Articles and Information from GA Foods

Make Long-lasting, Healthy Changes

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Mar 22, 2017 1:50:58 PM

healthy-lifestyle.jpgAs the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics continues to celebrate National Nutrition Month® with the theme, "Put Your Best Fork Forward", they encourage everyone to make long-lasting, healthy changes that will lead to renewed energy and help you age well.

The Academy recommends following a Total Body Diet lifestyle to help you reach your health and wellness goals. There are three principles to follow:

  1. 1. Balance your diet with foods from all food groups.
  2. 2. Get active every day with enjoyable movement.
  3. 3. Make your mental health a priority by fostering a positive attitude.

Total Body Diet

Foods that are high in sugar tend to be low in fiber, protein, and fat. For continuous energy throughout the day, eat meals that are high in fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats. Space your meals and snacks about three to four hours apart. Here are more ideas to help you follow the Total Body Diet:

  • Plan at least one meatless day into your week. Pile your plate with colorful vegetables!
  • Fuel your brain with foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish and avocados.
  • Clean out your pantry, fridge, and freezer - get rid of foods with a lot of added sugar, solid fat, and salt.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Make physical activity a routine part of your day. Do activities that you enjoy!
  • Sit less! Stand while working with a standing desk and walk during your breaks.
  • Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep every night!

For more details on the Total Body Diet read Total Body Diet for Dummies by Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN, LDN and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Nutrition for Seniors

Seniors have unique nutrition needs to consider. The most obvious difference between meals for seniors and meals for younger adults is portion sizes. As people age, their caloric requirements decrease, so senior meals should be smaller. Many restaurants now offer smaller menu options, though eating proper portions at home can still be a challenge! A great solution for perfectly portioned meals is to consider a meal delivery service. Home-delivered meals are pre-portioned, nutritionally balanced, and are tailored to meet the special dietary needs of older adults.

Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

Read More

Topics: Nutrition, Healthy Home Delivered Meals, National Nutrition Month, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Aging Well, Best Fork Foward NNM

Put Your Best Fork Forward for Healthy Meals

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Mar 15, 2017 2:00:16 PM

National-Nutrition-Month-2017-1.jpg

Each year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month® in March. This year's theme is "Put Your Best Fork Forward" and the Academy encourages everyone to make small, healthy changes when eating.

Choosing a variety of healthy foods across all food groups will help reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Making small changes, one forkful at a time, will prevent diseases before they occur. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Make Half of Your Plate Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your body needs to be healthy. For many people, eating enough fruits and veggies each day is difficult. Try eating cut up vegetables for snacks. Keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter so your family can easily grab a piece. Add grated vegetables like zucchini or carrots to sauces, meatloaf, and pasta dishes.

Cut Back on Added Sugars

Foods and drinks with added sugars contribute empty calories and often lack nutrients. Read ingredient lists and choose foods that don't have sugar or other sweeteners listed as the first ingredient. Quench your thirst with water instead of sugary drinks.

Make Family Meal Time a Priority

Studies show that family dinners have a positive impact on children's values, motivation,  and confidence. Involve your kids in meal planning and cooking family meals. Use this time to teach them about good nutrition.

Power Up with Breakfast

Mom was right - breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast gives you the energy to start your day. Include a lean protein like eggs or low-fat dairy like yogurt, cheese, or milk. (Don't forget to fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables!)

Be Adventurous

When food shopping or dining out, select a fruit, vegetable or grain that you have never tried. Foods like jicama, broccolini, purple potatoes or quinoa are tasty and nutritious. Also, explore other options for preparing foods. For example, broccoli roasted in the oven has a very different taste and texture than steamed broccoli.

Home-Delivered Meals

For healthy meals that are perfectly portioned, nutrient dense, and ready to go when you need them, try out a meal delivery service like GA Foods. Many health plans, including Medicare Advantage, offer home-delivered meals as a benefit. Check with your plan to see if you are eligible for GA Foods' home-delivered meals.

Want more healthy eating ideas?  Read this article.

Read More

Topics: Nutrition, Chronic Disease Management, Senior Health, National Nutrition Month, Best Fork Foward NNM

Celebrate Registered Dietitians and National Nutrition Month with GA Foods!

Posted by Jessica Fleigle on Mar 8, 2017 1:46:09 PM

JC-and-AF-web.png

(Pictured from left to right: Ashleigh Fabian, Registered Dietitian and Joann Pierre, Sr. Registered Dietitian) 

March is National Nutrition Month® (NNM). NNM focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits. This year's theme is "Put Your Best Fork Forward," which serves as a reminder that each one of us holds the tool to make healthier food choices.

March is also when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates Registered Dietitian Nutrition™(RDN) Day. This year, RDN Day is March 8.

GA Foods’ Registered Dietitians

We are blessed at GA Foods to have a great Registered Dietitian team (a couple of our dietitians are pictured above!). They are highly trained in developing personalized nutritional plans for each and every customer. Our dietitians create meals and menu plans for customers seeking frozen and shelf stable solutions throughout the United States. They ensure the meals meet or exceed the USDA guidelines, and that all meals are low in sodium, fat, cholesterol, and sugar.

We asked our dietitian team a few questions about their jobs and nutrition, and are excited to share their responses with you! 

What is your favorite part about your job?

  1. Our favorite part is knowing that we’re impacting the lives of others every single day. And, that we get to work with an amazing team! 
What is a nutrition tip you recommend?
  1. We recommend to stop dieting and make a lifestyle change. Instead of depriving yourself of the foods you love, enjoy foods in moderation.
What is a common mistake you see seniors make with their nutrition?
  1. We see a couple common mistakes among seniors (and others!)
  • Not eating balanced meals (i.e. focusing on a sole food group such as starches and not incorporating protein/veggies)
  • Increased intake of sweets

 Can you provide examples of nutrition fads that aren’t true?

  1. “Low-no carb” diets are a popular fad because they can help people lose weight initially, but it’s not realistic or healthy to eat like that forever. Sugar is our body's main energy source, so we eventually return to eating carbohydrates. When people start eating carbs again, they gain the weight they’ve lost and usually more because their bodies are storing the energy source. It just becomes a cycle, and that’s why our best advice is to stay away from dieting and make a lifestyle change. We recommend to eat foods that are good for your body such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
Are certain foods more likely to cause health problems?  Please explain.
  1. Processed junk foods contribute greatly to obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and other chronic diseases. These foods are addicting, and they don’t provide the nutrients your body needs. They are usually high in sugar, saturated fats, and calories, and they cause inflammation. 
  2. Our advice is simple: more whole foods, less processed. If you are going to eat processed foods, check the labels to make sure you are getting foods with low sugar, sodium, fat, and cholesterol.

National Nutrition Month 

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the purpose of NNM is to increase the public's awareness of the importance of good nutrition. Over the course of the next few weeks, our blog will focus on health education and eating tips as part of NNM.  

For more information on National Nutrition Month®, click here

NationalNutritionMonth2017.jpg

 

Read More

Topics: Nutrition, National Nutrition Month, Registered Dietitians, Best Fork Foward NNM

National Nutrition Month-Savor the Flavor-Healthy Meals for Seniors

Posted by Levinia Clark, RD, LDN on Mar 30, 2016 10:00:00 AM

National Nutrition Month is here! This is a great time to look at food choices, and evaluate whether you’re getting the most nutrition out of your meals. While the meal requirements for older adults are a bit different, making healthy meals for seniors doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are a few easy guidelines to improve the nutritional value of senior meals.

Look Out For Extra Sodium

A lot of packaged foods contain sodium as a preservative and as a way to make the food more palatable. Unfortunately, these high sodium levels are not ideal for senior meals. Be sure to read the label carefully on store-bought convenience meals, as well as many condiments, as these can be incredibly high in sodium.

Many canned foods offer low sodium (and even no sodium) options, so you can add your own salt as needed. A little table salt can go a long way! Another way to season foods without adding extra salt, is to use herbs and spices. Be sure to check the nutrition information on spice blends, and opt for the salt-free versions where possible.older_adult_shopping.png

Make Veggies King

Vegetables are incredibly nutrient dense - they’re low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. Their high fiber and water content also makes vegetables more filling, ideal for the reduced-caloric content of meals for seniors.

In order to receive enough nutrition, while keeping calories low, challenge yourself this National Nutrition Month to fill half of your plate at every meal with vegetables, dividing the other half between protein and starches. Keep things exciting by eating a variety of different colors and textures. Different colored vegetables tend to offer different nutritional profiles, so varying color choices on your plate can provide a well-rounded selection of nutrients.

Avoid Empty Calories

Cookies, crackers and other baked goods may taste delicious, but they generally offer no nutritional value for all of those calories. If you’re craving a sweet treat, reach for a piece of fruit, or a yogurt with berries and granola.

For healthier, savory options, avoid packaged snacks like chips and crackers, which contain a lot of added salt and oil, but have little nutritional value. Instead of reaching for that box of buttery crackers, try whole grain pretzels instead. Whole grain pretzels contain more vitamins, minerals and fiber, with fewer calories and less fat than traditional crackers.

Try More Whole Grain Options

Another way to increase the nutritional benefits of senior meals, is to choose whole grain products over their refined counterparts. Whole grains still have the bran and germ intact, making them appear darker in color. It’s these parts of the grain that contain the most vitamins and minerals. Whole grains also contain more fiber, so they often take longer to digest than refined grains, and can be more filling.

Try and make half of your grain choices throughout the day whole grains to receive more vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Hydrate!

Be sure that you’re drinking enough water. Hydrating properly will help to flush out extra salt, as well as keep all your organs running as they should. Keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day can ensure that you’ve always got hydration close at hand.

Ease Into Exercise

Healthy eating doesn’t have to stop at food choices. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and can complement those nutrient-dense senior meals. Bodies are all different, and thrive with different styles and levels of exercise. The important thing is to move, and get blood flowing.

Short walks and light stretching can be a great way to increase blood flow and joint mobility, without being strenuous. It’s important to choose activities that you enjoy, and to remember that every little bit counts. You don’t need to run a marathon to receive the benefits of moving around!

Watch Portion Sizes

The most obvious difference between meals for seniors, and meals for younger adults is portion sizes. As people age, their caloric requirements decrease, so senior meals should be smaller. Many restaurants now offer smaller menu options, though eating proper portions at home can still be a challenge!

National Nutrition Month is a great time to learn more about portion sizes, and grab those measuring cups. Measuring out different foods can ensure that the meal is the appropriate size, and can prevent accidental overeating. Another solution for perfectly portioned meals is to consider a meal delivery service. Home delivered meals are perfectly portioned, nutritionally balanced, and can be tailored to meet special dietary needs.

New Call-to-action

Read More

Topics: Nutrition, National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month - Savor the Flavor - Eating Right on a Budget

Posted by Joann Pierre, MS, RD, LDN on Mar 23, 2016 10:30:00 AM

March is National Nutrition Month, a great time to tune up your healthy eating routine! Keeping up healthy habits can certainly be a challenge, especially as healthy food can often be more expensive than its junk food counterparts.

But fear not! You can celebrate National Nutrition Month without breaking the bank with these tips for making budget friendly, healthy meals and choices.

Familiarize Yourself With Food Labels

Food labels aren’t the easiest thing in the world to decode, but spending a few extra minutes studying all of the ingredients and macronutrients can save you time and money at the grocery store.

Often, packaging can mislead consumers into thinking a food is healthy, when it’s actually filled with sugar, salt and trans fats. Learning which ingredients to watch out for, and what all those percentages mean on the back of a box, can help you separate the healthy foods from the junk foods, and make better choices.

Don’t Worry About Food Trends

The health foods landscape can often be confusing, with so many superfoods and trendy health foods entering the market daily. Certain foods are classified as superfoods because of their high concentrations of vitamins and minerals. They’re typically imported, and often found only in certain locations. Their scarcity and the excitement that surrounds a word like “superfood” means that these berries, seeds and powders fetch a pretty penny at the health food store.

Good news though - there are nutrient-rich foods available at the supermarket that aren't expensive. Superfoods like sweet potatoes, blueberries, broccoli, kale and pumpkin seeds are all incredibly nutritious, and budget friendly. Save those pricier options for a treat!farmers_market.png

Shop Seasonally

Buying produce according to growing seasons not only keeps your veggie routine exciting, but also allows you to save a little cash. Check out your local farmers' market for great buys!  Many accept EBT.  There is also a food assistance program for seniors purchasing from farmers' markets.  Seasonal produce is often less expensive, due to having fewer transportation costs, and will be fresher than fruits or vegetables that have spent a week on a truck. Eating seasonally can also add some excitement to your meals, as you start to anticipate the foods of the upcoming months.

National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to look up what fruits and vegetables are in season in your area, and design your shopping list accordingly.

Spend Some Extra Time in the Kitchen

A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine noted that individuals who spent more time preparing their food were more likely to eat healthy meals, as opposed to those who mostly ate out at restaurants. Cooking your own meals at home gives you control over the ingredients, preparation method and quality.

Of course, planning and cooking your meals at home requires quite a bit of time and effort, so if you’re looking for the same high quality healthy meals, without spending too much time cooking, try a meal delivery service.

Home-Delivered Meals

For healthy meals that are perfectly portioned, nutrient dense and ready to go when you need them, try out a meal delivery service, like GA Foods. Having meals delivered can save you money by providing a variety of choices, without you having to buy all of those different herbs, spices, and vegetables, just for one meal.

Using a meal delivery service also ensures that your meals fit into your healthy lifestyle, whether you’re on a diabetic meal plan, cardiac meal plan or other special diet. And of course, a meal delivery service will save you all of that time you would have spent on food prep! What’s not to love?

Guide to Beginning Home-Delivered Meal Service

 

Read More

Topics: Nutrition, National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month Savor the Flavor - Healthy Eating Tips

Posted by Joann Pierre, MS, RD, LDN on Mar 16, 2016 10:55:00 AM

March is National Nutrition Month®, a great time to reflect upon your eating habits and evaluate your food choices. It’s also the perfect time to add some more healthy behaviors to your daily routine. Participate in National Nutrition Month® with these tips to help you savor the flavor of healthy eating!

Drink More Water

Healthy eating isn’t necessarily just about food. Beverage choices can play an important role in creating a healthy meal. You can cut extra calories and sugar out of your day by swapping out those soft drinks and juices for water!

Proper hydration is important to overall health and metabolism regulation, and oftentimes people mistake a thirst cue for hunger. Carrying a water bottle around with you will not only keep your body running properly, but will also prevent you from eating when you’re not hungry.

If you’re still craving the bubbles of soda, seltzer or sparkling water is a great alternative. You can find sparkling water in a variety of flavors to suit any mood or meal.

National_Nutrition_Month_Almonds.jpgKeep Healthy Snacks on Hand

Many pre-packaged foods are highly processed, contain little nutritional value, and are loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats, but they’re convenient in a pinch. Make sure you’ve always got healthy snacks on hand so you don’t find yourself at a vending machine choosing between corn chips and candy bars. Bringing your own healthy snacks wherever you go makes healthy eating convenient, and reduces the chance that you’ll give in to eating less nutritious options.

Portion out small baggies of nuts and dried fruit at the beginning of the week, and store them in your car, desk, and bag so you’re never without a healthy food option.

Check Portion Sizes

Proper portion size isn’t intuitive. With restaurant meals being so large and food manufacturers often downplaying the amount of food in a serving, it can be hard to know just how much you’re supposed to eat. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution - grab your measuring cups!

National Nutrition Month® is a great time to start paying attention to just how much you should be eating. A serving of vegetables is about a half cup, or a cup of uncooked greens. Starches, grains, beans and peas can also be measured in half cup servings. After a few weeks of measuring, you’ll be a pro at portions!

Make Vegetables the Star of Your Meals

National_Nutrition_Month_Vegetables.jpgAn easy way to eat healthier is to load your plate up with vegetables. Serve the veggies first and pile them high, aiming to fill half your plate with vegetables before adding protein and starches. Another way to increase your vegetable intake is to eat all of the vegetables on your plate before moving on to the protein and starch. You’ll get more nutrition out of that broccoli than you will out of an extra roll!

Avoid falling into a vegetable rut by setting a goal to try at least one new vegetable per week. This can increase the variety of nutrients in your diet, as well as the excitement of your healthy meals!

Add Seafood to the Mix

Seafood is a great source of nutrients, including anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids! Eating fish twice a week can help you obtain the necessary amounts of this important nutrient. If you’re worried about mercury levels of seafood, remember that smaller fish like sardines have lower levels of mercury than large fish like tuna.

Salmon, trout and oysters are also lower in mercury, and are high in omega-3s. What’s not to love?

Eat Consciously

Eating dinner while driving, and snacking while watching TV may be convenient, but they’re not the healthiest ways to enjoy a meal. These types of distracted munching can lead to overeating, and misreading hunger cues. You may even train yourself to eat whenever you watch TV without even realizing it!

Instead, sit down at a table to eat, and actively participate in the meal without external distractions. Be sure to chew your food thoroughly, and if you’re eating with your family or friends, engage in conversation between bites. The added time and attention between bites should allow your body to register what you’re eating, so you’ll realize when you’re full sooner.

Spice Up Your Life

Worried that healthy meals won’t be delicious? Adding herbs and spices to your dishes can add extra flavor, without adding sugar, salt, oils or calories. Many herbs and spices also have added antioxidant properties and health benefits. Add dry spices to food at the beginning of cooking, and finish with chopped fresh herbs for maximum flavor!

If you'd like to learn more about healthy eating, read this article!

NNM2016_700x550_1.jpg

Read More

Topics: Nutrition, National Nutrition Month

Celebrate Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day with GA Foods!

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Mar 9, 2016 10:00:00 AM

March is National Nutrition Month® (NNM). NNM focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This year's theme is "Savor the Flavor of Eating Right," which encourages everyone to take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives. For the next few weeks, our blog will focus on health and eating tips as part of NNM.  

Happy RDN Day!

Today is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Day. RDN Day commemorates the dedication of RDNs as advocates for advancing the nutritional status of people around the world. RDN Day was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to increase the awareness of registered dietitian nutritionists as the indispensable providers of food and nutrition services and to recognize RDNs for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives. RDNs are the nutrition experts with degrees in nutrition, dietetics, public health or a related field from accredited colleges and universities. In addition, they must complete an internship and pass an examination before practicing.

We'd like to take the time to recognize and spotlight two of the RDNs on the GA Foods team!

Levinia_and_Joann_LR.pngPictured:  Joann Pierre (left) and Levinia Clark (right).

Meet Levinia Clark

Levinia has been with GA Foods for almost 13 years and currently is our Nutrition Services Manager. She completed her internship at the University of Illinois Medical Center and has been practicing for 39 years. She chose to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist because she wanted to learn how and what various nutrients do to the nutritional status of the body. She enjoys her job because she knows the daily nourishment GA Foods provides to children and older adults positively impacts their health.

Levinia's favorite food is Mexican in ANY way, shape or form and she likes going to the beach as often as possible. Her favorite nutrition tip is, "Diet should not be a way of life…rather  healthy eating for a healthy body and healthier you!"

Say Hi to Joann Pierre

Joann went to the University of North Florida for her undergraduate degree as well as her Master's degree and dietetic internship. She has been with GA Foods for over 2 years. Joann decided to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist after taking a few nutrition/dietetic courses. She was drawn to the idea that the foods we eat, cook, create, and grow, shape everything around us from our bodies to the planet we live in. She wants to be a part of positive change in the food world.  Joann loves her job because she knows she is making an impact on our society. Per Joann, "To some, it is just meals we serve, but to me, we provide nourishment and hope for the young to elderly and their families."

Joann enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her dog, TJ. She also likes to cook, run, and attend concerts and basketball games. Her favorite nutrition tip is, "Moderation is key. Enjoy all types of food! Food is not only for nourishment, but it is also here for you to enjoy! Just remember to balance what you eat."

 Thank you!

We appreciate our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and their valuable contributions and expertise in nutrition. They exemplify GA Foods' core values, touching lives, commitment, one team, ownership, integrity and trust, in everything they do!

For more information on National Nutrition Month®, click here.

RDNday2016_meme2.jpg

Read More

Topics: Nutrition, National Nutrition Month, Registered Dietitians

Search this Blog

Subscribe