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March is National Nutrition Month

March 5, 2020

Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates nutrition and food and encourages everyone to spend some time learning how to make the best choices for you! This year's theme is "Eat Right Bite by Bite". Through each bite of food you eat, you nourish and fuel your body.

National Nutrition Month 2020 Blogger Badge

Although it may seem simple in theory, we all know choosing and eating nutritious foods can be difficult, especially when we have so many other things to think about. Fortunately, there are many ways to make healthy choices easy choices.

By Nicole Muller, Dietetic Intern at Meredith College

Planning and Shopping

March Nutrition Month

March is Nutrition Month by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates nutrition and food and encourages everyone to spend some time learning how to make the best choices for you! This year’s theme is “Eat Right Bite by Bite”.

  • Planning meals may seem like it takes up too much time, but once you do it for the week, you are set! Take some time each week when you are relaxed and can focus and think about what you would like to make. For some inspiration, look at your grocery store's weekly ad for sales. See what you have in your pantry or freezer that you can use. If you have favorite healthy recipes from family, friends, or the Internet, print them out and make a cookbook. This way you always have favorites to fall back on when you are lacking inspiration.
  • When you have decided what to eat for the week, make a list! This keeps you organized and focused when you go to the grocery store.
  • Make sure you don't go to the store hungry. If you do, you are more likely to impulsively buy foods you don't need, especially snack foods. Go to the store after you have eaten a meal or a snack. 
Download the Outpatient Nutrition Services Guide

Preparing Meals

Just as with planning, preparing meals does not have to take hours and hours. Try these tips to cut down on cooking time.

  • Buy pre-cut vegetables. You can buy fresh pre-cut vegetables such as broccoli and lettuce.
  • Use a slow cooker or Instant Pot. These two cooking gadgets can save you a lot of time in the kitchen and make delicious meals!
  • Make enough for leftovers. You can easily double a recipe to make enough food to have for more than one meal. This way, you don't have to cook every night. If you're not a huge fan of having the same meal two days in a row, you can freeze the leftovers for another week. This works especially well for dishes made with ground meat, like meatballs, as well as soups and casseroles.

Keep Healthy Foods on Hand

DFC March Nutrition Month.jpg

DFC March Nutrition Month.jpg
Simple and easy to make a balanced meal or snack quickly when you have the essentials waiting for you.

  • Simple and easy to make a balanced meal or snack quickly when you have the essentials waiting for you
  • Buy bananas, apples, oranges or mandarins to keep in your fruit bowl. For fruit that needs refrigeration, wash and prepare them before you store them. Or, buy pre-cut fruit, such as cantaloupe and pineapple.
  • Pack some healthy snacks. Instead of being tempted by the vending machine or break room cookies, bring a nutritious, filling snack to work or when you're on the go. Some great options are nuts and dried fruit, baby carrots and hummus, yogurt and granola, and fresh fruit and peanut butter.
  • Keep your kitchen stocked with the healthy basics from each food group for when you don't have time to plan. 
  • Protein: lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, tofu, beans, nuts. When you have extra meat or poultry, put some in the freezer for a later date. When you want to use it, thaw it in the refrigerator for the next day.
  • Vegetables: There are many frozen vegetable varieties that can be cooked quickly in the microwave or on the stove. Vegetables are frozen at peak freshness, so they retain all their nutrients.
  • Fruit: Frozen fruit is great to add to smoothies for a quick breakfast or snack. You can also buy fruit cups in water or 100% juice. Apples and oranges can stay fresh for more than a week if they are stored in the refrigerator.
  • Grains: Keep your favorite whole grains in the pantry, whether that is brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, or barley.
  • Dairy: Although dairy is hard to keep stocked because it does not last as long, you can buy portion-sized containers of yogurt and cheese that are good until their use-by date. If you use milk regularly, remember to put it on your list! And look for low-fat milk, yogurt with less added sugar, and cheese made with skim milk.

Enjoy Your Food

DFC March Nutrition Month 2.jpg

DFC March Nutrition Month 2.jpg
Cooking can be enjoyable. Make it a family activity.

  • Find and eat nutritious foods that you enjoy. There are so many kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein foods to explore. Pick a new food or recipe to try every month!
  • Cooking can be enjoyable. Take pride in your creations, experiment with different variations, and make it a family activity.
  • Focus on your food. At mealtime, put away the phone, turn off the TV, sit at the table with friends or family, and savor the flavors.

Meet with a Registered Dietitian (RD)

  • Registered dietitians have the education and qualifications to help you meet your nutrition and health goals and answer any questions you may have. The Duke Diet and Fitness Center has two registered dietitians on staff available for residential clients and outpatients.

For more information about National Nutrition Month, visit www.eatright.org/NNM

Outpatient Diet & Nutrition Counseling at the DFC

Diet and nutrition play an incredibly important role in weight loss and overall health. Our outpatient diet and nutrition counseling is for individuals who are ready to take the first step toward better health, or who feel like they’re already doing all the right things, but they’re not seeing results. As part of our outpatient services, Duke Diet and Fitness Center’s registered dietitians:

  • Provide a thorough nutrition assessment to understand your weight history, dietary needs and the challenges you face at home.

  • Review your 3-day food journal to understand eating habits. We ask that you complete this prior to your first appointment.

  • Calculate or measure your resting metabolic rate, to determine the amount of fuel your body needs to sustain vital body functions while at rest.

  • Work with you to develop a meal plan that you enjoy and that supports your goals safely and effectively.

  • Discuss your behaviors and emotions relating to food, and possibly collaborate with our behavioral clinicians to help you develop healthier coping mechanisms

  • Offer OPTIFAST®, a medically supervised meal-replacement weight-loss program

  • Provide access to our fitness specialists, to talk about complementing your nutritional plan with exercise 

Make Your Nutrition Appointment Today

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With more than 40-year years of experience in delivering wellness and weight loss programs, the Duke Diet and Fitness Center has established itself as one of the leading weight loss and total body health destinations for health conscious individuals seeking a residential style health program focused on natural weight loss.

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