National Nutrition Month is celebrated in March. Created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the campaign stresses the importance of making good food choices and developing healthy eating habits.
Each week throughout March, AU Health’s dietitians will provide tips for staying healthy and getting to most out of your life. This week — Nutrition Tips.
There is more than one way to eat healthfully and everyone has their own eating style. Make healthier choices that reflect your preferences, culture, traditions and budget. Choose fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein foods to get the most nutrition and meet your personal calorie needs. Aim for a variety of foods and beverages from each food group and limit saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. When combined, the following weekly tips are simple, doable, and affordable and promote gradual change.
Eat Berries with Breakfast
Berries are an incredibly powerful food, rich in nutrients for our brain, good for digestion and disease-preventative. They’re also a great source of vitamin C.
They’re also a fresh source of produce and keep us fuller than processed cereals with dried fruits.
Add a half cup of your choice frozen or fresh berries to a smoothie, oatmeal or yogurt.
Eat One Green Food per Day
Eating one green vegetable per day or one leafy green is a great way to get yourself healthier in the kitchen without much thought.
It can be a cup of broccoli at dinner or spinach snuck into a smoothie. A cup of green beans at dinner or some leafy kale tossed with chopped sweet potato and some simple seasonings.
These foods provide us with more nutrition than any food out there.
Drink a Glass of Water When You Wake Up
A new health practice that many observe, drinking water is essential to hydrating your body first thing in the day after a night-long fast.
It helps wake you up and is an excellent way to flush out your body first thing to keep you regular, a key part of staying healthy.
Remember, your body contains (and needs) more water than most of us realize.
Enjoy Plain Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea are two of the most amazing sources of antioxidants in our diet, so long as they’re sustainably (preferably) organically sourced, so they’re produced without pesticides.
These two beverages boost mental health and liver health, and promote a healthy heart.
The key is to leave out the sugar and milk, which takes away almost all their benefits.
Cook Your Own Meals
Cooking at home does two things: It puts you in touch with the food that you’re using to keep you well and it keeps you away from restaurant options that someone else prepared for you, probably using ingredients that aren’t the best for you (excess oil, salt, sugar, etc.).
Leave out the middleman and cook more at home. Cooking your own meals is one of the best things to do for life-long health.
Use Herbs Instead of All the Salt
Instead of shaking salt on all your food, try using herbs to flavor them instead.
For breakfast, use cinnamon, cardamom and ginger for a sweet and spicy flavor.
For lunch or dinner, use Italian seasonings, sage, black pepper, basil, thyme, oregano, cayenne and/or turmeric.
Mix these up however you like, but use them more often!
Ditch the Sugary Food
Sugary foods are not part of a healthy diet, mostly because they’re processed, void of nutrients and can be addicting.
Instead of choosing something with sugar, have an apple, some berries, a banana or an orange, or just enjoy sweet veggies like carrots instead.
Your body will learn to love the taste of fresh vegetables and fruits when you give it a chance.
Ditch the sugar; you’ll feel much better in no time!
For more information about eating healthy and about National Nutrition Month, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.