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Sharing nutrition information

Kolasa, Kathy

Kathy Kolasa


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Q: Do you read your columns? HJ, Greenville

A: Oh my. Yes of course I not only read, I work with the medical and dietetics students who write the column to ensure you get the best advice possible in about 600 words. Students who want the experience of writing a column are given a list of questions that have been asked by readers. Alternatively, they can research a nutrition or physical activity question a patient has asked them and they didn’t feel confident to answer. They give me a draft along with an evidence-based research article supporting their answer. Then it’s back and forth between us until we are satisfied the answer is both accurate and readable. When the topic is outside my expertise, I ask another ECU faculty to review. In recent months Drs. David Collier, Janice Daugherty, Gina Firnhaber, Jonathon Firnhaber, Laura Matarese, Jamie Messenger and Mrs. Kay Craven have all helped. We are often assisted by the Laupus Library evidence-based librarians including Kerry Sewell and Kathy Cable. And, my patient husband, Patrick Kelly drives the car while I finish the edits on our way to or from the beach before turning it over to the Reflector.

Q: It’s National Nutrition Month may the Nutrition and Physical Activity Partners, Pitt Partners for Health share some information? Mary Gaskins, Chair, Greenville

A: I am always glad to lend space to the great volunteers of Pitt Partners for Health. Look around your workplace, schools, community centers and churches for special events. For example, Jackie Sugg, health promotions dietitian at the Pitt Health Center let us know there will be in-house activities including a WIC “Fun Day” on March 20th from 1-3pm. There will be samplings of a few recipes using foods on the WIC Program and games promoting physical activity for kids. County employees can watch for a weekly nutrition tip and there will be a scavenger hunt for Health Department/ Environmental Health Staff with national nutrition month prizes. You might hear of food drives for our local pantries—please give generously –healthy foods and beverages. There are many still recovering from the fall’s hurricane.

To further promote efforts to eat right, improve health and save money, Pitt Partners for Health is offering Cooking Matters at the Store grocery store tours that teach healthy shopping on a budget. If your community group is interested in hosting a tour, please contact Mary Gaskins at 252-847-8774 for more information.

Mary Gaskins who provides nutrition services the Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Vidant Medical Center said that the campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics this year focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits to achieve a world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition. Here are 19 for 2019 from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

1. Eat Breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

2. Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables (with a goal of 2 cups or fruit and 2 ½ cups of veggies per day): Experiment with different types, including fresh, frozen, dried and healthy canned products.

3. Watch Portion Sizes: Get out the measuring cups and check your portions .

4. Be Active: Children and teens should get 60+ minutes of physical activity daily and adults 2.5 hours (150 minutes) per week.

5. Get to Know Food Labels: Read the Nutrition Facts panel.

6. Fix Healthy Snacks to sustain your energy levels between meals. Choose from two or more of the MyPlate food groups.

7. Consult an RDN. We have great ones in Pitt County. We ARE NOT the food police. Whether you want to lose weight, lower your health-risks, or manage a chronic disease, consult the experts! DNs can help you by providing sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice.

8. Follow Food Safety Guidelines: Reduce your chances of getting sick with proper food safety. Learn more about home food safety at www.homefoodsafetyorg .

9. Drink More Water.

10. Get Cooking: The collection of “Planning and Prep” videos at www.eatright.org/videos will get you started.

11. Dine Out without Ditching Goals: Plan, ask questions and choose foods carefully

12. Enact Family Meal Time: Eat as a family at a regular meal time at least a few times each week.

13. Banish Brown Bag Boredom: Prevent boredom with easy-to-make, healthy lunch ideas.

14. Reduce Added Sugar. Visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information.

15. Eat Seafood Twice a Week: Salmon, trout, oysters, and sardines are higher in omega-3s and lower in mercury.

16. Explore New Foods and Flavors: Try a fruit, vegetable, or whole grain that’s new to your family.

17. Experiment with Plant-Based Meals: Expand variety in your menus with budget-friendly meatless meals once per week or more.

18. Try to Reduce Food Waste.

19. Slow Down at Mealtime: Go to www.nnm@eatright.org for more information.

If you know a dietitian, thank her or him on Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Day-- March 13, 2019 they work hard to helping people enjoy healthy living.

Professor emeritus Kathy Kolasa, a registered dietitian nutritionist and Ph.D., is an affiliate professor in the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Contact her at kolasaka@ecu.edu.


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