BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – For National Nutrition Month® 2016, United Hospital Center and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourage everyone to learn how to "Savor the Flavor of Eating Right" while still following a healthy eating pattern.

“National Nutrition Month is a good time to start making changes to reduce the amounts of added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat in the foods you eat,” Lisa Carr, R.D., dietitian at UHC, said. “Take the time to find creative, healthful, and nutritious ways to add flavor to food.”

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting the amounts of added sugar, sodium, and saturated fats that you eat. The guidelines state that the majority of Americans follow a diet that is too high in these components.

Sugar
The Guidelines recommend consuming less than 10 percent of your calories per day from added sugars.

“Make an effort to select foods and beverages with no added sugar," Carr said.

According to Carr:

  • Avoid buying foods containing added sugars, such as invert sugar, molasses, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, dried cane sugar, maple syrup, honey, and agave. Check the food labels for these added sugars.
  • Avoid sugary beverages, and drink water, one percent or skim milk, or 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice instead.
  • Substitute fruit for sweets or desserts – grilled fruits, such as pineapple or peaches, are a naturally sweet and healthy choice.
  • Reduce the serving size of desserts when you do indulge.

Sodium
The Guidelines recommend consuming fewer than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.

“Interesting to note that one teaspoon of salt contains approximately 2,300 mg sodium and as already mentioned, the recommendation is to consume less than this each day,” Carr said. “In the United States, much of the sodium consumed comes from food that has had salts added during commercial preparation and processing. Careful food selections are needed to reduce your sodium intake, since it is found is so many foods.”

According to Carr:

  • Use different herbs and spices to flavor foods in place of salt.
  • Prepare items from scratch and buy fewer convenience items, such as jarred sauces and pre-flavored products to reduce the amount of sodium consumed.
  • Avoid processed meats and poultry, and purchase fresh lean meats, poultry, pork, and seafood.
  • Fresh is best, but when using frozen or canned products, purchase items without added salt.
  • Compare the sodium content of foods by using the Nutrition Facts label, and choose products with less sodium.

Saturated Fats
The Guidelines recommend reducing saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of calories per day.

“To reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet, you need to be aware of the different types of fats and select more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats," Carr said.

According to Carr:

  • Saturated fat is found in whole milk, cheese, butter, cream, and meats.
  • Unsaturated fat is found in nuts, seeds, oils, and fatty fish.
  • Choose liquid oils instead of solid fats, such as lard, shortening, butter, or margarine for baking.
  • Select low-fat cheese over regular cheese and skim or one percent milk instead of two percent or whole milk.
For more information: Matt Chisler, Director of Public Relations at United Hospital Center, 681-342-1611