Debbie Kimberlin, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N.
Assistant Professor, Family & Consumer Sciences
Olivet Nazarene University
Happy National Nutrition Month®! This annual campaign, created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, allows us to focus our attention on the importance of making informed food choices, and to develop sound eating and physical activity habits. This year’s theme, “Eat Right Bite by Bite”, highlights that eating right does not have to be restrictive and that every healthy nutrition choice is a step in the right direction.
Unsure where to begin? Start simple by using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate as your guide! MyPlate will help you build a healthy eating style that meets your needs, no matter what stage of life you are in. Here are a few tips to consider:
Make half your plate fruits and veggies-Focus on whole fruits more often and choose fresh, frozen or canned, dried or pureed. Add whole fruit to any meal. Vary your veggies by choosing dark green, red, and orange veggies, as well as beans and peas. Enjoy veggies raw, cooked, frozen, canned or dried!
Make half of your grains whole grains-Whole grains have more nutrients such as fiber compared to refined grains. You can increase your whole grains by looking for “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on a food label. Choose whole wheat bread, pasta, cereal, tortilla, or brown rice.
Move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt-Dairy foods contain many important nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and potassium and protein. By choosing low-fat or fat-free dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, you will get those important nutrients without the fat and calories of the full-fat versions.
Vary your protein routine-Choose a variety of protein foods such as meat, seafood, poultry, beans, eggs, soy, nuts, and seeds. You can bake, broil, grill, and roast your protein foods.
Building a healthy eating style is a journey and even small changes can make a big difference for you and your family! For more information on how to start building healthy habits using MyPlate, visit https://www.choosemyplate.gov/