Registered Dietitians play a vital role in educating the public about healthy nutrition. With alarming rises of obesity and diabetes in our country, our role is as important as ever. National Nutrition Month is dedicated to spreading our message to help people make more informed nutrition choices and develop better habits to lead healthier lives. This year the theme is “Get Your Plate In Shape.” Below are some tips on how we get our plate in shape and improve our nutrition.
1. Make ½ of your meal vegetables.
Vegetables are low in calories and are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. The fiber in vegetables will fill you up faster so that you won’t need as much of the higher calorie foods at your meal. Remember not to add a lot of oil, butter, margarine, or dressings to these veggies as those calories can add up quickly. Add more veggies to soups, pasta sauces and sandwiches. Frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh vegetables, so have these available in your freezer for convenience if you can’t make it to the grocery store.
2. Skip the juice.
The calories in juice can add up fast. Eight ounces of juice contains 50% more calories than if you ate the whole fruit. Eating the whole fruit is far more satisfying since the fiber and water content help to make you feel full. The whole fruit also does not spike the blood sugar as fast as juice.
3. Don’t fall victim to portion distortion.
Trade in your current plates, bowls and cups for smaller ones. A lot of us eat with our eyes…not our stomachs! Portions at restaurants can be HUGE – at least double, if not triple, the portion we should be eating. Consider asking your server for a take-home container to arrive at the same time your meal does. Before you taste your food, divide up half of it and put it the container. This way you have controlled your portions better and also have another meal for the next day. Or, order one entrée to split between you and the person you are dining with.
I’ll continue to share some easy tips throughout the rest of National Nutrition Month, and you can also visit our website for more information. And I’d like to know…what are some of your tricks for staying healthy?