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Easy Nutrition Guidance: Understanding the SAGE Spotlight Program®

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Navigating nutrition information is a lifelong skill. In an increasingly fast-paced world with seemingly endless information, it can sometimes be tricky to sort through all our choices and understand what’s best for our nutrition.

We created the SAGE Spotlight Program® to guide community members on building nutritionally balanced plates and encourage practicing variety, balance, and moderation.

Aligning with our All Foods Fit nutrition philosophy, the SAGE Spotlight Program® focuses on balancing nutrition guidance with fostering a positive relationship with food. We want to remind our communities that all foods can have a place on their plates because we eat many different foods for many different reasons.

Our Registered Dietitians assign each menu item a color based on its nutrient density. Nutrient density is the comparison of nutrients that are recommended we eat more to those recommended we limit. Foods higher in nutrient density contain more of the nutrition the body needs to function.

To calculate the nutrient density of a food item, our Dietitians use a formula that’s based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and aligns with Canada’s Dietary Guidelines. Our formula considers the following nutrients: calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D, iron, saturated fat, added sugar, and sodium.

We use three shades of green to identify the nutrient density of each menu item:

  • Dark green: foods higher in nutrient density.
  • Medium green: foods moderate in nutrient density.
  • Light green: foods lower in nutrient density.

When you look at your menu or the food item signs on the serving line in your dining hall, you’ll see green dots — these are called Spotlights. You can use the Spotlights to help you determine the nutrient density of a menu item when building your plate. Choose foods you enjoy while practicing variety, balance, and moderation!

For more information about our program, check out this video or talk to your SAGE Manager. And look out for the SAGE Spotlight Program® poster and other information in your dining hall!

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