It’s already March, I can’t believe it! Springtime will be here before we know it. March is a special month for us Dietitians and nutrition professionals, as it is National Nutrition Month! This is the perfect time to encourage all to learn healthy nutrition habits for a lifetime and how to nourish your bodies mindfully. We love taking the complex science of nutrition, and sharing it in simple ways for all to incorporate into their lives!
Here are the key messages we want to encourage you to consider during National Nutrition Month:
1) Discover the benefits of a healthy eating style.
There are so many benefits to eating a nutritious diet! There are plenty of research-based benefits to eating a healthy diet. Eating a variety of real, wholesome foods can make you feel great, and more importantly, decrease your risk of chronic disease.
Here are just a few of the research-backed benefits of eating certain foods and eating a healthy, balanced diet:
- decreased risk of chronic disease
- better energy
-improved athletic performance
- a strong, healthy immune system
- improved digestion
-healthy, balanced gut microbiome
- weight management
-decreased risk of anxiety and depression
-decreased risk of Alzheimers Dementia
& so much more!
2) Choose foods and drinks that are good for your health.
A diet rich in fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy are all health-promoting foods that ideally should be the basis of your diet.
3) Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
As shown on MyPlate, the 5 food groups include: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Include all 5 regularly, and a variety of types in each group! Avoid any fad diets that cut out entire food groups and instead focus on balance and quality.
4) Select healthier options when eating away from home.
It is possible to choose healthier options when eating out! Ideally, we want to eat more meals at home than not, but life certainly happens and we can’t always avoid eating away from home. When going out to eat, try to aim to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, whether with a side salad, baked sweet potato, grilled asparagus, or sliced apples. Avoid fried and cream-based protein options, and opt for heart-healthy plant-based options when available, such as beans, nuts and lentils. Try to fill your plate with as many colors as possible, rather than just one hue of colorless foods (think of the color difference between a salad topped with salmon and strawberries, vs. a meal of fried chicken, french fries, and a roll).
5) Be mindful of portion sizes.
Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
We all have different needs. This is how working with a Registered Dietitian can help. Listen and pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues, and eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed. Working 1-on-1 with an RDN can help you figure out what your body specifically needs to feel its best!
6) Keep it simple. Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated!
Feel overwhelmed with all the nutrition information out there? We like to strip nutrition down to the basics. For a basic way to eat a healthy diet, simply aim to fill your plate with 1/2 fruits and veggies (the more the merrier!), 1/4 with a lean protein (skinless chicken, tofu, fish, eggs…) and 1/4 with a complex carb (such as sweet potato, quinoa, or brown rice). Unsure where to start? Here are some simple tips you can take to make nutrition less complicated: https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/eating-right-isnt-complicated
7) Make food safety part of your everyday routine.
Part of a healthy diet is also ensuring you’re preventing sickness by keeping your foods safe! Always wash your hands before preparing or serving foods, keep cutting boards for raw meats and ready to eat foods separate, and store food appropriately. For more specific food safety tips, head over here: https://www.eatright.org/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/food-poisoning/four-easy-steps
8) Help to reduce food waste by considering the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
Before heading to the grocery store. check your fridge and pantry to see which foods you already have on hand, and build your meals and recipes from there. Also plan a few recipes that utilize a few of the same ingredients to avoid buying too many different ingredients, Utilize your freezer when you have produce or foods that you know won’t get consumed before they go bad – you can freeze spinach, bananas, and berries for smoothies, or soups and meat for to eat at another time. Use leftovers in creative ways: try adding leftover meat to a salad or soup, use leftover veggies as a base for a stir fry, or try a leftover grain (like rice or quinoa) sprinkled on top of a salad.
9) Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
Don’t force yourself to go to the gym if you hate it. Find what types of exercise bring you joy! Think back to your childhood, what did you like to do as a kid? Bike ride? Swim? Dance? Finding a way to get active that is enjoyable to you will ensure you fit it into your schedule.
10) Consult the nutrition experts.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (our staff hold this credential!) can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs. Book your nutrition consult with our RDN today!