Nutrition Matters – March
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March is National Nutrition Month: In honor of National Nutrition Month, join me in adopting healthier eating habits, which focus on reducing excess calories from fat and sugar. Also, reducing the intake of processed foods, and making food choices to help fight disease and promote good health. With so much nutrition information available and so many food choices, deciding what to put on your dinner plate can be daunting and time-consuming. The United States Department of Agriculture”s MyPlate makes it easy. No matter how busy you are, one quick glance at your plate can show you if you are getting the variety you need to stay healthy. Compare the foods on your plate with the MyPlate. How does it compare? Are there food groups that you should be eating more of? Less of? All foods fit into a healthy diet – it is just a matter of balance. Some hints for a healthier table: Balance calories, enjoy your food but eat less and avoid oversized portions.
Foods to Increase: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Choose whole grains whenever possible. Switch to fat-free or low fat (1%) milk. Choose lean sources of protein such as lean meats, chicken, fish, and beans.
Foods to Reduce: Reduce your intake of processed foods. When choosing canned or frozen foods, choose those with lower amounts of sodium. Reduce or eliminate sugary drinks, drink water instead! Make it fun and use MyPlate as a family guide. Have kids draw the MyPlate icon then compare it to their own plates. Getting children involved at mealtimes and food choices can help them be healthier and make better nutrition decisions as they get older. So, good nutrition and healthy eating are as close as your plate.
For additional foods, health and nutrition information contact Shelina Bonner, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Greene County Center at (252) 747-5831.