March is recognized as National Nutrition Month® by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This month it is a time to think about our eating habits and what we can do better. This year, the theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” It is a reminder that we should always be striving to choose the foods that will help us lead the healthiest lives possible. We have the tools to make ourselves healthier, we just have to use them!
So what can you do to “Put Your Best Fork Forward?” Here are some tips:
Try a new fruit, vegetable, or flavor that you are unfamiliar with. Have you always wondered about turmeric? Have you seen an odd vegetable at the grocery store like jicama and were too afraid to try it and not like it? Now is the time to give it a chance.
Cork your meals at home. Home cooked meals with fresh ingredients save money and time, contain less salt and trans fats, help with weigh control, are more balanced, and create quality family time. When you are preparing food for yourself from fresh ingredients, you can be positive that your plate will be full of wholesome ingredients.
If you are going out to eat, take a look at the menu ahead of time and decide on a healthy option BEFORE you are sitting at the table with your stomach growling and good food all around you. Having a plan before you get there will help you to make healthy choices and may also prevent overeating.
Plan your meals early in the week. How often have you come home from work with your stomach empty, energy low and unsure of what is for dinner, so you grab the bag of chips or a takeout menu? Planning healthy meals, and then shopping and preparing for them early in the week can help prevent this.
Start the day with a nutritious breakfast to sets a good tone for the rest of the day. Having a meal that is big enough to keep you full but also nutrient dense can be a challenge. Try and plan for this meal the night before so that you are not rushing in the morning to prepare something on the way out the door, or even worse at the drive through.
Fill half of every plate with fruits and vegetables. It is no secret that a diet higher in plant foods can help prevent weight gain, help with weight loss, and also help prevent chronic disease. Even if you go with less than half your plate, eating more than you currently do helps.
Talk positively about healthy foods. If you have kids this is extremely important. They are always listening! But if you are thinking negatively about your next healthy meal wishing you had something else, you are going to start to feel disdain for all healthy foods. Think about how you will feel after you are finished with your meal. Think about how much you are helping your body. Focus on the positive!
Forks are by far the utensils that are used the most. They really are the most functional of all of the utensils, and while we may not think about it often, our forks are tools that we use to provide our body with nourishment. This month and always, put your best fork forward (or to your mouth!) and make what you put on your plate a priority!
If you need help making diet changes, do not do it alone. Stop by the fitness center to schedule a nutrition consultation. Get a step ahead of your health!