Written by ODPHP Visiting Scholar Lauren Comunale
Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors National Nutrition Month®. This year, the theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”, which promotes not only the nutrition, but also the pleasure and joy that food brings to our lives.
How can you “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”? Check out some tips below:
- Pay attention to your body. To avoid eating out of boredom, stress, or cravings, stop and think to yourself: Am I actually hungry? If you are unsure, drink an 8-ounce glass of water, and then wait a few minutes. Water can help ward off cravings and help you eat less.
- Take your time. Set aside 15-20 minutes to eat a meal while employing mindful eating. Mindful eating, also known as intuitive eating, is a meditative practice that promotes savoring the taste, texture, and characteristics of food with each bite. This practice helps you concentrate on how you feel and how the food is nourishing you as you eat.
- Be mindful of the size of your meal. Portion control is key! How much is a portion exactly? A serving of lean meat should be 2-3 ounces, or the size of a deck of cards. A serving of whole grains, such as cooked brown rice, should equal ½ cup or the size of a cupcake wrapper. Half of your plate should include fruits and vegetables. Lastly, don’t forget one serving of dairy—try one cup of fat-free or low-fat milk or a 1.5 ounce serving of low-fat cheese!
- Season your foods without salt. Back away from the salt shaker and explore the world of herb and spices. Seasoning your food with ingredients other than salt can bring out unique flavor combinations. For example, you can make your own Italian spice mix by mixing basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and garlic powder for a low-sodium way to season chicken.
- Exercise, and enjoy doing it. Mindfulness does not only apply to eating habits. Physical activity is an essential component of health, so being mindful of how much exercise you are getting is important. Find an activity that you enjoy, such as attending a group fitness class, walking with a friend, or practicing yoga. Take a look at the Be Active Your Way Guide to discover more ways to add physical activity to your life.
A healthy lifestyle includes the right dose of healthy eating and physical activity. Adding the concept of mindfulness to your everyday habits can help maximize your overall health. It’s important to find and follow what works best for your personal health goals. The newly released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the nation’s trusted resource for nutrition recommendations. This National Nutrition Month®, be sure to review the Dietary Guidelines for information on how to adopt a healthy eating pattern that works for you and make healthier food and beverage choices to improve well-being and help prevent disease.