What is National Nutrition Month?
Each year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates March as National Nutrition Month. The main focus of the campaign is to bring awareness to making informed food choices and developing good eating and physical activity habits. This year National Nutrition Month is all about achieving a healthy lifestyle in order to maintain a healthy weight and reduce risk of chronic disease. Use this website to give you some tips on how you can “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle”.
Making Informed Food Choices
Choose Nutrient Dense Foods:
Nutrient dense foods are those that are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other important nutrients for your health while still being low in calories. They include brightly colored fruits (blueberries, raspberries), vibrant vegetables (kale, sweet potatoes), fortified and fiber rich grains, and lean meats, beans, and nuts. Try incorporating these foods into each meal and snack and reap the health benefits.
Choose Healthy Food Substitutions:
Simple substitutions can help to reduce the amount of calories, fat, sodium, and added sugars you consume, leading to a healthier diet.
Listed below are a few cooking substitutions you could try:
- Broil, grill, bake, and steam food instead of frying to reduce the fat content
- Drink water, low-fat milk, or 100% fruit juice. For more flavor add lime, cucumber, or mint to water instead of drinking soda to reduce sugar consumption
- Eat fresh fruit for dessert instead of cakes, cookies or other sweets to reduce fat, calorie, and sugar consumption
- To reduce sodium intake cook with herbs and spices o Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to reduce the fat content
- To reduce the amount of sugar when baking, replace the sugar with applesauce
Building Your Plate
½ Fruits and Vegetables
- Fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories and are good sources of nutrients such as potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate
- Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are good sources of nutrients such as potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C
- Focus on whole grains
- Source of dietary fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, and selenium
- Choose lean and low-fat choices
- Meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts, and seeds supply protein, vitamin E, iron, zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins such as niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6
- The Institute of Medicine recommends men consume 13 cups of fluids per day and women consume 9 cups per day
- Water should make up most of your fluid consumption
Getting Daily Exercise
Exercise helps to control weight, prevents serious health conditions and diseases, improves mood, boosts energy, and promotes better sleep.
- Of all of the above benefits of exercise one of the most important is weight control. Weight control is important because those that are overweight or obese may be at risk of developing serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers.
- Energy balance is the key to maintaining a healthy weight; meaning that calories “in” (food and drink) must equal calories “out” (breathing, digesting, and physical activity). If there are more calories out than in, there will be weight loss. If there are more calories in than out, there will be weight gain.
- Just 30 minutes of exercise burns about 177 calories bicycling, 98 calories walking, 266 calories running, and 207 calories playing tennis.