Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center - Richmond, VA
Going Further with Food
March is National Nutrition Month. VA is celebrating by finding ways for Veterans to “Go Further with Food.” This campaign is centered around maximizing nutritional value in food while eliminating waste.
Ka Wong, a registered dietitian at McGuire VA Medical Center, says it’s important to reconnect with whole food and avoid processed foods. An effective way to create that connection is to cook your own food.
“The lack of connection and relationship with our food creates a void,” she explained. “To fill that void, we eat more.”
Wong said choosing, cooking, cutting, and preparing your own food is a great way to renew a relationship with the food you eat.
“Let’s get back to connecting with food again to get what nature offers,” she said.
Processed foods tend to be more fatty, salty, and sweet. Wong says this overstimulation of taste buds sensations can lead to feelings of addiction to certain types of food. Wong says the best way to combat that is to cook your own food and avoid processed foods.
“Cooking regulates your eating interaction with food,” Wong said.
She recommends filling up on non-starchy vegetables. They help by making you feel full, lowering blood pressure, and assists in weight management.
“If I had to tell people one thing, it would be to eat more vegetables,” she said.
Wong recommends an “80/20” healthy eating plan, which involves at least 80 percent healthy meals, and up to 20 percent meals with processed or unhealthy foods.
“It lets you win 80 percent of the time,” she said.
Wong held a Lunch & Learn session on Friday, March 2, entitled “Healthy Eating at Home and Away.” This was one of two nutrition-focused Lunch & Learn events at McGuire this March. The other, presented by registered dietitian Victoria Tate, focused on sports nutrition.