National Nutrition Month is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Every year, the campaign focuses on raising awareness about good nutrition and educating people on changes they can make to eat healthier and be more active. AND is the largest group of food and nutrition professionals in the world. AND strives to provide timely, scientifically-based nutrition and information to help people make healthier food choices.
“Put Your Best Fork Forward”is the theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month . As AND explains, this theme “serves as a reminder that each one of us holds the tool to make healthier food choices.” This month try to make small changes to what and how you eat to improve your overall eating habits. Healthy food choices can reduce your risk for cancer and other diseases.
In addition to the fun theme, National Nutrition Month has 5 Key Messages to help you succeed. Let’s look at simple strategies to help you make these healthy food changes.
Include Favorite Healthy Foods
Create a style of eating that includes a variety of your favorite healthy foods. There is no one perfect, healthy diet while you are on your cancer journey. You can still eat foods you enjoy. Put your own creative spin on your meals by finding new ways to incorporate your favorite healthy foods.
Cook at Home with Healthy Changes
Be open to experimenting with healthier ingredients. Try your hand at cooking more at home. There are many food swaps you can use to make your meals a little healthier. For example, swap ground turkey for ground beef in chili or tacos. Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for toppings. Try egg whites instead of yolks for breakfast. You may find some new flavors that you like, and save a little money preparing your own food.
Practice Portion Control
Balance the amount of what you eat and drink by watching your portions. Portion control means choosing a healthy amount of a certain food. Portion control helps you get the benefits of the nutrients in the food without overeating and is key to controlling or reversing weight gain. How much you eat and drink is as important as what you choose to eat. Check out the MyPlate guidelines to learn how to build a perfectly portioned plate.
Get active by choosing a physical activities that you enjoy, within any restrictions your physician may have suggested. Being active for 30 minutes daily helps you use the food you eat and build muscle. Go for a walk through your neighborhood after dinner. Take a dance class during the weekend to learn some new moves.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Keep your weight at a healthy level for you. Eating foods that you like that fill you up (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes), and less foods that are high-calorie is one step to a healthier weight. AND has more resources to help you manage your weight that you can find here.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day is also celebrated on March 8th. Reach out to your local RDN’s to thank them for their work in the field of cancer prevention and treatment.
Learn more about National Nutrition Month at eatright.org.