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Eat, sleep, walk: March offers expanded health options as National Nutrition Month

The days are getting longer, and the price of produce has been dropping. Spring is almost here.

March is also National Nutrition Month, and with some changes taking place at Monongalia County Health Department’s Women, Infants, and Children  program, we’re ready to embrace the warmer weather and the bounty of produce it will bring.

One of the changes that has been in the works for several months and was recently unveiled — a brand new kitchen in the MCHD WIC building in Morgantown — will allow our staff to not only create healthy dishes, but to make videos to post so any of our social media followers can test the recipes out at home.

“This is a really exciting project that will give not only our clients but also the entire community step-by-step instructions on how to turn ingredients into tasty meals,” said Cami Haught, MCHD WIC’s new program manager who came on board last fall. “This can lead to families eating not only more nutritiously, but it also can help them stay on budget.”

Haught majored in Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis on nutrition at West Virginia University, so obviously, she’s going to be an advocate for eating right. Plus, it’s a major component of services at MCHD WIC, a federally-funded nutrition assistance program that provides counseling and food packages for participants who qualify. Breastfeeding support is WIC’s other primary focus.

But while nutrition isn’t the sexiest topic, everybody’s gotta eat. And even Haught enjoys pizza and burgers occasionally. “It’s finding a good balance,” she said. “You don’t want to eat those every day. It’s trying to incorporate fruits and vegetables and also having your treats.”

Plus, who says fruits and vegetables have to be boring? A recent video on MCHD WIC’s Facebook page, @MCHDWIC, shows how to make Chocolate Fruit Dip to pair with strawberries and bananas, or any other fruit you might desire.

MCHD WIC will be filming and posting recipes year-round, but it’s also a great way to celebrate National Nutrition Month, which is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Like anything else, improving your nutrition can be broken down into steps that you can begin to incorporate into your life. Sweeping changes aren’t necessary. Choose an apple or grapes as a snack instead of a doughnut. Drink more water. Plan meals ahead of time to help keep you from running out for fast food.

And you know what pairs well with eating right? Exercise. So maybe take the steps instead of the elevator or, with better weather upon us, go out and take a walk.

When you begin to feel better, that might be motivation enough to make additional changes.

And because today actually kicks off Sleep Awareness Week (perhaps on a day you fell short because of Daylight Savings Time), don’t forget that getting seven-plus hours in each 24-hour period is the third component to good health.

Here are some websites that will give you additional ideas and tips for healthier eating and sleeping: and

One great tip for better eating that has nothing to do with what food you choose: Eat without distractions and take the time to enjoy your food. This is an important way to feel satiated and avoid overeating and other tummy troubles that can ensue if you just gobble your food.

Another tip is to not only keep up with MCHD WIC’s Facebook page, which will feature videos of the dishes we create, but also check out a new monthly feature in The Dominion Post, WIC Kitchen, which will provide some background on the dishes as well as recipes.

Happy (and healthy) eating!

Email Mary Wade Burnside at