Spring into Better Nutrition

farmers market

March is National Nutrition Month – the perfect time to reflect on your diet and focus on the benefits of eating healthy, fresh and balanced meals.  It is important to recognize that eating healthy is not just about counting calories or following crazy diets that make you eliminate one or more of the important food groups – but it is about eating a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low fat dairy and healthy fats. 

By adding each of these into your daily meals, you will hit the nutritional jackpot – ensuring that you receive all of the daily vitamins and minerals your body needs to feel good, boost energy levels and maintain weight.  Don’t worry; we aren’t going to tell you to get rid of your favorites altogether but to focus more on eating them only 20% of the time.  As Bob Wright says  – choose your foods with ‘unwise, better, best’ in mind.

bob unwise better best

Here are a few tips:

– This year’s theme is to ‘Eat the Rainbow’.  Eating a colorful mix of fruits and vegetables daily provides the variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals you need to stay healthy and fit. 

– When choosing processed foods (foods in a can or box) – make sure to read the ingredient list.  Choose foods with an ingredient list you can pronounce and try to stay within five ingredients, maximum!  Processed foods are typically high in sodium and sugars.

– Read the label.  Don’t just focus on calories – but make sure to take note of the fats (eliminate trans and lower saturated), carbohydrates, protein, fiber and sugar.

– Small substitutions make a big difference.  Instead of ground beef, try ground turkey breast, ground chicken breast or even soy crumbles.  Instead of whole milk, try 1% or skim.  You know from H3, ‘the whole milk to skim transition.’

– Visit the farmer’s market!  It’s a great place to find fresh, local and inexpensive fruits and veggies in season.

– Eat your meals at home.  Not only will you have control of the quality and quantity – but you will also save money!  Eating dinner as a family gives you a chance to share information and news of the day and spend time with one another.  It has been shown that children of families who eat together perform better at school, as well as are less likely to be overweight.  Family meals (and even with friends) promote happy feelings of security and love, as well as a sense of belonging. 

Now it’s time to Rate Your Plate!  Take this quiz from the American Dietetic Association to see if your plate stacks up!


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