National nutrition month

Berny Unruh, K-State Extension
Berny Unruh

March is National Nutrition Month. It became a month-long observance in 1980. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends people adjusting their eating habits to address the nutritional needs of their bodies during all stages of life.

“What works for you in your twenties won’t necessarily work for you in your fifties. As you age and evolve, so do your health and nutrition needs. It’s important to eat right for life,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Colleen Tewksbury, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

This year’s theme, Personalize Your Plate, promotes creating nutritious meals to meet individuals’ cultural and personal food preferences. The Academy encourages everyone to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits they can follow all year long. Following are some specifics nutrition notes to follow for different age groups:

            For Teens to 20s — Build bone density by eating and drinking calcium-rich foods and beverages such as fat-free or low-fat dairy milk or yogurt or calcium-fortified soy beverages. Non-dairy sources of calcium include fortified cereals, beans, some leafy greens and canned salmon with bones.

             20s to 30s — Reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease by eating more dietary fiber, including whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

30s to 40s — Continue to eat a variety of nutritious foods, especially plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans, peas and lentils for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber.

40s to 50s — Fine tune your healthful eating habits and continue to incorporate regular physical activity as your body changes due to fluctuating hormones and slowing metabolism. Also continue to focus on ways to limit foods and beverages with added sugars, salt and saturated fat.

60s and beyond — Continue to include a variety of protein-rich foods to maintain bone strength and incorporate strength-building activities to maintain muscle. Good sources of protein include seafood, lean cuts of meat, eggs, beans, tofu and nuts. Animal-based protein foods also provide vitamin B12, which is a concern for some older adults.

            Berny Unruh is the Family and Community Wellness Agent for the Cottonwood Extension District.  She can be reached at 785-628-9430 or at bunruh@ksu.edu