March is National Nutrition Month
Dietitian Shares Tips for Healthy Eating Year-Round
March is National Nutrition Month. Three months into the new year, our dust-covered resolutions are begging for attention. Whether we planned to eat healthier, work out more or just be a better person in 2022, that most Americans have given up on their resolution by now. What can be done?
We sat down with Hailey Meert, RDN, Cameron’s dietitian nutritionist, to discuss National Nutrition Month and her tips and tricks for sustaining healthy eating habits throughout the year.
Focus on Flavor
Sodium sparks a firework of flavor – however, we often consume much more than the suggested amount (less than 2,300 mg/day). Finding flavor substitutes is key to reducing sodium consumption.
“Think about the herbs, spices and acidic flavors you can be adding into the mix,” Meert suggests.
Seasonings come in many forms, so pulling out the spices and putting away the salt is achievable. Cooking from home also allows you to better control ingredients and portion sizes.
In addition, Meert recommends mixing more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains into your meals. “Here at Cameron, we are going to have samples of foods like star fruit, dragon fruit and jackfruit to celebrate National Nutrition Month.”
Jackfruit is a popular substitute for meat because of its texture and cooking properties. This and other simple substitutions to your plate can boost fiber and vitamins while delighting your taste buds.
Snacking can make or break a healthy eating routine. Healthy snacking can sustain your energy levels between meals and prevent you from overindulging.
When snacking, Meert recommends mixing two or more food groups. Vegetables and peanut butter, fruit and cheese, or yogurt with seeds and granola are all great ways to pair foods for a healthy snack. Additionally, a light snack between lunch and dinner will reduce overeating at night, which is a common problem.
Watch Your Sugar Intake
Sugar and artificial sweeteners can wreak havoc on your diet, sleep schedule and energy levels. While we know desserts and breakfast foods are high in sugar, we often neglect the sugar content in unsweetened foods like crackers, ready-to-eat snacks and pasta sauces. Make sure to look at the nutrition labels before consuming pre-packaged food, even if you don’t associate that food group with sugar!
Finally, Meert suggests replacing high-sugar beverages with fruit-infused water and other reduced-sugar drinks. “It’s simple: Less than 10% of your daily calories should come from sugar,” Meert says.
Aiming for Consistency
National Nutrition Month shouldn’t be the only time you focus on your eating habits. On average, it takes around eight weeks to establish a new routine or habit. Keep up the consistency, and eventually you will see yourself naturally choosing healthier foods.