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For Release: March 10, 2009
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
(405) 271-5601

Eat Right: March is National Nutrition Month

When money is tight and time is short, it may seem difficult to make healthy food choices. Registered dietitians remind consumers that meals don’t have to be costly or elaborate when trying to eat right.

According to a recent American Dietetic Association’s (ADA) consumer survey, the majority of people consider convenience to be the biggest factor in selecting a meal. The economic recession, however, has affected mealtimes for many Americans including limiting the amount of money persons can spend when eating out.

People are looking for fast, affordable, and good-tasting foods to fit a busy lifestyle. “The good news is that whether it’s carry out, drive through, food court, office cafeteria or sit-down restaurants, there are smarter choices showing up everywhere,” said Nancy Bacon, nutrition consultant for the Maternal and Child Health Service at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

As part of March’s National Nutrition Month theme “ Eat Right,” the OSDH and ADA offer the following 10 tips for healthy eating “on the run”:

1. Take time to look over the menu and make careful selections. Some menus may have a special section for “healthier choices”.

2. Read menus carefully for clues to fat and calorie content.

Menu terms that can mean less fat and calories: baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, or steamed. Menu terms that can mean more fat and calories: batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy, or breaded. Choose these foods only occasionally and in small portions. Go easy on cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.

3. Order the regular or child-size portion. Mega-sized servings are probably more than you need. For a lighter meal, order an appetizer in place of a main course.

4. It’s OK to make special requests, just keep them simple. Ask for a baked potato, fruit, or side salad in place of French fries; no mayonnaise or bacon on your sandwich; sauces served on the side.

5. Hunger can drive you to eat too much before your meal arrives. Hold the bread or chips until your meal is served. Out of sight, out of mind. Try eating your lower calorie food first. Soup or salad is a good choice.

6. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Alcohol tends to increase your appetite and provides calories without any nutrients. The dietary guidelines recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women not drink alcohol.

7. Tempted by sweet, creamy desserts? Try ordering one dessert with enough forks for everyone at the table to have a bite. Or enjoy fresh fruit for dessert.

8. Split your order. Share an extra large sandwich or main course with a friend or take half home for another meal.

9. Refrigerate carryout or leftovers if the food won’t be eaten right away. Toss foods kept at room temperature for more than two hours

10. Boost the nutrition in all types of sandwiches by adding tomato, lettuce, peppers or other vegetables.

In recognition of the March National Nutrition Month observance and efforts to help promote healthful eating, the Maternal and Child Health Service, Chronic Disease Service, and the Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) Service of the OSDH are providing an information booth in the first floor lobby of the OSDH office at 1000 N.E. 10th St. in Oklahoma City. Free materials are available including tips for “healthy eating on the run” as well as updates on current nutrition and activity topics and information to determine body mass index (BMI) and learn what it means.

For more information on making wise nutrition and activity choices, contact a registered dietitian at your local county heath department or view these Web sites: www.MyPyramid.gov, www.eatright.org, www.oknutrition.org, www.oknutrition.org, and http://bis.health.ok.gov ..

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