March is National Nutrition Month, which always feels strange because nutrition is important every month and every day. But here we are, it’s March and this year’s theme is “Eat Right, Bite By Bite”. In concrete terms, this means that a nutritious diet does not have to be restrictive or overwhelming. Setting small goals and making small changes can have a cumulative positive impact on our health. Every nutritious bite is a step in the right direction.
Good nutrition doesn’t have to be difficult or restrictive, and achieving good eating habits can be done bit by bit or, more accurately, bite by bite.
People often try to change their diet by making drastic changes that may not be sustainable and lead to frustration. The goal of healthy eating can be achieved with the Eat Right, Bite by Bite approach, which makes one or two small but permanent changes to existing eating habits. Examples of simple changes that can be made are drinking more water instead of sweetened drinks, eating more vegetables or fruits a day, and preparing more meals at home.
If you plan meals and have control over when and where you serve them, you can improve your eating habits. Try to eat as often as possible and with no TV or other electronics as a family to minimize distractions. Encourage children to participate in planning and preparation as much as possible, as this gives parents the opportunity to talk to them about good nutrition.
For those who eat out, think ahead and plan where you will eat. Look for restaurants with a wide range of menu items, including lighter dishes. If items contain nutritional information, compare calories and other information. Choose fried foods less often, and instead try to find items that are baked, broiled, grilled, roasted, poached, or steamed. Don’t be afraid to ask for lunch or child-sized portions or a to-go box if the portions are too large.
Feeling more confident in the kitchen makes it easier to experiment with new flavors and foods while also reducing food waste. Something that’s good for the environment, our wallets and our morale.
And do so with friends or family when possible. When you take the time to plan, shop for and prepare a meal, why rush through the actual eating experience? Slowing down a bit and actually paying attention to your food has multiple benefits.
You can learn more about National Nutrition Month at Eatright.org/NNM.