Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle

March is National Nutrition Month, which is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  This year's theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” where we encourage everyone to implement an all-around lifestyle change in order to be healthy.

There is no magic bullet for a healthy lifestyle; it is an on-going commitment to making small changes that add up to a healthier you.  This change should include regular physical activity, making informed food choices, and consuming nutrient dense, fewer calorie foods.  By making these changes, you can decrease your risk of chronic disease, maintain a healthy weight, and achieve overall better health.  This year's theme was developed to serve as a reminder that life and health are about balance and moderation.

A healthy lifestyle is not about one specific food and it doesn't have to be started at any one time of year.  Most importantly, it does not mean depriving ourselves of the things we enjoy.  Developing a healthy lifestyle is about finding a daily routine that works for you, while still finding time for the foods and activities you love.

The WMHS Food and Nutrition Services Department will be celebrating National Nutrition Month every week during the month of March!

March 20th - Registered Dietitian Nutritionists will be available in the cafeteria from 12-1pm with nutrition information and chances to win a raffle!
The cafeteria will be offering a chance to win a prize basket for every person who chooses a fruit or vegetable serving with their meal!

In hopes that warmer weather is coming soon, one way to start gearing up for a healthy lifestyle change this Spring is to start thinking about buying fresh produce.  Below are some tips to help!

 from USDA's

1.  Celebrate the season- In-Season Fruits and Vegetables for the Spring:
March:  Broccoli, Cauliflower, Pineapple, and Mangoes
April: Zucchini, Rhubarb, Broccoli, Lettuce, Artichokes, Asparagus, Spring Peas, Pineapples,
2.  Why pay full price?- Check for sales, coupons, and specials that will cut costs.  Also check to see if your store has a membership card; sign up for even more savings.
3.  Stick to your list- Plan out your meals ahead of time and make a grocery list.  You will save money buying only what you need.
4.  Try canned or frozen- Canned and frozen items may be less expensive than fresh per serving.  For canned items, choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice or water and vegetables with “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label.
5.  Buy small amounts frequently- Buy small amounts more often to ensure you can eat the foods without throwing any away to save money and reduce waste.
6.  Buy in bulk when items are on sale- For both fresh and frozen fruits/vegetables that you use often, a large size bag is a better buy.
7.  Store brands = savings- Opt for store brands; you will get the same or similar product for a cheaper price.
8.  Keep it simple- Buy vegetables and fruits in their simplest form.  Pre-cut, pre-washed, and ready-to-eat foods are convenient but often cost much more.
9.  Plant your own- Start a garden in the yard or on the deck in containers.  Herbs, cucumbers, peppers, or tomatoes are good for beginners.
10.  Plan and cook smart- Prepare and freeze vegetable soups, stews, or other dishes in advance. Add leftover veggies to casseroles or blend them to make soup.

Here is a healthy recipe shared at the recent Prevention is Power Cancer and Heart Disease Prevention event at Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.  This veggie packed chili is a great way to lighten up a traditional comfort food for Spring, so give it a try one night this week!  Hope you enjoy!
Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
Total time: 40 minutes
Servings 6-8 Units US
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, about 1 cup, chopped
1/2 lb lean ground turkey (optional)
2 smashed garlic cloves
2 cups sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cinnamon
4 cups diced tomatoes (and their juice)
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
water (as needed) or tomato juice (as needed)
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 (540 ml) can black beans, drained
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
1 small zucchini (about 3/4 cup)
1 lime
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan or small soup pot on medium high heat.
Add onion, turkey, garlic and sweet potato and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add seasonings and saute for another 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and their juice and jalapeno and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
You might need to add water or tomato juice if too much liquid evaporates.
Stir in red pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add beans and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Add zucchini and cook for 5 minutes more.
Stir in squeeze of lime juice to taste.
Can be made a day in advance, add a little liquid when reheating.

Contributed by Amanda Pratt, a graduate of West Virginia University with a bachelor's degree in Human Nutrition and Foods and minor in Food Science and Technology. Amanda is currently completing an ARAMARK Healthcare Distance Dietetic Internship at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.