MARCH MARKS the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is also the time when we celebrate National Nutrition Month and turn our focus on healthy eating.
National Nutrition Month is a month-long event, started in 1980 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association), and it has been going strong to present day. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the leading professional group to support nutritionists and dietitians. Each year, the academy selects a theme to promote this nutrition education campaign. This year’s theme, “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” encourages individuals to discover new flavors and appreciate good food while experiencing the social aspects food can give our lives.
Become a mindful eater and include nutritious and flavorful foods in your diet in order to savor the flavor of eating right. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. Find innovative ways to add flavor to your food while making an effort to cut back on ingredients that are high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fats. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend that a person should consume less than 10 percent of added sugars in one’s daily calorie intake. It is also recommended that a person take in fewer than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day and reduce saturated fat intake to no more than 10 percent of one’s daily calories.
Lifestyle changes are never easy, but committing to make one small change at a time is much more achievable. In celebration of National Nutrition Month, the Florida Department of Health in Polk County (FDOH-Polk) is encouraging individuals to experiment with new flavors and finding tastes that are enjoyable while trimming fat and sodium content in a one’s food. The following are tips on how to reduce fat, sodium, and sugar from a daily diet:
• Drink water, low-fat or fat-free milk, and 100-percent fruit or vegetable juice instead of sugary beverages.
• Grill fruits such as pineapple or peaches for a naturally sweet and healthier dessert.
• Buy frozen or canned products without added salt or sugar.
• Buy fewer jarred sauces and pre-flavored products.
• Flavor foods with citrus, herbs, and spices instead of salt.
• Drink fat-free or low-fat milk (1 percent) instead of 2-percent or whole milk, and eat low-fat cheese instead of regular cheese.
• Cook with oils instead of butter.
• Eat more lean meats rather than fattier cuts of meat.
So, how will you “spice up your life”? Have fun trying out new flavors, share them with your co-workers, and tell your friends and family! What you eat is important, but so is how, when, and where you eat.
Remember to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” this March! To learn more about National Nutrition Month, visit www.eatright.org/nnm.
article by DR. JOY JACKSON
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Joy Jackson, an internal medicine physician, serves the community as director of the Florida Department of Health in Polk County (FDOH-Polk). For more information about FDOH-Polk, visit www.mypolkhealth.net.
Published March 4, 2016