May 20, 2024

National Nutrition Month is a campaign intended to put the focus on nutrition and healthy living. Since it’s in March, it’s a good time to let you know about a Facebook group with the same focus and also to offer some tips for getting the right foods in your meal plan.

The Facebook page is Holistic U (, started five years ago by Meridith Barrett Norwood, a physical therapist at Cornerstone Physical Therapy and a Jazzercise instructor. Her posts center on nutrition, movement and mindset.

“I usually post about three items a week,” she said. “I do use other social media, too, like nutrition blogs, and companies that sell movement and therapy tools, which I like to recommend.”

She also uses her Pinterest board to post nutritious menus that she plans to serve her family each week.

“I always like getting new members to Holistic U,” she said. “It is a public group that has one question that must be answered for membership,” she said.

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Here are a few reasons why Barrett Norwood’s social media efforts are important. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of the adult population considered obese continues to rise. The latest figures show that 42% are obese, and obesity increases the risks of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. All of these conditions are largely preventable with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

“Start making small changes to your eating plan,” said Barrett Norwood. “Small changes add up to bigger results like more energy and improved health. Good nutrition should be a high priority. We all love to eat ‘good’ food — whether that be at family gatherings or a party — because it is a huge part of the culture and our social lives. However, eating to live should be more of our norm on a daily basis. With this mentality, we can essentially reduce our risks of many chronic diseases, which can give us a higher quality of life as we age.”

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Here are some tips from experts at the CDC and other health organizations on how to make your diet healthier:

• Increase your daily fruit and vegetable intake. They should be a staple in your diet because they contain fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. The CDC suggests eating five or six small meals per day and always aim for half your plate to be fruits and vegetables.

• Have no more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day. Purchase canned goods with no salt added and cook without adding salt. Salt can be added at the table, but it can’t be removed once it’s added during cooking.

• Don’t drink your calories. Eliminate empty calories from sugar-sweetened beverages, coffees and fruit juices.

• Focus on fiber. Women should try to get at least 25 grams per day, while men need 38 grams. Great sources of fiber include oatmeal, beans, lentils, popcorn and whole-grain bread.

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• Power up with protein. The Food and Drug Association’s recommendation for daily protein intake is 50 grams on a 2,000-calorie diet. Consuming adequate protein is good for bone health, retaining muscle mass, and reducing cravings by keeping you full. Great protein sources include lean meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, beans, tofu, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds.

• Try to limit eating highly processed foods. Most of them are made with a long list of unhealthy ingredients. The National Institutes of Health reports that people who eat highly processed foods tend to eat more calories and gain more weight. Make your own snacks from scratch, so you have more control over what goes into them.

Contact the writer: 719-636-0271

contact the writer: 636-0271.