Tips For Healthy Eating Given At DCHI Workshop Series

The Dillon County Health Initiative (DCHI) held three “Sharing Good Health” workshops recently in Dillon, Latta, and Lake View.
The primary goal of Dillon County Health Initiative is to promote and encourage healthy eating practices, exercise, and community wellness.
The presenters were Elizabeth Blakey of McLeod Health Dillon, Jazmyne Byrd, a nutrition education specialist at SCDHEC-Pee Dee Region, and Mavis Jones, a nutrition educator assistant at Clemson Extension Service.
Participants learned data and statistics about nutrition in Dillon County.
Dillon County ranks 43 out of 46 counties in the County Health Rankings. Fifty-eight percent of Dillon County residents report that healthy food choices are too expensive. The leading causes of death in Dillon County are heart disease, cancer, and stroke. The major risk factors for the leading causes of death are tobacco use, not being physically active, and not eating a healthy diet. Healthy eating equals healthy living, and some of the suggestions made for healthy eating include cutting salt and sodium, cutting fat, lowering sugar, and eating a balanced diet.
Tips offered to help lower salt and sodium in your diet include:
-Look for amount of sodium in food you buy.
-Compare sodium in foods and choose the ones with lower numbers.
-Look for “reduced sodium” or “no salt added” on food labels.
-Add spices and herbs to season food.
-East a variety of vegetables, fresh, frozen, and canned.
-Use “Salt Sense” instead of regular table salt. “Salt Sense” has 33% less sodium.
-Pay attention to foods like ketchup, pickles and olives- lots of salt!
-Enjoy home-prepared foods.
Suggestions were also given for cutting the fat from your diet. They include:
-Read nutritional labels on the foods you purchase. Keep saturated and trans fats to less than two grams.
-Use low fat and nonfat dairy (milk and cheeses).
-Remove skin from chicken.
-Enjoy lean beef and pork.
-Eat fish often (twice per week).
-Enjoy eggs three times per week.
-Use oils when preparing foods.
-Bake, broil, roast, grill, poach, or steam, instead of frying.
-Limit the extras: drink beverages and eat food with less sodium, saturated fat and added sugar.
-Make major sources of saturated fats-desserts, pizza, cheeses, sausages, and hotdogs-an occasional choice.
Sugar was also discussed. Sugars used in processed foods and drinks include: Agave, beet sugar, barley malt, cane sugar, cane juice, dextrose, maltose, invert sugar, carob syrup, brown sugar, date sugar, fructose/high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, glucomalt, brown rice sugar, honey, grape sugar, grape juice concentrate, coconut sugar, confectioner’s sugar, evaporated cane juice.
Sugars are found naturally in many foods. For example:
-Glucose is found in fruits, vegetables, table sugar, honey, milk products, and cereals.
-Fructose is found in fruits, vegetables, and honey.
-Galactose and lactose is found in milk products.
-Sucrose is found in fruits, vegetables, table sugar and honey.
-Maltose is found in malt products and some cereals.
People should also be aware of how much sugar is in their drinks.
The most common source of added sugars in the diets of most Americans is from soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks. Other sources include fruit drinks, grain-based desserts, dairy desserts, candy, and ready-to-eat cereals as well as other food categories.
One suggestion made was to use Stevia instead of white sugar. Some benefits of Stevia include zero calories, steady energy, balanced blood sugars, and it doesn’t promote cavities.
These sugars- coconut sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, Stevia, palm sugar, and fruit juice- should be your first choice of sugars and should be less than six teaspoons per day.
Participants were also encouraged to make the switch from soft drinks to water. Water is essential for survival, good for your joints, helps you build muscle, improves cognitive performance, improves your mood, keeps you kidneys healthy, helps speed up metabolism, keeps your memory sharp, keeps your skin healthy. Drinking lots of water, together with a balanced diet, are keys to having a fit and healthy body.
Infused waters are also a good choice. Infused waters are good for energy and hydration. Add as much fruit as you like and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes and overnight for a stronger flavor.
Infused waters with:
-Green tea, mint, and lime- encourage fat burning and help with digestion, headaches, congestion, and breath freshener.
-Strawberry and kiwi-encourages cardiovascular health, immune system protection, blood sugar regulation, and digestion.
-Cucumber, lime, and lemon- helps with water weight management, bloating, appetite control, hydration and digestion.
-Lemon, lime, and orange-encourages healthy digestion, provides vitamin C, immune defense, heartburn (is suggested to drink at room temp).
A key to good health is eating a well-balanced diet. Participants were reminded that a well-balanced diet starts with the right plate. Tips include:
-Find your healthy eating style.
-Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
-Focus on whole fruits.
-Vary your veggies.
-Make half your grains whole grains.
-Move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt.
-Vary your protein routine.
-Drink and eat beverages and food with less sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.
-Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
-Everything you eat and drink matters.
More information can be found on
A healthy diet includes a focus on whole fruits. This includes fresh, frozen, dried, and canned options. One should choose whole fruits more often than 100 percent fruit juice.
One should also eat a variety of vegetables. Some tips include:
-Include dark-green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), starchy vegetables and other vegetables in your diet.
-Add fresh, frozen or canned vegetable to salads, sides, and main dishes.
-Choose a variety of colorful veggies.
-Prepare them in healthy ways: steamed, sautéed, roasted, or raw.
Also, mix up the proteins in your diet. Try different proteins: seafood, beans and peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, soy products, eggs, and lean meats and poultry. Add proteins to main dishes, like tuna salad and bean chili.
Make half the grains in your diet whole grains.
Look for whole grains on the label. Try food such as oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain bread, and brown rice.
Limit grain-based desserts and snacks such as cakes, cookies, and pastries.
A final tip given was to move to low-fat or fat free dairy products. Choose fat-free milk, yogurt, and soy beverages. Replace sour cream, cream, and regular cheese with low-fat yogurt, milk, and cheese. Participants were encouraged to share their new knowledge with others.

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