NNM

Supermarket Savvy & the Taste of Eating 'Right'

Happy National Nutrition Month all!

This year, the theme for NNM is 'Enjoy the taste of eating right!', and I just love that sentiment because food tastes great.  There are a plethora of flavors out there, and as an honest foodie, it makes me sad when I hear about people being addicted to three things: salt, sugar, fat.  This isn't because they don't have interesting flavor properties, it's because they tend to dominate, and start to slowly drown out a lot of other amazing flavors.

Real food tastes great.  Real herbs, spices, produce, eggs, cheese, poultry/meat/fish.  And the list goes on... All great.  The awesome bonus to this is the role that good food can play in meeting health goals.  That means that your health goals can be reached by eating real, whole foods.  This is not an accident.  I always joke to patients that if they were busy eating their recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, they'd have little room for 'the crap'.  We laugh together, but I mean it.  

Learning how to properly grocery shop, stock a pantry, make a meal out of a few basic ingredients, and utilize a few basic knife and cooking techniques are essential life tools.  Essential life tools that become part of your roadmap to 'eating right'.

Some great resources I love to help get you there!

  • Supermarket Savvy: A virtual tool for healthier shopping aimed at consumers, chefs, and RDNs!
  • Meal Makeover Moms: Two RDN's that have dedicated their careers to developing family-friend cookbooks and spreading the news on necessary tools for a healthy kitchen.
  • MyPlate Healthy Eating on a Budget: From the MyPlate messaging, tip sheets and tools to help with meal planning for the budget-conscious household.
  • Fruits and Veggies More Matters: This public health campaign is the most important thing you can learn for meal planning.  And seasonality matters.  I beg you to check out the site and use their tools!
  • Whole Foods Healthy Cooking Guide: Great tools for the visual learner - watch their healthier cooking videos to master new kitchen techniques and use their whole grains guide to rotate in new options.
  • Healthy Aperture: A foodie-nutrition community of health & food bloggers that have uploaded their recipes with beautiful photos.  Your new free cookbook complete with professional input.
  • Fruitable: Ever wonder how to pick and store fruits and vegetables?  Use this website (launching an app soon!) to figure it out!

Have any other ones to add to the list?!  Happy cooking, and more importantly, happy healthy eating!

Nutrition Math: Add Healthy First

When Plus Turns Into Minus

One great strategy that I have learned is that sometimes it's easier to add something in instead of cutting something out when it comes to great food.  The important part is to make sure those switches are well worth it and are working for you and your body over the long term.  Adding food that contains fiber, water, and nutrients is really the key.  

The NHANES Surveys (a national survery conducted that asks questions about health habits, nutrition, and physical activity) have told us time and time again the fruit and vegetable consumption in the US is below the Dietary Guidelines.  32% of Americans get the recommended two or more servings of fruit daily while 26% get the recommended three or more servings of vegetables daily.  Come on America, I think we can do a little bit better than that...  

How to Make a Change

Thinking of snacking on something?  Or feeling hungry before you start cooking dinner?  Adding in a healthy piece of fruit, fresh cut peppers with salsa, celery and hummus, or other healthy items can help.  The thing about this whole adding fruits and vegetables piece is that they are wonderful sources of nutrients and often help to replace the volume of something else that might be eaten; making them volume-filling, nutritious and calorically-cheap.  

I do want to reiterate that I'm not asking you to cut out part of dinner or your snack...  Simply start by adding.  You'd be surprised by how making a positive change will in turn impact some of those bad eating habits.  

Happy National Nutrition Month!

Nutrition From the Ground Up

The theme for this year's NNM is "Nutrition From the Ground Up" so this month I will try to bring you posts that deliver exactly that.  In this complicated world of food where tens of thousands of options exist when we walk into the grocery store, please remember that complex isn't always better.  It's time to come back to the basics with food and nutrition.

Image courtesy of the ADA.Food Can Be Simple

Remember how satisfying eating whole foods is?  Instead of trying to inspect every label and count up your calories, fat, sodium, and protein as the day goes on, try returning so the 'oldie but goodies'.  Whole fruits, whole vegetables, whole grain bread, rice, and pasta products, lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, and low-fat dairy products are items to keep in mind as you shop and plan your meals.  This return to whole foods will help maintain a consistent stream of energy throughout the day, help fill you up on nutritious and fiber-rich foods, and may lead to a healthier weight maintenance.  

 

Challenge

I challenge you to eat as many whole foods as you can this month.  You may find that eating closer to the earth allows you to enjoy the rich natural flavors of each food as it was grown and intended, that balancing your meals becomes easier because there's less calculating involved, and that with the introduction of more nutritious and wholesome energy sources you have less energy swings throughout the day.  Good luck!  I'll be doing the same myself.  Please let me know of any comments, questions, or hurdles along the way!