Although the New Year is typically when we think about eating healthier to get in shape or perhaps fulfill a resolution, March is actually the month nutrition is officially observed.
In this post, we’ll explore what National Nutrition Month is all about, provide ways to implement its purpose into daily life and offer information on how to get in touch with a medical professional if you’d like assistance making informed food choices for better health.
About National Nutrition Month
An annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 1980, National Nutrition Month aims to encourage everyone to “focus on the importance of making informed food choices, developing sound eating and physical activity habits.”
They recommend four key steps to achieve optimal nutritional health:
Vary Your Foods
The importance of consuming a balanced diet cannot be understated. Different nutrients are found in a variety of foods.
Proteins can be found in fish, poultry and meats, or for those who observe a vegan or vegetarian diet, in nuts and beans. Proteins help build and repair tissue in the body and helps maintain healthy cells.
Whole grains, which contain bran, germ and endosperm can be found in quinoa, oats, barley, brown rice and certain pastas, breads and cereals—just be sure the label reads “whole grain.” They keep your skin glowing and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Fruits and vegetables such as berries, bananas, broccoli, tomatoes and carrots can be added to nearly any dish for an extra boost of nutrition. They are linked to reducing the risk of chronic diseases and cancer. They are also typically low in calories for those trying to reduce or manage their weight.
Healthy fats such as those found in avocados, flaxseed, fatty fish, walnuts, olive oil and peanut butter are a wonderful alternative to saturated fats. They help increase good cholesterol in the body and may reduce inflammation.
One vital element of achieving optimal nutrition is to reduce spontaneity in eating. When you plan your meals in advance, you eliminate the risk of impulsive eating and consuming foods that may not be as good for you.
The healthy eating page at eatright.org has a wealth of articles to help you make informed choices in the kitchen and develop recipes based on what you learn.
Whatever your method, do your best to make healthy meal prep fun—focus on trying new flavors and experimenting with foods and cooking techniques you’ve never tried. The more options you give yourself, the easier it will be to stick to a good meal plan.
Create Tasty Meals
Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean consuming only bland food. In fact, many of the experts who dispense nutrition tips emphasize just how delicious good, healthy food can taste. A valuable free toolkit in honor of National Nutrition Month is available at eatright.org, and features everything from ways to enjoy more fruits and vegetables to how to eat right on a budget.
Consult an RDN
To truly discover the nutrition your body needs, it may be in your best interest to consult with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). They work collaboratively with patients to provide guidance and help develop the best meal plan based on a variety of factors unique to you. Using your medical history and personal taste preferences, they can offer a holistic view into what your ideal menu should look like and help implement small changes to get you there. At Western Washington Medical Group we have four RDNs on staff to accommodate patients.
Talk to a Doctor
If you’d like to consult with a medical professional, Western Washington Medical Group can connect you with an RDN in our diabetes & nutrition group. They offer courses, materials and counseling to help you make informed choices about everything from meal planning to glucose monitoring. Visit this page to request an appointment. Or for more general inquires, complete the form here.