tablespoon trans-fat-free butter spread
1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
10 ounce bag (2 cups) cubed frozen butternut squash, thawed
2 ounces (½ cup packed) reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Sea salt, to taste

Directions

            Boil noodles according to directions. Drain and reserve 2 cups pasta water. In pot over medium heat, cook butter spread with flour for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup pasta water. Add squash and cook/mash until smooth. (Note: Add more pasta water as needed for a smooth cheese-like consistency.) Add cheese and stir until melted. Fold in cooked noodles until combined and season with salt.

            Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup. Serves 4 Calories: 300; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 2.5g; Trans Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 10mg; Sodium: 290mg; Total Carbohydrate: 53g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugars: 2g; Protein: 13g

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