The theme for National Nutrition Month is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle”, which focuses on making better food choices that will result in consuming fewer calories to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health. Even though National Nutrition Month is drawing to a close, you can continue to make food choices for a healthier lifestyle by incorporating one new thing each month.
Here are 12 tips to begin implementing. You can certainly incorporate these faster than one new tip per month, but gradual implementation will ensure that your healthier habits stick and become a part of your regular routine.
- Practice portion control by using a smaller plate, bowl, and glass.
- When dining out, choose a smaller size option, share a meal or appetizer, or take part of
your meal for home.
- Make half your grains whole grains by choosing products that name a whole-grain as the first ingredient, such as “whole wheat”, “brown rice”, “bulgur”, “buckwheat”, “oatmeal”, “whole-grain cornmeal”, “whole oats”, “whole rye”, or “wild rice.”
- Be ahead of the game by cleaning and cutting up a bunch of veggies all at once so they’re ready to use for snacks, lunches, soups, stews, stir-fry’s or side dishes later in the week.
- Use canned or frozen vegetables if you’re on a budget, short on time, or don’t have fresh vegetables on hand. These quick and easy options are just as nutritious as fresh vegetables.
- Choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice or keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter, or in the refrigerator as a reminder to increase your fruit intake.
- When recipes call for sour cream, substitute it with plain yogurt. Use evaporated milk
instead of cream and try ricotta cheese as a substitute for cream cheese.
- Eat seafood twice a week to increase omega 3 fats for heart health. Choose varieties lower in mercury such as salmon, trout and herring.
- Choose lean or low-fat cuts of meat like round or sirloin, and ground beef that is at least 90% lean.
- Eat slowly to prevent overeating. Enjoy taste and textures, pay attention to how you feel and be mindful of your choices.
- Make a snack of trail mix by using your favorite nuts, dried fruits and whole-grain cereals.
- Save treats for special occasions by having them once in a while versus every day.
Remember to build on new healthy habits by adding one new tip each month. A year from now, you’ll be able to look back and see all the terrific changes you’ve implemented and reap some health benefits to boot.
USDA Center for Nutrition DG Tip Sheet No. 14 June 2011