The St. Louis Arc’s Director of Nutrition Services, Katharine Rug, shares tips to help us stay healthy through the month of April.

March was quite a month, filled with new challenges and changes for many of us. Though National Nutrition Month took a bit of a backseat in March, I would like to take the time to share a few helpful nutrition tips and resources as we start April! First and foremost, health as it relates to nutrition starts with three basic principles; proper hydration, adequate food intake, and physical activity. I’ve broken down each of these principles and provided online resources for you and your family to explore.


  • Each individual is unique and has different hydration requirements based on physical activity, age, and anthropometric measurements.
  • 64 oz of fluid each day provides adequate hydration to majority of the population (64 oz=8, 8 cups of fluid per day)
  • All fluids provide some level of hydration, however the most healthful fluid to consume is water.
  • Getting adequate fluid intake can be challenging for some here are a few tips:
    • Stick to a schedule, offering fluids ever 1-2 hours throughout the waking hours of the day.
    • Be a role model, if you are prompting a loved one or someone you support to drink make sure you are exhibiting the behavior you want to see.
    • Make fluids fun, purchase or decorate special cups or water bottles, add drinking water to games like Uno (every blue card the group has to take a drink), and provide individualized reinforcement when drinking occurs.

Food Intake

  • Similar to hydration, each person has specific calorie needs based on height, weight, age, activity level, and medical history.
  • 1500-2000 calories/day is the recommendation for average men and women in the United States. Learn the average calorie needs across the age spectrum.
  • Calories are not the end all be all of nutrition. Eating a balanced and health-centered diet is the best way to promote optimal health.
  • MyPlate is our standard for balanced, health-centered diets in the United States. MyPlate also has tons of resources including videos, quizzes, and printouts for all ages!
  • If caring for children, I always encourage parents and caregivers to review Ellyn Satter’s work on feeding throughout the lifespan. Her work describes the division of responsibility between parents and children, as well as nutrition principles for children and adolescents.
  • Consuming vegetables can be one of the most challenging pieces of healthful nutrition. Here are a few tips and tricks:
    • Incorporate your loved ones or the individuals you support into the cooking process.
    • Add vegetables to sauces, casseroles, and other favorite dishes that may increase acceptance of the veggie. Here are 4 Veggie Packed Recipes!
  • As always, be a role model! If you want your loved one or the individual you support to eat and enjoy vegetables, make sure to eat your greens and express how yummy they are!
  • Plant a garden! Don’t have space, try planting in pots. Individuals who engage in growing their own food have increased intake of fruits and vegetables. Gardening is also a serious stress reliever and physical activity for individuals of all ages.
  • One primary barrier to healthy eating and adequate food intake is budget! Here are a few resources for eating healthy on a budget.

Physical Activity

  • Recommended Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
    • Children and adolescents should have 60 minutes (1 hour) of physical activity daily.
    • Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours, 30 minutes) of physical activity each week.
    • Seniors (65 years +) should follow the adult guidelines to the best of their abilities and what their health conditions will allow.
  • Physical activity takes a variety of shapes! Anything from walking to running, doing chores to gardening, as well as dancing, yoga, and stretching. Click the link above for additional resources or check out some of my favorite Youtube channels and activities.

I hope this has provided just a few resources for you and your family to explore. Continue to watch for St. Louis Arc emails and updates to our Facebook page for information regarding nutrition and health resources!

Katharine Rug MS, RD, LD

Director of Nutrition Services


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