It’s a Great Time to Examine your Nutrition

by Valerie Demetros

Everyone wants to be a bit healthier and live longer. Some just need a little push to make a change. Since March is National Nutrition Month, why not take this as a sign to make some changes?

Eating healthy and sticking to a decent eating schedule can be difficult especially when work, school and life get in the way. In fact, only 10% of adults and adolescents in the U.S. eat enough fruits and vegetables.

Here are 20 suggestions by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to get you on your way to a healthier you this month.

1. Eat breakfast. Start with a healthy breakfast including lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

2. Keep half your plate fruits, vegetables. These add vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

3. Limit portion sizes. Use the other half of your plate for grains and lean protein and don’t fill up too much.

4. Get active. Find what you like to do, leading up to at least 150 minutes each week.

5. Study food labels. Read “Nutrition Facts” to educate yourself and eat healthy.

6. Eat healthy snacks. Keep energy levels up with healthy snacks like raw veggies or nut or seed butter with fruit.

7. See a nutritionist. A registered dietitian or nutritionist can help with personalized nutrition plans.

8. Watch food safety. Practice hand washing, separating raw foods from other foods, cooking to the appropriate temperature and refrigerating food promptly.

9. Drink water. We can never say it enough — stay hydrated.

10. Start cooking. Studies show those who eat at home eat healthier and snack less. Get the kids involved.

11. Eat out smart. The key is plan ahead and choose carefully.

12. Family mealtime. Eat together a few times each week. Turn off electronics and talk.

13. Pack a healthy lunch. Plan ahead and be creative instead of relying on fast food.

14. Reduce sugar. Sugar adds empty calories, meaning no nutritional value. Pay attention to labels for added sugar.

15. Enjoy seafood. Fish and shellfish contain healthy omega-3 fats and protein.

16. Explore. Expand your food choices and try new foods and cooking techniques. There’s a whole world of nutritional and delicious food out there.

17. Consider plant-based meals. Expand your menus with meatless meals. Even your favorite recipes with meat can probably be made without.

18. Reduce food waste. Use what you already have before shopping. Plan meals ahead of time, using leftovers for lunch.

19. Slow down. Dedicate time to enjoy your food and the company rather than eating on the run.

20. Use supplements sparingly. Choose foods first for nutrition, then supplement what you need. Consult a nutritionist or dietician.