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March is National Nutrition Month: Does Your Diet Measure Up?

When dieting, it's important to ensure a balanced intake of proteins, whole grains and fruits and vegetables, says Valley hospital's Joe Juliano.
When dieting, it's important to ensure a balanced intake of proteins, whole grains and fruits and vegetables, says Valley hospital's Joe Juliano. Photo Credit: Valley Hospital

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Although there is increasing awareness about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet to support physical wellness and longevity, Americans of all ages are still struggling to achieve optimal nutrition.

We are lucky to live in an area where we have access to numerous supermarkets and farmers markets. We also have seemingly endless options for takeout and delivery. There are even companies that will deliver groceries right to our doorstep. With all of these choices, maintaining a healthy diet should be easy, right? Wrong!

According to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN), the “typical American diets exceed the recommended intake levels or limits in four categories: calories from solid fats and added sugars; refined grains; sodium; and saturated fat.” They also note that “Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oils.”

There are many steps you can take to maintain a healthy diet that is both wholesome and rich in nutrients. The PCFSN recommends incorporating at least six of their eight dietary recommendations into your nutritional plan:

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
  • Make half the grains you eat whole grains
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
  • Choose a variety of lean protein foods
  • Compare sodium in foods by using the Nutrition Facts label
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks
  • Eat some seafood
  • Cut back on solid fats

And, in discussing nutrition, we cannot fail to mention the fact that cooking your own meals is the best way to be certain about what you are eating—as well as frequently being the most economical way to eat!

There is a new advancement in medical school curricula wherein some medical students are actually taking cooking classes as a part of their curriculum. This novel approach to learning about nutrition is as beneficial to the students now as it will be to their patients down the road.

These future physicians will be able to skillfully teach their patients about diet as it pertains to both general wellbeing and specific illnesses.

If you are interested in meeting with a nutrition coach to learn more about a wide range of personalized services including menu planning, refrigerator makeovers, supermarket shopping, advice about what to order in restaurants, personal chef referrals, lunch box ideas, collaborative cooking instruction, and recipes, please contact Joe Juliano at 201-447-8093 or jjuliano@valleyhealth.com.

Joe Juliano is Manager of Clinical and Community Nutrition at The Valley Hospital.

Daily Voice produced this article as part of a paid Content Partnership with our advertiser, The Valley Hospital

We are highly selective with our Content Partners, and only share stories that we believe are truly valuable to the communities we serve.

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