March is National Nutrition Month, the yearly nutrition education campaign of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape.” What you put on your plate is what you put into your body, and what you choose to put in your body can impact your health for the better or worse! In honor of National Nutrition Month, take the time to learn what makes a balanced meal, and add some color to your plate.
A Balanced (and Colorful!) Plate
When preparing a meal, half of your plate should be filled with fruits and veggies! Choose orange, red and darker green vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes and broccoli or spinach. Make sure you also have a lean protein like fish or chicken, and a serving of whole grains such as brown rice or whole grain pasta.
Prep Veggies Beforehand
Be ahead of the game by washing, prepping and cutting fruits and veggies. You can even place individual serving sizes into plastic snack bags so that grabbing a healthy snack will be more convenient. Bell pepper strips, broccoli florets and carrot sticks can all be used as a snack or in recipes and provide lots of great nutrients. The convenience of preparing them ahead of time will make you more likely to include them in your diet!
Keep ‘Em Visible
That bag of grapes won’t do you any good if it’s shoved in the back corner of the fridge. Keep a bowl of fresh fruits on the counter, kitchen table or up front in the fridge to remind yourself that they are there and waiting for you to enjoy!
Try Different Cooking Methods
Eating fruits and veggies doesn’t have to be boring. Switch it up by trying different preparation and cooking methods. Trying grilling veggies (or fruits like apples and pineapple), sautéing, adding to casseroles, salads, smoothies, etc. The sky is the limit!
Adding some healthful color to your plate doesn’t have to be expensive, either! Buying fruits and vegetables that are in-season will not only save you money, but it will also ensure you are getting the most flavorful produce. The local farmer’s market is a great resource for inexpensive, in-season produce!
Fruits and veggies are a delicious way to get the nutrition you need and liven up your meals at the same time. Fruits and veggies fill you up, so you’ll be less likely to indulge on junk food later on. Got a sweet tooth? Fruits are nature’s delicious desserts. See more benefits of a colorful, well-balanced meal here. For more information on food and nutrition, visit us online at the Medical Center of Lewisville or give us a call at (972) 420-4000.