National Nutrition Month Is A Good Time For A Lifestyle Check

It’s March, and that means National Nutrition Month®! Each year in March, the American Dietetic Association sponsors this annual nutrition campaign. National Nutrition Month® is designed to bring attention and public awareness to the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

This year’s theme is Nutrition From the Ground Up.  There are several key messages for National Nutrition Month® 2010.

Start with the basics. Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and nuts. A healthy eating plan is also low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.

1. Make calories count by thinking nutrient-rich rather than “good” or “bad” foods.  Most food choices should be packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients-and lower in calories.  Be aware of portion sizes. Even low-calorie foods can add up when portions are larger than you need.

2. Focus on variety by eating a variety of foods from all the food groups.  Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, canned or frozen. Look for locally grown produce that’s in season. Vary protein choices with more fish, beans and peas. Include at least three servings of whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day.

3. Make the most of family mealtime.  Eating meals together provides the opportunity to help children develop a healthy attitude toward food. It also enables parents to serve as role models, introduce new foods and establish a regular meal schedule.

4. Balancing physical activity and a healthful diet is your best recipe for managing weight and promoting overall health and fitness.  Set a goal to be physically active at least 30 minutes every day.

5. Incorporate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy into your diet with some of these tasty ideas:

  • Try topping a pizza with peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, zucchini or pineapple
  • Serve whole grain waffles, pancakes, or French toast with fruits such as berries, apples or peaches
  • Whip up a smoothie for breakfast or a snack using a variety of ingredients including low-fat milk or yogurt, frozen fruit and 100% juice
  • Roll up roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese in a whole-grain tortilla for a healthy veggie wrap
  • Top a baked potato with salsa, broccoli and low-fat cheese or beans
  • Heat up a cup of tomato or vegetable soup for a quick afternoon snack
  • Incorporate chopped or grated vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, or spinach into main dishes like lasagna or meatloaf
  • Stock your fridge with fresh and ready to eat fruits and vegetables so you always have a quick and healthy snack or side dish on hand

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for March 10th. This is Registered Dietitian Day. Also created by the American Dietetic Association (ADA), Registered Dietitian Day is meant to remind the public that registered dietitians are the best source of accurate, practical and affordable nutrition information. 

The ADA promotes this day to recognize the registered dietitian (RD) in their commitment to helping individual’s live healthier lives and reminds the public that registered dietitians are the essential source for food and nutrition services. 

For more information, visit www.eatright.org.

Read other articles by Beth

Meet Our Dietitian

At Owensboro Health, you’ll get nutrition counseling from a registered nutritionist — an expert in medical nutrition therapy. Beth Cecil, RDN, LD (right), is certified in food allergy management and is a Lifestyle Coach for the Diabetes Prevention Program. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Management, so you can trust her to care for your or your loved one’s specialized needs.