Monday, March 4, 2013

Helping You Get Healthier During National Nutrition Month

     March is National Nutrition Month! This month, there are a few changes happening in Meritus Health’s Robin’s Nest and Cove. The first change is the removal of all deep fryers. The fryers will be replaced with TurboChefs, which mimic the effect of deep frying without all of the extra calories. The second big change is the addition of the Go, Slow, Whoa program. Go, Slow, Whoa is a visual embodiment of the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans that educates and reminds us what foods we should be eating and how frequently.

Why has Meritus Health decided to implement these changes? 

     Meritus Health’s mission statement is “Meritus Health exists to improve the health status of our region by providing comprehensive health services to patients and families.”

     Heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are just a few negative health troubles caused by the obesity problem affecting not only our nation, but our local Washington County community. If the rate of obesity continues as it has been, Trust of America’s Health, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing epidemics, projects that more than 58% of people in Maryland will be obese by 2030.

     It is our hope that by implementing these changes, we can help to improve the health of our employees and our community and combat the rising obesity rates in Washington County.

What exactly is the Go, Slow, Whoa program? 
     Meritus Health Executive Chef Joseph Fleischman described the Go, Slow, Whoa program as, “Like a stop light. Go is green, and includes food you can eat every day. Slow is yellow; be cautious eating these foods and only eat them occasionally. Whoa is similar to a red light; you can eat these foods every once in a while, but moderation is key.”

     Go foods are high in nutrients, low in calories and minimally processed. The Go category includes natural foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grain bread. Foods categorized as Slow have more sugar and fat and are more processed than Go foods, such as white flour bread, 100% fruit juice and pretzels. Foods in the Slow category should only be enjoyed a few times each week. Whoa foods pack lots of calories, but little to zero nutritional value. Because they contribute to weight gain, unhealthy cholesterol and high blood pressure, the intake of Whoa foods should be very limited. Examples of Whoa foods include ice cream, doughnuts and regular soda.

     Visitors and employees who visit the Robin’s Cove, the Meritus Medical Center dining room the Robin’s Nest in Robinwood Professional Center will see green and yellow markers on the healthier options available.

     By working together to educate and support healthy eating through the Go, Slow, Whoa program, everyone benefits.

     Please let us know what you think about the healthy eating changes Meritus Health is making by sending an email to:

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