March is National Nutrition Month

Monday, February 27, 2012

March is National Nutrition Month and a good time to reassess our eating habits, now that most people's interest in their New Year's diets and resolutions may have faded.

Whether you are dreaming of spring break, thinking ahead to summer weather or more importantly simply ready to make some permanent changes to improve or maintain your health, there is no better time than the present to begin.

March is also the time for Putnam County residents to sign up for Dining with Diabetes Classes, which are scheduled for four Thursday afternoons in April. This will be the only offering of the cooking series for 2012. Call the Extension Office at 653-8411 for a registration form or for more information.

A great way to celebrate nutrition month would be to assess your plate to see how healthy it is. Here are a few tips for making your plate healthy:

1. Get more Fruits and Vegetables -- Most people need 4.5 cups a day (that's about 1.5 cups per meal). Keep them low in fat. Get a variety of colors and remember that vegetables should fill about half of your plate.

2. Chose lean protein -- Most people need only 5 ounces per day. Include fish and beans each week. Choose protein items that are lean and prepare with little fat. Protein should fill about one quarter of your plate.

3. Make most of your grains whole. Most people need to eat 3 servings of whole grains per day. These may be pasta, brown rice, oats, barley, couscous or quinoa. Keep your grains low in fat. Grains should fill about a quarter of your plate.

4. Downsize your plates! Check your dinnerware. If your plates are the size of platters, consider using luncheon plates or purchasing plates that are smaller. Using smaller plates will result in most people putting less food on their plate. For example, if a person used a smaller bowl that held only 1 cup of cereal each day in place of a larger one they had been filling with 1.5 cups of cereal, the difference would amount to a savings of about 31,000 calories per year!

The USDA has launched a new tool for tracking what you eat. It is called SuperTracker and is available free on the internet at The site is designed to assist individuals as they make changes in their life to reduce their risk of chronic disease and maintain a healthy weight. The site provides a place to track both diet and physical activity. SuperTracker is available free, on-line at any time. Users can choose a variety of features to support their individual goals.

Note the Extension Office is now located at 12 Central Square in the Pershing Accounting and PNC Bank Building. Check our website to view the most up to date info. You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding column topics or to RSVP for upcoming events.

Upcoming Events

Feb. 27 -- Purdue Extension Putnam County Open House, 5-7 p.m., Extension Office

Feb. 27 -- Indiana Livestock, Forage and Grain Symposium

March 2 -- Deadline to register for E. H. Spring District Meeting

March 3 -- Extension Homemakers Garage Sale, Fairgrounds Community Bldg.

March 3 -- 4-H Beef Weigh-in and Tagging

March 3 -- Cover Crop Field Day SWCD

March 10 -- Ag Day -- Putnam County Fairgrounds

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