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Focus on Portion Control to Get Healthy

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March is National Nutrition Month 2009® and the clinical dietitians at St. Mary’s Hospital want to advise the public to get active, get healthy and get educated.

The nutrition campaign was created by the American Dietetic Association in 1973 as a weeklong event and became a month-long campaign in 1980 as a way to educate the public on good eating and physical activity habits. 
 
Donna Taggert
“It is important for people to take stock of their eating habits because nutrition is linked to many diseases, (such as) heart disease, diabetes, hypertension (and) osteoporosis, to name a few,” said Donna Taggert, clinical dietitian at St. Mary’s Hospital. “Often, if (people) are normal weight, they may think they are healthy but may be lacking in nutrients that could lead to health issues.”
 
Taggert said it is especially important to manage portion sizes to make a change in your life. She recommends visiting www.mypyramid.gov to devise a personalized eating plan. Here are some tips on portion control from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
 
  • When eating food out at a restaurant, split your entrée with another person or immediately package half of it to take home before you begin eating.
  • Eat your fast food on a plate so you get an idea of how full the plate is and try ordering a smaller size the next time.
  • When eating take-out or fast food, try lower sodium options; try smaller burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches or salads and sides of fruit, low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice or water. On sandwiches, try a smaller quantity of lean meat, lettuce, tomato and whole-wheat, oatmeal or multigrain bread. 
  • Drink a glass of water before eating.
  • Spoil your meals by eating a small, healthy snack between meals if you are hungry. This prevents overeating during mealtime.
  • Store tempting foods out of immediate eyesight at home to make it more difficult to access, such as a high shelf or the back of the freezer.  
  • Check the serving sizes of food. Many packages include several servings.
  • Avoid going for seconds if your first portion size was adequate. Wait 10 to 15 minutes if you do want seconds because you may not want more after all.
  • Decrease the size of your plate — the smaller the plate the smaller the portion.
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