Did you know March is National Nutrition Month?
Most people know that eating well is important for maintaining a healthy weight, having energy and having a healthy life in general, but accomplishing this is a challenge for many of us.
During National Nutrition Month®, the American Dietetic Association reminds everyone that an easy way to focus on eating better is to start with the basics: build your nutritional health from the ground up.
“By starting slowly and giving yourself a good foundation, you can work towards a healthier life,” says registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Toby Smithson. “Change doesn’t have to be dramatic to make a difference.”
Smithson suggests ways to improve your nutrition from the ground up:
1.Focus on fruits and veggies: “Take a good look at your current diet and you’ll probably realize you’re not eating enough fruits or vegetables,” says Smithson. “Add a serving each day to one meal and increase it every few weeks. Adding more of these foods into your diet is important whether you buy frozen, fresh or organic.”
2.Look locally: From farmer’s markets to community-supported agriculture, you have many options to find new, fresh foods in your area. “This can be a great way to eat well and support your community at the same time,” Smithson says.
3.Make calories count: “Too often, people think of foods as good or bad and that only those on the ‘good foods’ list are okay to eat,” says Smithson. “When you’re choosing between options, focus instead on the one with more of the vitamins and nutrients that you need. Sometimes, foods with fewer calories aren’t always the healthiest options.” To figure out how many calories you need to achieve a healthy weight, visit www.mypyramid.gov.
4.Test your taste buds: A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and nuts. “Those are the basics, but within this wide range there are always opportunities to try new things and find new favorites,” Smithson says. “Expand your horizons. Try a fish you’ve never eaten before or find a new vegetable recipe. By testing yourself, you might find new healthy favorites to add to your regular grocery list.”
5.Trick yourself with treats: “A healthful diet doesn’t mean deprivation,” says Smithson. “If you have a sweet tooth, have fruit and yogurt for dessert. If you want a snack in the afternoon, have some trail mix or nuts. There is no reason to go hungry just because you’re making healthful changes.”
For more tips on building your healthful diet from the ground up, during National Nutrition Month and all year long, visit www.eatright.org and click on “For the Public.”
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Recipe of the Month
Whip up some tasty barbecue sauce with our super-simple recipe. Combine shredded chicken and serve on whole wheat hamburger buns for a yummy main dish. Not only is prep a snap, but the sandwiches are low in fat and a great source of protein.
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Start to Finish: 25 minutes
1 recipe Barbecue Sauce (see below)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
6 whole wheat hamburger buns, split
Red onion slices (optional)
Dill pickle spears (optional)
Prepare Barbecue Sauce. Add shredded chicken to sauce. Heat through, stirring frequently. Serve on split buns. If desired, serve with red onion slices and dill pickle spears.
Barbecue Sauce: In a medium saucepan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped onion; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add one 8-ounce can tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon honey or heat-stable granular sugar substitute (Splenda). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Nutrition facts per serving:
Servings Per Recipe: 6 sandwiches
Total Fat (g) 8
Saturated Fat (g) 2
Cholesterol (mg) 42
Sodium (mg) 539
Carbohydrate (g) 27
Fiber (g) 1
Protein (g) 19