March is National Nutrition Month - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

March is National Nutrition Month

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –March is national nutrition month, and health officials are using this time of the year to raise awareness on the importance of having a variety foods in your diet.

They say eating right now, will keep you healthy later. We talked with a dietician at South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) about what to eat and all the different menus the hospital provides.

On any given day, around 80 employees in food services at SGMC provide thousands of meals for patients, visitors, and employees.

"In the main cafeteria, we do about 2,000 meals a day," said Gary Harrell, SGMC Director of Food Services.

He says this number includes feeding about 600 patients in the hospital. Also another 6 to 800 meals are provided in the All Spice Cafe.

"We're responsible for all the food service, in-house catering and also the vending," said Harrell.

Many of the meals have to meet certain dietary needs, like those with diabetes.

"The amount of their carbohydrates are monitored are limited depending on calorie level that they're served," said Sandra Tucker, SGMC Clinical Nutrition Manager. "They may have arenal diets or they may have kidney disease, a cardiac diet or sodium restriction for certain heart conditions or cardiovascular conditions."

While you may not have a health condition that requires a special diet, it's still important to eat a variety of foods. Dieticians say no one food group contains all the nutrients you need.

March is national nutrition month according to the American Dietetic Association. The focus this year is "from the ground up."

"Our scales tend to tip more in favor of animal products as far as the usual American eating habits," said Tucker. "We're just trying to encourage more eating from plant foods, more grains, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables."

Health officials across the state including the South Health District are taking part in this campaign.The Georgia Department of Community Health says "healthy eating habits now make a healthy you later." Click here for healthy eating tips.

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