March is National Nutrition Month® and is celebrated by the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and many dietitians through the country. According to AND’s website: “The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.” This year’s focus is: Eat right every day, your way! Not everybody thrives on the same diet, not everyone enjoys the same foods, but with some dedication I do believe it is possible to enjoy your foods, but eat healthier too.
Many cultures recognize different foods as important and many carry healthy foods in their traditional diet. The Mediterranean diet has been prized for high amount of fruits, vegetables, nuts and unsaturated oils. Red meat is consumed in low amounts while fish, dairy and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts. The American Heart Association recommends this diet for heart health.
Several studies point to the Asian diet for protection against certain cancers, heart disease and other chronic diseases. This diet includes many dishes rich in vegetables, fruit, legumes and rice and only small amounts of dairy and meat and fat.
Especially in the Western World our way of life has changed. There is less physical exercise, and more sitting behind desks. Fruits and vegetables are lower in calories, but are nutrient dense. This means they contain a high amount of nutrients in comparison with their calorie content, and while legumes, grains and nuts are higher in calories, these also contain many essential vitamins and minerals. Take that as a guideline to adjust your choices in foods while enjoying the variety of your traditions, and do make time to stay active.
Click here for more information about the National Nutrition Month®