Think back to January – you were filled with glee and enthusiasm as many people are at the start of a new year. Perhaps you made a comment like, “I’m going to eat so much better, exercise daily, and finally take care of myself.” Many people clean out their refrigerator, sign up for the gym and purchase a new exercise outfit and shoes. By the third week of January, many lose their enthusiasm and sulk back into their old routines, waiting until next year to make a change.
Rather than waiting, how about starting now? March is National Nutrition Month, and the theme for this year is “Put your best fork forward!” NOW is the perfect opportunity to jump-start your way toward a positive behavior change. Whether you are looking to improve your eating habits or increase your physical activity, small changes made over time can add up!
“Put Your Best Fork Forward” with these Tips:
When it comes to general eating habits, how much we eat is just as important as what we eat – which is why this year’s National Nutrition Month theme inspires us to start with small changes in our eating habits! Registered dietitian nutritionists can help people create sustainable, individualized solutions that will keep them healthy throughout their entire lives.
Evidence shows that making dietary and lifestyle changes can prevent diseases before they occur. People can improve their healthy eating habits by consuming more of the following foods:
- Vegetables – including dark green, red and orange, beans, peas and others
- Fruits, especially whole fruits
- Whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy – including milk, yogurt, cheese and fortified soy beverages
- Protein-rich foods including seafood, lean meats, poultry, nuts, soy products, beans and peas
- Oils including canola, corn, olive, peanut, sunflower and soy
And lastly, let’s focus on preparing more meals at home! Cooking from scratch yields health benefits for you and your family. Serve regular, balanced meals with a variety of nutrient-rich foods, and enjoy dinners at home as often as possible.
So, for the month of March, think about one to two nutrition-related goals and one to two physical activity-related goals that you are looking to change. Be realistic about them. Examples include, “I will try to eat more fruit” or “I will exercise three days per week.” Don’t be shy – leave it in the comment box! This is a great way to be accountable. You will have the support of the group in making behavior change by “putting your best fork forward.”
To learn more about ways you can participate in National Nutrition Month, hear from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at Eatright.org.
About the Author:
Angel Planells works as the lead dietitian in the Home Based Primary Care program at the Veterans Administration in Puget Sound, focusing on improving veterans’ quality of life while reducing emergency room visits, hospitalizations and nursing home admissions. He is also the owner of ACP Nutrition – a private practice and consulting firm. Planells has been honored for his work as Chair in the Academy’s National Organization of Men in Nutrition member interest group for recruiting and retaining men in the dietetics profession. He was named the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year in 2016 from the Washington Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and earned a certificate of training in weight management.