March is National Nutrition Month®️, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants to help give everyone the tools to make informed food choices and develop healthful eating and physical activity habits for life. This year’s theme is to Celebrate a World of Flavors, and this week’s message is to:
Eat a variety of nutritious foods every day!
Follow these tips below to help you know how to eat a balanced diet in a mindful way.
Include healthful foods from all food groups – eating a balanced diet that includes all food groups is an easy way to help your body get the nutrients it needs.
- Fruits – make half your plate fruits and vegetables! Choose fruit that is fresh, frozen, dried, or canned in 100% fruit juice.
- Vegetables – make half your plate fruits and vegetables! Choose vegetables that are fresh, frozen, or canned without added salt.
- Grains – make half your grains whole grains, like oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, brown rice, and whole grain flours.
- Protein – try different protein foods, like seafood, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, soy, eggs, and lean meats and poultry.
- Dairy – choose low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, calcium-fortified soymilk, and cheese.
Learn how to read Nutrition Facts Panels
- First, look at the servings per container and the serving size. All information on the food label is based on the serving size, so if you eat more than the serving size, you’re getting more of the nutrients listed.
- For one serving of food, try to limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and added sugars to less than 5% of the daily value.
- For one serving of food, try to aim for at least 20% of the daily value for vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- Check the ingredient list for whole grains and hidden sources of trans fat (partially hydrogenated oils) and sugar (ingredients that end in -ose, honey, and corn sweeteners).
Incorporate your favorite cultural foods and traditions
- Cook with others – learn about cooking different traditional or regional foods from others who use authentic recipes and ingredients and explore ways to improve the nutrition of some of your own family favorites.
- Add a touch of spice – combinations of herbs and spices often remind us of dishes from our own heritage or our favorite ethnic food. Add flavor to meals with herbs and spices, such as chili, garlic, ginger, basil, oregano, curry, or cilantro, which can replace salt and saturated fat.
- Make smart choices when dining out – eating out offers tempting new dishes that make it easy to overeat. Choose lower calorie dishes, such as stir fries, kabobs, or whole-wheat pastas with tomato sauce. Split a dish or ask for a take-home container at the start of a meal to save part of what’s served on your plate.
- All types of foods fit on MyPlate – MyPlate is designed to remind Americans to eat healthfully, using foods from the food groups. The MyPlate website provides practical information, tips, tools, and recipes that will help you build a healthier diet.
For healthy recipes visit etfbrecipes.org.