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LSU AgCenter nutrition agent Katie Guedry presents nutrition information to personnel at the Opelousas General Hospital during a lunch-and-learn session on nutrition. (Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter)

Nutrition lunch and learn offered at Opelousas General Hospital

By Johnny Morgan
OPELOUSAS — Medical personnel heard the basics of healthful eating and managing their weight during a recent lunch-hour presentation at Opelousas General Hospital.
LSU AgCenter nutrition agent Katie Guedry provides the information during two 30-minute sessions once a month in St. Landry Parish.
“We started this program in January and have the employees bring their lunch and receive information on improving their health,” she said.
The goal is to show people how to control portions to reach a healthy weight and keep it off, she said.
Another goal of her program is to get people to stop dieting and to embrace lifestyle changes instead.
“If you go to that birthday party, sure you can have a piece of cake. But do you need to have cake and ice cream? And what about that cookie you were thinking about reaching for?” she said.
Guedry told the groups that they need to remember when they go on a diet, what they do is disrupt their normal eating patterns.
“So basically, like a child, you should eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full,” she said.
Many people also make the mistake of labeling food as good or bad, and that can be a big mistake.
“If I say fruit, you might say ‘good food.’ And if I say a shrimp po’boy with french fries, ‘Oh no, that’s bad,’ ” Guedry said. “But really, you can have all of that. It just depends on how much you’re taking in.”
The key is to make a healthier choice if you can. But if you can’t, just modify that portion size, she said.
Pamela Ledet, unit secretary and nursing assistant, said she came to the session to learn about more ways to eat healthy.
“Even though I work in the hospital, there are still things that I don’t know. So I came today to learn some more tips,” Ledet said.
Ledet said she understands what it takes to lose weight, but finding the time to do it is often her issue.
Guedry said this lunch and learn is just one of a number of nutrition programs that she presents in the areas she serves for the AgCenter.
As Guedry completed the session, she told the attendees about other nutrition programs she can present if there is enough interest.
Those programs include Smart Portions, Dining with Diabetes, and Small Changes and Healthy Habits.
“My last tip to tie the program together is that we all need to get more active,” she said.
Guedry hopes to expand the program to make it more available in the community as well as in the hospital.
“Just remember — before starting any new exercise program, make sure you consult your doctor first,” she said.

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