National Nutrition Month: Fuel for the Future

by Janel Arbon, RDN

March is National Nutrition month! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics invites everyone to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits. 


How should you build a healthy meal and fuel your body? We read a million things online about what is healthy and what is not, and all the information seems contradictory. However, building a healthy meal really is simple! The following are some easy steps from Janel Arbon, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Moab Regional Hospital, to start eating healthy.


First off is portion control. Controlling your portions and the amount of food you eat is essential to developing healthy eating habits. Start with a nine or 10-inch plate to help you watch your serving sizes. By managing your calorie intake, you can prevent over-eating and gaining weight.


The second is vegetables! Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables; these could be raw or cooked! You might try steamed broccoli and carrots or a spinach salad with bell peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Instead of using heavy store-bought salad dressings, add a squeeze of lemon or lime or add vinegar and olive oil to your salads. Non-starchy vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals, low in calories (to help you maintain weight), and high in fiber, so they are filling and helpful to your digestive system!  


Third, find a healthy protein to make up ¼ of the plate. Choose a lean source of protein, which can be plant-based (tofu) or animal based. Lean animal proteins include skinless chicken or turkey (breast or white meat preferred), fish, pork loin, 90% lean beef, or eggs. The way you prepare your protein makes a difference. Baking or grilling are preferred cooking methods over deep frying or frying. Proteins are made of building blocks called amino acids; these amino acids help build and repair muscles and bones and help produce hormones and enzymes, all while providing energy for you!


Fourth, add a carbohydrate or starchy food for the other ¼ part of your plate. When choosing carbohydrates, it is best to choose a whole grain. 

Examples are brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole wheat roll, sweet potato, etc. Whole grains provide more essential nutrients that your body needs. Carbohydrates also provide the body with glucose, which converts to energy to help support your physical activity. Carbohydrates are typically your primary energy source.


Fifth, add some dairy. Low-fat dairy sources include an eight-ounce glass of skim or 1% milk, soy milk, and fat-free or low-fat yogurt. These choices provide you with calcium, which promotes healthy bones and teeth! Calcium also plays a role in blood clotting, muscle contractions, heart rhythms, and nerve functions.  


Sixth, add some fresh fruit for dessert. Fruit provides essential vitamins to your diet and is full of water which helps you stay hydrated. Fruit also has antioxidants, which help slow the aging process and reduce your risk for cancer. Fruit is also high in fiber, preventing constipation and lowering your risk for heart disease.  


Compliment your meal with a beverage by choosing water or a non-caloric drink. Choosing something non-caloric will keep you from getting unnecessary empty calories.  


Lastly, avoid extra fat. Monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, avocados, and nuts) are healthier fat choices. They should be used over other high-fat foods. High-fat foods increase cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart-related illnesses. Don’t use heavy gravies or sauces that add to your calorie and fat intake. Eating steamed broccoli is great, but topping it with a lot of cheese sauce makes it much less healthy. Instead, try sprinkling the broccoli with a bit of parmesan cheese. It is still delicious but doesn’t have excessive calories.


These steps will aid in creating a healthy eating routine. Moab Regional Hospital’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Janel Arbon, can help you develop healthy habits that are sustainable and unique to your health needs. To make an appointment with Janel, ask your primary care provider for a referral.

Grief & The Holidays

Written by Antje Rath, CMHC

Why is this time of year so difficult for me?

Grief is a difficult thing to experience at any time of year. The holidays, however, can compound that grief in profound ways. While there is no cure for grief, there are some things that can be done to help ease your pain, perhaps helping to make this holiday season just a little bit brighter.

During the holidays we are inundated with messages that this time of year is supposed to be filled with joy, spent with friends and family, free of conflict, and filled with laughter. Those expectations are hard to fulfill, even under the best circumstances, harder still, when we are struggling with grief. We just might not look forward to the season, to family gatherings, to office parties, and to everything else that comes with it.  Grief can keep us from joy.

For those who have lost a loved one, the holidays, with its focus on togetherness and joy, can cause us to miss our loved one even more than usual. Traditions from past years can suddenly feel meaningless or bring up painful memories and sadness. We don’t want to feel like a burden or spoil the season for others, so we might tend to keep our feelings inside. However, if we try to pretend or go through the motions for the sake of others, we often feel worse.

What are some ways we can take care of ourselves and find some peace in this difficult time?

Particularly when we are feeling down and vulnerable, it is important to “cover the basics.” Drinking enough water, eating a balanced diet, exercising, sleeping enough, and avoiding overindulging in alcohol or drugs are a necessary foundation for well-being. Reaching out for support is difficult for many people yet so valuable. People generally want to be helpful but they don’t always know how. Friends and family members might appreciate it if we reach out to them, asking for company while trimming the tree, suggesting to share cooking duties, or just requesting a hug or a listening ear.

If we don’t feel like socializing at all, it is okay to spend some time by ourselves, maybe watching a movie, taking a bubble bath, or meditating. If we find comfort in rituals and traditions, there is nothing wrong with keeping them. However, if they are more painful than helpful, it is absolutely okay to change them. The most important part is to listen to ourselves and to communicate with others around us about wishes, emotions, and expectations. Alone or in company, we can find ways to honor our feelings and the memory of our loved one, for example by lighting a candle at the dinner table, sharing memories, creating new traditions, or donating to a non-profit in our loved one’s name.

Social media can be helpful as well as hurtful during this time. Sharing, receiving support, and being validated can be immensely comforting. And it might be a lot easier to reach out on Facebook or Instagram than in person. However, being confronted with other people’s happy online “reality” or receiving negative responses can be quite distressing. Practicing good self-care and boundaries is as important in this context as everywhere else.

Another way to find some joy in the holidays, although maybe not at first, is to reach out to others in need. After experiencing grief ourselves, it is often easier to comfort someone in a similar situation. We can be the compassionate listener for them just as somebody else was for us at first. We can validate their feelings because we have felt them – or are still feeling them – as well. In addition to reaching out to individuals, we might also consider donating our time to churches or non-profits to connect with our community during the holidays. While COVID has made that a little more challenging, there are still many opportunities to contribute in rewarding ways.

For many people, the holiday season is about spoiling their loved ones in the best sense of the word. And of course, that is much easier to do if you feel good yourself. In order to feel good, you need to take care of your health, both physically and emotionally, so you can extend love to others. Being kind to yourself, making yourself a priority, is not selfish. It is necessary to be able to continue taking care of others and finding comfort during this difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support, either to friends and family, or to a professional, like a pastor, a therapist, or anybody else you trust.

Wishing you peaceful holidays. 

Antje Rath, CMHCAntje Rath is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor at Moab Regional Hospital. She leads a Grief Support Group on the first and third Wednesday of each month. To register, call 435-719-5563 or