March is National Nutrition Month, an annual celebration of nutritious and delicious food sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s theme, “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” promotes the idea that minor tweaks to your eating plan can go a long way to improving nutrition and health.
Change can be challenging, even for the most motivated among us. Everyone has their own way of eating that includes favorite foods and accounts for personal preferences. No matter what your eating style is, you could probably add more nutrient-rich foods – such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains – and pick lower-fat protein sources.
Here are three ways to put your best fork forward in March, and all year long!
Pile on the Produce
- Use an Eat Smart Superfood Salad Blend as the basis of a balanced meal. Add 4 ounces of cooked chicken, seafood, tofu, or one half-cup of cooked legumes (such as black beans), and a whole grain roll.
- Swap smashed berries or mashed banana for jelly in peanut butter sandwiches.
- Add fruit to plain yogurt to avoid added sugar found in fruit-flavored yogurt and to include more fruit.
- Pile pancakes with unsweetened applesauce instead of syrup.
- Prepare your favorite chili recipe with half the meat and twice the beans.
- Drizzle fresh raspberries or chopped strawberries with chocolate sauce instead of choosing a bowl of ice cream.
Go for the Whole Grains
- Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and cereal, including oatmeal.
- Enjoy a whole wheat English muffin instead of a plain English muffin or a plain bagel.
- Swap ¾ cup whole wheat flour for every cup of white flour in recipes for pancakes, muffins, and other quick breads.
- Try quinoa, farro, or freekeh as a side dish instead of white rice or pasta. Add these cooked grains to green salads, soups, and stews.
- Snack on low-fat microwave popcorn (it’s a whole grain!) instead of chips, pretzels, or candy.
Make Leaner Protein Choices
- Twice a week, trade in your usual lunch for a tuna sandwich. Experts suggest eating at least two seafood meals weekly.
- To save on saturated fat, switch to 95% ground beef or 100% ground skinless turkey breast instead of higher-fat ground beef.
- Stock your kitchen with low-fat milk and yogurt to have with meals and as snacks.
- Munch on roasted soybeans or edamame, or hummus paired with Eat Smart Broccoli & Carrots.