By Tina Martinez, admissions and marketing director
Many of us start off the New Year with a resolution to stay happy and healthy.
We might join a new gym, make an effort to try the latest smoothie or take on a new hobby. Often times, reality sets in and we drop the ball.
To help celebrate National Nutrition Month in March, Life Care Center of Littleton, Colorado, hosted a four-part health and wellness expo to help educate residents and associates of ways to incorporate healthy choices into our daily routine.
Leading the health expo was Brittany Pugliese, registered dietitian. She reminded us all of the importance of incorporating heart-healthy foods, including fruits and veggies, into our daily diet. She stressed that both calcium and vitamin D are nutrients to help prevent osteoporosis by building stronger bones, and she gave advice on ways to shy away from sugary beverages, including some of our favorite drinks from that famous coffee chain we all love to hate but hate to love.
Pugliese suggested that making small changes each day will lead to big health improvements.
“We should make it a goal to choose one fruit and vegetable from each of the following colors to get the most nutrition for our dollar,” she said.
Below are some tips Pugliese shared for adding color.
Go green. Although green fruits are limited, there are many green vegetables that have multiple health benefits. Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, collard greens, romaine lettuce and turnip greens contain lutein and vitamin A, nutrients that help our vision. Not only will green veggies boost health, but they taste great in your salad.
Reach for red and orange. Be creative by choosing butternut squash, red and orange bell peppers, raspberries and cantaloupe instead of the usual ingredients like celery and cucumbers. This brightly colored produce is good in a fruit salad, pasta salad or a traditional salad with lettuce. Other fruits and vegetables in this category include tomatoes, carrots, oranges, mangoes, grapefruit and strawberries. Orange and red produce is known for having a wealth of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and antioxidants.
Brighten with yellow and white. Yellow and white fruits and vegetables add an abundance of flavor to your salad. Choose banana slices or pineapple chunks to sweeten a fruit salad. For an earthy flavor, add mushrooms, cauliflower, onions and parsnips to a green leafy vegetable salad. Similar to the red and orange produce, these foods also contain vitamin C and potassium, which help heal cuts and wounds and prevent heart disease.
Pack in purple and blue. Don’t forget about blueberries, plums, grapes, eggplant and raisins. These help boost the immune system and fight off colds and the flu because they are loaded with antioxidants. Additionally, antioxidants can help prevent heart disease and cancer by protecting your body from harmful bacteria.
“We would like to thank Brittany for organizing this event and providing everyone with helpful information,” said Michelle Fraternali, executive director at Life Care Center of Littleton. “It’s programs and events like these that really show how our team does Whatever It Takes And Then Some.”