By Holly Layer – Contributing Writer
Every March since 1973, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has dedicated time to increase awareness about making healthy choices and increasing physical activity. It began as a week-long campaign and lengthened to a month in 1980. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, also in March, recognizes RDNs as nutrition experts who are uniquely qualified to provide nutrition services to the public.
This year, National Nutrition Month’s theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” which encourages everyone to “adopt eating and physical activity plans that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.” Read on for easy, simple ways to incorporate healthier choices into your lifestyle!
Consume fewer calories
Weight gain, while influenced by multiple factors, does come down to simple math: if you take in more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. Prevent that by finding ways to decrease your calorie intake.
- Consider counting your calories. If you don’t know how much you’re eating, it’s easy to go overboard. Go to choosemyplate.gov/supertracker-tools/supertracker.html to access MyPlate’s Super Tracker.
- Decrease your portion sizes.
- Drink a glass of water before meals and snacks. Often, we think we’re hungry when we’re simply thirsty.
- Start meals with broth-based soups, salads or veggies so you’ll have less room for the higher-calorie options.
- Eat fruit for dessert and keep cut-up veggies in the fridge for snacking.
- Don’t drink your calories. Switch from whole to 1 percent or skim milk, cut out sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages. Opt for fruit instead of juice when possible.
Make informed food choices
Knowledge is power. Take charge of your health by being proactive about what you eat.
- Read food labels. Note serving size, calories and fat in each, and limit yourself to that serving size.
- Go the extra mile and learn what carbohydrates, fats and proteins are. Go to choosemyplate.gov for more information about each nutrient and the amounts recommended for you.
- Prepare your meals and snacks in advance so that you’re never caught without a healthy option on-hand to grab when you’re in a rush.
- Look at online menus before going out to eat to find healthier options at your favorite restaurants.
Get daily exercise
It’s recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, and 60-90 minutes to prevent weight gain.
- Get a pedometer to track your steps; aim for 10,000 each day. For fun, team up with friends and compete to get the most steps.
- Have a dog? Get out and walk. Other good excuses to get outside include yard work and playing with your kids.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park your car at the far end of the parking lot to increase your steps each day.
- Find an activity you enjoy and do it. Not everyone enjoys running; your strength may be a Zumba class or spinning.
- Meet friends for a walk instead of coffee.
Holly Layer will be featured in the What are you Eating? story Saturday in WNY Refresh and become a contributing writer for the Refresh Buffalo Blog. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a registered dietician. She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related. An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy. Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive! You also can find her work at thefrozenpineapple.com.