This blog was written by Kara Gootee-Robinson. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.
March is designated as National Nutrition Month and has been making a healthy impact worldwide for nearly 30 years. Eating healthy does not have to be complicated, time consuming, or boring. All it takes is a little thought and a positive attitude. Follow these 5 tips for a healthier you and a happier dinner plate!
Tip 1: Start in the produce section when grocery shopping.
Fill the cart with many fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce packs a healthy punch with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Focus on color by rainbow shopping. Look for fruits and veggies that are green, yellow, red, purple, orange, and white in color. The more colors you purchase, the better.
Tip 2: Always have healthy snacks on hand.
Keeping a small stash of almonds, dried fruits, whole-wheat crackers, granola bars, or pretzels in your bag or desk drawer will come in handy when a snack attack hits. Although vending machines are convenient, cravings may take control of food choices, leading to an unhealthy purchase. Be prepared and avoid unnecessary calorie consumption.
Tip 3: Enjoy foods from all five food groups.
Consuming a variety of foods from each food group helps to fuel the body. However, it is important to make healthy choices. Choose foods that will be both filling and satisfying without sacrificing too many calories. For example, a peanut butter sandwich on whole-wheat bread will be more filling, supply the body with ample energy, and yield less calories than a piece of chocolate cake.
Tip 4: Be knowledgeable about portion sizes and include variety in each meal.
A serving does not mean whatever makes it on the plate. Follow serving sizes on packages and in recipes to help keep calories in check. Using smaller plates will help keep excess food consumption to a minimum. At every meal, foods from the fruit and vegetable groups should take up half of the plate while the other half should be equally divided by grains and proteins.
Tip 5: Drink plenty of water.
Water is essential to the body. Consuming approximately 64 ounces of water daily helps replenish any fluids lost through functions such as sweating, urinating, and breathing. Water also helps the heart to pump blood efficiently. While other fluids such as 100% fruit juice, sports drinks, and tea assist in replenishing fluids, they also contain calories. For a calorie-free way to reload, fill up with H2O.