— Andrew Doherty, RDN, Crow River Food Council Member
March marks the 30 day, yearly recognition of National Nutrition Month, sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). The goal of the month long awareness program is to encourage Americans to understand the value of making informed decisions when selecting foods, and to communicate the importance of nutrition’s impact on overall health.
“There is not one specific eating pattern that a person needs to follow, but instead it can be achieved by including a variety of healthy foods from all of the 5 MyPlate food groups.” The simple act of choosing healthier options with the foods we are already buying and preparing at home can make a huge impact. When planning and shopping for food just following these simple guidelines can easily put you on the path to eating healthy in no time, and at no additional cost!
- Make half your plate vegetables and fruit: Choose fresh whole fruits when able, frozen, dried and canned in 100% juice and/or no salt added will do just fine as well.
- Choose sides of vegetables in a variety of colors, prepared in a healthful way: steamed, sautéed, roasted or raw.
- Make half your grains whole grains: Looks for whole grains listed as the first or second ingredient on the ingredients list.
- Vary your protein foods: mixing in options like seafood, beans, unsalted nuts, eggs, and lean meats and poultry.
- Move to low-fat or fat-free dairy products: When choosing dairy foods selecting low-fat or fat-free options will still have the same amount of calcium and protein!
- Eat and drink less sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars: Look at the Nutrition Facts label and ingredients list to limit items high in sodium, saturated fat and added sugar.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Think of each of these healthful changes as your own personal “win” on your path to a healthier, nutritious lifestyle. Taking on one win at a time that fits into your lifestyle will lead you to healthy behavior changes overtime.
For more information on how you can plan, shop, and eat your way to a healthy lifestyle visit www.choosemyplate.gov.