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Nutritional Resources

A large part of a RDN’s job is to provide valid, reliable nutrition education. 

In this section you will find many valuable resources to improve your eating habits and nutritional status. 

Knowledge is Power

Nutrition Tools

It’s no secret, one of the most powerful tools to prevent and delay disease is to follow a healthy diet.  Developing a healthy eating pattern does not need to be complicated. In fact, three simple concepts form the cornerstones of a healthy eating patterns: variety, balance, and moderation. 

Smart eating plans ensure you will consume adequate nutrients, yet, there is no single eating pattern that’s right for everyone.  The following tools can help you make the right food and nutrition choices to support your health.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines provide broad, evidence-based food and beverage recommendations to help Americans make healthier food choices.  The guidelines provide a flexible framework in order for people to enjoy food that meets their individual preference, including culture and tradition, as well as their lifestyle and budget.

The guidelines include:

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern throughout life.
    • Consuming healthy foods is a journey and health outcomes are impacted by decisions we make and implement over time.
  • Consume a varied, nutrient dense diet
    • Variety is the spice of life. All foods contain different nutrients and variety ensures nutritional adequacy
    • Nutrient dense foods provide higher nutrient content with less calories. Examples of nutrient dense foods include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, bean/legumes and nuts/seeds. Think of consuming food in its original nature provided package.
  • Reduce and limit foods laden with added sugars, saturated (hard at room temperature) fats and sodium.

For more information, please see https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

My Plate

Green MyPlate Icon

  • The MyPlate icon (shown above) is a visual representation of a healthy eating style that helps consumes make nourishing choices and meet the Dietary Guideline recommendations.

All foods can fit into this plan and the right mix can improve your health now and in the future.

  • Focus on: variety, portion sizes, and nutrient dense foods
  • The website choosemyplate.gov provides nutrition resources, recipes, and other healthful tips for all ages

 

Food Labels

  • Food labels help consumers make wise choices about the food they eat as well as how a specific food fits into their overall eating pattern.
  • Click on the link for the updated Nutrient Facts Panel required on most food products.
  • https://www.fda.gov/files/food/published/The-New-and-Improved-Nutrition-Facts-Label-%E2%80%93-Key-Changes.pdf
  • Important and helpful changes to the Nutrient Facts Panel include:
    • Calories noted in large, bold font
    • Inclusion of added sugars as part of the Total Sugars
      • Hint: Divide the total added sugars by 4 to determine the number of teaspoons of added sugar in the product. For example:  10 grams added sugar/4 = 2.5 tsp added sugar in the product
      • Addition of Vitamin D and Potassium as nutrients of concern

My Plate Kitchen

  • This website provides loads of simple, inexpensive recipes that integrate healthier foods based on the My Plate framework.
  • Select recipes that focus on simply prepared, inexpensive meals which focus on increasing fruits/vegetables and whole grains, leaner proteins, and healthy fats.
  • Visit https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplatekitchen

Healthy Eating Patterns

There is no single eating pattern, or diet, that is right for everyone. There are, however, a few scientifically based eating patterns that incorporate the Dietary Guidelines and promote health. These eating patterns include the Mediterranean, DASH, and Vegetarian diets.

DASH Diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) emphasizes fruits, vegetables, non/low fat dairy products, whole grains, fish and poultry, beans and legumes, as well as unsalted seeds and nuts, and vegetable oils.  The diet is high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.  These three minerals, in conjunction with a low sodium diet, work together to reduce blood pressure.  Reduction in blood pressure can be seen in as early as two weeks.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is not a diet per se, but a lifestyle that focuses around traditional foods consumed by people living in the area of the Mediterranean Sea. People who follow this lifestyle tend to live longer and have less chronic diseases than people living in the west (i.e. USA).  Luckily the foods that are recommended in this diet are found locally in your supermarket and can easily be introduced in your own lifestyle.  The diet focuses on a large variety of plant-based foods, especially beans, peas and lentils, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts.  Animal proteins are consumed in moderate amount with an emphasis on fatty fish and lean poultry.  Red meat is not forbidden, however, it’s consumption should be reduced.  Non and low fat yogurt and cheese are also included in the diet.  Healthy oils, avocadoes, olives, and nuts/seeds are the preferred sources of fats.

Vegetarian Diet

A vegetarian diet is not just twigs and leaves as some might think.  In fact, many people consume vegetarian food items without realizing it: a bean burrito, peanut butter sandwich, tofu with rice and vegetables, hummus with pita bread are just a few examples.  Some vegetarians (lacto-ovo) consume a few animal products such as eggs, yogurt or cheese, while others may prefer to be a strict vegan and consume no animal products whatsoever.  Regardless of the type of vegetarian eating pattern a person follows, this plan has health benefits similar to the Mediterranean and DASH diets.  If one follows a strict vegan, some vitamin/mineral supplements are warranted.  Seek advice from a registered dietitian/nutritionist to meet your nutrient needs.

If you would like more information as to how to integrate one of the plans into your lifestyle, register for the “Roadmaps to Healthy Eating” class. 

Get Nutrition Counseling!

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