March is National Nutrition Month!
This year's theme, "World of Flavors," focuses on celebrating flavors from around the globe. Featuring different tastes from a variety of cultures is a great way to appreciate our diversity while also nourishing our bodies. Each week during the month of March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) will highlight one key message that focuses on recognizing different culture's dietary practices as well as overall diet and health advice.
This week's message encourages eating a variety of foods. The AND handout on this topic can be downloaded from the link below:
Regardless of cultural dietary practices, it is important to include delicious foods from varying food groups at each meal in order to support an overall healthy diet. Each food group contains vitamins and minerals that can be unique to that food group and support your bodies overall health. For this reason, it is extremely important to include a variety of foods within your diet. The easiest way to do this is to focus on building a colorful plate. Adding bursts of bright colors from fruits and vegetables while also incorporating hearty protein sources is a great way to ensure each meal is providing essential nutrients to keep your body healthy. MyPlate is an excellent tool provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that allows you to visually understand how to build a healthy plate in order to achieve a healthy diet.
The visual shown below has been presented as a general layout of how to build healthy plate. Although diet and individual food preferences can differ, this visual highlights the importance of including a variety of food groups on your plate with emphasis on half of your plate being comprised of fruits and vegetables. Portion sizes and food group categories can be listed in more detail on the MyPlate website. MyPlate also has tools that support healthy diet choices, such as a shopping guides and a smartphone app that allows you to track your daily intake. MyPlate also includes culturally inclusive food items and provides a personal quiz to aid in building a more individualized plate.
You can check out MyPlate by visiting the website below:
The first week of March also highlights National Snack Day on March 4th which focuses on the importance of including healthy snacks within your diet! While building colorful, healthy plates should be a staple to any diet, incorporating healthy snacks can also provide a source of nutrients that may be lacking at meal times. When choosing snacks, it is best to focus on foods that are not high in added sugars or saturated fats. Snacks that provide protein can also aid the body in sustaining a full feeling for longer amounts of time. Examples of easy snacks that support a healthy diet include fruit cups with no added sugars or syrups, homemade trail mix, air-popped popcorn. and non-fat yogurt. A hand out can be found below that focuses healthy snacking!
This week, I encourage you to check out the resources listed above and reach out with any questions or concerns you may have! You can also check out our National Nutrition Month display that is featured in The Pulse Cafe. Weekly updates and nutritional advice will be provided as National Nutrition Month progresses. Sign up with your email to be notified of blog updates as well as other events happening this month.