Celebrate National Nutrition Month by making small changes that will lead to big improvements.
Unlike “National Pancake Month” or “National Whipped Cream Month,” National Nutrition Month is a yearly occasion that you can and should celebrate for 30 days straight. In fact, why stop at the end of March? I hope that, once you try the following tips, you’ll want to continue practicing them all year through.
Here’s how it works: Try one tip each day, starting today. (You can change the order, but be sure you try each one.) Then, repeat.
1. Cut portions.
If you think leaving just a little something on your plate won’t matter, think again. It will. Small amounts of uneaten food add up to calories that stay on the plate – not on you.
2. Sip while you sit.
Bring a cup or bottle of water with you whenever you sit (at your desk, in the car or in front of the TV, for example). Although moving is better than sitting, at least you’ll be performing a healthy habit when at rest.
3. Make a move.
Take the stairs, park a few blocks away or otherwise become inefficient and take extra steps to get where you need to go.
4. Have a vegetable at breakfast.
Most people save their veggies for dinner, but it’s healthful to think outside the cereal bowl and veg out at breakfast. For example, add a sliced tomato to your cheese sandwich or some mushrooms to your eggs.
5. Find fiber.
Whether it’s a bran cereal, nuts, oatmeal or an array of other fiber-filled foods, added fiber can make you feel fuller longer and provide a, well, moving experience.
6. Flip the package over.
Read nutrition labels to see what’s really in your food. Don’t be fooled by a flashy front-of-package claim.
7. Don’t fear fat– but don’t go overboard.
Fat has more calories than other nutrients, but it has multiple benefits. If you watch your portions, you can enjoy its decadence.
8. Don’t have guilt as a side dish.
If you overindulge at a meal, move on.
9. Be mindful.
Unless you’re driving, close your eyes when you eat. Notice the food’s texture, temperature and flavor.
Protein derived from plant sources such as seeds, nuts, tofu and tempeh, as well as from grains, can help lower cholesterol, improve your heart health and add a satiating blend of flavors to extend Meatless Monday to the rest of the week.
11. Tap into your dark side.
Dark chocolate has been shown to have heart-healthy benefits and it can certainly boost your mood. Be mindful of portions, though, to help keep yourself feeling happy.
12. Eat something fishy.
Enjoy fish as a dish at least three times a week. It’s heart-healthy, low in fat and contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
13. Take time for tea.
Tea contains polyphenols, it’s good for your bones and it provides a soothing cup of comfort in any season.
14.Cook with your kids.
Don’t think of this interaction as cooking lessons. Rather, realize that teaching your kids to put together a meal is a lesson they can use for the rest of their lives.