Nutrition Awareness Month kicked off in March and dietitians are ready to answer people’s questions on how to start better eating habits.
“Nutrition awareness is important as this helps develop our food choices,” said Lt. Col. Lisa Tauai, 99th Medical Squadron nutritional medicine flight commander at Nellis. “If we are aware of what healthy and not so healthy foods are, we can make more of an informed decision on what we choose to consume. After all, a healthy diet is key to overall good health and wellness.”
Nutrition isn’t all about what someone puts in their body and about their reflective image, it also can take a toll on someone’s internal health.
“Nutrition affect’s everything about a person,” said Capt. Kimberly Fischer, 433rd Medical Squadron dietitian from Lackland AFB, Texas. “It can affect their physical health, their mental health, their emotional health and their overall well-being.”
When looking for information on nutrition, people should refer to a reliable source for information and should refrain from using unreputable online sources.
“You need to make sure the information you are getting is from a reliable source,” Fischer said. “That reliable source is usually a registered dietitian instead of a nutritionist because anyone can call themselves a nutritionist which isn’t a regulated term.”
When going on a diet, people should refer the U.S. Department of Agriculture website and the my plate model under the resources tab to regulate what foods go into their bodies.
“Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, a quarter of it should be lean meat and the other quarter of it should be a starch, preferably a whole grain,” Fischer said. “What you put inside your body reflects on the outside of your body.”
When eating unhealthy foods, problems can occur to where a person can experience a decrease in energy levels and can ultimately lead to disease.
“Eating an unhealthy diet affects you short term and long term,” Fischer said. “It can affect your energy level, your sleep pattern, your acuity, your mental health and in the long term it can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight.”
“The most important thing is watching your portion sizes,” Fischer said. “I personally believe that watching your portion sizes is the most important to maintaining a healthy weight.”