It’s National Nutrition Month! Celebrate with a Mediterranean Diet

Each March, Passport to a Healthy Me! celebrates National Nutrition Month at AHS. In years past, we’ve partnered with Health Education to provide healthy samples and recipes in the cafeteria, done healthy potlucks, and encouraged folks to eat healthy through positive messaging.

This year, the AHS cafeteria staff is getting involved, and they’re doing amazing things with the menu!


Check out this awesome display in the Fairmont Cafeteria featuring the healthy fats in fish and nuts!

For each week of the month of March, the cafeteria is offering cuisine from a different Mediterranean country.

  • Week 1: Greece
  • Week 2: Italy
  • Week 3: Spain
  • Week 4: Morocco

The folks in dietary services are also offering lunch and learns in the Fairmont Cafeteria at the following times as well:

  • Session one:  By Haley Smart, MS. RD. from 12:00 PM-12:25 PM
  • Session two: By Cie Perez, RD, from 12:30 PM-12:55 PM
  • Session three: By Marina Ortaliz, RD 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM

What’s so great about a Mediterranean Diet?

It’s pretty well-established at this point among main-stream health professionals that the Mediterranean diet is special. It’s associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

The Mediterranean diet is not a diet of deprivation — you are encouraged to have an occasional glass of red wine (although we won’t be serving wine in the hospital cafeterias, unfortunately!), use olive oil in your salads and light cooking, and eat as many vegetables as you’d like — in fact, the Mediterranean diet encourages you to base your meals around vegetables, whole  grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruit, rather than around the meat on your plate.

There’s also an emphasis on seafood and poultry as the main source of protein instead of other land-animals.

So why is eating this way associated with all these wonderful health benefits?

In one word: Inflammation

There’s not enough space in the blogosphere to emphasize the role of inflammation in the chronic diseases I listed above. The Mediterranean diet can tone down inflammation in the body through healthy Omega 3 fats found in fish and certain nuts and seeds, the reduction of red meats, and the wonderful antioxidants and phytonutrients found in the colorful fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices included in the diet.

Following a diet that’s rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as the Mediterranean diet is among the best changes you can make to stave off the chronic conditions that are plaguing so many in our country today.

If you’re interested in reading more about how inflammation is implicated in heart disease, obesity, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic illnesses, have a look at the following sites:

Obesity and Heart Disease





Healthy Recipe provided by the AHS Cafeteria Staff – Chicken Kabobs

This recipe includes mint, which has a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
Enjoy it! It’s Greek Week!


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