National nutrition month (NNM) is a nutrition education campaign sponsored yearly by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). This year's NNM theme is Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.
Here are smart tips to help you eat healthier this month.
1. Mind your portions and eat slowly.
One of the best ways to "savor the flavor" is to chew our food well instead of shoveling it in. This will not only help us eat less, but we will be able to actually taste and enjoy what we are eating.
2. Include fruits and vegetables at each meal.
Sprinkle in berries to your yogurt, add a colorful green salad to your lunch, and include vegetables with your dinner.
3. Eat a variety of foods from each food group.
Sorry Paleo lovers, but it really is best to include foods from all the food groups.
4. Aim for color!
Choosing a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables is best, as different antioxidants exist in the different color spectrums. The deep red pigment found in tomatoes and watermelon contains the antioxidant lycopene, for example. The deep orange color found in cantaloupe and sweet potatoes contains beta carotene.
5. Enjoy whole grains.
The recently release 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, as in previous editions, suggest that half of our grains be whole grains. Healthy whole grains include brown rice, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal.
6. Include plant based proteins such as beans, peas, and legumes.
These pulses not only give you protein, but they have an added bonus as they are chock full of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
7. Spice it up.
Adding in spices to your favorite foods will not only enhance the flavor, but it will boost your nutrient intake. And adding spices helps to reduce your need to use added sugar and salt.
8. Snack on nuts.
Adding nuts as a midafternoon snack will not give your diet a boost of nutrients while also filling you up. So you may end up eating less later, a great boost for weight loss!
9. Try new foods.
A huge assortment of whole foods are available to us. But we often get into a rut and stick with the usual fare. Give a new food a try and savor the flavor. You may actually love it!
10. Get outdoors.
Spring is coming, so use this as an opportunity to get more active and take advantage of outdoor activities such as walking and bike riding.
We would love to hear your favorite springtime tips.