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Put Your Best Fork Forward With National Nutrition Month in March

By Griffin Hospital on 3/7/2017

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.

Eating 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 one.
  • 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 than dread.
  • 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!

If 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.

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