• Denine Rogers

National Nutrition Month - 2019

Happy National Nutrition Month!! Each year during March, we celebrate National Nutrition Month® by focusing on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This year the Dietitian of Integrative & Functional Medicine #DIFM theme for National Nutrition Month is showing how integrative functional registered dietitian are making a difference using nutrition.

One of the areas that I love about integrative functional registered dietitians is the fact of choosing whole foods. What are whole foods you may ask? Whole foods are foods that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances. It is like the way your grandma would go to the garden and pick some ripen peppers and add them to her famous stuffed peppers recipe meal. Eating whole foods are a major benefit for healthy eating and healthy eating is consuming the right quantities of foods from all food groups. So what are the right quantities of foods that we all must eat? Below is a simple way to remember what foods to add on a daily meal and snack basis.


  1. Aim to consume at least 5 servings a day

  2. Have a 1/2 cup cooked veggies or 1 cup raw veggies

  3. Choose a variety of colors

  4. If weight control is an issue, remember starchy veggies are higher calories.

  5. Starchy veggies = potato (any color), peas, corn mature beans, winter squash


  1. Aim to consume at least 2 cups a day

  2. Choose a variety of colors from dark purple to bright orange

  3. Include fruits that are a good source of Vitamin C daily

  4. Vitamin C= citrus fruit, kiwi, guava, strawberries


  1. Most people do not need a “high protein” diet.

  2. Choose lean animal protein: egg white, poultry breast, pork tenderloin, beef sirloin, round or tenderloin, low fat dairy products.

  3. If weight control is an issue, limit using high calorie food as “protein” sources. (peanut butter, nuts, hummus, whole fat dairy and high fat meat).


  1. Choose at least half your grains as “whole grains”.

  2. Do not “increase” intake, simply switch your current intake to “whole” grain.

  3. If weight control is an issue, reducing flour products is often a good place to start.

  4. “Flour products”=pasta, crackers, breads, muffins, pancakes, waffles, bakery products, many crunchy snack foods and cereals.

Fats and Oils

  1. Choose healthy choices: olive, canola, or safflower oil: cold water fish.

  2. “Healthy oil” has the same calories as less healthy oil.

  3. Use healthy oils to replace solid fats (butter) where possible.

  4. If weight control is an issue, reducing oil/fat use is often a good place to start.

  5. Be cautious of weight gain when you eat too many “healthy “ fat.

Fiber + Fluid

  1. Have 25-30 gm fiber daily

  2. Benefits of fiber are that it helps with colon health, prevent cancer, lower cholesterol.

  3. Can help with weight control (If food is a lower calorie choice)

  4. Choose high quality whole foods first, then talk to your doctor about using a supplement if needed

What are your favorite whole foods?

Next week, I am going to speak at the Alabama Dietetic Association Annual Meeting on Essential Oils in Montgomery, Alabama. Also, next week is Registered Dietitian Nutrition Day and I will talk about Living Healthy being a wellness business and how it can benefit you!

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