Tips to "Eat Right, Bite by Bite"
March is National Nutrition Month!
National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The annual campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
Today, about half of all American adults have one or more chronic diseases, often related to poor diet. The 2015 - 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes the importance of creating a healthy eating pattern to maintain health and reduce the risk of disease. The food and beverage choices we make day to day and over our lifetime, matters.
Looking to make a change towards a healthier you? National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to begin. This year’s theme is “Eat Right, Bite by Bite.” Here are 5 easy tips to get you started:
1. Eat breakfast. Eating in the morning can boost your metabolism for the rest of the day, helping maintain a healthy weight. People who eat breakfast tend to make healthier eating choices throughout the day and reduce the chance of the mid-afternoon slump.
2. Get Cooking. Preparing foods at home can be healthy, rewarding and cost-effective. People who frequently cook dinner at home are more aware of portion sizes and tend to consume fewer calories than those who cook less. Challenge yourself to try a new recipe or master some kitchen basics, like dicing onions or making your own salad dressing.
3. Drink water instead of sugar filled drinks. Sixty percent of the human body is made of water! Staying hydrated regulates your body fluids, helps you to feel full, and maintains healthy skin, kidneys, and bowel function. Sugary drinks tend to be high in calories, are linked to struggles with obesity, and cause tooth decay, dehydration and can even affect your sleep patterns.
4. Be Active. Regular exercise has many benefits, so get up and move! Start by doing what you can, at a pace that works for you. You don't have to hit the gym—take the dog for a walk, stroll down the lane or practice yoga. Yoga, and stretching, not only feels great, it can help relieve chronic pain, protect joints and maintain your range of movement as you age. It can also give you a few moments to clear your head and reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Adults should aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day.
5. Follow Food Safety Guidelines. Reduce your chances of getting sick with proper food safety. This includes: regular hand washing, separating raw foods from ready-to-eat foods, cooking foods to the appropriate temperature, and refrigerating food promptly.
Good nutrition doesn't have to be restrictive or overwhelming. Small goals and changes can have a cumulative healthful effect, and every little bit (or bite!) of nutrition is a step in the right direction.