Happy National Nutrition Month®! National Nutrition Month® is a campaign developed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s theme is titled “Eat Right Bite by Bite.” As the first week of National Nutrition Month® comes to an end, I want to remind everyone of a few tips to help us get the proper nutrients our bodies need.
First, we need to eat a variety of nutritious foods every day. When we plan our meals we need to remember the MyPlate and work towards including every food group. Fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and protein are all important for our diets and our health. Goals to strive for include, making half of our plate fruits and vegetables, consuming low-fat or fat-free dairy products, consuming more whole grain products, and varying our protein foods. While we can select low-fat milk or 100% fruit juice, do not forget to consume water. Hydration is very important for our overall health, so do not forget to drink your water throughout the day.
Always look at the Nutrition Facts to know just what you are consuming. We want to look at the servings per container, serving size, calories, and the nutrients in the product. Choose products with more dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium. To identify good sources of nutrients look at the % Daily Value on the Nutrition Facts label. Try to limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and added sugars. Everyone needs to practice portion control. Visit the ChooseMyPlate website to learn more about portion sizes for all of the food groups and to find recommendations for your family.
Last but not least, take time to enjoy your food. Sometimes we tend to rush through our meals that we forget to take the time to enjoy all of the colors, flavors, and taste. Don't forget these tips as you strive for a healthier you!
Elizabeth Martin, MS, RD, LDN
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture