March Is National Nutrition Month – Let's Spring Into Action
During 2020, many of us became more health conscious than we'd ever been. A global pandemic will do that.
We spent more time at home and less time at grocery stores and entertainment venues.
A majority of us focused on washing our hands more thoroughly than ever before. And on cleaning frequently touched surfaces.
Some of us made healthy eating a priority. If for no other reason than we wanted to ensure our immune systems were as strong as possible.
From a Week to a Month
Regardless of how long the coronavirus stays around, we would do well to keep up any healthy eating habits we've developed. Or start a new healthy eating habit. And March is a great month to do it.
That's because it's National Nutrition Month. This is an annual information and education campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
It was launched in 1973 as National Nutrition Week. It became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing interest in nutrition. The second Wednesday of the month is celebrated as Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day.
The purpose of this day is to recognize the dedication of RD's as the leading experts and advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world.
Personalize Your Plate
During March, everyone is invited to learn more about making informed food choices. And developing better eating and physical activity habits.
This year's theme is "Personalize Your Plate." There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health. We're all unique with different bodies, backgrounds, goals and tastes.
A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can tailor a healthful eating plan that is unique to each individual.
Here's how the 2021 theme for National Nutrition Month breaks down week by week.
Week One – Eat a variety of nutritious food every day. Include healthful foods from all food groups. Hydrate healthfully and learn how to read nutrition facts panels. Avoid distractions while eating.
Week Two – Plan your meals each week. Use a grocery list to shop for healthful foods and be menu-savvy when dining out. Choose healthful recipes to make during the week and plan healthful eating while traveling.
Week Three – Learn skills to create tasty meals. Keep healthful ingredients on hand and practice proper home food safety. Share meals together as a family when possible.
Week Four – Consult a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Ask your doctor for an RDN referral. Receive personalized nutrition advice to meet your goals. Thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition.
Those are great recommendations. But let's get a little more specific. Here are some suggestions.
- Make fruits and vegetables your most accessible snack. When we get hungry between meals, few of us have the willpower to avoid grabbing the closest ready-to-eat snack. The easier healthy snacks are to grab and eat, the more likely you'll choose them.
- Eat a rainbow of colors. Fruits and vegetables come in a wide variety of colors. Each provides different nutrients our bodies need. We all have our favorites but eating various veggies and fruits will help our overall health.
- Experiment with healthier substitutes. Instead of using starchy rice in a recipe, substitute cauliflower rice. It can also be cooked and mashed to use instead of mashed potatoes. And rather than carbohydrate-filled noodles in a pasta dish, use zucchini cut into strips.
- Pay attention to how food makes you feel. Are you sluggish after certain meals? Do some foods seem difficult to digest? Figure out which foods are causing problems for your body and find substitutes for them.
- Discover non-food rewards. Without thinking about it, many of us reward ourselves for an accomplishment with food. Next time you deserve to be rewarded for something, enjoy a break from your work or other activities by taking a walk or a nap. Or relaxing while reading a book.
Spring Clean Your Diet
In addition to National Nutrition Month, March is the beginning of spring. It's a season we all look forward to. That's especially true this year due to extreme weather many of us dealt with during February.
So let's "spring clean" our diets in 2021. You can start by cleaning out your pantry and refrigerator. Toss out expired stuff and vow to eat your healthy food before it goes bad.
Clean out sugars in your diet. Soda and candy are obvious culprits. But even a salad dressing, cereal or granola bar might contain too much sugar. Read labels carefully.
Many people would benefit by eating whole grain rather than multigrain products. If a multigrain product is enriched wheat flour, it won't provide the benefit whole rye, whole oats and whole wheat products will.
But Here's the Great News...
One of the easiest first steps you can make to improving your health is eating more fruits & veggies. But even if you make them a part of every meal, you could still fall short. That's where Patriot Power Greens™ comes in... to fill the gaps in your diet and flood your body with the nutrient power of dozens of fruits and vegetables.
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