LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 27, 2012) − If you have visited the Lexington Farmer’s Market, chances are you saw the University of Kentucky’s Health Navigators setting up shop at Cheapside Park and Southland Drive. Graduate students from UK’s nutritional sciences and kinesiology programs set up a booth to share general health and nutrition information with market visitors.
“Our goal was to engage discussion about the importance of nutrition and leading an overall healthy lifestyle,” said Maja Redzic, a nutritional sciences graduate student in UK’s College of Health Sciences. “We tried to promote the USDA’s 'My Plate' initiative and provide information on topics such as eating on a budget, incorporating more whole grains into the diet, portion control, and easy, healthful recipes made with ingredients sold fresh at the Farmer’s Market. We also demonstrated the volumetric size of one-pound of fat and displayed sugar quantities found in common beverages such as juice, soda, and sweetened ice tea.”
Students offered information and resources to Lexingtonians on issues such as weight management, nutrition and disease, and how to manage food jags and picky eating in children.
Students utilized the USDA’s choosemyplate.gov website which supplies handouts with tips on nutrition topics such as protein, dairy, whole wheat, eating on a budget and making a healthy meal. In addition, the website provides the "supertracker," a free online tool that can track your nutrient and calorie intake, as well as energy expenditure. Students referred community members to this website and provided information on mobile applications such as My Fitness Pal that owners of smart phones can readily access.
The new 'My Plate' is a replacement for the USDA’s old food pyramid. This system helps by demonstrating portion sizes with guidance on devoting half of your plate fruits and veggies and the other half to whole grains with a smaller portion dedicated to protein. Also, a dairy product is displayed on the side.
The idea behind the new initiative is for people to visualize what their actual meal plate should consist of, with an emphasis on portion control. Unlike the food pyramid, 'My Plate' does not emphasize the importance of physical activity or recommend serving quantity, but it shines as a simple way for people to compare their current plating habits with the 'My Plate' model and see how they match up.
By setting up at the Farmer’s Market students felt they were able to connect with the local community in a new and exciting way. Look for their booth again this September and stop by for tips on how nutrition can enhance your health and overall well-being. For more information on the Nutritional Sciences program visit http://www.mc.uky.edu/nutrisci/.
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