healthy food diet

National Nutrition Month

Mind Your Plate During National Nutrition Month

“Make healthier food choices” is sound advice, but it can sometimes be a lot harder than it sounds. With changes to food labels, sometimes-contradictory research news (eggs are bad/no wait, eggs are good), not to mention the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, the fasting diet, MIND diet and countless other approaches that come along every day, just knowing where to start can cause paralysis by analysis.

That’s where National Nutrition Month comes in.

Rather than weighing the pros and cons of myriad diets, National Nutrition Month is all about understanding, identifying and including healthier choices into your daily diet.

“Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses attention on healthful eating through National Nutrition Month®,” says St. Clair Hospital’s lead dietician Anne Berzinsky, RD, LDN. “This year’s theme, Eat Right, Bite by Bite, promotes eating a variety of nutritious foods every day, planning and creating healthful meals each week and the value of consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. Good nutrition doesn’t have to be restrictive or overwhelming,” says Berzinsky. “Small goals and changes can have a cumulative healthful effect and every little bit (or bite!) of nutrition is a step in the right direction. Learn more at!”

Back to Basics

So let’s start with the five basic food groups and the number of servings you should get each day. For a daily 2,000 calorie diet, the USDA recommends:

  • Fruits: 2 cups, preferably whole fruits that are fresh, frozen, canned or dried.
  • Vegetables: 2.5 cups of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables in a variety of colors — dark green, red and orange.
  • Grains: 6 ounces, with half of those being whole grains.
  • Protein: 5.5 ounces, including a mix of seafood, beans and peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, soy products (such as tofu), eggs, and lean meats and poultry.
  • Dairy: 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese.

When it comes to fats, limit your saturated fats to 22 grams a day. Also, watch the added sugar! Keep it to 50 grams or less per day.

Eat nutritional food for a healthier life







How to Find the Right Diet

If you’re among the millions of Americans who are hoping to lose weight, your diet options are virtually unlimited. So how do you know which one is the right diet for you? Our partners at the Mayo Clinic recommend that you base your decision on four factors:

  1. Variety — Look for a diet that includes choices from the major food groups.
  2. Guidelines — The diet should include the amount of food you should choose from each of these groups.
  3. Simplicity — You should be able to find foods at your local grocery store rather than specialty or gourmet stores.
  4. Fit — Find a diet that works with your tastes, lifestyle and budget.

One diet that takes all of this into account is, as you might expect, the Mayo Clinic Diet. Based on research and clinical experience, this diet can be tailored to your own needs and health history, and focuses on great tasting, healthy food, along with developing good health habits. Take a look!

Plan to Succeed

The key to better nutrition is to build your healthy meal skills — and that starts with meal planning. When you plan your meals in advance, you’re less likely to resort to picking up fast food or take-out, which often pack far more fat and calories than home-cooked meals. The first step is to keep healthful ingredients on hand. That means developing a shopping strategy that focuses on fresh foods — so more time in the produce aisle, less in the snack and candy aisles. You should also look for whole-grain bread, low- or non-fat dairy products, and breakfast cereals that are low in sugar.

On the St. Clair Hospital website, you’ll find dozens of recipes for healthful dishes that can also help you plan your next trip to the grocery store. Click here to visit our Recipes page.

Talk to a Dietician

Of course, one of the best ways to learn about better nutrition and build healthier habits is to meet with an expert. Fortunately, St. Clair has several on hand to help. Our registered dietitians are part of the St. Clair Diabetes Center, but they’re here to provide nutrition counseling to everyone, whether you have diabetes or not. To make an appointment, call 412.942.2151.


Anne Berzinsky, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and PA  Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist. She has been a clinical dietitian at St. Clair Hospital for 18 years. In addition to providing nutrition care to hospitalized patients she, along with the other members of the clinical team, provides outpatient evidenced-based nutrition counseling to help prevent or manage health conditions, including heart disease and obesity.

She earned her degree at West Virginia University. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and regularly participates in professional programs to stay up to date with the latest nutrition research.