Arthur Valentine, MS, RDN, LD
Did you know that each March is known as National Nutrition Month? It’s true, and there is no better time to kick-start or continue a healthy diet and lifestyle. This year’s theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” and encourages everyone to appreciate and enjoy the significant role that food plays both in our daily lives and on special occasions!
In honor of this year’s National Nutrition Month, let’s take a look at a few strategies to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.”
1) Enjoy colorful and delicious fruits and vegetables each and every day!
The importance of including fruits and vegetables in your daily diet cannot be overstated. There is not a better, or more delicious, way to help meet your nutritional needs than a diet full of colorful produce. As a general rule, half of your plate at each meal should be fruits and vegetables. Check out the following link to see which fruits and vegetables are in season, and don’t be afraid to try something new!
2) Make whole grains a priority.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans1 recommend that all Americans ensure that at least half of their grain intake is from whole grains, and for good reason: Whole grains contain fiber and a number of essential vitamins and minerals. Research has found higher levels of whole grain consumption to be associated with a number of benefits including, but not limited to, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease2 and type 2 diabetes.3 Look for products such as whole grain breads, crackers, pasta, and cereals in addition to other whole grain products like brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, and quinoa. If you have questions about identifying whole grains or how to incorporate delicious whole grains into your diet, contact Arthur Valentine, Registered Dietitian, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-843-1322.
3) Make mealtime family time.
It is no secret that many of our lives are busier than ever before. While it may not be possible to eat together as a family every day, make an effort to do so whenever possible.
Research suggests that children and adolescents who eat together as a family at least three times per week are less likely to be above a normal weight range and more likely to eat healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables.4
Further, research suggests that eating meals as a family during adolescence may be associated with a healthier diet pattern5 and a reduced risk of being overweight or obese in young adulthood, 6 indicating that the benefits of eating together as a family may possibly have a positive impact on your children’s future as well.
4) Slow Down.
I know, easier said than done, right? Even on the busiest of days, try to take some time to sit back and enjoy food. Savor the flavor of a delicious, nutritious, and balanced diet!
1) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
2) Mellen, P. B., Walsh, T. F., & Herrington, D. M. (2008). Whole grain intake and cardiovascular disease: A meta-analysis. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 18(4) 283-290.
3) Aune, D., Norat, T., Romundstad, P. l., & Vatten, L. J. (2013). Whole grain and refined grain consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis of cohort studies. European Journal of Epidemiology, 28(11), 845-858.
4) Hammons, A., & Fiese, B. (2011). Is Frequency of Shared Family Meals Related to the Nutritional Health of Children and Adolescents? Pediatrics, 127(6), E1565-E1574.
5) Larson, N. I., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Hannan, P. J., & Story, M. (2007). Family Meals during Adolescence Are Associated with Higher Diet Quality and Healthful Meal Patterns during Young Adulthood. Journal of The American Dietetic Association, 107(9) 1502-1510.
6) Berge, J. M., Wall, M., Hsueh, T., Fulkerson, J. A., Larson, N., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2015). The Protective Role of Family Meals for Youth Obesity: 10-Year Longitudinal Associations. The Journal of Pediatrics, 166(2) 296-301.