March is National Nutrition Month® (NMM) and every year there is a new theme to engage you, the public. NNM was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is intended to promote nutrition education, highlighting the importance of making informed food choices, and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. NNM became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to a growing interest in nutrition.
The theme for this year is “Put Your Best Fork Forward” when dining out and at home. By putting your best fork forward and making healthful decisions, you hold all the power. You get to make the decisions on when, what, and how much you eat.
Here are 6 tips to help YOU put your best fork forward:
- Plan ahead. If you are going out to eat, look at the menu ahead of time. Nowadays there are plenty of healthful options at restaurants that allow you to choose a balanced meal. If you are making dinner at home, think about what you want to make the day before to ensure you have all the ingredients necessary to prepare your healthy meal when you get home.
- Breakfast. Start each day off with a nutritious breakfast. By eating breakfast you jumpstart your metabolism and start your day off on the right foot. This will lead to you making more healthful decisions throughout the day.
- Volumize. Sometimes it can be hard to eat the proper portions of food because they look so tiny compared to what you are used too. Try volumizing your meals with foods low in calories but high in nutrients such as vegetables. Your plate will still be filled and you’ll be eating nutritious foods.
- Snacking. Snacking is a great way to make sure you don’t arrive at your next meal starving. However, not all snacks are equal. Choosing wholesome snacks such as fruit, vegetables, yogurt, peanut butter, and hummus will provide you with plenty of nutrients between meals and keep you satisfied until your next meal.
- Mindful. Being mindful plays a key role in when, what, and how much you eat. If you tend to eat when you are distracted or in response to an emotion, it can be difficult to pay attention to what is on your fork. Instead, avoid distractions during meal times and sit at a table to truly enjoy what you are eating.
- Physical Activity. Although being active doesn’t directly affect what’s on your fork, it does affect your mindset and makes you feel more energized. Engaging in exercise is a healthful decision that can lead to more healthful decisions when choosing what to eat. If you are new to exercise, start with going for a walk once a day.
What you eat and other daily decisions all have an impact on your overall wellbeing. Research has shown that poor eating and lifestyle habits can increase your risk of developing chronic disease such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and certain forms of cancer. Luckily, making small modifications to your day-to-day routine can be enough to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Your Turn to Take Action: How will you put your best fork forward this month? Let me know in the comments below!