By Georgia Saler RDN
March is my favorite month because it is National Nutrition Month, the time of new beginnings and the start of the growing season. It is a time to try new foods, re-commit to a healthier lifestyle or simply to eat more nutrient dense veggies. The theme this year is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” How are you going to put your best fork forward this month?
We all know that eating a healthy diet is one of the foundational pillars of good health, but did you know that sleep, exercise and emotional well being also have an interconnected role to your well being. If you don’t sleep well, you won’t eat well. If you don’t eat well, you won’t have the energy to sustain physical activity, if you eat packaged, processed food from a window, you are lacking your optimal energy, happiness and vitality.
There is the never ending challenge to eat poorly because we make excuses that we are too busy, too tired, or that it is too expensive to eat well. I am here to help you make small gradual steps that will be life changing. Realize that it is what you do most of the time that is setting your foundation for disease prevention, longevity, and vitality. Instead of thinking that eating healthy is depriving you, think about including more healthy foods like veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds and high quality protein into your diet.
My clients often tell me that they are surprised to see how their grocery bills are cut by 30% by not purchasing the pre-packaged processed foods with a long shelf life.
The importance of food choices affects hunger, cravings, and activity levels. Protein needs increase as we age. Women over the age of 40 who are gaining weight are either not getting enough sleep or not getting enough protein. Only 8% of people are consuming 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables, are within 5 pounds of their ideal body weight, and exercise 5 times a week, which are recommended for optimal health.
Tips to Put your Best Fork Forward
Pick 2-3 and practice until it is natural and then add more.
- Include vegetables at lunch and dinner
- Eat 1-2 fruits a day
- Eat beans 3-4 times a week
- Limit extra sugars in your diet to no more than 30 grams
- Include foods in their natural state
- Take a multivitamin
- Eat yogurt daily
- Eat fermented foods like sauerkraut
- Avoid eating “fast food”
- Learn to read a food label
- Eat seasonally and locally
- Plan your meals
- Stop eating in your car
- Include a salad with each meal
- Add spinach or kale to your smoothie
- Eat fruit or nuts for a snack
- Pack your lunch
- Bypass the donuts that your co-worker brought in
- Have a home packed lunch swap with a co-worker
- Eat less foods with a food label