Friday, March 2, 2012

How Will You Celebrate Nutrition This Month?!


It's National Nutrition Month, and this year's theme is (as seen above) GET YOUR PLATE IN SHAPE! And let's not forget another very special day coming up; March 14th, which is Registered Dietitian Day (I'll except gifts in the form of healthy snacks, dark chocolates, and money if need-be. hehe).


Here are a few ways to “Get Your Plate in Shape” from the food and nutrition experts at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association):



· Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables: Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange varieties. Add fresh, dried, frozen or canned fruits to meals and snacks.


(This is my modified version of this recipe for sauteed broccoli rave with crushed red pepper)



· Make at least half your grains whole: Choose 100 percent whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.



· Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk: Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. For those who are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.




· Vary your protein choices: Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs. Keep meat and poultry portions small and lean. And be sure to choose seafood as the protein at least twice a week.



(Slightly Southwestern Salmon Soft Tacos)



· Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars: Season your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt. Switch from solid fats to healthy oils like olive and canola oil. Replace sugary drinks with water and choose fruit for dessert (and maybe some dark chocolate!)



· Enjoy your foods but eat less: Avoid over-sized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl and glass. Cook more often at home where you are in control of what’s in your food. When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options.





The point of NNM is not to focus on nutrition for the sole purpose of "celebrating National Nutrition Month",
but instead you can think of it as the perfect time to re-evaluate your new year's goals (or....resolutions if you made them). While the theme is "Get Your Plate In Shape", you may have other nutrition-related goals that are more personal to you, for example, one of my nutrition-related goals for this year was to eat less at night (I used to eat around 500 calories after dinner, no joke, crazy right?) I've re-evaluated my goal and discovered that now I'm down to about 200-300 calories, which is perfect and allows me to still enjoy some evening snacks while watching all of my favorite Food Network and Bravo TV shows!


My snack still consists of unsweetened cocoa powder mixed with Greek yogurt, plus another piece of chocolate on the side. I find that eating chocolate late at night works best for me because I don't have the opportunity to then crave it the rest of the day. I mean....I'm going to bed soon at that point!


Ok, back to the topic at hand. While you are thinking about your personal nutrition goals for the year, let me quickly remind you of just a small handful of research that has been done just this year on how proper nutrition can really be the best medicine;




If your nutrition goals had anything to do with weight loss, weight management, or simply recording your food, I would like you to check out two great programs. First, SuperTracker. This is a great tool that is part of the ChooseMyPlate website, which allows you to create a personal plan and track how you're doing. You can also request tips and motivational e-mails to be sent to you each day!

I took a poll on Twitter (@CandidRD, follow me!) and found that MyFitnessPal was a favorite among "tweeters" (and this is the favorite among my clients as well). It's a free service that allows you to create nutrition goals and track your progress throughout each day/week/month. You can use it on your smart phone or computer (or both).

Or, you can be really cool like me and track your food and/or your goals on paper. I have a list of my weekly goals (not just nutrition-related) clipped onto my weekly planner. I look at them everyday.


Question: How will you celebrate nutrition this month? How will you get your plate in "better shape"? Have you re-evaluated your nutrition-related goals this year (or your fitness or other goals)? How have you been doing?



38 comments :

  1. happy nutrition month and dietitian month! all these recommendations are reasonable and flexible enough to adapted by most of the people. I think I've been doing overall good. my goal would be to increase protein intake a little bit and continue to fill my plate with fresh veggies.

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  2. I have been trying to have 5 salads a week in my school cafeteria - I eat approximately 8 meals a week from the cafeteria so that gives me some flexibility if my favorite dish is being offered!

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  3. Thanks for the reminder! Now I can actually post about it before the end of the month! :) I think I am going to go back to vegan eating- maybe 75% of the week. We'll see.

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  4. I am so excited NNM and RD day is here again! :) I struggle with calories in the evening, too. So hard! Mark wolfs down THOUSANDS of calories and though I can't seem to break him of that habit, I can't slack on my own goals! This week, I've been snacking on Pizelles. 6 cookies are 140 calories! And um, 6 cookies is more than enough! Not a whole grian, but I can have my "treat" at night...and 6 of them, without breaking the bank :) Happy weekend, Gina!

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  5. Nice post, and lots of great tips. One of the things I've been doing for awhile (ok 85 % of the time) is to make sure I get at least one veggie and or fruit with each meal and snack, and I have my kids do the same (truth be told, they most usually opt for the fruit). I also love getting in veggies at breakfast by pairing them up with scrambled eggs, or making a kale smoothie. I love the days when I already have 3 servings in a b-fast!

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  7. I've been working on making at least half of every meal veggies. It's not that hard when I focus on it (and my meals usually are way more than 50% veggies), but when I am not mindful, I realize I end up eating a lot fewer veggies.

    I also like your reminder to enjoy your favorite foods but to eat less, especially at night. Nighttime eating was what got me in trouble years ago, and I'm working really hard on not letting it get out of control again...

    Have a great weekend!

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  8. Great tips- I am big into the small plate, I never take a big one :) It is an ongoing goal of mine to eat more veggies. It's difficult because there is a lot my stomach does not like and I have to steam most veggies- so eating vegetables takes a lot of ahead of time preparation for me. I do this, almost every week but it's always something I have to refocus on to keep my motivation up.

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  9. We are celebrating weekly at the hospital doing cooking demos, food trivia/bingo, flyers, ect.
    I FORGOT to list my ideal gifts too!!! ;)
    Weekly fitness goals. Check. I have a calendar of them to help me reach my long term goal..going good...its an obsession almost!
    Happy NNM!!!!

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  10. mmm mmmm salmon soft tacos i could TOTALLY get on board for that haha. this month i'm just going to eat healthy hahaha like i always do? OH and focus on getting better sleep. i know thats definitely something i'm not very good at!

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  11. I'm always thinking about nutrition goals and improvements. All the goals are reasonable (don't agree with pushing the skim though) but nothing from ADA ever sounds new or inspiring. I loved EA's fruit and veggie with each meal. I love the studies you list, doesn't it make you want to eat citrus? If National Nutrition Month gets people to think more about nutrition, excellent- a little cynical not sure many outside our profession know it's this month.

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  12. Good post! I'm a dietetics student and my class promoted NNM by hosting a healthy bake sale in the lobby of our school this morning. Eating a lot after dinner time is something I struggle with as well and that's something I'm currently trying to work on. I'm also working extra hard to cut back on packaged and processed items. I can definitely do without those items but I'd gotten into such a habit of resorting to things that I perceived as "quick and easy," I think I'd forgotten just how quick and easy a snack comprised of whole foods can be as well! My favorite lately is all type of fruit, fresh and dried. I'm loving dates stuffed with almond butter for a sweet snack in the evening.

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