By: Jacqueline Minichiello, MS, RD, LDN
March is National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day*.” The idea behind the theme is to recognize that we are not all the same and have different needs when it comes to making nutritional changes and setting goals. Because of different schedules, different ethnic backgrounds and traditions, different medical conditions and different habits, we all require a more personalized eating plan. There is not one answer on how to eat that can work for everyone. In honor of National Nutrition Month, set a smart goal that works for you! Ideas include:
For the person with high cholesterol: Choose to decrease unhealthy fat in your diet from products like butter and fatty meats, and instead REPLACE them with heart healthy fat such as oils, fish and a moderate amounts of nuts (about 1 oz/day).
For the individual who wants to start consuming more vegetables: Most of us don’t want to prepare vegetables. So an easy way to begin consuming more of those healthy veggies is to include ½ cup of cooked frozen vegetables (without sauces) to lunch and dinner. Frozen vegetables are quick, easy and nutritious.
Those of us who find family traditions important: Get back to your roots! Try cooking a healthy recipe that your grandmother may have cooked for you. Cooking traditional recipes is a great way to get your children into the kitchen with you, as well as eating a greater variety of food. Remember most favorite family foods can fit in a healthy eating pattern if consumed occasionally with appropriate portion size and with physical activity.
If you eat when you are bored: Become more mindful! Every time you begin to eat ask yourself, “Do I really want this? Am I really hungry?” If you answer yes, then make sure what you are eating is nutritious and balanced. If the answer is no, then put down the food and take a walk around the neighborhood or catch up with a friend.
For the person with diabetes: Cutting out soda, juice and refined sweets is a great way to avoid blood glucose spikes. If you consume large amounts of these foods try and cut it in half. If they are not a huge part of your diet then avoid them completely.
For those who want to add exercise to their day: Remember 10 minute burst of activity count towards our daily allowance. Don’t get bogged down by needing to set aside a large chunk of time. Fit in a quick walk before work, during lunch, or at night when you walk the dog. All efforts will add up.
The important thing is to recognize your own needs and make a change that will work best for you!
*Remember: We want to make sure that our style of eating goes along with the 2010 dietary guidelines.