March is National Nutrition Month
Change your eating habits one forkful at a time.
March is National Nutrition Month and is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Diatetics. The theme this year is that each bite counts, and making small changes in choices can add up over time. Eating healthy and getting enough physical activity is a lifelong commitment; not just a short-term diet. It can be a daunting task and you may feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Breaking this commitment into bite-size pieces can help you achieve more and stick with your goals longer. Michigan State University Extension recommends the following tips to help you adopt small changes to achieve lifetime healthy eating habits:
- Use the SMART goals system to set personal of family eating goals. Make sure they are specific, measurable, agreed-upon, reasonable, and time-based. An example would be, “I will eat one more serving of vegetables every day (compared to what I eat now).”
- Cook more at home. Even healthier choices at restaurants can contain more calories, higher amounts of sodium, and are often larger portions than you’d normally eat at home. Making food at home for yourself or your family allows you to control what is in your food, and how big the portions are.
- Try new foods. Have you ever tried parsnips? Kumkwats? Broadening your food horizons can help awaken your taste buds, and get you eating a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. If you’re a parent, being open to trying new things also sets a good example for children, especially picky eaters. Make trying new foods a family event.
- Consider making one of your goals about healthy beverage choices. Beverages with added sugar can account for a large number of your calorie intake for the day, but they don’t add any nutrients to your diet. Consider trading at least one sugary beverage a day for water or an unsweetened beverage.
- Take on one or two goals at a time. Once those goals have been integrated into your life, take on one or two more goals. For example, start with adding more vegetables to your meals and replacing one sugary beverage with water. After a couple months if those goals feel easy and routine, add something like cooking at least three meals a week at home and trying one new food every week.
- Don’t forget that physical activity is just as important as healthy eating. Include exercise in your daily life, and make goals that increase the frequency or intensity of the activity.
Making lifelong changes can be hard, but taking on small changes can help you reach your healthy eating and physical activity goals.