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If you’ve neglected your New Year’s resolution to cut out junk food and eat healthier, then National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to get your health and nutrition plan back on track. During the month of March, health and nutrition professionals are encouraging Americans to make smarter food choices. The annual observance of National Nutrition Month is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and this year’s campaign theme is “Savor the flavor of eating right”.

Eating healthy can be a struggle, and “there’s no one diet that is right for everyone”, as the Academy’s website points out. Rather than struggling to live by the strict rules of a fad diet, the key to staying on a path to better nutrition is making small changes in your food choices. These small changes, whether it’s adjusting your food portions or picking an apple over a bag of chips, make a big difference in your overall eating habits.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, here are some small lifestyle changes from the Academy to help you eat healthy and live well.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Many people are skipping the most important meal of the day. Breakfast gives your body the energy and nutrients it needs to kick start the day, while also boosting your metabolism. The Academy recommends starting the day with a wholesome breakfast consisting of lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Include Fruit and Veggies in Every Meal

Fruits and vegetables are among the best sources for many essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, and they should make up half of your plate. Aim to eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of veggies every day. Different fruits and veggies are rich in various nutrients, so experiment with different varieties for a diverse diet.

Switch Up Your Protein Routine

Like fruits and vegetables, you should also vary your protein. Consuming a wide range of different proteins will keep your diet interesting, as well as provide your body with the nutrients it needs to remain healthy and happy. Mix it up with lean meats and poultry, as well as low-mercury seafood, unsalted nuts and seeds, beans, peas and eggs. To cut back on saturated fats, replace butter and oil-based sauces with vegetable oils and use fat-free milk and yogurt.

Buy in Bulk

Eating healthy can seem challenging, especially if you’re strapped for cash. Eating healthy on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. You can cut your expenses and save money by buying foods in bulk. Foods are typically cheaper in bulk, and you can double your recipes so you have days’ worth of delicious, healthy eats for meals and snacks. Save more by choosing fruits and vegetables that are in season.

Rethink Your Beverages

Soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, cocktails and specialty coffees are all filled with empty calories and sugar. These drinks provide little to no nutritional value, and drinking them in excess can cause weight gain. Whenever possible, avoid sugary drinks and choose water instead.

For more healthy eating tips and delicious recipes, visit our Food & Drink section.

 

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