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National Nutrition Month: Put your best fork forward

The theme for National Nutrition Month® is "Put Your Best Fork Forward." The staff at the Peterson Air Force Base Health and Wellness Center want to get out the word that healthy eating and living are beneficial to everyone.

The theme for National Nutrition Month® is "Put Your Best Fork Forward." The staff at the Peterson Air Force Base Health and Wellness Center want to get out the word that healthy eating and living are beneficial to everyone.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – -- March is National Nutrition Month® and the staff at the Peterson Air Force Base Health and Wellness Center want to get out the word that healthy eating and living are beneficial to everyone.

The theme for 2017 is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” The campaign encourages creating an eating style that includes a variety of healthy foods and focuses on making small changes that, over time, will lead to improved health.

“We’re all about making small, gradual changes to improve overall health,” said Melody Vicari-Warner, installation health and wellness dietician at the HAWC. “Stopping cold turkey is not always best.”

Switching out one or two sugary beverages each day - like soft drinks, juice or sweetened tea - for unsweetened drinks can make a difference, she said. Adding protein to snacks can balance fullness and blood sugar control. Vicari –Warner suggests having wheat thins with mozzarella cheese sticks, or an apple with natural peanut butter to fit the bill.

One of the small changes dieticians, like Vicari-Warner, hope people make is adding vegetables to their diets. Adding only two servings of vegetables a week is a marked improvement.

“We have a lot of clients who are not eating any vegetables at all,” she said. “So introducing any into the diet will be a benefit.”

Sticking with the idea of making small changes, Vicari-Warner said people don’t have to stop dining out, but can be more intentional in their approach. For example, saying no to the pre-meal chips and bread basket before it’s brought to the table helps avoid the temptation of filler carbohydrates that have no nutritional value.

“Maybe have a side salad to start instead of filling up on empty calories,” she said.

Pacing the rate of eating can be another boon to better nutrition. Vicari-Warner said most people eat too quickly and end up feeling over full. The body takes about 20 minutes to register that it’s full, she explained, and if a person overeats in less than 20 minutes they will not know they are full until it’s too late.

Vicari-Warner and fellow dietician, Tiffany Brunton, will promote National Nutrition Month® by participating in an event highlighting produce, noon, March 16 at the Peterson Commissary. Along with promoting healthy eating, the two will offer a basic question and answer with a dietician.

“You can have your questions answered by a dietician on the spot,” Vicari-Warner said. “If you have food you want to know about you can bring it by and ask us.”

Should the event at the Commissary not be convenient, then she recommended calling the HAWC.

“No referral is needed to see us,” she said. “We are available. We can be a support to spur change and keep people accountable to keeping a healthy lifestyle.”

The HAWC provides nutritional consultations, diabetes classes and body fat analysis among other services.

Contact the HAWC at (719) 556-4292

On the web: http://www.eatright.org/nnm

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