By Andrea Wagner, MS, RDN, CD, CLS, Clinical Nutrition Supervisor, Aspirus Riverview Hospital & Clinics
Special to the City Times
Many people like to reflect on their eating habits and make changes at the beginning of a new year. When considering a healthier diet, remember to include foods from all the food groups, and to eat a variety of foods within each food group.
The five food groups are: fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains and meat/protein. For optimal health, consider eating a variety of fruits and vegetables daily to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. Different colored fruits and vegetables have different vitamins.
For example, red fruits and vegetables are higher in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and manganese than other colors of fruits and vegetables. Consider choosing mainly whole grains to ensure you are getting adequate fiber and the B Vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and folate.
Choose lean meats to provide the protein your muscles need, along with B Vitamins, iron, zinc and magnesium. Additionally, select three cups of low-fat dairy to provide you with Vitamin D, calcium, protein and potassium.
Eating a variety of foods from all the food groups throughout your life also helps prevent malnutrition.
Malnutrition is not only being undernourished — it can also be from overeating unhealthy foods while neglecting the healthy ones. In fact, an average of 30 percent of hospitalized patients has some level of malnutrition. By choosing fresh, frozen or canned fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meats or beans, and whole grains while avoiding processed, fried, or fast foods; you help prevent malnutrition as well as other diseases and health conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, some cancers, and more.
Additionally, cold and flu season is upon us. One way to help fight off illness is to keep your body strong by eating healthy foods and staying hydrated.
Understanding the importance nutrition plays on our health is one reason Aspirus Riverview Hospital recently changed our patient meal service. Most people think of traditional hospital food and cringe; but not here, thanks to our Room Service Dining.
Aspirus Riverview Hospital now offers our patients increased meal options on a restaurant-style menu with extended meal times. This allows patients more control and greater satisfaction with their dining experience. In addition, Room Service Dining has been proven to increase the nutritional health of patients and decrease their risk of malnutrition.
So should you need to spend time as a patient at Aspirus Riverview Hospital, you will have at least one thing to smile about — healthy food options served when you are ready to enjoy them.