Every March, the National Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
encourages everyone to focus on healthful eating during National Nutrition Month. This
year’s theme, “Put Your Best Fork
Forward,” reminds us to start small when it comes to improving our eating habits,
and focus on lifestyle changes that can be implemented over the long run.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for
Americans recommend making small changes to eating patterns to include
healthier choices while cooking at home or eating out. Why? Because choosing a variety of healthful foods
across and within all food groups while increasing physical activity helps
reduce the risk of preventable, lifestyle-related chronic diseases including
cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
and physical activity should be fun, and making changes to your daily habits
shouldn’t be so burdensome that you’ll give up in a few weeks. Below we’ve
outlined a few tips on how you can “Put Your Best Fork Forward” and make simple
changes to last a lifetime.
- Eat a
rainbow. The easiest way to ensure you’re eating healthy is to eat
colorful fruits and vegetables with every meal. An added bonus is that these
foods are not only rich in vitamins, but also fiber, so you’ll feel fuller
sooner and eat less.
- Focus on
the day, not the meal. Plan
your day so that you have a variety of foods throughout the day. Don’t stress
if you don’t eat a well-rounded meal once, just get back on track for the next
- Have fun. Eating
and physical activity should be an enjoyable part of your day. Savor your foods
and find exercises that you enjoy so it’s something you look forward to, rather
- Cook from scratch whenever possible. Cooking from scratch will not only yield
health benefits for you and your family, but you’ll be able to control what
goes into the meal and won’t be eating hidden fats like butter and sauces.
- Eat breakfast. Even though the mornings can be the busiest
times at home, try to make breakfast a priority. Plan ahead the night before or
have quick and healthy options ready for a quick meal to go.
- Set the example. It’s easy to fall into ruts at home, but when
one family member steps up and sets the example, others will usually follow.
Make sure to have healthy snacks available and become a champion of healthy
eating so the rest of your family is also motivated to do so.
- Don’t Be
Afraid to Ask for Substitutions. When
dining out, don't be afraid to ask questions about how the food is prepared or to
substitute or an extra side of veggies for potatoes or fries. Ask for food to
be prepared without butter as it is often hidden in many restaurant dishes.
- Box It
Up. Ask for a to-go box at a restaurant
when your food is served. Put half of it in right away to ensure you maintain
portion control. Or better yet, split your entrée with a friend!
you’re looking for additional nutritional support or a personalized eating
plan, Griffin Hospital’s Registered Dietitians provide
one-on-one nutrition counseling sessions for those simply looking to improve
their health and eat better, as well as for a variety of medical conditions,
including but not limited to: Diabetes; heart disease; celiac disease; food
allergies; and pre-and post-bariatric surgery.