Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle! March is National Nutrition Month

CHOC Children's Clinical Nutrition and Lactation ServicesBy Caroline Steele, MS, RD, CSP, IBCLC, director clinical nutrition and lactation services at CHOC Children’s

In honor of National Nutrition Month, join CHOC Children’s in encouraging everyone to adopt eating habits focusing on reducing excess calories from fat and sugar, reducing intake of processed foods, and making information food choices to help fight disease and promote good health.

With so much nutrition information available and so many food choices, deciding what to put on your dinner plate can feel daunting and time consuming. The United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate makes it easy. No matter how busy you are, one quick glance at your plate can show you if you are getting the variety you need to stay healthy.

Compare the foods on your plate with the MyPlate icon below. How does it compare? Are there food groups that you should be eating more of? Less of? All foods fit into a healthy diet — it’s just a matter of balance.

Some hints for a healthier table:

Balance Calories

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.

Foods to Increase

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose whole grains whenever possible.
  • Switch to fat-free or low fat (1%) milk.
  • Choose lean sources of protein such as lean meats, chicken, fish and beans.

Foods to Reduce

  • Reduce your intake of processed foods. When choosing canned or frozen foods, choose those with lower amounts of sodium.
  • Reduce or eliminate sugary drinks—drink water instead!

Make it fun and use MyPlate as a family! Have kids draw the MyPlate icon then compare it to their own plates. Getting children involved in mealtimes and food choices can help them be healthier and make better nutrition decisions as they get older.

So, dig in! Good nutrition and healthy eating are as close as your plate.

For more information, go to MyPlate.gov for interactive tools and sample meals.

Or, go to eatright.org, the website of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, for a variety of topics including nutrition for life and food safety.

Learn more about CHOC Children’s Clinical Nutrition and Lactation Services.


Is there a nutrition topic you would like to know more about? Let us know in the comments section below and we may cover it in a future article.


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National Nutrition Month: Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right

20130425_0190By Amanda Czerwin, DTR, CLE, and Nichole Balandran, DTR, CHOC Children’s Clinical Nutrition and Lactation Services

March is National Nutrition Month, and CHOC Children’s dietitians join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in encouraging everyone to enjoy the taste of eating right in 2014.

Research shows that taste is the No. 1 reason for choosing the foods we eat. You don’t have to give up foods that tantalize your taste buds to eat healthfully. Studies have shown that taste can be adaptable. Experimenting is the key to broadening your taste buds. So, next time you make a trip to the grocery store, try one new fruit, vegetable or whole grain. Use your discovery in a new, tasty recipe and see if you can find a new flavor to love.

Just as processed foods can become a habit, so can sweets. Retrain your taste buds to enjoy natural fruit sugars or even small amounts of honey instead of sugar or alternatives. An easy way to retrain your taste buds is to have more fruit nearby for easy-to-grab snacks or create fun fruit-based desserts, such as baked apples with cinnamon.

If you are trying new types of produce, try to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Fresh food at its peak season tends to be more flavorful, look better and be on sale. This month is a great time to purchase asparagus, strawberries, broccoli, artichokes, mangos and spinach, which are all foods packed with essential vitamins and minerals. You can discover which fruits and vegetable are in season by visiting www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org. This site not only tells you what fruits and vegetables are in season, but also how to best prepare, store and enjoy the produce.

Another great way to rev up your taste buds is to utilize your spice rack or start an herb garden. Just a little bit of herbs or spices can turn a new food into your all-time favorite. Fresh or dried herbs and spices contain healthful antioxidants and very little salt, sugar or fat. Ditch the salt shaker for rosemary, thyme, garlic, basil or parsley. These are just a few examples of seasonings that can boost the flavor of vegetables or meats, while also providing long-lasting health benefits.

From your local grocery store to your kitchen, make every meal time a healthy, colorful, tasty creation. Remember, March is National Nutrition Month and what better time than right now to enjoy the taste of eating right?

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