Did you know March is National Nutrition Month?


Health eating habits 

March is National Nutrition Month and it’s a good time to review your health habits and status. You can do so following the guidelines of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that takes this opportunity to highlight important health habits. The habits are aimed at encouraging a healthy lifestyle of balanced eating and regular exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy weight to prevent lifestyle and chronic diseases.

The following are healthy habits from registered dietitians and nutritionists you should acquire during National Nutrition Month and keep practicing throughout the year.

Plan ahead

Plan your menu for the week and shop according to the plan. This way, you’ll avoid take-out and junk food. After shopping, prepare recipes and refrigerate them so you don’t have so much to do on hurried weekdays. There’s also less waste because shopping is done for planned meals. Wash and chop salad and stew ingredients so you only have to mix them in a bowl or throw them into the pot.

Keep junk food away

Instead, stock up on fruits and vegetables. Ensure the fruit bowl always has fresh fruit that can be eaten as a snack or tossed on morning cereal and other foods. Keep nuts and seeds handy too, and tasty dips that will encourage the consumption of vegetables.

Take your healthy food with you 

Carry nuts, seeds and fruits with you to work or to eat when running errands. You can even carry a salad, a wholesome sandwich or last night's leftovers instead of always eating lunch from a restaurant. Pack a fruit for the kids with their lunch too. The idea is to consume fruits and vegetables while they are still fresh when they are most tasty and most nutritional.

Eat early rather than later

The tendency for many is to skip breakfast or eat a very light one before rushing out the door. Then lunch is heavy and dinner even heavier. Breakfast should be the heaviest meal because the body will need the energy for the day. Lunch should be light and dinner even lighter as the body will be inactive for several hours while you sleep.

Mix it up

Keep varying the menu as you make weekly recipes. Experiment with natural herbs, spices and cooking methods. Look at magazines, cooking shows and books and the internet for inspiration. Make marinades, rubs and sauces to make home-cooked dishes healthy and use natural herbs and spices.

Eat until you're full

It is overeating that presents problems. You should only eat until you're full. If you still want a bedtime snack, choose a drink like warm milk or a cup of cocoa that will help you to go to sleep rather than a calorie-dense piece of cake or cookies. Don’t deprive yourself when you want a treat, but don’t overindulge either.

Track your consumption

Burn calories by indulging in at least 30 minutes of physical activity. If you can’t make it to the gym, walk briskly, ride a bike to the park, swim or jog. Little things like taking the stairs and walking to places instead of always driving also helps to achieve and maintain fitness.