March has arrive and that means it is National Nutrition Month! This is the month where all of us in the dietetics field celebrate eating healthy and encourage people to put their Best Fork Forward!
So I really like the theme this year ... Put your Best Fork Forward. I think that this hits home the message and we need to select healthy foods to put in our mouths. It starts with each bite that we take. I am guilty to totally choosing to eat too much cereal and not enough vegetables. When life is crazy (and it is now) it is way easier at times to grab the cereal box, versus grabbing some carrots out of the refrigerator. I have been trying to balance the hecticness of life and planning ahead to have healthy meals during the week.
- Aim for a variety of foods in your diet. Variety is defined as a diverse assortment of foods and beverages across and within all food groups. These foods should be selected to fulfill the recommended nutrients you need each day without exceeding the limits for calories and other dietary components. So this means that all foods are far game, but we want you to select healthy foods most of the time. Definitely balance with a sweet treat or beverage every once in awhile, but everything in moderation.
- Plan meals that include different colored vegetables through the week.
- Experiement with different vegetables when preparing healthy soups or salad.
- Choose vegetables that are in season, whenever possible.
- Pack of variety of different colored fruit as snakcs.
- Enjoy fruit in place of sweets for dessert.
- Try choosing whole grain options - such as brown rice in place of white rice.
- Look for cereals and snacks that use whole grain flours.
- Substitute plant-based proteins in new recipes.
- Experiment with seafood by grilling and baking fish in place of other protein options for dinner 1-2 nights/week.
- Give sweetened plain, low fat yogurt a try with different fruits/whole grain cereals.
- Make smoothies with fruit and yogurt.
- Watch out for the sodium hidden in foods. This can be challenging, especially if you are eating out a lot. Take the time and try to prepare some meals at home and use less salt. Making some small changes can have a huge impact on your heart health.
- Use the nutrition label to look at the sodium in food and compare with other options.
- Try purchasing lower sodium versions of food items.
- Flavor foods with other spices in place of just adding salt.
Enjoy this month and take the time to think about what you are putting on your plate and ultimately on your fork!