March is National Nutrition Month, a time to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating habits. The theme for 2023 is “Eat Well, Live Well”, which highlights the role of food in promoting overall health and well-being. In this article, we’ll explore some tips for eating healthily, backed up by research from nutrition experts.
Eat a variety of foods.
Eating a variety of foods is important to ensure that your body gets all the nutrients it needs. According to the American Heart Association, a balanced diet should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats. Some easy ways to incorporate a variety of foods into your diet include trying new fruits and vegetables, experimenting with different grains (such as quinoa or farro), and incorporating different types of protein (such as beans or fish).
Watch your portion sizes.
Portion sizes can be a tricky thing to navigate, especially with the prevalence of super-sized meals in restaurants. However, overeating can lead to weight gain and other health problems. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends using visual cues (such as using a smaller plate) to help regulate portion sizes. Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues and to stop eating when you feel satisfied.
Limit your intake of processed foods.
Processed foods (such as packaged snacks or fast food) are often high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a diet high in processed foods is associated with an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and other health problems. Instead, focus on whole foods (such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) that are nutrient-dense and provide your body with the fuel it needs.
Drinking enough water is crucial for maintaining good health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water helps regulate body temperature, transport nutrients throughout the body, and remove waste products. Additionally, drinking water can help prevent dehydration, which can cause headaches, fatigue, and other symptoms. Aim to drink at least eight cups of water per day, and more if you’re exercising or in a hot climate.
Seek out professional guidance.
If you’re unsure about how to develop healthy eating habits or have specific dietary concerns, it’s a good idea to seek out guidance from a nutrition professional. Registered dietitians (RDs) are trained to provide evidence-based nutrition advice and can help you develop a personalized eating plan. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers a search tool to help you find an RD in your area.