National Nutrition Month: Getting Your Plate In Shape

March 13, 2012

Body

Did you know that there is an entire month to celebrate food?! Well, March is National Nutrition Month, so it’s time to celebrate the substance that is essential for our children to grow and develop, as well as, keeps us adults healthy so that we may tackle the many activities in life. National Nutrition Month was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to educate the public about healthy eating and help you make sound nutrition & lifestyle choices.

Food for a balanced dietThis year’s theme is “Get Your Plate In Shape.” It’s tough to get yourself & family in shape if your plate isn’t. There are simple and easy tips you can do to get started in getting your plate in shape, and thus yourself & your family!

  • Make half of your plate fruit & vegetables — fresh or frozen, the more colorful the better! Add spices & herbs for seasoning without having to add salt.  Key — make sure they aren’t smothered in dressing or butter!
  • Make half of your grains whole grains — whole grains contain the grain kernels thus giving us more fiber. Some examples: oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta.
  • Switch to low-fat or skim milk — still has the same amount of protein, calcium, and vitamin D as regular milk. The calcium is important for strong bones.
  • Vary your lean protein sources — protein sources come in a variety of places — beans, nuts, seeds, poultry, eggs, seafood and lean meat. Healthiest ways to eat your meats — baked, broiled or grilled. Be sure to aim for seafood twice a week on your plate to increase your good Omega 3 fatty acid intake!
  • Cut back on empty calories from sugary foods & beverages and solid fats. Try to drink water or sugar free beverages instead of sugar sweetened beverages such as soda and fruit drinks. Aim to eat sugary desserts less often — try a piece of fruit instead!
  • Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity daily — physical activity is extremely important in keeping your heart healthy and those unwanted pounds away.  Start with 10 minutes at a time — every little bit helps. The ideas are endless: Park at the far end of the parking lot, take the stairs, go for a family walk, play tag in the park, have a dance party, or run in place during commercials while watching an hour TV show — you will have done 20 minutes of exercise by the end of the show! Being active together as a family provides excellent quality time together, as well as, teaches the children the importance of being healthy.

Good luck in the journey in “Getting Your Plate in Shape” so that you and your family can lead the healthiest life as can be!

Happy National Nutrition Month! Be sure to contact Registered Dietitian if you have any questions or would like personal assistance in your journey.

Here are some additional resources to help you on your journey.

REMEMBER March is National Nutrition Month and for this month all your nutrition questions may be answered by Texas Children's Dieticians at ljhinkso@texaschildrens.org.

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