A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Make food count: Focus on food security and quality

World Food Day - food security

Organizations in many communities, as well as Marshfield Clinic Health System, strive to address food security and quality.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations was founded in 1945 and with its focus on food security, it states this goal – freedom from want of food, suitable and adequate for the health and strength of all people – can be reached.

Organizations in many communities, as well as Marshfield Clinic Health System, also strive to address food security, said Chrisanne Urban, a Health System dietitian. “Good nutrition is a social determinant of health, impacting people’s quality of life and their health. We see that impact with our patients every day.”

The Health System supports organizations like food pantries, events to raise awareness of food insecurity and initiatives to provide healthy food for those in need. Health System dietitians like Urban teach patients about nutrition and appropriate foods. The Health System’s Center for Community Health Advancement has installed hydroponic gardens that provide fresh food in schools and communities.

It’s important, then, Urban said, to see what people eat most and what could be incorporated to add nutritional value. Check out the following two lists Urban has shared that include some of the most popular foods and top nutritional foods. Many of the popular foods, she said, can be made to be healthier options, though, to boost their nutrition while cutting calories:

Most popular

Pizza

“Who doesn’t like pizza?” Urban said. Pizza in some form has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years, but thanks to Italians it’s at the top of the list.

Pasta

Pasta is versatile, simple, available and economical. Made of durum wheat, water and sometimes eggs, it’s eaten with many different sauces for flavor.

Hamburger

This staple became popular in the 19th century. Initially served as minced beef, like a steak, its popularity skyrocketed when it was put on a bun.

Soup

Soups could be the most popular foods globally, many made by cooking ingredients, especially vegetables, and flavorings in water.

Salad

Salads incorporate many types of ingredients and are eaten worldwide.

Bread

This most basic food represents civilization and agriculture. Besides wheat, it can be made of corn, barley, rice, millet and amaranth.

Rice

Versatile rice may have fed more people globally than any other type of grain and is part of many types of cuisines.

Eggs

With much nutritional value and versatility, they can be added to other dishes, cooked alone or even eaten raw.

Most nutritious

Spinach

This nutrient-dense green – fresh, frozen or canned – is one of the healthiest of foods, offering lots of energy while low in calories with vitamins A, K and folate. Use it in salads, add to an omelet or saute with onion.

Black beans

Filled with antioxidants, black beans digest slowly and are full of calcium, protein and fiber. Use them in Mexican food or even soups and chili.

Walnuts

With more antioxidants than any other nut, they’re full of vitamin E, rich in plant serums, omega 3 oils and healthy fats.

Beets

This brightly-colored red root vegetable is a great contributor to good health. It’s packed with vitamin C, folate and magnesium so consider putting them in salads either sliced, cubed or grated.

Avocado

Eating just one or two avocados weekly gives all the benefit of healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin B6 and folate. Eat them on toast with salt and pepper or on cheese.

Dark chocolate

Chocolate contains lots of antioxidants. Besides protecting the body from diseases and helping to prevent heart conditions, it naturally enhances mood.

Raspberries

This berry is filled with antioxidants and provides vitamin C, calcium and iron. Put them on cereal or yogurt or eat them by the handful.

Garlic

Garlic inhibits bacteria growth, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and is an anti-inflammatory. It’s used in many dishes from sauces, curries, soups to dressings.

Lemon

This fruit, with strong anti-inflammatory qualities, helps inhibit cancer cell growth, with as much vitamin C as oranges. Use lemon in your beverages to add flavor and nutrition.

Lentils

This legume is high in fiber and protein, tastes good, adds lots of texture to meals and is used as a meat substitute so use them in stews, soups and salads.

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