Broward College Instructor Melinda Luis Offers Nutrition Tips in Observance of National Nutrition Month
Each year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors a National Nutrition Month campaign to bring attention to the importance of making sound nutrition choices. The theme in March is “Enjoy the taste of eating right.”
Not only should foods be nutritious, but they should taste good! There are many ways to include good-tasting, healthy foods into your diet that may ultimately kick start a commitment to eating healthier.
A first step to a more nutritious diet is to prepare a colorful plate that includes fruits and vegetables. The United States Department of Agriculture food guide, Choose My Plate, encourages fruits and vegetables of varied colors to provide a wide range of nutrients. If you are not used to eating fruits and vegetables, try adding them to foods you already eat. For example, add berries or dried fruits to your cereal or yogurt to increase the fiber, vitamin and mineral content. Fruits and cooked or raw vegetables also make great snacks. Fresh whole fruits can be easily carried snacks. Consider trying 8-10 ounces of a fruit and vegetable smoothie as a snack or an occasional meal replacement.
Don’t be afraid to try new recipes. Though it can sometimes be daunting, it is well worth it when you find a new one to add to your food repertoire. Ask friends and family for recipes they have tried and enjoyed. A recommendation from a trusted source can improve your likelihood of preparing and eating something new. If you are doing your own research, look for recipes that have main ingredients you really like and a few ingredients you don’t normally eat. For example, find a pan cooked chicken recipe that has an interesting nut or yogurt sauce rather than plain higher calorie gravy. If you enjoy mixed vegetables, add some edamame beans to increase the protein and nutrient content. Herbs and spices add amazing flavor to foods with an added benefit of high Phytonutrients, which can have a protective effect against heart disease and cancer.
When enhancing your diet, don’t forget to maintain a balance of your favorite foods. One of the most common mistakes people make when considering healthy food choices is selecting foods that are supposed to be healthy, but they really don’t enjoy it. Include your favorite foods and make a few changes to make them lower in fat and calories and higher in nutrients. For example, if macaroni and cheese is your favorite food, use a lower fat cheese in the recipe or purchase a lower fat product. Add chopped fresh or frozen vegetables to your plate. Nuts and seeds are also great sources of nutrients, including potassium, fiber and protein.
During National Nutrition Month, make a commitment to improve your health through more nutritious foods and physical activity. Find meal inspiration on our Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/browardcollege/quick-healthy-meals-for-students-on-the-go/