St. Lawrence County Public Health advises on better food choices
Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 6:02 pm

CANTON — One out of three adults and nearly one out of six children in the United States is overweight or obese.

March is National Nutrition Month, and St. Lawrence County Public Health says it presents a chance to focus on making informed food choices and to develop healthy eating habits.

Choosing nutritious foods can make a real difference in your health. For example, eating less sodium can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Certain fruits and vegetables play a major role in brain health. And the nutrients in berries, broccoli, dark leafy greens, and cabbage help to boost your memory and improve cognitive function.

They recommend that we build a smarter plate by choosing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. These foods are packed with the nutrients we need without all of the added salt, sugars, and solid fats.

Here are some tips for building a smarter plate:

• Focus on variety: choose multiple foods from each food group. Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, frozen or canned. Aim for at least 3 ounces of whole-grains a day. Vary protein with more fish, beans, and lentils.

• Know your fats: choose foods low in saturated and trans fat to help reduce your risk of heart disease.

• Eat fewer foods high in solid fats: Cut back on processed meat like hot dogs and bacon; instead go for lean ground beef, turkey, chicken, or fish. Try grilling, broiling, steaming or baking foods instead of frying.

• Choose foods and drinks with little or no added sugars: Try flavoring water with fruit and opt for low-fat milk.

• Cut back on sodium: use herbs and spices to season foods instead of salt.

Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. By choosing a variety of foods from all food groups, your body will get the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients it needs. When shifting to healthier food and drink choices, try to think of foods as nutrient-rich rather than thinking of food as “good” or “bad.”

For more tips and ideas on how to meet your food group targets while staying within the budget, check out https://www.choosemyplate.gov/start-simple-myplate.

If you have more questions on nutrition, call the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department at 315-386-2325.