March is known as National Nutrition Month and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes a healthier lifestyle by making a campaign to promote throughout the month of March to help everyone focus on nutrition and health. This year’s slogan is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” where they are promoting eating fewer calories, increasing exercise, and making informed food choices to maintain/reach a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
- Plan out your meals and snacks: If you take one day out of your busy week to pre plan your meals and snacks it will make the rest of week run smoother and also keep you on track with healthy lifestyle. Taking the step to pre plan your meals one day a week can be time consuming but the rest of your week will be easier and the effort will be worth it.
- Look at menu’s online: When you know that you will be eating out with friends, family, or co workers it is always harder to make a well informed choice. Look at the menu online before you go and choose the best choice for you. Always look for the white meats (chicken, turkey, fish) that are grilled, baked, or broiled and pair it with a side salad, steamed veggies, and a whole grain to continue eating healthy even though eating out. Be aware of the hidden calories in things such as butter on veggies, sugary glazes, creamy dressings/sauces, etc.
- Limit alcohol intake: Women should consume no more than one alcoholic drink per day and men should not have more than two drinks per day. Drinking alcohol tends to increase our appetite, lower our inhibitions and we make poor food choices, and you do not want to drink calories with no nutrients in them.
- Plan out exercise: Plan the days that you are going to exercise and make sure that you do it on those days, NO EXCUSES! If you plan on working out one day but know that you will be staying late at work, go to the gym early that day. Having a buddy that will go to the gym or walk around the park with you will also help keep you on track and motivate you. Do not forget that the benefits of exercise go way beyond weight loss!
- Cook more, eat out less: Cooking at home is an easy way to save money, make a healthier food choice, and also provides good family time. When eating out, you tend to eat more calories even when trying to make a healthy food choice.
- Make your plate colorful: The more color you choose, the more nutrients you are taking in. Choose dark green, leafy vegetables, carrots, bell peppers, etc. Do not just stick with the green veggies, even though green veggies are very nutritious the other colors offer different vitamins and minerals that you also need.
- Limit sweet intake: Do not completely cut out your sweet intake but definitely limit them. Sweets should not be something that you consume after every meal, they should be rare and an actual treat. When you are craving something sweet, try to make a good choice by consuming a piece of fruit instead, adding crystal light to your water to make it taste sweeter, chew gum, or even try to distract yourself by taking a bubble bath, exercise, or read a book.
- Monitor portions: Be aware of the portions that you are eating so that you do not overeat and not realize it. When having a snack or a meal, it should be put on a plate and ate at the table. By eating out of the bag, in front of the TV, while you are working, while on the phone, etc. you are not as aware of your hunger or the portion that you are taking in and it is easy to intake too large of a portion.
I hope that these tips are able to encourage you and guide you in the right direction to in making healthy lifestyle changes. Do not try to change everything at once or else you might get overwhelmed or discouraged and not continue with the changes that you have already made. Don’t forget to tell your favorite Registered Dietitian how awesome they are on March 11, 2015 for Registered Dietitian day
Meaghan Edwards Ms, RD/LD Registered Dietitian