What does a healthy lifestyle mean to you? Waking up early enough to eat breakfast? Eating the veggies on your plate? Enjoying a smaller bowl of ice cream? Taking a brisk walk with your dog after supper? Or filling your shopping cart with foods that deliver the best nutrition for your grocery dollar? It’s all that – and more!
March is National Nutrition Month! It’s a reminder to "Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle" – and choose an eating pattern that meets your nutrient needs, within your calorie limits. If you’re like many Americans, that means three key things: consume fewer calories, make informed food choices and get daily exercise ... in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk for chronic disease and promote your overall health.
Bit by bit, taking just a few small steps adds up, over time, to a lifestyle that’s healthier! So for starters, you can …
Make Your Food Choices … Just a Little Bit Better
- Read the label as you shop. Choose nutrient-dense foods that deliver more for their calories. For example, Dreamfields pasta adds more fiber and protein to your meal than traditional pasta. Low-fat cheese has all the nutrients of regular cheese, but with less fat and fewer calories. And using leaner ground meat or turkey delivers less fat yet plenty of protein to lasagna, burgers and chili.
- Add a veggie to a mixed pasta dish, soup or rice dish. It’s as easy as mixing in grated carrots, chopped Swiss chard or kale, canned tomatoes, sliced mushrooms or chopped bell pepper.
- Right size your portions. Two ounces of dry pasta cooks to about 1 cup; the equivalent of 6 cups daily from all grain foods is enough for most people. For more about smart food choices, click Healthy Carb Living.
Stay tuned for part two of Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle
Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, CFCS is author of the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, with more ways to bite into a healthy lifestyle!