Happy National Nutrition Month

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Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates nutrition through a comprehensive health, nutrition and wellness program. This year, the theme is Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle. The goal is to teach informed decision making, sound eating habits, and promote physical activity. Here are some tips for a healthier lifestyle and a healthier you.

1. Eat Breakfast. Make sure to include lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try oatmeal cooked with low fat milk and topped with sliced almonds and berries, or try a toaster waffle topped with low-fat yogurt and fruit.

2. Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for color, flavor and texture. The different colors provide different vitamins and minerals. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.

3. Watch Portion Sizes. Use measuring cups to portion out your food to help avoid overeating. Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables and leave the other half for grains and protein. Complete your meal with a glass of fat-free or low-fat milk, or a serving of low-fat yogurt for dessert.

4. Fix Healthy Snacks. Snacks can help to keep up your energy level between meals. When possible, try to incorporate combination snacks into your daily routine. Choose food items wisely to include two or more of your food groups for each snack. Try carrot sticks dipped in hummus, a banana dipped in peanut butter, a 6-inch tortilla with ¼ cup of black beans and topped with salsa or ½ an English muffin topped with 1 Tbsp low fat cream cheese and a variety of vegetables.

5. Be Active. Physical activity helps to lower blood pressure, control stress and your body weight. Adults should get 2 ½ hours of physical exercise per week. You don’t have to hit the gym, instead take a walk after dinner or play a game of catch with your kids. I challenge you to take the stairs at work this month instead of the elevator! Every minute counts!

6. Drink More Water. Drink water instead of sugary drinks like juice or soda. The empty calories from these food items add up quickly and can help pack on the pounds. I hope these tips help you to jumpstart your “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” for this month.

Melissa Meyer, Registered Dietitian