If you haven’t made healthy changes to your diet yet this year, March is the perfect time, during National Nutrition Month. Making nutritious food choices can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of developing diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Foods to include:

  • Vegetables. Eat a variety, including dark-green, red and orange vegetables, plus beans and peas. Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables are all nutritious choices. If you’re buying canned vegetables, choose “reduced sodium” or “no-salt-added.”

  • Whole grains. Make at least half of your grain servings whole grains, including whole grain breads, cereals and pasta, and brown rice.

  • Fruits. Try to eat 2 cups per day of fresh, frozen or canned fruits.

  • Protein. Eat a variety of high-protein food, such as seafood, nuts, beans, lean meat, poultry and eggs. Substitute fish for meat and poultry twice a week. When eating meat and poultry, keep portions small and lean.
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Switch from whole milk to low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages. You can substitute lactose-free milk if needed. These products are a good source of calcium, vitamin D, protein and potassium.

  • Vegetable oils. Canola, corn, olive, peanut and soybean oils are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and can be used in moderate amounts instead of solid fats such as butter or stick margarine.

Foods to cut back on include:

  • Sodium. Use herbs and spices in cooking, instead of salt. Read food labels to find out the sodium content of items. Don’t salt food before you taste it. When you do use salt, do so sparingly.

  • Sodas. Switch to water or seltzer instead.

  • Desserts. Cut back on sugary desserts—choose fruit instead.

  • Foods loaded in saturated fats. Pizza, high-fat cheese, sausages and hot dogs should be occasional treats, not daily food choices.

Other tips for eating right:

  • Cook more often at home, so you can control what’s in your food.
  • Use a smaller plate, bowl and glass to control your portions.
  • When eating out, choose dishes that include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks to one per day for women, and two per day for men.

For information on a variety of nutrition topics such as infant nutrition,  the power of nutrition in the fight against cancer, Diabetes self management and food addict support groups, please visit www.nyacvkhospital.org.  Additional classes and support groups are added continually.

About Nyack Hospital
Nyack Hospital is a 375-bed community acute care medical and surgical hospital located in Rockland County, NY. Founded in 1895, it is a member of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, an affiliate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and has partnered with Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine providing clinical rotations to third-year medical students. Its mission is to provide competent, innovative and accessible emergency and acute care services to the residents of Rockland County and surrounding areas.