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Restart healthy eating resolutions during National Nutrition Month

Restart healthy eating resolutions during National Nutrition Month

Here in NOLA, good food is a way of life. During Mardi Gras, you may have enjoyed some of our favorite local foods like king cake, hush puppies and fried okra. Now it’s time to invest in yourself by marching toward better health and weight loss during the month of March. You need National Nutrition Month, a healthy reason to celebrate and a chance to restart good eating habits.

Good nutrition starts today

In 1973, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics launched National Nutrition Month to promote making smart food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.

Even if you’ve never focused on nutrition, it’s never too late to make informed food choices. Developing sound eating starts by remembering the purpose of food and nutrition.

While flavor is important (especially here in New Orleans), food is fuel. It gives your body energy. At West Jefferson Medical Center, we want to help you eat the right foods so your body performs at its best. And every time you do that, you celebrate National Nutrition Month, no matter what month it is!

Developing sound eating habits

Turning short-term food nutrition goals into a long-term lifestyle starts with developing healthy eating habits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture created MyPlate to help you make informed food choices. By following MyPlate guidelines, you march toward good health before, during and after National Nutrition Month.

For the best health, fill up on the following:

  • Vegetables and fruit. Half of every meal should come from the ground. For the best health, don’t eat the same two or three fruits or veggies daily. Add in a variety for more flavors and nutrition perks.
  • Protein. Fill a fourth of your plate with protein. Eggs and lean meat and poultry offer protein to fuel your day. Nuts, seeds and seafood are also great options to keep you full. Vary your protein intake for a balanced diet.
  • Grains. Keep grains and starchy vegetables to a fourth of your plate. Go with whole grain options at least half of the time.
  • Dairy. Add a serving of low- or no-fat options, such as skim milk or low-fat yogurt. To go dairy-free, look for fortified non-dairy products to get all the vitamins and minerals you need.

While digging into the good stuff, limit the following:

  • Bad carbs. Your body needs carbohydrates to function. Whole carbs, like oats and beans, are minimally processed and don’t raise blood sugar quickly. Avoid eating large quantities of white potatoes, rice, bread and pasta.
  • Processed meats. Hot dogs and deli meats make quick lunches, but they’re not as healthy as whole foods prepared at home.
  • Sweets. They taste great, but cookies, cakes and candy are bad news for your health. Keep your sweet tooth in check and avoid anything with added sugar.

Get moving during National Nutrition Month

Healthy eating and physical activity go hand in hand, and National Nutrition Month should inspire you to get moving. Start today, and you build physical activity habits that last a lifetime.

If it’s been a while since you worked out, remember these tips:

  1. Take it easy. Avoid injury or burnout by starting slowly to build up strength.
  2. Exercise anywhere. Whether at home or the gym, on the road or at work, you can stay active. Find ways to squeeze it into your schedule.
  3. Have fun. You’re more likely to stay active if you do something you enjoy. Play basketball, ride your bike or do push-ups and sit-ups.

Want help making the most out of National Nutrition Month? Schedule an appointment with a West Jefferson Medical Center primary care provider today.