WARE — As a result of the long, cold, winter season, many people’s diets change and become unbalanced, said Kelly Slattery, registered dietitian and nutrition educator at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital. “Regardless of the time of year, we should all try to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains to maintain and improve overall health.
“Dietitians and health professionals are always recommending people eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, but they can get expensive, especially in the winter months when many varieties need to be imported,” she added. “One of the best nutrition tips out there is to shop seasonal for the best nutritional quality and pricing.”
For example, Slattery went on, “as we get into spring, look for all the fresh greens to start popping up, including asparagus, fiddleheads, chard, lettuce, rhubarb, scallions, and herbs such as mint, parsley, and thyme. Vegetables can go a long way in satisfying your appetite and boosting your intake of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. Most vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates, making them some of the few foods that people without guilt.”
The benefits of healthy eating include increased mental acuteness, resistance to illness and disease, higher energy levels, faster recuperation times, and better management of chronic health problems, noted Slattery, who facilitates a monthly diabetes support group the first Thursday of each month from 6 to 7 p.m. in the hospital’s Main Conference Room on the second floor. “For those with diabetes, healthy diet may just be the best medicine. In fact, a diabetes diet, which is really just an overall healthy diet with portion control, can go beyond helping you achieve blood sugar control.”
At the support group, individuals with diabetes share information, give and receive support, and learn new ways to manage their health, Slattery said. “A diabetes support group is not just for people with diabetes. Caregivers, parents of children with diabetes and partners, siblings, and even friends of people with diabetes are encouraged to get involved and learn about how to care for their loved ones.”
Meetings are open to community members who have diabetes, their families, and anyone who is interested in learning more about diabetes. Registration is not required. For more information, contact Michelle Holmgren, Public Affairs specialist, at (413) 967-2296.