March is National Nutrition Month. Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses attention on developing healthful eating and physical activity habits people can follow all year long. Choosing nutritious foods and getting enough physical activity can make a significant difference in your health. This is a great time to evaluate whether or not you are meeting your nutritional needs and start building healthy habits for life.
5 Habits to Start Building Today
- Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Farmers market season is quickly approaching. Visit your local farmers market or grocery store and make a goal to try at least one or two new to you veggies or fruit.
- Be Active. Regular physical activity has many health benefits. Start by doing what exercise you can. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults at least two hours and 30 minutes per week. You don’t have to hit the gym—take a walk after dinner or put on music and dance at home. Johnson County has over 450 miles of trails to explore so get going!
- Get to Know Food Labels. Reading the Nutrition Facts panel can help you shop and eat or drink smarter. Nutrition labels recently got a makeover. The new and improved Nutrition Facts label will help you make better decisions about the foods and beverages you eat and drink. Become a smart shopper by reading food labels and start making healthier choices today. Learn more about the new nutrition labels and how to read them.
- Meal Plan. Ask yourself the what’s for dinner question once a week instead of every night. Take the time to look over the calendar for the week, select meals based on foods you have in your kitchen or refrigerator, then shop for the ingredients you need. Implement these three strategies for successful meal planning to get started today. Preparing food at home can be healthy and save you money. Need some healthy recipes? Check out these yummy ideas on our blog.
- Reduce Added Sugars. Foods and drinks with added sugars can contribute empty calories and little or no nutrition. Review the new and improved Nutrition Facts labels or ingredients list to identify sources of added sugars. Learn more about why reducing your sugar intake is good for your health.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has 15 more habits to start in 2022. Small goals and changes can have a cumulative, healthful effect. Make small changes during National Nutrition Month. Every little bit is a step in the right direction!