“Put Your Best Fork Forward” Celebrating National Nutrition Month
In March we celebrate National Nutrition Month. Begun by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietitics to keep people informed about making healthy eating and physical activity choices, the point of National Nutrition Month is to battle misinformation while providing a platform for every family, every person, to make practical choices to move toward health.
Every bite counts. Every sip counts. Every minute counts. And by making just small changes in our eating and drinking habits, we’re changing the path that might lead us to being overweight, to keeping us a healthy weight.
So, “put your best fork forward” with these practical tips to healthy eating habits:
Say, “Yes,” to the cake. Indulge in reduced-sugar, low-fat muffins and baked goods! Replace butter or oil with applesauce, pumpkin, pears, avocado, or other fruit purees. Reduce sugar 25% in sweets recipes (you won’t even notice it and soon the high-sugar muffins you’ve been eating will taste way too sweet). Cutting back on sugar is one of the most important things you can do to get healthier.
- Bigger isn’t Better: Portion distortion can be your downfall. Make a fist. That’s the portion of proteins you need (except high-level athletes or people with special dietary needs). Double that for your veggies. Keep portion sizes under control by using smaller dinner plates. When going out to dinner, order one entrée for two people with an appetizer (instead of two entrées). When offered a side – choose the vegetables over breadsticks. Replace fries with a baked potato with salsa and parmesan. I know it’s tempting to super-size (so much bang for your buck!), but don’t. A fistful more of fries can add another 100 calories. Just an extra 100 calories each day can add ten pounds each year. MyPlate is a great guide to keep you eating healthier.
- One Size Doesn’t Fit All: No diet or health regime can cover every individual’s needs. That’s why strange health fads can cause more harm, creating a dangerous cycle of yo-yo dieting, than good. Manage your weight and develop healthy eating and physical activity habits by consulting a registered dietitian and personal trainer. The investment in a personalized program can save you a lot of money in the long run. Check with your insurance company or primary care physician to see if your plan covers a visit to a dietitian.
- Beware of the Beverage: Every bite – every sip – counts. A 16 oz coffee frappe concoction can have 430 calories. Fruit juices are often more sugar than fruit (look for ade and punch and drink and step away!). Blizzards and milkshakes can have up to 1,000 calories. Even water doesn’t get a free ride here. Flavored water drinks can add 125 calories. Drink water, just that plain old tap water, when you’re thirsty. Try savory lemon or raspberry tea for a flavor punch without the sugar. When you realize one beverage can cost you one-third to one-half of calorie intake recommendations, with little to no nutritional value, it puts a whole new perspective on what’s in your cup.
- A Family Who Eats Together, Stays Healthy Together: Family meals are a key part of healthy eating. Every minute counts spending time with another as well. So, slow down and take time to eat together each day, shifting mealtime from a moment of anxiety and stress to one in which everybody takes a moment to disconnect from the mad of our everyday lives and reconnect to one another.
Every bite, every sip, every minute counts. These 5 practical tips can help you and your family move toward healthier eating habits.