30 Mar March: “Put Your Best Fork Forward”
What better way to kick off our new blog than during National Nutrition Month?! Each year during the month of March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDNs) as the Food and Nutrition experts. The 2017 theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” This campaign reminds us we each hold the most important tool for making informed and easy nutrition choices: the humble Fork! Making lifestyle and behavioral changes is a slow process, but by making informed food choices, developing sound eating habits and looking for new ways to be physically active, we can take the first steps towards an improved quality of life.
Eating right does not have to be complicated. With all the “nutritional noise” coming at us from every direction, it’s easy to get confused. One of my favorite acronyms is K.I.S.S – “Keep It Simple Stupid”. No over thinking. No second guessing. Just simple, easy choices.
1. Aim to make half your grains whole grains
Whole grain bread, pasta and rice are higher in fiber than its cheaper counterpart. The way to tell if something is truly whole grain is to look at the ingredients under the nutrition label. The VERY first ingredient should be “whole wheat flour”.
2. Eat the rainbow
A diet with more color will give you the biggest variety of vitamins and minerals food can offer. If green and yellow are common colors in your diet, try adding red (bell peppers, strawberries, grapefruit, red onion, tomato, pomegranate), purple (eggplant, raisins, figs, blueberries) or orange (carrots, bell peppers, mango, pumpkin, butter nut squash).
3. Drink zero calorie beverages
This is the only way to limit calories from added sugar. Regular sodas and sugar sweetened beverages still count towards your daily calorie intake and can contribute to weight gain among other health diseases. Choose water as you go to and if you need something to kick up the flavor, use flavoring mixes that have no added sugars. Using non-calorie sweeteners like Stevia/Truvia is a great way to bring sweetness without the added calories.
4. Start with breakfast
It doesn’t have to be the biggest meal of your day. You can even drink your meal. Meal replacement shakes (Slim Fast, Carnation Breakfast Essentials) are an easy way to get calories and protein in the morning to jump start your day.
5. Be mindful
Americans have a big problem with over eating and “zoning out” in front of the TV. Mindful eating is a concept that teaches us to slow down, take our time and pay attention to what is on our plates and what our bodies are telling us. Start by filling half your plate with vegetables and fruits, a quarter of your plate with low-fat/high quality proteins and the other quarter of your plate with starches/carbohydrates. Eat your vegetables/fruits first, then your proteins and finally your starches/carbohydrates.
Put Your Best Fork Forward!
Remember, small changes can make a big difference. You don’t have to change everything in one day or even one month. Start incorporating some of these tips into your daily routine to help promote your best health.
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