Now that we have made it a few months into 2015 and all those New Year resolutions to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle may be losing their initial “spring”, let’s bring it back during National Nutrition Month®! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has annually named March as National Nutrition Month® and this year’s theme is BITE INTO A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.
ChooseMyPlate.gov provides us with these ten tips to building a healthy meal.
1. Make half your plate veggies and fruits
- Fruits and vegetables are packed full of nutrients and can help to promote good health. Look for those rich colors! Choose red, orange, and dark green vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
2. Add lean protein
- Choose protein foods like chicken, turkey, lean beef and pork, beans, or tofu. If you’re blessed with non-picky eaters, try to make seafood the protein on your plate twice a week.
3. Include whole grains
- Whole grains provide more nutrients than refined grains. Look for the food labels that read, “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat”. Shoot to make at least half your grains whole grains.
4. Don’t forget the dairy
- Fat-free or low-fat milk provide the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, just without the extra fat and calories. If you don’t drink milk, try soymilk or incorporate fat-free or low-fat yogurt in your meal.
5. Avoid extra fat
- Using heavy dressings, gravies, or sauces will add fat and calories to otherwise healthy choices. For instance, steamed broccoli is an awesome choice, but that topping of tasty cheese sauce isn’t doing you any favors. Try other options such as a squeeze of lemon or a light sprinkling of low-fat parmesan cheese.
6. Take your time
- Eat slowly. Be mindful. Eating really fast may cause you to eat too much.
7. Use a smaller plate
- Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control. That way you can feel that satisfaction of a finished plate without the extra, unnecessary calories.
8. Take control of your food
- Eat at home as often as possible. You lose control over what you’re eating when you aren’t the one preparing it. When you do eat out, choose healthier options such as baked instead of fried.
9. Try new foods
- Keep it interesting! You may find a new favorite.
10. Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way
- Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish – fruit! Try something like a fruit and yogurt parfait or baked apples topped with cinnamon.