March marks the start on National Nutrition Month! Here are 8 tips on how to dedicate you, and your family, to a healthier lifestyle.
1. Eat Breakfast. There’s no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast. Include lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try oatmeal cooked with low-fat milk, sliced almonds and berries, or top a toaster waffle with low-fat yogurt and fruit. Find more quick breakfast ideas at www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets.
2. Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Don’t let cost stop you from enjoying produce. Frozen and canned are great alternatives. See “20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables” at http://www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets.
3. Be Active! Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure and helps your body control stress and weight. Start by doing what exercise you can for at least 10 minutes at a time. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two hours and 30 minutes per week. You don’t have to hit the gym—take a walk after dinner or play a game of catch or basketball.
4. Drink More Water. Drink water instead of sugary drinks and let thirst be your guide. A healthy body can balance water needs throughout the day. Drink plenty of water if you are active, live or work in hot conditions, or are an older adult.
5. Dine Out without Ditching Your Goals. You can dine at a restaurant and stick to your healthy eating plan! The key is to plan ahead, ask questions and choose foods carefully. Think about nutritious items you can add to your plate—fruits, veggies, lean meat, poultry or fish—and look for grilled, baked, broiled or steamed items.
6. Enact Family Meal Time. Research shows that family meals promote healthier eating. Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week in 2021. Set a regular mealtime. Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk. Get kids involved in meal planning and cooking and use this time to teach them about good nutrition.
7. Fix Healthy Snacks. Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals. Whenever possible, make your snacks combination snacks. Choose from two or more of the MyPlate food groups: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean protein or nuts. Try low-fat yogurt with fruit, or a small portion of nuts with an apple or banana.
8. Explore New Foods and Flavors. Add more nutrition and eating pleasure by expanding your range of food choices. When shopping, make a point of selecting a fruit, vegetable or whole grain that’s new to you or your family. Try different versions of familiar foods like blue potatoes, red leaf lettuce or basmati rice.
For more free info and tip sheets for National Nutrition Month, visit http://www.nationalnutritionmonth.org/nnm/
Kelly Devine Rickert, Moraine Valley Wellness Coordinator