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Cooperative Extension: Food & Health

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UMaine Extension’s Eat Well Nutrition Education Program Celebrates National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Eat Well Nutrition Education Program is encouraging Mainer’s to “Get Your Plate in Shape” by including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy products on their plates every day. The Eat Well Nutrition Education Program provides nutrition education to income eligible youth, adults and older adults though the state of Maine.

To “Get Your Plate in Shape,” take action on the 2012 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate recommendations by making changes in the following four areas. Choose steps that work for you and start today.

Balance Calories

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less and avoid oversized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl and glass. Cook more often at home where you are in control of what’s in your food. When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options.

Foods to Increase

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange varieties. Add fresh, dried, frozen or canned fruits to meals and snacks.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains. Choose 100 percent whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta or brown rice. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk. Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and fewer calories. For those who are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.

Foods to Reduce

  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread or frozen meals, and choose the foods with lower numbers. Compare sodium in foods and choose those with lower numbers, and season your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Switch from solid fats to healthy oils like olive or canola oil.

Be physically active your way. Adults need at 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. The 30 minutes can be broken up into shorter, 10-minute segments throughout the day. Choose activities that you enjoy, and start by doing as much as you can.

UMaine Extension programs are open and accessible to all in accordance with program goals. To provide adequate time to respond to your request please provide as much notice as possible.


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University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Contact Information

Cooperative Extension: Food & Health
5741 Libby Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5741
Phone: 207.581.3188, 800.287.0274 (in Maine) or 800.287.8957 (TDD)E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System