Whitney Kitchell MS, RDN, LD - Freeman Health System Clinical Nutrition Manager through Morrison Healthcare
When you think about healthy eating, what comes to mind?
Do you picture an endless parade of grilled chicken and bland salads? Or maybe you think of the seemingly boundless string of diets? Fat free, keto, plant-based, intermittent fasting and every other diet seem to have an expert who endorses it. All of this can become confusing and overwhelming.
To combat this barrage of conflicting information, each March is National Nutrition Month. This campaign is from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and promotes nutrition education. This year’s theme is “Personalize Your Plate.” Healthful eating is not one-size-fits-all, but there are some common elements in healthy eating patterns. Below are four ideas to help you get started:
Eat a Variety of Foods from Many Different Food Groups
Look for a rainbow of vibrant colors in fruits and vegetables. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried all have their place in a healthy diet. Consider mixing it up with protein by adding nuts, seeds and beans. Variety in foods is a great way to add essential vitamins and minerals. For more ideas, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Take Time to Enjoy the Food You Eat
Limiting distractions by turning off the TV or computer is a great first step, but have you tried “setting the mood?” Try setting the table with your favorite dishes, sharing the meal with people you love or lighting some candles.
Select Foods that Make You Feel Good
Eating with food allergies, intolerances or with chronic disease can provide an extra challenge. Learning to eat in ways that support your underlying health conditions can take time and feel defeating, but when you listen to your body’s feedback, you can begin to personalize and enjoy your diet.
Keep a grocery list going on paper or in an app in your phone. Buy foods that are easy to grab for a quick snack or that can be packed easily. Create menus that use leftovers in new ways. For example, tonight’s roasted chicken can become tomorrow’s chicken and veggie noodles.
If you need help with setting individualized eating plans, please seek the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist or your physician.