National Nutrition Month Kicks Off Today!
Many months have a special spin on them to highlight a cause, but we’re partial to National Nutrition Month®, which kicks off today! An annual nutrition and education campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), this year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape.”
It is intended to compliment the My Plate visual USDA put out last year and reminds you to think about what and how much foods goes on your plate or in your bowl and reminds you to include foods from all the food groups throughout the day.
Here are a few ways to “Get Your Plate in Shape” from the food and nutrition experts at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
· Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables: Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange varieties. Add fresh, dried, frozen or canned fruits to meals and snacks.
· Make at least half your grains whole: Choose 100 percent whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.
· Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk: Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. For those who are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.
· Vary your protein choices: Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs. Keep meat and poultry portions small and lean. And be sure to choose seafood as the protein at least twice a week.
· Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars: Compare sodium in foods and choose those with lower numbers, and season your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt. Switch from solid fats to healthy oils like olive and canola oil. Replace sugary drinks with water and choose fruit for dessert.
· Enjoy your foods but eat less: Avoid oversized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl and glass. Cook more often at home where you are in control of what’s in your food. When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options.
· Be physically active your way: Adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of physical activity every week. Choose activities that you enjoy, and start by doing as much as you can.
There are lots of resources online at www.eatright.org/nnm, and in January, AHA shared ideas about how schools and organizations serving youth can highlight healthy eating.
During the last week of March, AHA is celebrating with a simple challenge: AHA’s Healthy Brown Bag Challenge. We challenge you to pack a healthy lunch each day March 26-30. To help you prepare, AHA will provide a toolkit here later this month featuring simple and delicious ideas, recipes for inspiration, a shopping list, tips and daily articles to keep you going all week long!
Participating in this challenge is easy. Just sign up here by March 19. We’ll email you just before the challenge begins with tips and resources to get started. This is a simple and fun way to help us all make this healthy habit more routine!