Today Begins National Nutrition Month
Over the past two years, many Americans have become more health-conscious than ever before. A global pandemic tends to bring that out in us.
Lots of us spent less time in crowded places including grocery stores and entertainment venues. And more time at home.
We washed our hands more frequently, kept our distance from others and were more conscious about cleaning frequently touched surfaces.
And some of us did something we should have been doing all along. And that's making healthy eating a priority. We wanted to keep our immune systems as strong as possible. Eating healthy foods is a big part of that.
Start – or Continue – Eating Healthy
The number of daily new cases of the coronavirus is dropping significantly in America. This is what we've been waiting for as we attempt to get back to "normal."
And while that's great news, the last thing we want to do is give up this new habit we've developed. But if we haven't made healthy eating a new habit, there's no time like the present.
The month of March is a great time to focus on healthy eating. For one thing, it's National Nutrition Month. It's an annual information and education campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Launched in 1973 as National Nutrition Week, it became a month-long observance in 1980. That was in response to growing interest in nutrition.
Celebrate a World of Flavors
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 "Celebrate a World of Flavors." We're creatures of habit, so we tend to eat the same types of food every month.
As a result, we miss out on many delicious and nutritious foods we're not familiar with. We won't love every new food we try, but some are likely to become staples for us.
And a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can tailor a healthful eating plan unique to each individual. Here's how the 2022 theme for National Nutrition Month breaks down week by week.
Week One – Eat a variety of nutritious food. Include healthful foods from all food groups. Learn how to read nutrition facts labels. Incorporate your favorite cultural foods and traditions.
Week Two – See a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Ask your doctor for a referral to an RDN. Find an RDN who specializes in your unique needs. Receive personalized nutrition information to meet your health goals.
Week Three – Plan your meals and snacks. Choose healthful recipes to make during the week. Use a grocery list to shop for nutritious foods. Make healthful food and drink choices when away from home.
Week Four – Create tasty foods at home. Learn cooking and meal preparation skills. Try new flavors and foods from around the world. Enjoy your meals with friends or family when possible.
Let's Get Specific
Those are all good recommendations. But here are some suggestions for getting more specific.
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. Wash fruits and place them in a bowl on a kitchen counter or table. Put sliced carrots and celery in a container in the refrigerator. The easier these 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. 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 even thinking about it, many of us reward ourselves for an accomplishment with food. And it's seldom a food that does us any good. Next time you deserve to be rewarded for something, enjoy a break from your work or other activities by taking a walk or nap. Or relaxing while reading a book or listening to music.
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.
So let's "spring clean" our diets in 2022. 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.
Don't avoid fats because they are fat. In moderation, healthy fats are good for us. Such as the fat contained in olive oil, nuts and avocado.
Patriot Power Reds
Earlier I mentioned the importance of eating a rainbow of colors. That can be easier said than done. But here's a way to do it that's simple and healthy.
Try Patriot Power Reds from the Patriot Health Alliance. It gives you the antioxidant and phytonutrient power of deeply colored fruits.
Plus the all-day energy and stress relief from the adaptogens rhodiola and ashwagandha. Not to mention digestive support from 10 probiotic strains and six digestive enzymes.
Cardiovascular support, better digestion, and energy and stamina. Inflammation and joint support, stress and mood support, and brain and memory support. What more could you ask for?
And the refreshing berry lemonade taste is something to write home about.