4 ways to maximize your nutrition
March is National Nutrition Month so it’s a great time to begin paying attention to food choices. When considering food choices, particularly new ones, taste and calories can be a big concern. A recent announcement from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages people to choose nutrient-rich foods that have the most nutrition per calorie each day.
Foods and drinks that are nutritionally packed with nutrients include vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbs, plus offer health benefits minus the heavy calories.
So how can you easily add these types of foods and drinks to your diet each day? Academy spokesperson and registered dietitian Debbi Beauvais offers up the following tips:
- Create one-dish, nutrient-rich meals, such as broth-based, hearty soups loaded with colorful veggies, beans and lean meat. Serve chili with a spoonful of low-fat yogurt and add whole-grain breads or rolls on the side.
- Drink low-sugar beverages such as fat-free or low-fat milk or even 100 percent fruit juice.
- For dessert, try blending mango, plain low-fat milk, ice and a splash of pineapple juice or add chocolate syrup to a cup of coffe-flavored yogurt, freeze it and then enjoy.
- When dining out, choose entrée salads with grilled seafood and low-calorie dressing, baked potatoes topped with salsa, grilled veggies and reduced-fat cheese, and yogurt parfaits that have strawberries and blueberries in them.
“To get the most out of the foods you eat, it is important to do some planning. Take the time to write out menus and a shopping list,” explains Ginger Sorensen, registered dietitian at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill. “If you plan at least a five-day menu, you can see how much variety you are eating. Look for recipes that are low-fat and feature whole grains and vegetables.”
“Also try new foods and ways of preparing them,” adds Sorensen. “On the days you know you do not have time to cook, use salad bars or fruits and vegetable that are prepackaged and ready to go. There are lots of ideas and recipes on myplate.gov that can get you started. Take the time during March to make nutrition a priority,” she says.
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