March is National Nutrition Month — a time for celebrating and reflecting on the importance of eating healthy, learning the effects food has on your body, and understanding why nutrition makes such a big difference in your life.
The benefits of good nutrition are endless. There is so much power in your everyday diet. What you eat can improve your energy levels, prevent disease, assist with weight management and support your overall health. Registered dietitians can help patients develop individualized nutrition goals and work with them to build a healthy and balanced diet.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics leads the force each March during National Nutrition Month. This year, the theme is Fuel for the Future. It will be focused on nourishing our bodies in every phase of our lives while practicing sustainability to protect the environment.
Spend a few minutes this March looking at your nutrition and how you can make positive changes to your habits and lifestyle.
National Nutrition Month: Health Tips
Plan Meals Ahead
Without a plan, it’s easier to stop by a local fast food restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Fast food or takeout food is often higher in fat and calories compared to what you can make at home. It also generally comes with a lot of packaging.
Planning ahead for your meals and using reusable containers can help you eat healthier while reducing waste. Spend a few hours on the weekend doing meal prep and include a variety of produce, whole grains and dairy.
Grab-and-go snacks often come in individual packages for convenience, but they’re often not what you think they are. Chips, sweetened granola bars and cookies don’t provide the nutrients your body needs, regardless of your age or activity level. A crisp apple, a handful of almonds or some baby carrots dipped in Greek yogurt dressing can provide a more nutrient-dense snack with less waste and impact on the environment.
Supermarkets are easy and a necessity, but take a moment to think outside-the-box for your nutrition needs. Instead of choosing all your items from the supermarket, check out a local farmer’s market for delicious in-season produce. You will not only get nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, but you will be supporting local farmers as well. If you’re feeling ambitious, consider planting your own garden with fruits, vegetables and seasonings. If you’re new to gardening, start small with a few pots of produce or herbs.
Focus on Nutrition for the Future
The time is now to influence your kids. Strong habits established early on will affect their long-term health. Ensure nutritious foods are readily available for your kids and encourage eating a variety of them to develop curiosity and healthy habits. Start small by ensuring a vegetable is part of every meal. Make fruit a centerpiece of healthy snacks. Serve meals with a glass of low-fat milk. You never know the influence you will have.
Realize It’s Never Too Late
Fuel for the future is not just for kids. Nutrition in adulthood while aging is equally important. Choosing nutritious foods can help reduce your risk for chronic disease, manage your weight, boost your energy and improve your overall health. Remember to pack your plate with nutrient-dense ingredients!
Don’t let the month of March go by without turning inward and looking at your family’s nutrition. What are you doing well? Where can you make changes? Adjust your habits as necessary and see how they can transform your health. You won’t be disappointed!