In Honor of National Nutrition Month, Some Nutritional Wisdom

Did you know? AmeriCorps Improving Health Throughout Indiana is the only AmeriCorps program in the state solely concerned with improving the physical and nutritional health of Indiana residents.

(Okay, the name may have tipped you off.)

It should come as no surprise then that we at AIHTI were particularly gung-ho about celebrating National Nutrition Month this past month and did so the best way we know how—by actively promoting nutrition within the communities we serve. 

Gardening projects, nutrition classes, kids camps, and more kept us busy all month long and will continue to do so until our term of service ends August 2012. 

But we don’t want to the about that yet.

Instead, in the afterglow of National Nutrition Month, two AIHTI members would like to offer you their own tips for maintaining a healthy plate in their everyday lives.

The first blurb comes from Ellen Spitz, Nutrition and Physical Fitness Coordinator at New Hope Family Shelter. Ellen also studies dietetics at Indiana University—Bloomington.

         Ellen: “As a dietetics student, I take healthy eating very seriously. What you put into your body is important! When choosing healthy food, I focus on eating whole foods – meaning they are as close to their natural form as possible – like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) and lean protein. I choose to eat organic when I can because I believe it is better for my body and the environment. I do not eat meat often, because it can be expensive and also taxing to the environment.

         Myplate.gov (aka the “new food pyramid”) can be a great resource for someone wanting to start eating a healthier diet. Another great resource is your local farmer’s market! The farmer’s market is full of interesting fruits and vegetables, many of which are native, and most of which are grown using minimal or no chemicals.”

And lastly, Jennifer Walters, School Gardening Coordinator at IU Health Community Health, weighs in on how to prepare and stick to well-balanced meals even on the go. 

         Jennifer: “I always include a fruit or vegetable at every meal. It’s easy to add fruit to oatmeal or yogurt. Vegetables can be added to sandwiches or included in a variety of main dishes. One of my favorites is homemade macaroni and cheese with broccoli mixed in. When I need a new recipe, I look at eatbetteramerica.com or cookinglight.com for healthy meal ideas. When I’m on the go, I take dried fruit, an apple, or banana along to prevent unplanned and unhealthy snacking.”

And there you have it—Simple, easy to follow nutrition tips from those who’ve made health and nutrition a priority in their lives, as well as the mission of their AmeriCorps service. Thank you, Ellen and Jennifer, for your nutritional wisdom and commitment!

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