In 1973, National Nutrition Week was launched by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) to encourage people to eat healthier. Only seven years later, this week-long event expanded to an entire month due to its popularity and useful mission of improving nutrition. Under its new name, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), annually celebrates National Nutrition Month every March. Read on for five simple and easy health tips that you can keep in mind to embrace this year’s celebration and become a healthier you.
1. Drink up!
With water making up 71 percent of the Earth’s surface as well as up to 60 percent of your body, it’s clear that it’s a fundamental component of life. This is why Mayo Clinic recommends that the average adult drinks up to 13 cups a day – several more than the common thought that eight glasses of water a day was enough. Drinking that much water isn’t easy, so you should make it as enjoyable as possible by drinking the water that tastes the best to you. Of course, there’s tap water, filtered water, and so many different kinds of bottled water. To make things easier, you can check out a list of the best bottled waters to help you find your new favorite brand. Once you discover which brand best quenches your thirst, downing those seven bottles to get you to the recommended 13 cups per day will be a breeze and ensure you stay hydrated all day long.
2. Eat your greens.
A well-colored plate – fruits and vegetables, not Skittles – will give you the healthy boost you’ve been looking for this year. Unfortunately, vegetables often get a bad rap, but they can be just as delicious as any sugary treat when prepared properly. There are so many veggie-loaded recipes out there that not only taste incredible but also pack in much of the daily recommended amount of vegetables you should be eating. Two to three cups of vegetables a day is what you should be aiming for.
Fresh produce is usually more expensive than processed foods, but there are ways to make these healthy meals cheaply. For example, you can always buy frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, which often are less expensive than their fresh counterparts. Also, buying in bulk can usually cut down the cost. Just be sure to freeze any product that you don’t plan on using before it goes bad. Nothing is more expensive than food that goes to waste.
3. Cut out some sugar.
It’s no secret that a lot of food these days comes loaded with sugar. While soda and other sweets are well-known culprits, anything from cereal to peanut butter also packs in more sugar than you would believe. Higher intake of sugar has been linked to Type 2 diabetes as well as other health issues, which is why you should challenge yourself to eat sugar in moderation. Cut out sugary drinks and snacks from your daily diet and instead opt for healthier things like nuts, greek yogurt, or other high-protein, low-sugar foods. Be vigilant about the foods you are consuming by checking the nutrition label to see how much sugar is in the product.
4. Eat smaller portions.
It can take around 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full from the moment you begin eating. Because of this delay, it can be easy to overeat – especially if you’re a fast eater. This leads to eating more calories than needed, which inevitably increases your risk of obesity. To combat this, be mindful of how quickly you are eating and try to slow yourself down. One way to do this is to use smaller plates and bowls, decreasing your portion sizes. This will slow down your eating by adding in the additional step of having to get up to get a second serving. Also, avoid eating in front of the television if you can as that can lead to mindless eating and snacking.
5. Make time for quality physical activity.
Nutrition advice is never complete without exercise. Winter always makes it more challenging to find ways to move, and COVID has complicated going to the gym, but there are still ways to workout without leaving your home. Starting this month, challenge yourself to be physically active at least 20 or 30 minutes a day. This can be as simple as a walk, if the weather permits, or if you want to up the difficulty, you can find a HIIT YouTube video to follow along with. The internet has so many resources for fun and entertaining workouts, making adding an exercise routine easy.
Good luck finding ways to become a healthier you this National Nutrition Month and beyond!