MARCH…NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH
National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating habits. Registered Dietitian Day is also celebrated in March to increase awareness of registered dietitians as providers of food and nutrition services and for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthier lives.
Eating healthier does not have to be complicated. It is important to remember that eating healthier is a process, a lifestyle change, a family affair that does not happen overnight. Eating healthier is about gradually making positive changes over time. It involves setting goals, making and sticking to a commitment, and not beating yourself up when you have an occasional slip up. As a matter of fact it’s not about eating perfect all the time. It’s all right to occasionally drink a soda, eat a burger and fries at a fast food restaurant, or eat your favorite candy bar. The key is to limit your intake of unhealthy foods to occasionally, NOT every day.
Start with a few healthy eating tips:
- Eat Breakfast
Start each morning with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and/or vegetables. Skip the honey bun and instead try making a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, low-fat cheese, salsa and a whole wheat tortilla.
- Fill Your Plate With Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Include different types in your diet such as fresh, frozen and canned. When purchasing canned vegetables; chose “reduced sodium” or “no-salt-added”. Sorry but French fries are NOT a vegetable! Select a variety of dark-green, red and orange vegetables.
- Watch Portion Sizes
Portion control is the key to controlling your intake of calories and managing your weight. Our “super size” society has grown accustomed to large portions and no longer aware of what a “normal” serving size looks like. Get out your measuring cups and see how close your portions match up to the recommended serving size.
- Drink More Water
Quench your thirst by drinking water instead of drinks loaded with sugar. Most individuals are surprised to learn how much sugar is actually in soda. A 64-oz fountain soda contains approximately 744 calories and 192 grams of sugar. That is equivalent to 50 teaspoons of sugar! The next time you are tempted to drink “liquid sugar” choose water instead.
- Enjoy More Family Mealtime
Making eating together as a family a priority in your home. Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week. Turn off the TV, cell phones and all other electronic devices to encourage mealtime conversation. Get your kids involved in meal planning and cooking. Also use this time to teach them about good nutrition.
For additional food and nutrition information visit www.eatright.org
Submitted by Elizabeth Sauls, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.