There are many ways of keeping ourselves safe – from injuries on the job, hobbies, playing sports – to keeping our bodies physically fit.  March is National Nutrition Month, so what better way to start the month than by thinking about ways to be healthy?  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics helps consumers understand how to use these suggestions into their daily lives, with themes such as this year’s, “Get Your Plate in Shape!”  Each March, the Academy encourages Americans to return to the basics of healthy eating.  Their goal is to ensure consumers are eating the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy each day.  By focusing on My Plate, people can be more aware of the basics of healthy eating.  By making a few simple changes to their daily eating plans, they will reap the benefits for a lifetime. 

It’s easy to  find all kinds of sources of instructions for healthy eating styles, either through magazines or the internet.  Portions play a very important part of an overall diet, too.  If you say you only had one serving, but it was a huge one, the only one you are fooling is yourself.  Choose moderate servings by including at least two vegetables, meat, and  salad.  If you are slightly overweight, continue to get regular activity and stay with healthy foods.  Do you realize that if you are overweight or obese, losing just 10 pounds may lower your risk of:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Early Death 

To remain at a healthy weight, you need to balance the calories you eat with the calories you use up.  To lose weight, you must use more calories than you eat.  Calories are a measure of the energy in the foods you eat.  You burn calories when you are physically active.

Eating healthy and being physically active can give you more energy throughout the day.  Move more and eat healthy foods to help: 

  • Lower your blood sugar
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Raise your “good” cholesterol
  • Lower your “bad” cholesterol 

There will be times in your life when a family member or friend just needs a little encouragement to make a healthy change.  Here are some conversation starters that may help them start thinking about eating healthy: 

  • I care about you and want you to live a healthy life.
  • How about if we start drinking water instead of soda?
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables can make a difference in our health.
  • Next time we go out to eat, let’s share a meal, or
  • We might order on our own, but eat only half, and save the other half for tomorrow.
  • Rather than having a breakfast burrito or doughnut, how about oatmeal or whole-grain cereal?
  • Maybe we could cook and enjoy a healthy meal together once or twice a week.
  • Let’s start taking a walk every day together, or join a fitness center. 

We want our friends and family members to know that we care about them and that a healthy diet can protect them from diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, bone loss, and some types of cancer.  High blood pressure is a silent killer.  As we age, it is harder to lose weight, believe me.  If your clothes from last year are tight, it’s time to cut down on certain foods, and start exercising.  A good motivation is to be able to wear the same, comfy jeans year after year. (Till they are worn out!) 

Our younger generation  loves soda and fast food,  but with parents preparing good meals for them and getting them on the right track, hopefully they won’t be victims of poor health in later years.  Healthy foods don’t have to be dull, just find the right resources to guide you onto the path to nutritious foods.  The best way to encourage your friends and family is  to set the example.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics