March is National Nutrition Month! VMH celebrated and thanked our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Anna and Anna last week, and they've both found ways to support our staff this month in finding ways to live healthier. For example, they recently released a new "Soup for Two" program where VMH team members are able to purchase homemade soup from our cafe services team every Wednesday. Not only that, they've been putting together healthy reminders through all-staff emails. These have included topics like hydration and healthy drinks, ways to increase fruit and vegetable intake, and finding smarter ways to snack. Every Tuesday they've been in our Bistro Cafe to provide samples and recipes to tie in with the weekly topics. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, this week they provided delicious Shamrock Shake Smoothies that were delicious and easy to make at home for team members.
The duo of Anna and Anna have also written a few articles for our community members. These short articles are below, and within them, you will find four health-related goals that are non-weight related and ways to shop healthily on a budget.
Thank you to Anna and Anna for their efforts this month in honor of National Nutrition Month, and a huge thanks to our VMH Food & Nutrition team members for everything they do everyday to provide our patients, team members, and visitors healthy meals.
4 Goals for the Year that are NOT Weight Related
Instead of having a focus on losing "x" number of pounds, try incorporating some of these healthy changes into your daily routine.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber which helps keep you satisfied longer, and they have a lot of vitamins and minerals in them. Not one single fruit or vegetable is a super food so make sure you incorporate a variety into your meals and snacks.
- Try roasting, sautéing, or steaming your vegetables!
- Add them to recipes you already love!
- Prep your fruits and vegetables ahead of time to easily snack on or add to recipes
- Drink more water, limit sugar sweetened beverages. These include regular soda, sweet tea, and sports drinks. The sugar in these beverages can add up quickly and does not leave you satisfied.
- Use fruit to flavor your water
- Try sparkling water for a carbonated beverage
- Ditch the saturated fats and switch to unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are heart healthy fats that when eaten with a balanced diet can decrease your risk of heart disease. These are found in plant products such as olive oil, canola oil, flax seeds, avocados, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
- Add nuts and seeds as a salad topping
- Cook with oils high in unsaturated fats
- Add fish to your meals 1-2 times a week
- Find activity you enjoy. Experiment with different exercises to see what you like best and enjoy doing. It could be walking, biking, strength training, or yoga. Add activity into your daily routine by taking the stairs over the elevator.
- Find a partner that enjoys the same activities as you
- Schedule time in your day for activity
- Try mixing up your exercise routine to keep it fun and exciting!
Shopping on a Budget
Staying in budget at the grocery story can be hard. Navigating the aisle in search of good deals while choosing healthy options is intimidating. Here are some tips to make your trip more enjoyable.
Before the trip….
To make sure you stay in budget at the grocery store make sure you have a plan before heading out the door. First look to see what you have in your fridge and pantry. Then look at the store ad for that week to see what is on sale for the week to help plan out meals. Be sure to look at what meat is on sale, as this tends to be higher priced items at the grocery store. When planning out your meals, try having a "meatless Monday" to save some extra money. Once you have your meals planned, make a grocery list according to your meals. Separate your list as best you can by different sections of the grocery store - such as produce, meat, dairy, dry goods, and household items.
At the grocery store…
Stick to your grocery list. Look at different brands that might be less expensive. Use coupons on packaging or that are in store to save some extra money. If able, buy items from the bulk section to limit waste and save money.
To make sticking to a budget easier, try ordering your groceries online to avoid sneaking in items that are not on your list.
After the grocery store…
Make note of what you bought too much of or not enough to help plan for your next trip. Keep track of staple items that you go through frequently. Utilize leftovers for lunch the next day.
To make your meat stretch further, try adding a can of black beans to your ground beef at taco night or some chopped mushrooms to your meatballs.
Remember canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are a good option. These can be a more cost effect option and have a longer shelf life. Look for canned vegetables that are low sodium (you can always rinse them to get rid of some sodium too!).
Choose fruits and vegetables that are in season to get the best deal and the best flavor.