March is National Nutrition Month

Everyone can make a change to eat better and increase activity; you just need the right tools! Use these tips to start on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Focus on your food. Pick one place to sit down and eat at home. Eating while doing other things may lead to eating more than you think. Sounds crazy with little ones running around?? Sitting and eating not only helps you eat the proper amount, but also teaches your kids to sit and eat a healthful meal.

Balance your plate with a variety of foods. Half your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, about one fourth with lean meat, poultry fish, low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese and one fourth with grains.

Know when you’ve had enough to eat. Quit before you feel full or stuffed. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your body is getting food. When your brain gets this message, you stop feeling hungry. So, fast eaters—slow down and give your brain a chance to get the message!

Get plenty of fiber from fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Fiber can help you feel full longer. Try adding blueberries to your yogurt or broccoli to your pasta.

Watch portion sizes to manage your calorie intake. Make a fist. That is about the size of your stomach. You wouldn’t grab more than you could hold, so don’t overfill your stomach with more than it can handle. Using smaller plates, bowls and glasses can help you keep portions under control.

Eat Breakfast. ?There’s no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast. Include lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try oatmeal cooked with low-fat milk, sliced almonds and berries, or top a toaster waffle with low-fat yogurt and fruit.

Snack smart. Include snacks as part of your daily calorie allowance and limit portions to one serving. Plan for nutritious snacks to prevent between-meal hunger. Keep portable, healthy snacks in your desk, diaper bag or car – trail mix, peanut butter and whole grain crackers, or string cheese and strawberries.

Drink More Water

Our bodies depend on water to regulate temperature, transport nutrients and oxygen to cells, carry away waste products and so much more. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty and always carry a water bottle with you.

Enact Family Meal Time – Family meals promote healthier eating. Plan to eat as a family at least?a few times each week. Set a regular mealtime. Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk. Get kids involved in meal planning and cooking and use this time to be a good example and teach them about healthy eating habits and good nutrition.

Be Active -?Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure and helps your body control stress and weight. Start by doing what exercise you can for at least 10 minutes at a time. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get 2 hours and 30 minutes per week. You don’t have to hit the gym—take a walk after dinner or play a game of catch or basketball.

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

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