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Celebrating National Nutrition Month with Healthy Habits

As a registered dietitian, March is a special month—it's National Nutrition Month! This annual celebration is not just about highlighting the importance of healthy eating but also about inspiring individuals to make informed food choices and develop sustainable habits that nourish their bodies and minds. This year's theme, "Nourish to Flourish," encapsulates the essence of what nutrition is all about. It reminds us that food is more than just fuel—it's one the fundamental aspects of our health and vitality. Let's dive into some impactful strategies to optimize your nutrition and cultivate a healthy relationship with food.

Embrace Variety

One of the cornerstones of a balanced diet is variety. Eating a diverse range of foods ensures that we get a wide array of nutrients essential for optimal health. Challenge yourself to try new fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. The more colors on your plate, the better!

Focus on Whole Foods

Whole foods are packed with nutrients and free from an excess of added ingredients like salt, sugar, and oils, leaving it up to you to add flavor in your cooking! When you focus on whole foods such as fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and veggies, whole grains like oats, quinoa, rice, nuts, seeds, meat and fish, dried or canned beans, and dairy foods, you weed out heavily processed foods by default. Convenience foods like chips, crackers, and frozen meals certainly have their time and place in a healthy lifestyle, however prioritizing your intake of whole foods first is a simple way to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need!

Practice Mindful Eating

In our fast-paced world, it's easy to rush through meals without paying attention to our body’s hunger and fullness cues. Not to mention chewing our food thoroughly! Mindful eating is about reconnecting with your body’s signals, and allowing your body to determine what to eat, when to eat, and how much. Slowing down to practice mindful eating helps combat overeating, fosters a joyful eating experience, and allows your body to adequately absorb and utilize the nutrients from food.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration plays a crucial role in our overall health and well-being. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and support bodily functions such as digestion, temperature regulation, and nutrient transport. If you struggle to meet your water intake goals, infuse your water with fresh fruits or herbs for added flavor.

Practice Moderation

While it's important to nourish our bodies with wholesome foods, it's also essential to enjoy the foods we love! Depriving ourselves of our favorite treats can lead to feelings of guilt and frustration. Instead, adopt a balanced approach that allows for occasional indulgences while prioritizing nutrient-dense foods.

Seek Professional Guidance

Changing our eating habits and adopting a healthier lifestyle can be challenging, but we don't have to do it alone. Seek support from a registered dietitian who can provide personalized recommendations, accountability, and encouragement on your nutrition journey.

Take what you need from this list, and maybe start by adopting just one of the above tips as a nutrition goal to start! Remember, small, consistent changes can lead to significant improvements in health and nutrition status over time. 

Emma Nelson is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer. Emma is available remotely for all things nutrition related, whether it be general nutrition, pre/post op nutrition, rehab nutrition, or sports nutrition.

PHONE: 615.477.0602

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