How to build a healthy plate? Find out during National Nutrition Month


By Aynsley Anderson Sosinski | Lawrence Memorial Hospital

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

In recognition of March being National Nutrition Month, Lawrence Memorial Hospital is offering two nutrition education programs at the new LMH Performance and Wellness Center at Sports Pavilion Lawrence.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Patty Metzler, a registered dietitian at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, will review the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recently published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture. Participants also can ask nutrition questions.

At 9:30 a.m. Friday, the monthly Wellness Friday drop-in discussion topic will be “Chat with a Registered Dietitian.”

The 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Research Act requires that every five years updated nutrition and dietary guidelines for the public be published. The 2015-2020 guidelines continue to build on what was recommended in 2010. Past and recent scientific research demonstrates that healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout all stages of the lifespan.

Visit for more of the latest local and national news on health, wellness, diet and exercise.

Metzler notes that a healthy eating pattern includes:

• A variety of vegetables from all sub-groups including dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and others

• Fruits, especially whole fruits

• Grains, especially whole grains

• Fat-free or low-fat dairy including milk, yogurt and cheese, or dairy alternates such as fortified soy beverages

• A variety of protein foods including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products

Metzler says all food and beverage choices matter.

“If you need to make improvements to your nutrition intake, start small and set achievable and realistic goals,” she says. “For example, eliminate one sugar-added soda a day.”

Some highlights of the new dietary guidelines:

• Follow a healthy eating behavior pattern across the lifespan. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support an adequate nutrient intake and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

• Focus on selecting a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages in amounts that are appropriate calorie-wise for age, gender and activity level.

• Limit calories from foods and beverages that have added sugars and saturated fats, especially trans fats. Less than 10 percent of your daily calorie intake should be from added sugars and saturated fats.

• Reduce sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg/day. According to the American Heart Association, the average American currently consumes about 3,400 mg of sodium daily. If you have a chronic disease such as hypertension, your healthcare provider may encourage you to consume less than 1,500 mg/day of sodium.

• Consider cultural and personal preferences when choosing healthier foods and beverages.

Everyone has a role to play in supporting a healthier eating pattern. This includes those who plan and prepare meals at home, as well as those in places outside the home such as schools, workplaces, institutional settings and community dining settings like restaurants.

Equally as important as nutritional intake is to get adequate exercise and activity to help achieve and maintain a healthy life. For most adults, a goal should be 150 to 300 minutes a week of a variety of activities that incorporate moderate intensity aerobic activities, as well as activities for strength, flexibility and balance.

Metzler will present more details about the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans at the program Thursday at the LMH Performance and Wellness Center. There is a fee for this program, and advance enrollment is required. Enroll at or call LMH ConnectCare at 505-5800.

No advance enrollment is needed for the free Wellness Friday Drop-In program, “Chat with a Registered Dietitian,” on Friday. Just drop by the Performance and Wellness Center.

In addition, mark your calendar for Saturday, April 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the annual Nutrition Carnival at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St. In early April, go to or for more details about this fun event with nutrition information and activities for all ages.

Online resources

• For more on the new Dietary Guidelines, visit

• Visit for more information and links to tasty recipes incorporating healthy food and beverage options.

• For help determining a personalized eating and activity plan including calories goals, visit

• For more helpful information on reducing sodium, saturated and trans fats, and added sugars, go to

• For more information on recommended exercise guidelines by age group, visit

— Aynsley Anderson Sosinski, MA, RN, is Community Education Coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, a major sponsor of WellCommons. She is a Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach. She can be reached at

How to build a healthy plate? Find out during National Nutrition Month

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