The idea of healthy eating can sometimes seem difficult or even overwhelming when living busy lives. Many of us hold the tool in our hand every day for healthy eating - a fork.

Put your best fork forward this month

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"Put Your Best Fork Forward" is the theme of this year’s National Nutrition Month from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

March is a great time to focus on healthy food choices. The idea of healthy eating can sometimes seem difficult or even overwhelming when living busy lives. Many of us hold the tool in our hand every day for healthy eating - a fork. We just need healthy, but simple recommendations to make eating healthy a task that can be completed easily each and every day.

We are also constantly surrounded by health information everywhere we turn and it can be hard to determine the most trustworthy sources for our health goals. Which recommendations are the best to follow? Registered dietitian nutritionists are your trusted source for evidence based nutrition information.

Incorporate the following into your diet:

Non-starchy vegetables: broccoli, kale, green beans, cauliflower, carrots and spinach

  • Try a fresh salad with variety of taste and texture and light dressing.
  • Roast cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots in the oven.

Fruits: Apple, banana, orange, berries, pear and pineapple.

  • Choose fresh or frozen options.
  • Add frozen mixed berries, half of a frozen or fresh peeled banana, and ½ cup of skim or 1% milk to a blender for an easy fruit smoothie.
  • Bake fresh apples slices topped with cinnamon in the oven and add to plain oatmeal for natural sweetness.

Whole grains: instead of white rice, choose brown rice or quinoa, freekah, and farro.

  • These options have more fiber and they are higher in nutritional value.
  • Always choose grains that are whole grains.
  • Lean protein choices: eggs, skinless chicken, beans, fish, tofu, and lean cuts of pork and beef.
  • Grill, bake, or sauté these options to reduce calories.
  • Low-fat dairy foods (like cheese, yogurt, and milk) also contain protein without extra calories.

Other tips for a healthy March:

  • Choose a small plate at meals to help decrease your portions sizes.
  • Try to avoid eating high calorie foods with low amounts of nutrition. These foods include: fast food, chips, cookies, fried foods and ice cream.
  • Replace sugar sweetened drinks like juice drinks, regular soda and sweet tea with water.

Still looking for sweetness in your drink? - Try infusing water with ¼ cup of strawberries, honey dew, or cantaloupe.

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About the Author

Lemma Brown is a registered dietitian nutritionist, graduate of West Virginia University and Meredith College, and clinical dietitian specializing in bariatric nutrition at Sentara RMH Medical Center. Lemma is passionate about nutrition and exercise for sustained weight loss and overall good health.