March is National Nutrition Month. Each year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics aims to bring awareness to the impact of maintaining a healthy diet. This year’s theme, “Personalize Your Plate,” highlights the fact that nutrition is different for every individual! There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes!
While it’s important to make sure that your nutritional plan works for you and your needs, we’ve put together five health tips that improve diet habits for the general population.
Start the day with breakfast
Start your day with a healthy breakfast that includes a lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Something like a parfait with low-fat plain yogurt, fruit and whole grain cereal could get the job done. A breakfast burrito with low fat cheese and salsa is another idea! Thinking about what you’re eating, and preparing meals ahead of time goes a long way.
Get familiar with reading nutrition labels
Reading the Nutrition Facts panel can help you choose foods and drinks to meet your nutrient needs.
Stay hydrated — with water
Quenching your thirst with sugary juices or soda can be tempting, but drinking water is a great way to deduct extra sugars and calories from your diet. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, especially if you are active, an older adult or live or work in hot conditions.
Don’t ditch your goals when ordering out
Some of us like to order out, and that’s ok! It doesn’t mean you need to compromise your nutrition goals. Looking for words like “grilled,” “baked,” “broiled,” or “steamed” on the menu is a great way to find healthier options. Reading available nutrition information is also helpful.
Prepare healthy snacks
Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals, especially when they include a combination of foods. For example: raw veggies with low-fat cottage cheese or hummus, or a tablespoon of nut or seed butter with an apple or banana.
These are just a few small changes that can help anyone pursue a healthier lifestyle. However, asking a professional is always a great way to go. Whether you want to lose weight, lower your health-risks or manage a chronic disease, a registered dietitian nutritionist can help by providing sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice.