By Mallory Shan, RD, LDN and Rachel Dziedzic, RD, LDN – Nutritionists
Happy National Nutrition Month! March is a month when we celebrate the importance of eating healthy across the country. This year’s theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” which focuses on developing healthy and regular eating and exercise habits.
In Celebration of National Nutrition Month, here are some simple tips for a healthier, happier you!
- Read it Before you Eat it! Use the nutrition facts label to compare food choices. Nutrition can vary greatly even for the same food. The label will give you information for one serving. Canned and frozen foods are often high in salt, so compare products to see what your lowest sodium option is. Cereal can be high in sugar, so it is important to look out for this. Try to look for food choices that are highest in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and don’t have a lot of ingredients.
- Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Do you keep cookies, candy, ice cream or high fat snacks within easy reach at your home or work? Having “junk foods” such as a box of cookies or bag of chips visible and easily available makes it hard to resist (like on your kitchen counter or desk). Design your environment for success. Open your fridge to see some healthy vegetables to snack on (like baby carrots with low-fat dip, hummus, or guacamole), and have fruit easily accessible.
- Don’t skip meals! : It can be easy to skip meals when you’re busy, but this often leads to decreased energy levels and overeating later in the day. Breakfast is one of the most commonly skipped meals. Try something easy and portable like low-fat yogurt (<15 g sugar per serving), a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter or a hardboiled egg and piece of fruit. Snacks such as piece of fruit or handful of nuts or seeds can help curb hunger during the day too.
- Slow Down: It can be easy to gobble your meal within a matter of minutes and load up on seconds if you’re hungry. This can easily lead to overeating. Take your time, savor each bite, drink water, and chew slowly. Try timing a meal for at least 15 minutes. It takes a while for your body to know it’s full, so try waiting 30 minutes to see if you’re still hungry before having more.
- Move It, Move It!: Taking the stairs, parking farther away, and hoping off the bus a stop earlier can be an easy way to increase your activity. Housework, gardening, shopping, and cooking are ways to get moving, too. In addition to daily physical activity, more structured exercise is important to for strength, flexibility, and balance. Try adding in some jumping jacks, chair squats, or push-ups between TV commercials, go for a walk after dinner, or turn on the radio and dance to some tunes. Many gyms offer free or reduced price memberships, such as Whittier’s new Wellness and Fitness Club, opening in June! You can also look up free workout videos on the internet or check out a free wellness program at Whittier.
The Nutrition Department at Whittier Street Health Center offers many programs and services for our patients. Here is an overview:
- Individual Nutrition Appointments: Our registered dietitians (RD) see patients for a wide variety of referrals. Just to list a few:
- Diabetes 1 & 2
- Gestational Diabetes
- Bariatric Surgery Preparation
- High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
- Gastrointestinal Disorders (Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis)
- Picky Eating
- Prenatal and Postpartum nutrition
Please call Mallory Shan, nutritionist/dietitian at 617-989-3183 to schedule an appointment.
- Cardiovascular Group: A 6-week educational series that focuses on keeping your heart healthy! Blood pressure screening and light refreshments are also included in each talk. Please contact Case Manager Christine Louro at 617-989-3004 for enrollment.
- Diabetes Group: Bimonthly group meetings for Diabetic patients to meet with Whittier’s Diabetes team to manage blood sugar and to discuss various beneficial lifestyle habits. Light refreshments provided. Please contact Case Manager Mariella Spencer at 617-989-3120 for enrollment.
- Health and Wellness Program: Free 10-week exercise and nutrition classes to help you get active and lose weight! We are currently offering Zumba and Aerobic classes. Please contact Director of Wellness Initiatives Crystal Palmer at 617-989-3111 for enrollment.
- Pediatric Healthy Weight Clinic: A specialized clinic for children diagnosed as overweight or obese who meet on a regular basis with a physician, nutritionist, and a case manager. Contact Sidney Jean-Felix at 617-989-3035 for enrollment.
- Race Around Roxbury: An afterschool exercise and nutrition program where kids can learn to prepare healthy snacks and get active together. Contact Sidney Jean-Felix at 617-989-3035 for enrollment.
- WIC program: Nutrition and supplementary food program for prenatal/postpartum women and children up the age of 5. Please contact the WIC department at 617-989-3056 for enrollment.
We are here to help you meet your health and wellness goals through healthy eating! Please visit our website at www.wshc.org if you would like more information about our other programs and services.