Healthy eating habits and nutrition education are the focus on National Nutrition Month, sponsored by the American Society of Nutrition every year in March. The American Society of Nutrition is responsible for providing continuing education on the specialized topic of nutrition to health care professionals across the disciplines, as well as policymakers and consumers.
Discovering the benefits making positive food and beverage choices, eating a variety of foods from all of the food groups, and making great choices even when eating at restaurants, are a strong focus for the month.
Practical advice for making such improvements this month, and then going forward, can be as simple as incrementally replacing less nutritious go-to foods with healthier, more nutritious foods to build new habits that are better for the body and overall health. Such examples include:
- Instead of crunching on potato chips and traditional dips made with high levels of fat, try crunchy fresh vegetables dipped in reduced fat dressings instead.
- To fend off the urge to reach for convenience foods that are typically high in fat and sodium but low in nutritional value, prepare a supply of clean, but, bagged vegetables, fruits, and nuts in snack-size portions. Having healthy choices ready to go means it’s less tempting to break open a plastic package to instantly eat something less beneficial.
- Consider adding different fresh vegetables to the foods you already eat: for example, try green peppers, zucchini, and even broccoli as added toppings on a pizza for some healthy fiber and nutritional value.
- Focusing on serving vegetables with a variety of colors is a simple way of ensuring a greater variety and therefore meeting the goals of a more complete diet. For example, incorporating carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves, and mandarin orange slices in a side salad brings several colors, and therefore many more vitamins, minerals, and sources of dietary fiber, while making the salad more appealing and flavorful.
- A simple breakfast smoothie consisting of low-fat milk, strawberries, and a banana, can offer a fast breakfast with a great deal of dietary value without a lot of effort.
- Trying to replace bread with wraps, and meats with vegetables can bring down fat, salt, and simple carbohydrate consumption while still being filling. It also increases the nutritional value, variety, colors, and food groups in the daily diet.
The public is invited to reach out to community leaders at the local and state level to request a proclamation from their mayor or governor that it is National Nutrition Month in each municipality, not just at the national level.
Restaurants, such as Assaggio in Boston’s North End, only use the freshest ingredients in making its mouthwatering meals. If you are looking for meals that not only taste delicious but also excellent for your health, head on over to Assaggio!