(StatePoint) March is National Nutrition Month, an excellent annual reminder to take the time to evaluate your diet and make positive changes you can sustain long-term.
If eating right is a challenge, it may be because you are trying things you simply don’t like. The key is finding options that satisfy your taste buds, say health experts.
“Taste is a major influential factor driving what you eat and feed your family, so it’s important to strike a balance between foods you like and those that provide the nutrients you need,” says Glenna McCollum, registered dietitian nutritionist and president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Taste and nutrition are not mutually exclusive.”
As part of the “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” theme, McClollum is encouraging Americans to return to the basics of healthful eating by combining taste and nutrition to create meals that follow the recommendations of the “2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”
With that in mind, McClollum is providing some expert tips on how to eat right and enjoy it:
• Love sandwiches? Swap out white bread for whole grain to up your fiber intake. Instead of mayo, use avocado as a rich addition to your sandwich. It’s more flavorful, and it’s also full of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, as well as other nutrients. To stay fuller longer, include fiber-rich veggies like tomatoes and cucumbers.
• Balance. While there’s always room to indulge, be sure that the majority of your calories are sourced from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, fat-free or low-fat dairy, beans, nuts and seeds. You’ll be filling up on all the nutrients your body needs without all the extra calories. And don’t forget to limit added sugars, salt and saturated fats.
• Don’t skip dessert. Many diet fads will encourage you to skip dessert, but doing so can seem like a sacrifice, which won’t make for a sustainable change. Instead, seek out treats that provide nutritional benefits. For example, mango blended with low-fat milk and a splash of pineapple juice will satisfy your sweet tooth, while giving you a dose of calcium and vitamin C.
• Spice it up. A great, low-calorie way to add flavor and nutrition to meals without the fat, sugar or salt, is by incorporating beneficial herbs and spices, such as cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon cumin, thyme, basil and oregano. Citrus juices are another great addition to recipes.
• Ask for advice. Whether you need to lose weight, want to reduce your risk for disease or just want to improve your family’s overall health, consider consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), who can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living. Your RDN can help you plan healthy, delicious meals.
For more tips on healthful, tasty eating and to find a RDN, visit www.EatRight.org/nnm.
This National Nutrition Month, don’t just eat for your health, eat for your happiness. Take steps to find foods that are not only nutritious, but taste great too.