"Nutrition From the Ground Up" is this year's theme for National Nutrition Month
* - an annual campaign led by the American Dietetic Association
(ADA) every March. During this month, the ADA reminds the public that a healthier life can be enjoyed through a commitment to eating better and exercising more. Proper nutrition is essential to help ward off certain chronic diseases and to fuel your body during physical activity.
The month of March may be coming to an end, but that doesn't mean your efforts to improve your health have to as well. Healthy behaviors should be practiced year-round. Spring is a good time for you to revisit the nutritional and exercise goals you made at the start of this year. If you discover that you have fallen short, use the beginning of warmer days and the anticipation of a season full of fresh produce to motivate you to recommit to healthier practices.
This year's National Nutrition Month* theme, "Nutrition From the Ground Up," places emphasis on making change by adhering to the basics which will plant the "seeds" from which a healthier life can grow. To reap the benefits of following a sound diet plan
, the ADA recommends the following:
- Think fruit and vegetables. Produce is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Adding a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors (think in terms of "Eating the Rainbow") is a good way to meet your nutrient needs without adding a lot of calories. If you are not use to this type of food fare, try adding a serving to one meal a day, then gradually increase the number of servings every few weeks.
- Buy local. Support your community by purchasing produce locally grown. Or, plant your own vegetable garden and reap the nutritional and exercise benefits of your own physical labor.
- Make calories eaten count! Choose foods that will give you the most nutrients you need per serving. Eating "empty calories" may stave off hunger initially, but will end up sending you back for more as your body attempts to replenish its nutrient stores.
- Give your taste buds some variety. Try an exotic fruit or a traditional food from a different country. By so doing, you may end up adding a new favorite healthy food to your diet.
- Go ahead, treat yourself - but healthfully. If you are craving something sweet and salty, don't grab your favorite candy bar, instead try a trail mix with pieces of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Or, opt for apple slices dipped in low-fat yogurt.
Changes to your diet do not have to occur all at once. Each time you choose a healthier option, you come one step closer to achieving optimal well-being. Re-evaluate your dietary needs periodically and make adjustments as needed. Remember, adhering to a nutritionally sound diet will provide your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to maintain a physically active lifestyle. To learn more about what you can do to celebrate National Nutrition Month,* visit www.eatright.org/nnm
*"National Nutrition Month" is a federally registered service mark of the American Dietetic Association.
Labels: American Dietetic Association, National Nutrition Month, Nutrition From the Ground Up