March is National Nutrition Month (NNM)! This year’s theme focuses on “Get Your Plate in Shape” — an analogy to which might be to pay more attention to the fuel you buy for your car and find the best match for your car’s needs.
In other words, seek out and enjoy food choices that simply provide a better quality food supply for your body so that you give it the fuel it needs to work better. Then focus on moving that body around adequately so that you feel the best you can feel overall.
NNM “Widget” (aka image code) courtesy of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Feb 26, 2012 to March 3, 2012 also happens to be the 25th Anniversary of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This year, one of the take home messages of that campaign to raise awareness concerning the realities of eating disorders is to “Give Up the Quest to Be Perfect” and to celebrate life and living.
In other words, just be an Original YOU!
Don’t be sucked in by the many negative-hype unnecessary dieting messages that are everywhere in the media or try to look like the ~2% of the population that is model-thin.
Consider promoting your own health at any size and work towards staying active and eating fuel choices that work well with your body. Allow your body to find a body size that is good for you to enable you to accomplish the goals that matter to you in your life.
Focus on positive messages of eating and enjoying food choices that simply provide a better fuel supply to your body and allow it to work better for you.
After all, you’re worth it!
Turn your attention to celebrating lifestyle positives when it comes to eating and exercising.
Let’s focus on promoting the positive, rather than the negative!
Here are some guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for NNM and also from USDA from its my plate website to keep in mind not just this month, but every month.
Besides being sure to drink enough plain water (which can often replace sugary drink beverages) to meet your body’s needs, consider all of YOUR remaining food plate & exercise options.
- Look for alternatives to consume in place of empty calorie food choices that are higher in solid fats, added sugars and added sodium; along with
- Savor the flavor & enjoy smaller portion sizes (often, smaller meals/snacks spread out over the course of the day are better than just one or two much larger meals so try using smaller plates, smaller bowls and smaller glasses); and when dining out, remember to pay attention to any menu notations on leaner dining options available via a full-size or even a petite-size children’s menu;
- Vary your choices among a range of different lower-fat protein sources (keeping in mind any allergies, intolerances, or personal/religious preferences) choosing between beans and legumes (pulses), eggs, judicious portions of lean “white” and “red” meats, and don’t forget lean seafood at least twice per week;
- Give fat-free or low-fat dairy choices a try (being mindful of any allergy or intolerance issues, or vegetarian/vegan lifestyle choices, etc.) keeping in mind the lactose-free as well as calcium-fortified soy and other nut based lower-fat beverage options; and
- Remember the contributions of making half your grain consumption whole grains, seeking out 100% whole grain choices whenever possible from bread varieties, brown rice, cereals, crackers, pasta, etc. (while respecting any food allergies or intolerances, etc.);
- Fill at least half of your plate with anti-oxidant rich, colorful fruits and vegetables (going for higher fiber versions within your body tolerances and especially seeking out dark-green, various orange and deep red color choices, while remembering all choices don’t have to be fresh–choose for dessert or light snacks from canned fruit in natural juice no sugar added, or dried, or frozen with no sugar added options; or choose from canned vegetables with no salt added, plain frozen without sauces, and even bits of dried options);
- Flavor your food choices with no sodium added herbs and spices as tolerated; use judicious amounts of healthier olive oil, canola oil, and even some nut oil such as walnut oil, etc. options to replace solid fats;
- Be physically active in a way that works for you (aim to reach 2.5 hours of exercise per week, but start off wherever you are now and can do safely with your physician’s OK, then gradually adjust your exercise schedule as per your physician’s instructions during the days, weeks, and months ahead)!
For additional details and some fun findings including links to fun games & puzzles for children, more helpful tips for children & adults, along with nutrition resources handouts, promotional materials and tools to spread this year’s NNM Message of “Get Your Plate In Shape” please check out the NNM Nutrition Education Resources Page.
You can also check out other resources at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Kids Eat Right, Choose My Plate, and Team Nutrition among many others on the www that can help you find accurate and helpful food and nutrition information.
March 14th will be the 5th observance of Registered Dietitian Day (the second Wednesday of March), although a nutrition awareness week was first celebrated back in 1973 and by 1980 blossomed into the full NNM.
Stay tuned all NNM as the focus is on YOU and providing a better fuel supply for YOUR body!