Each year, many of us make a New Year’s resolution to save more money or to get more exercise, but during the month of March, we get to focus our powers of resolution specifically on nutrition. The holidays are over, we’ve run out of Valentine’s Day chocolates, and now we can take some time to look at our eating habits and maybe even make some changes. March is National Nutrition Month, and it a great opportunity to improve your diet.
All too often, we tend to eat the same foods because for the most part, it’s easier. We’re all too busy and stressed, and paying attention to what we eat or purchase just becomes another thing that can make us feel overwhelmed. If you have people in your life that aren’t easy to please or who are picky when it comes to food, it can make even thinking about change that much more difficult.
The good news is that moving towards better nutrition doesn’t have to be a big challenge.
There are so many small things that you can do that can make a huge impact on your life and the lives of your family. To get you off to a great start, here are just a few things you can try:
- Adopt Meatless Mondays for the month of March and try out some new vegetarian or vegan recipes or restaurants. Increasing plant foods is an important part of a healthy diet.
- Try “light” ice creams or reduced-fat dairy products that can significantly reduce the amount of fat you consume. Higher intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol have been associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk.
- Start reading nutrition labels if you don’t already, paying special attention to the number of servings per package/container. You may be consuming more calories than you think!
- If you’d like to decrease your weight, decrease your portion sizes by one-quarter to one-third. If you usually serve yourself one cup of rice, try three-quarters of a cup instead.
- Try a new whole grain that you’ve been curious about. Quinoa, millet, farro, and steel-cut oats are just a few of the delicious options now widely available. You’ll be getting increased fiber, protein and phytonutrients.
- Make vegetables the focus of your plate by filling up at least half of your plate with them, and treat meat as a side dish if you choose to have it at all.
- Trade in your calorie-laden drinks for calorie-free versions like unsweetened coffees, teas, diet drinks, or water. Sugary beverages not only add extra calories but they spike our blood sugars. And yes, 100% fruit juices are included here if you have more than ½ cup.
Making just one of these changes can put you on a path to a new discovery. You might find out that your family really enjoys brown rice, or that you don’t feel as “heavy” after you’ve eaten dinner, or that your clothes fit a little looser after a few weeks. Before you know it, you’ll not only be implementing that change into your regular diet, but you may decide to add in a few more as well.
So make March the time to change it up. You’ll never know unless you start. Now.