March is National Nutrition Month, an annual nutrition education campaign by the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics that started in 1980.
Is there something you have wanted to change about the way you eat, but haven't made the time for it yet? This March is the perfect time to think about the small changes you can make to your eating habits to improve your overall health.
My best advice for this National Nutrition Month is to focus on adding in more nutrient dense foods, like the kinds in the picture below (healthy fats, colorful fruits/veggies, whole grains, fermented foods, spices, plant-based protein, etc.), rather than focusing on what you should get rid of. Think of ways you can give your body more of what it needs to thrive.
If you're not sure what improvements to make to your diet, use the MyPlate Daily Checklists provided on the USDA website as a starting point to assess how you're doing compared to the current recommendations. Attached is the 2000 calorie level MyPlate checklist, but head over to the USDA website for different calorie levels. If you're unsure of how many calories you need per day, try this calculator to give you a good starting point.
The checklists give you a ballpark of about how many servings of grains, protein, fruits, vegetables, and dairy you should consume in a day. Try tracking your food intake for a day or two to see what areas you might need to work on, and then make that into a National Nutrition Month goal!
The key messages for National Nutrition Month are:
Some goal ideas to get you thinking:
- Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables on at least 5 days of every week in March 2017. (This is my personal goal!)
- Become a more mindful eater by eating away from distractions (TV, cell phone, laptop, etc) for at least 1 meal per day in March 2017.
- Observe Meatless Monday on every Monday in March 2017.
- Consume at least 20 grams of protein at breakfast on at least half the days of March 2017 to feel more satisfied until lunch time.
- Commit to trying a new fruit or vegetable each week during March 2017.