March is National Nutrition Month, and a great time to focus on your nutritional health. Whether you’re a model eater, or could use some help in the diet department, this month will give you a good opportunity to think more about the food you’re eating. Try these activities, habits, and small changes to celebrate nutrition and food this month.
These are ideas you can use all month long.
- Define good nutrition: Learn about what good nutrition really is.
- Think about making calories count: Rather than labeling foods good or bad, consider the vitamins, minerals, and fiber available in foods.
- Always have water available: Make sure that there’s always water ready and waiting for you to drink.
- Set reasonable goals: Start making small changes you can live with.
- Be optimistic about food: Think about food as nourishment and fun.
- Consider supplementing: Although you may be reaching all of your nutritional goals, a vitamin or mineral supplement can help ensure that you’re getting everything you need.
- Be patient: Instead of settling for food with immediate gratification, take your time and enjoy what you eat.
- Indulge: Don’t forget to allow yourself to indulge when appropriate.
- Plan ahead: The more you plan, the better you can control your nutrition.
- Eat frequently: Becoming a frequent eater will allow you to eat more often in smaller portions.
Take part in these activities and make nutrition month a fun experience.
- Take a cooking class: Spend some time properly learning how to prepare foods with a cooking class.
- Write down everything you eat: This month, take the time to track everything you’re eating, so you get a better idea of what exactly you’re taking in.
- Join a food club: Have fun with food and friends in a food club.
- Play with your food: Dress your food up into edible art for a little fun.
- Watch Super Size Me: Consider how fast food can affect your body with Super Size Me.
- Join a CSA: Becoming a part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) will enable you to eat well and support community farmers.
- Eat something fresh: If you’ve never tried anything but canned pineapple, try a fresh one.
- Read about good nutrition: Find books that celebrate healthy nutrition.
- Visit a farmer’s market: Find fresh, local, and even organic produce and other items at a farmer’s market.
- Pack a bento box lunch: Have fun with lunch by creating a bento box at least once a week this month.
- Attend a nutrition class: Learn more about good nutrition with a class.
- Look at labels: Before you buy or eat food, take a good look at its nutrition facts.
- Enter a diet contest: Submit a recipe to a contest.
- Create an emergency food kit: If you’re out and about and become hungry, you’re likely to turn to whatever’s available-make sure you’ve got a healthy food kit ready to go.
- Go on a picnic: Eat great food in the great outdoors.
- Visit a farm: See where your food comes from by visiting a farm.
- Watch Food, Inc.: Learn more about the way your food is made with Food, Inc.
- Make a healthy menu: Plan meals ahead of time for the entire month, so you’ll have great nutrition all month long.
- Enter a cooking contest: Participate in a cooking contest in your community.
- Eat local: Practice sustainability and a connection with your food by eating local.
Celebrate nutrition this month by taking these ideas to your grocery store.
- Buy fresh food: The fresher the food, the more nutritious, so buy as fresh as possible.
- Try a new grocery store: Get a new perspective on available foods at a new store.
- Avoid shopping when you’re hungry: Avoid impulse buys by shopping when you’re full and rational.
- Look for whole foods: Choose simple, whole foods that are the closest to nature for more nutritional bang for your buck.
- Purchase organic products: Try some organic products, like milk, meat, or produce.
- Stay away from ingredients you don’t recognize: If you can’t recognize, pronounce, or spell an ingredient, don’t buy it.
- Stick to the outer aisles: You can find produce, meats, fish, and eggs in the outer aisles of grocery stores.
- Find produce in season: Get fresher produce by shopping in season.
- Read labels: Although most foods with great nutrition won’t require labels, be sure to look at the ones that do to be an informed consumer.
- Don’t buy desserts or munchies: Treats are fine, but make them worth it by making them from scratch yourself.
- Shop for colorful foods: Get a variety of phytonutrients with colorful produce.
- Don’t believe everything: “All natural” or “fat free” labels can be deceiving.
- Write a list out: Before you head to the store, make sure you’ve got a list ready to go.
- Learn to recognize all forms of sugar: Refined sugar can come in many forms so look for corn sugar, fructose, caramel, syrups, and more.
While you’re dining out, you can use these tips to celebrate nutrition.
- Visit a new restaurant: Go to a new restaurant you’ve been meaning to check out.
- Find out how your food is prepared: Consider whether your food is baked, fried, or prepared in another way.
- Add a new fruit or vegetable to every meal: Try something new each time you cook.
- Educate yourself before going to a restaurant: Go to the restaurant’s website to learn about the nutrition for the items available on the menu, so you can make a healthy, informed choice.
Nutrition can take center stage at home with these tips.
- Make a healthy eating plan: Create a plan for eating a balanced diet at home.
- Buy a new cookbook: Find a new healthy cookbook to spur interest in new recipes.
- Get an illustration of the food pyramid: With a food pyramid, you’ll have an easy reminder to eat a balanced diet.
- Balance it out: Eat a good balance of foods for good nutrition.
- Practice family mealtime: Eat together, and teach children a healthy attitude toward food.
- Create a rainbow on your plate: Find a rainbow of foods to make a plate rainbow.
- Try a new recipe once a week: Find a new recipe to check out each week of National Nutrition Month.
- Measure with a tablespoon: Instead of a knife, use a tablespoon to measure and spread on condiments.
- Cook with your kids: Get kids interested in nutrition by having them help you cook.
- Increase the amount of times you eat at home: At home, you’re better able to control what you’re eating, so aim to increase the frequency of your mealtimes at home.
- Go meatless once a week: If you’re a big meat eater, consider going meatless at least once a week.
- Prewash your vegetables: Buy vegetables washed, or wash them when you get home from the grocery store, and you’ll be more likely to grab and go veggies as a snack.
Try to work these daily habits for good nutrition into your routine this month.
- Get a better night’s sleep: When you’re well rested, you’re less likely to turn to junk or comfort foods.
- Find a tip a day: Get a tip a day nutrition calendar, or sign up for email alert every day.
- Take a vitamin: Make sure you’re reaching all of your nutritional needs with a vitamin supplement.
- Stick to serving sizes: Read the nutrition facts to find out the proper serving size for the food you’re eating.
Put nutrition on your windowsill or in your backyard with gardening.
- Teach kids about nutrition in the garden: Kids can get an understanding of gardening for health with your help.
- Start a garden: Plant vegetables, fruits, and herbs, so you can enjoy your very own harvest.
- Garden with meals in mind: Plant items that can be used over and over again in the meals that you plan to cook.
- Plant a row for the hungry: Set aside a section of your garden to donate to your local food bank or soup kitchen.
Use these ideas to make food and nutrition a social affair.
- Explore food science: Learn about the science of food to appreciate it more.
- Find a new food blog: Check out a new food blog every week this month.
- Cook for friends: Invite people over to enjoy dinner at your home.
- Plan a foodie trip: Plan a trip to a fun food festival.
- Blog about National Nutrition Month: Let others know that you’re celebrating National Nutrition Month by posting about it.
- Visit festivals: Seek out food, wine, or beer festivals to enjoy more gourmet food.
- Share recipes: Start a recipe exchange with friends and family.
- Give away your produce: Share extra produce from your garden.
- Get active once a day: Manage your body weight by being active for an hour every day.
- Take part in a fun activity: Join a race or adventure dash to get exercise in a fun way.
- Introduce weight training: Become lean to put your nutrition to good use.
- Take a walk as a family: Spend time together as a family and get active with a walk around the neighborhood.
- Meditate: Give yourself time to collect yourself and focus inward with meditation.
Special Contributor: Roxanne McAnn at email@example.com