6 Ways to Get Healthy During Nutrition Month



March is National Nutrition Month created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a way to teach the public about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The goal of this month is to create a national education campaign, spearheaded by Registered Dietitians, with a focus on helping the public make healthier food choices and increase physical activity. March is great time to also focus on your health. Here are a few simple, yet effective ways to help you get started.

1. Eat More Greens

Green leafy vegetables are the nutrition super stars of the vegetable world. That’s not to say you don’t need the other veggies as well, but green leafies are non-negotiable. They are loaded with vitamins C, K, and A and minerals like potassium and magnesium. Eating green vegetables has been linked to a decrease in multiple chronic diseases.1 This March look for creative ways to include them in your diet more often, aim for at least 2 servings a day.

    2. Swap Your Beverages

    Sugar-sweetened beverages add a lot of calories and sugar to you day without giving you the satisfaction of eating real food. These drinks have also been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.2 Instead, swap out soda, fancy coffee drinks, and fruit juice for water, seltzer, or unsweetened iced tea.

    3. Take a Cooking Class

    Struggling to find healthy and tasty recipes the whole family will enjoy? Why not take a cooking class? Many community centers, local colleges, or cooking schools offer various types of classes. Learning a new skill or recipe can help reduce boredom and help you try a new type of cuisine. Or if you don’t have the time, there are many cooking instructional videos available online. Pick a new recipe to try once a week.

    4. Join a CSA

    A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is a community program that helps support local farmers while allowing you to benefit from the freshest produce. Usually it’s a “subscription” type of service where a certain upfront cost gets you access to seasonal produce from the farm. The produce is usually delivered to your door or can be picked up locally. Some CSAs even include meat or other types of food. Joining a CSA allows you support the local economy, enjoy fresh produce, and help you eat healthier.

    5. Eat at Home

    One of the easiest ways to eat healthier (and save money) is to eat at home more often. Look for quick and easy meals to prepare for days when life gets crazy and you are tempted to hit the drive thru. Or consider batch cooking and freezing meals ahead of time. Aim to cut back on at least two restaurant meals a week and your health and wallet will thank you.

    6. Increase Your Steps

    Many of us spend more time sitting than we should. An easy way to be more active is to try to increase your steps. The recommended amount for daily steps is 10,000, but for those who work office jobs this goal can be hard to achieve. But, don’t give up! Look for ways to sneak in more steps for example, take a 10 minute walking break at lunch or suggest walking meetings, if possible. Small changes can add up.

    During National Nutrition Month, aim to try something new to improve your health and nutrition. Want more tips and ideas, check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.

     

    References

    1. Advances in Nutrition. 2012;3(4):506-516.
    2. Circulation. 2010;121:1356–1364.

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