National Nutrition Month

The month is almost gone…yes, only four more days of March.

Perhaps you have read headlines, articles, blogs providing nutrition tips for you and your family because March is designated as National Nutrition Month.  Certainly, this is  a worthy focus!

It’s never the wrong time to make a decision, then make a commitment, and finally take action about improving your nutrition.  Why is that?

You have certainly heard this quote: Clothes make the man (unable to verify the original author) and while that is true enough, here’s a better one: You are what you eat  (Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826: “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are]. I’m sure that was more information than you wanted to know about that phrase,  but amazingly,  it is all available on the internet! Is that a good thing???).

Look at the big picture of why food is so very important. Food affects all 100 trillion of our cells, and therefore, all of our functions: mood, energy levels, food cravings, thinking capacity, sex drive, sleeping habits and general health.

So is it worth it to make some changes?

Absolutely!

It’s never too late.  Here are two action steps you can take today:

1. Be conscious of what you are eating. Whenever you eat, including snack time, you should include something in each of these categories- carbohydrates, fats, protein. The percentage on your plate depends on your metabolism.  Contact me for a complimentary survey to identify your metabolic type.

BTW, carbohydrates should be of the fruit and vegetable category, food groups that probably every major health organization or disease-prevention-organization and even doctors would agree need to be increased on a daily basis.  It is also important to realize that counting french fries and ketchup as 2 of your suggested 7-11 daily servings of fruits and vegetables is not putting you on the path to optimal health!

2. Exercise portion control.  Mealtime portions can be helped by dishing up the food onto the plates in the kitchen, away from the table.  Snack portions can be reduced by measuring out or even counting if necessary, a serving size. Here’s a link for a handy portion control guide that you can print out for yourself.  The website also has visuals of serving sizes of foods.

One of my personal biggest challenges is what I call “amnesia eating,’ which occurs when I graze all day long and grab a few nuts (they’re good for you, of course!)- multiple times throughout the day.  It has been shocking when I have measured out a serving size and limited myself to that quantity for the entire day- what a concept!

This tip also reflects the necessity of reading labels.  Serving size is listed on packages that you purchase and serving size is connected to caloric and  nutritional intake.  This is true for beverages as well.  The bottles and cans of drinks that people are downing in one sitting  can be as much as 2.5 servings.  Check it out before your next purchase and decide if the calories and non-nutrients are what you want to take in versus a glass of pure water.

Portion control is also helped by the size of the plate that you use. Our grandmothers served meals on plates quite a bit smaller than what most of us use today.  Bigger plates translate into bigger portions, and this is exactly what has happened in both home and restaurants.  Our brain takes visual cues from everything about food, including how full the plate is to start!  If we see it on our plate, we seem to need to eat it (you remember, the ‘clean your plate’ philosophy or perhaps ‘the starving children in Africa would be glad…’  philosophy) Review this article for other tips about portion control.

In our home, we have been using  luncheon size plates for a number of years. We also regularly take home 1/3 to 1/2 of what we are served in the restaurant for a future meal.  Using a smaller plate as a visual cue for quantity allows us to leave the table satisfied, and not stuffed.

Trust that these two tips will be helpful to you today as you consider what you can do to improve your own level of health via better nutrition.  What tips can you share with our readers that have helped you make better choices about eating?

Remember, if there is anything I can do for you to help you on this journey of better health and fitness, just let me know.

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