The Basics of Good Nutrition, by Northern Westchester Hospital Dietitian

Posted on: November 7, 2013

Let’s Celebrate ‘Good Nutrition Month’
By: Kimberly Stein, RD, CDN


November kicks off the holiday season, but there’s another reason to celebrate: It’s Good Nutrition Month.  The core ideas of what “good nutrition” constitutes come directly from the USDA MyPlate recommendations.  MyPlate is a revamped version of the food pyramid and was created as an easier visual guide to help consumers know what their main meals should consist of.  Here are 7 key points…


1) Enjoy your food, but eat less. Meal times should be enjoyed with food you actually want to eat.  You can still get the satisfaction of having foods you enjoy but without the guilt of all the calories consumed.
2) Avoid oversized portions. Try to portion out snacks instead of eating straight from the box or container. When eating out, ask for half of the meal to be wrapped to-go. You’ll be thankful for the leftovers the next day.
3) Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Most of us don’t eat enough of these vitamin-packed nutritional powerhouses, so, no matter the type or style, the goal here is to just increase your intake of fruits and veggies.
4) Make half your grains whole grains. By opting for whole-wheat products you can be confident that you are getting the maximum nutrition available. Try whole wheat bread or pasta, brown rice, or some of the ancient grains at your next meal.
5) Switch to fat-free or low-fat dairy. Choosing skim or 1% dairy products will still provide you with the same nutrition, just sans fat. This applies for all milk products, yogurts, and cheeses.
6) Drink water. Instead of high-calorie sugary drinks, hydrate yourself with low-cal options such as water or seltzer. Flavor these drinks yourself with added fruit slices.
7) Limit foods high in salt, fat, and sugar. Foods high in these three additives are certainly good-tasting but not good-for-you. Foods such as baked products, pizza, bacon, candies, and ice cream should be used as occasional treats, but not consumed on a regular basis.

To ensure optimal health, it’s important to try and follow some of these basic guidelines. Remember, it’s okay to start with small changes and work up to your goal. Any of these tips listed will set you on the right path towards a healthy and happy lifestyle!

Look for other blogs by NWH Dietitians, tagged as ‘nutrition’