Megan Norwood, a clinical dietitian from Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, discusses the My Plate model for a healthy diet.

Jen Morgan | Herald

Natalie Wendele, a middle-school teacher from Harker Heights, is health conscious, and wants to learn new techniques for stress relief, “whether it’s yoga or other ways to relax.”

She attended a nutrition class Tuesday night at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Library to expand her health horizons.

Megan Norwood, clinical dietitian at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, led the second class in the Stress to Strength series.

Norwood, a dietitian for six years, brought her education and practical knowledge, and added fun to the learning.

“Nutrition is simple,” she said.

Starting with protein, lean meat is better than marbled meat, even though the fat in marbled meat is what gives it flavor and moisture.

“You can cook in other ways to make it moist, adding broth or vegetables,” Norwood said.

Eggs, while a near complete, nutritional food, are high in cholesterol, which may be a factor in heart disease. The yolk, where all the cholesterol is, also contains all the nutrition.

“That’s the good part of the egg,” she said. “You just want to keep it in moderation.”

Exhibiting a Choose My Plate diagram with sections for fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy, Norwood said it was the new format for food groups and portion sizes.

She further illustrated portion sizes with a CD case for bread, two dice for cheese, a nickel for pasta and a pack of playing cards for meat.

Norwood touched on antioxidants, organic foods and probiotics.

While emphasizing moderation and balance as the best way to eat healthy, she said it was just as important to eat smart by reading labels. As an example, salad dressing is all fat, so what is being added back in to a low-fat dressing? Test tubes of the fat, sugar and salt contents in several foods were compared with each other, and with the recommended allowances.

“She was down to earth with suggestions,” Wendele said. “It is reassuring to know how easy it is to eat healthy.”

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