Health District Joins Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics During National Nutrition Month

Several SRHD programs encourage residents to ‘Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right’

For more information, contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer, (509) 324-1539

SPOKANE, Wash. – March 7, 2014 – Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) is proud to join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics during March in celebrating National Nutrition Month®. This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” and focuses on combining taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
“While social, emotional and health factors play a role in the foods people choose to eat, the foods we enjoy are the ones we eat most,” said Kyle Unland, RD, division director for SRHD’s Health Promotion division. “That is why, as part of National Nutrition Month, we are encouraging everyone to ‘Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right’”
The health district has several programs that employ numerous registered dietitians (RDs) who work collaboratively with staff and partner agencies to ensure residents make informed food choices. In hopes that the healthy choice becomes the easy choice for all residents, staff also work to improve healthy food access for all people regardless of income.

  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC)  nutrition program – SRHD’s WIC staff provide early nutrition intervention during times of critical growth and development to improve the health status of pregnant and breastfeeding women, postpartum women, and children under the age of 5. All staff provide participant-centered education that sets the stage for prevention by focusing educational efforts toward positive health behaviors that aim to mitigate health problems later in life, including diabetes and obesity.

The WIC food package, which includes dairy, whole grains, eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables, also helps to reduce the incidence of diabetes, cancer, asthma, and obesity by including foods high in nutrients. SRHD WIC RDs prepare nutritional intervention and care plans for clients with pre-existing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and other high risk conditions. SRHD WIC provides services to over 12, 000 clients each month in Spokane County. 

  • Healthy Communities program - In terms of nutrition, SRHD’s Healthy Communities program works with community partners, agencies and coalitions to create healthy food and beverage environments. Several current initiatives include:
    • healthy vending
    • smarter lunchrooms and cafeteria designs
    • whole food cooking in child care settings
    • sodium reduction in worksite cafeterias and in locally-owned pizza and deli restaurant

Together these programs have the potential of creating healthy food and beverage environments for over 28,500 employees, university and public school students, preschool students and preschool parents in Spokane County in 2014.

  • Neighborhoods Matter – SRHD’s Neighborhoods Matter program is a targeted community-driven approach to reduce the health disparities impacting maternal, child and family health. Its governance council identified food insecurity as a critical issue facing families. As a result, it initiated the Refugees’ Harvest Project in 2011. The project is the brainchild of a former refugee who wanted to give back to the broader community. The idea is simple – volunteers from various refugee and immigrant communities harvest leftover fruits and vegetables from backyard gardens and small farms, and distribute them to residents. The Refugees’ Harvest Project transitioned from SRHD to Refugee Connections in 2012. Last year it harvested and distributed over 9,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables.  
  • Nurse Family Partnership – One of the ways nurses in SRHD’s Nurse Family Partnership program work to improve pregnancy outcomes is by addressing nutritional requirements during pregnancy and helping clients maintain a healthy weight. Clients are first-time, low-income mothers who nurses visit in the home until the child is two years old.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed program) – SRHD’s new SNAP-Ed program will work to support healthy nutrition in low-income adults by addressing the environment in which they live and shop. A key component of this program will be utilization of community health workers—trusted peers who live in their communities who are trained to help bring information and resources to their neighbors. This approach is intended to help support healthy choices, in the face of financial limits, and to reach people that traditional methods often do not.

"Staff in these programs know that once individuals find nutritious foods that they like, it can be easy to fall into a rut of eating those same foods over and over," says Unland. "However, there is a whole world of tasty and nutritious foods available today that are just waiting to be discovered. Adding more nutrition and pleasure to each meal is as easy as expanding the range of foods you choose."
Whether shopping at the grocery store, eating at a local restaurant or cooking meals at home, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers easy steps to keep taste buds excited while making sure the body is getting the nutrients it needs.
At the grocery store:
When shopping, make it a point to try one new fruit, vegetable or whole grain every week.
Eating at restaurants:
The next time an individual heads out to eat, he or she can choose a restaurant that features ethnic foods from Asia, Europe or Africa. These restaurants often feature menus filled with healthy options that will be new to the person.
Cooking at home:
Add variety to your staple dishes by varying the ways you cook them. Grill or broil the chicken you typically bake. Mash the potatoes you typically roast. Steam the vegetables you typically sauté. And get to know your spice cabinet.
Initiated in 1973 as a week-long event, “National Nutrition Week” became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. Additionally, to commemorate the dedication of RDs as advocates for advancing the nutritional health of Americans and people around the world, the second Wednesday of March has been designated “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day.” This year, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day will be celebrated March 12.
As part of this public education campaign, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ National Nutrition Month website includes a variety of helpful tips, fun games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition around the “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” theme.  
Information can also be found at SRHD’s Web site offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.