By: Marianne Smith-Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA Date: 3/1/10
March is here…a time that reminds us that spring is around the corner and it’s National Nutrition Month® as designated by the American Dietetic Association. During March, take the time to dust off those 2010 healthy eating resolutions and begin anew! This year’s theme, “Nutrition from the Ground Up” reminds everyone that an easy way to focus on eating better is to start with the basics: build your nutritional health from the ground up. We all know that a healthful diet means choosing more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy, but the thought of a complete diet overhaul is a daunting task at time! So where do we begin?
Start small: First, refresh your memory about the servings of each the foods required for a healthy diet. Visit the www.mypyramid.gov., www.eatright.org, or www.foodinsight.org for guidance. Remember changes can be in small increments….and even small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Evaluate your current diet: Be honest with yourself and count the amount of fruits and vegetables as well as dairy in your current diet…and you’ll probably realize that you’re not eating enough. Think about adding fresh fruit or yogurt for a snack or at lunch or breakfast. And you can add vegetables simply by adding a salad to your meal or incorporating vegetables into other dishes, like pastas or pizzas!
Make calories count: Often we think if we eat healthy, we will consume less food, but often it’s the reverse. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meats, and whole grains give us volume for the calories! Also, think color…the brighter the color (especially fruits and vegetables), the more vitamins and nutrients you receive in every bite!
Expand your horizons: A healthy eating plan starts with the basics, but within each of these food categories, there are always new foods waiting for you to taste! Try a fish you’ve never eaten before or find a new vegetable recipe. By experimenting, you might find new healthy favorites to add to your regular diet.
Treat yourself guilt-free: Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t have something sweet, just combine sweetness with goodness. Think fruit and yogurt for dessert or trail mix or nuts for an afternoon snack. We can still enjoy the taste and pleasures of food and eat healthy!
Check back here throughout the month of March and beyond as our Registered Dietitians will dive deeper into some of these topics and help you acheive a healthful diet. Here’s to your health!