March is designated as National Nutrition Month to help increase awareness and education for healthy eating and physical activity. This year’s theme is “Go Further with Food.”
One might think that “going further with food” just relates to the monthly food budget, but there is so much more to this theme. It encompasses eating as many nutrient-dense foods — fruits, vegetables and whole grains — as possible to prevent disease. It also increases awareness of meal planning and preparation to reduce food waste and loss of nutrition.
Managing your food resources will allow you and your family/friends to save cash and calories as you go throughout your daily activities.
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Consider one or two of these ways to incorporate into your healthy lifestyle:
▪ What’s in your pantry? Build your meals and snacks around what you already have on hand.
▪ Keep brown rice, beans, and whole grain pasta available for one-dish dinners.
▪ Share with a friend/family member when eating out at restaurants, or take half of your meal home with you for the next day.
▪ Use ¼ less meat in your recipes. This difference is not even noticeable.
▪ Plan two vegetarian meals this week. Beans are a great source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. Choose dried beans or a low-sodium canned option.
▪ Buy only what you need for this week’s meals. Plan to use leftovers for lunch or a second dinner meal.
▪ Plan what you will eat this week. Planning and preparation allows you to add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy into your diet.
▪ Keep your portion sizes appropriate for what your body needs. MyPlate.gov provides resources of healthy portion sizes for all ages.
▪ Do not waste daylight hours and warmer temperatures. Enjoy a walk in your neighborhood with your family after dinner.
▪ Keeping washed and prepped fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator allows for a quick, healthy snack.
There is only a bit of March left, but you can “go further with food” any time. Remember, planning, preparing and being proactive will help you to prevent disease and live a healthier, longer life.
Kelli Zik is a registered dietitian with Baptist Health Lexington’s Nutrition Education department.