Celebrating National Nutrition Month

Thought this was a good article by Dr. Jamie McManus

Next year will mark the 40th year since the first National Nutrition Week campaign was launched. And I know I am showing my age, but I remember 1973! I was an intense pre-med college student working in a research lab and studying to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Richard Nixon was the president, and one of the top news stories was Billie Jean King defeating Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes—go, girl power! The theme was Invest in Yourself—Buy Nutrition. National Nutrition Week was enthusiastically embraced by the American Dietetic Association (now called the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and officially became National Nutrition Month in 1980—now celebrated every March.

And since this year’s theme is Get Your Plate in Shape, I thought I would share how I get MY plate into the best nutritional shape!

Make a list. Take time to think ahead as to what you are planning to put on your plate tonight and every night this week. Get to the grocery store—with your list—and stock up on fruits, vegetables, lean-protein choices such as chicken breast, low-fat (or better, nonfat) milk and yogurt, soy milk, etc. This will help ensure you have healthy choices at home as you prepare your meals

Load up at least half of your plate with veggies at lunch and dinner. I try to have at least THREE colors on my plate—red bell peppers, dark green broccoli and spinach, and orange carrots. These colors tell us these veggies are brimming with health-promoting phytonutrients as well as vitamins and minerals!

Fill the rest of the plate with small portions of a protein food and a starch. And since you will be following my lead and filling up on veggies, it will be easier to avoid overeating or oversized portions. You might even try using smaller plates and bowls if you tend to overeat.

Spice up your life as I have—who knew there were so many choices of amazing spices?! You need only a pinch of salt, especially when you have garlic, basil, rosemary, and thyme. Did you know these spices provide additional phytonutrients to support your health, as well as make your food taste fabulous and yummy? Pull out those dusty cookbooks and try a new recipe that uses spices you’ve never tried—this has become one of our favorite activities at our house!

Last but not least, be sure you have nutrition insurance. Even though I am knowledgeable about nutrition and committed to healthy eating, I know my food cannot provide all that I need every day, so I always take a daily comprehensive multivitamin/multimineral supplement and urge you to do the same! It is simply good nutritional sense.

Be well!

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