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North Oaks Dietetic Interns Mark National Nutrition Month

  • Category: In The News
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  • Written By: Melanie Zaffuto
North Oaks Dietetic Interns Mark National Nutrition Month

North Oaks Health System’s Dietetic Interns are observing National Nutrition Month by reminding the community to “savor the flavor of eating right.”

They hosted a free Cajun and Southern cooking demonstration for the public on March 4 at Alack Culinary Equipment and Supply in Hammond. Forty participants sampled blackened catfish topped with roasted okra, pan-fried green tomatoes, bruschetta-stuffed zucchini boats and coleslaw. Get the recipe for bruschetta-stuffed zucchini boats created by the American Diabetes Association here.

“Tasting is believing. It is possible to enjoy the bold flavors of Southern and Cajun cooking healthfully by making simple ingredient substitutions,” explains North Oaks Dietetic Intern Julia Palmisano. “For example, use Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise to prepare a coleslaw. You also can enjoy the Southern classic, fried green tomatoes, by dredging them in cornmeal instead of butter and flour and pan-frying them in olive oil.”

“When a recipe calls for salt, substitute dried herbs or a salt-free seasoning blend or marinade. This will boost the flavor of your dish and its health benefits,” Palmisano continues.

Some of the same dishes were on the menu in the North Oaks Medical Center cafeteria on March 8 with the Dietetic Interns on hand to offer the following “Top Five Tips for Better Nutrition”:

  1. Limit soda. Swap soda for water to improve your digestion and overall health. Both regular and diet sodas contain phosphoric acid, which can lower bone density and disrupt that balance of healthy bacteria in the digestive system. Soda consumption is linked to obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gout and osteoporosis.
  2. Eat more colorful fruits and vegetables. Aim for 2 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of vegetables daily. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check. Variety is as important as quantity because each color group contains a different type of disease-preventing anti-oxidant.
  3. Reduce your intake of red meat. Try lean meats or plant based proteins like lentils, quinoa, nuts, beans and seeds. Pork and beef are high in cholesterol, saturated fat and toxins. Red meat intake has been linked to an increase risk in both heart disease and cancer.
  4. Read food labels. Look at the ingredient list and choose foods that have few ingredients. Avoid artificial ingredients, such as sucralose, aspartame, carrageenan and artificial coloring such as red 40. The first thing to look for on the food label is sugar. It is recommended that adults limit sugar intake to less than 30g per day. Remember: sugar-free does not equal healthy. Most artificial sweeteners are linked to insulin resistance and digestive problems.
  5. Incorporate probiotics. Look for fermented foods like sauerkraut and raw apple cider vinegar, or try a probiotic supplement. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that help maintain healthy digestive and immune systems. Research suggests that probiotics help calm digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, and skin conditions, such as eczema.

The North Oaks Dietetic Internship Program offers qualified individuals a unique opportunity to attain eligibility for the Registration Examination for Dietitians through 1 year of supervised experience. For more information about the North Oaks Dietetic Internship, contact the program office at (985) 230-6548.