This year we celebrate National Nutrition Month with the theme “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle.”
At the start of the New Year we talked about the importance of creating a health action plan that was realistic, achievable and held the interventions necessary to help you achieve your health goal no matter what goal you selected.
We worked toward taking steps that were actionable that fit into your current lifestyle so that you would be successful.
As part of the plan, we are challenged to reassess the interventions and our success along the way to act as motivation and an opportunity to try new strategies to achieve our health goals and not merely fail at another resolution.
Three months into the year, during National Nutrition Month, is a good time to renew our health action plan and use the tips provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) to further bolster our personal health lifestyles toward our own wellness and that of our family.
Considerations for Healthy Food Choices
AND has provided resources to help us all learn more about nutrition and how our lifestyle choices influence our health and wellness. Not just for ourselves but for our entire family.
We need to consider how the food choices that we make for ourselves and the whole family could be improved with a minimum of effort and change.
Sometimes small changes make the biggest impacts on our health!
AND offers these points to examine your own lifestyle:
- What am I eating and drinking?
- How much am I eating and drinking?
- How should I prepare what I eat and drink?
Once you have given consideration to these questions, you can update your current action plan or begin a plan to improve your well-being one bite at a time. There is no reason to chew off more than you can handle.
One step, one day at a time to wellness.
It is true that most of us are aware of what healthy eating is and what foods are best for us as individuals because we all have different needs. The challenge is taking the steps to make positive changes.
If we try one bite at a time perhaps it won’t be overwhelming and we can begin to adopt healthy habits.
Strategies for Change One Bite at a Time
As we did with our personal health action plan (not resolution), we need to be realistic and realize that we can make changes because they will benefit our health. They aren’t hard but take our commitment to our own well-being. We can break down what we need to do into actionable items such as these:
- Replace the sugar sweetened beverages we drink with water when we are thirsty. Here are some tips to flavor your water to keep the boredom from your routine and perhaps keep you from slipping back to the zing of sugar sweetened beverages.
- Begin cooking new recipes using fresh ingredients to reduce sodium and fat you get from pre-made convenience items. Need help getting ideas or learning new techniques? Take a cooking class with a friend or send in your family’s traditional recipe for a Recipe Renovation.
- Fire up the grill and cook up some lean protein and roasted vegetables to add to your family meals. Grilling some shish kabobs using vegetables, fruits and lean proteins in new ways will jazz up your dinner time with little prep time needed. You can chop ingredients for dinner on the weekend when you have a bit more time to be ready for the grill quickly!
- Pump up your plate by increasing the vegetables your serve to fill half the plate. Many of us continue to avoid fresh vegetables due to preparation time or fear of waste if they sit too long in the fridge. Adding side salads using the great variety of salad mixes is pretty easy. You can use frozen vegetables without added sauce or dressings that you only need to steam to meet the need for quick meals that are nutritious and low calorie not to mention meeting the recommended serving amounts.
- Manage your portions. Even good healthy foods can be overeaten and lead to excessive calorie intake keeping you from reaching your weight goals. Do you know what a healthy portion is? MyPlate.gov can help you overcome portion distortion and get you on the road to appropriate calorie consumption. A balance of calories in and calories out leads to a healthy lifestyle.
- Calories out includes getting enough physical activity daily to achieve a balance for health. Add an activity you enjoy, bring along a friend and do it ‘one bite’ at a time.
- Choose low fat dairy products to meet your needs for calcium and other essential nutrients found in dairy. Select skim or 1% milk, low fat yogurt, and skim milk cheeses.
- Try a Meatless Monday plan. Use protein sources from plants such as beans, nuts, grains and soy. Plant based protein sources are lower in fat and calories, can break up the weeknight meal boredom and help you achieve energy balance. We need 5-6 ounces of protein a day for health.
- Buy fresh fruits and vegetable in-season to take advantage of their freshness and affordability. Enjoying a variety of produce and meeting the need to include 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables a day when it is readily available is easier one whole fruit or vegetable at a time. In-season items are a great way to try new foods and unique recipes.
- Don’t skimp on fiber. We need to include 6-8 ounces of grains with preferable half coming from whole grain sources. Including enough fiber every day is another lifestyle habit that we often overlook. Fiber can help to keep our bodies healthy and help achieve your health goals.
Achieve Your Personal Health Goal
Improving your health lifestyle can help you attain and maintain a weight that is healthy, help you prevent chronic disease and feel well so that you can achieve whatever you dream.
Learning more, trying new foods, adopting new behaviors one bite, one step at a time will put you on the right road to a healthy lifestyle.
You can accomplish your personal health goal!