This month Jenna, Katie and I are sharing ideas about National Nutrition Month. For even more information, please visit the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics website.
Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few tips to Savor the Flavor, and to help you get back on track with your nutrition goals:
- Emphasize fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products. (There may be room for full-fat dairy in some diets – ask me if you have questions about this!)
- Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, or nuts every day. Try to include a source of protein at every meal and some snacks.
- Read nutrition labels and choose foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
- Added sugars can be confusing – this does not include the natural sugars found in fruit and yogurt. Fruit and yogurt provide us with important vitamins and minerals so it’s great if you include these foods in your diet!
Make Your Calories Count & Think Nutrient-Rich Rather Than “Good” Or “Bad” Foods
When we label foods as ‘good,’ ‘bad,’ ‘fattening,’ or even ‘healthy’ it shifts our focus from providing our bodies with a source of fuel and nutrition to a focus more centered on our body image. Listen to your body and think of how the food you provide it makes you feel.
Choosing foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients can help you to stay healthy, manage your weight (gaining or losing), and have the energy to stay physically active. Remember to limit your use the words ‘should’ or ‘sorry’ and try not to place blame around nutrition, exercise, and your body.
Focus On Variety
Fuel your body by eating a variety of foods from all the food groups to ensure a balanced diet and adequate nutrition. Balanced nutritional choices do not need to be about restrictions and limitations.
- Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, frozen, or canned.
- Include more dark, green vegetables like leafy greens and broccoli.
- Try orange veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes.
- Vary your protein choices with more fish, beans, and peas.
- Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta each day. Whole grains provide our body with energy in the form of glycogen – we need this to maintain our energy and fuel our bodies!
Know Your Fats
Look for foods low in saturated fats and trans fats to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Avocados, olives, fish, nuts and seeds are all sources of healthy fats. Check the Nutrition Facts label for total fat and saturated fat content – mono and polyunsaturated fats are healthier choices!
Even health care clinicians can get off track with new habits. March and National Nutrition Month can help us all reset and keep up with our new 2016 habits. With spring nearly here, we hope these steps can help resurrect any New Year’s nutrition intentions (or resolutions) that may have gone by the wayside.