March is the time of year to bring awareness to healthy eating and what better way to do that than by celebrating National Nutrition Month.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors the national campaign every year encouraging Americans to return to the basics of healthful eating the entire month.
“This year’s ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right’ National Nutrition Month theme is a reminder for everyone to develop a mindful eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods, while also taking the time to enjoy everything that a healthful and tasty meal brings with it,” registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Dr. Evelyn F. Crayton said in a press release.
The organization has been promoting this initiative since turning the National Nutrition Week into a monthlong observance back in 1980.
The ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right’ campaign is something Arizona registered dietitian nutritionist Chrissy Barth with Nutrition.Lifestyle.Education really liked about the theme this year.
“There are so many great spices out there and certain types of sauces that don’t have to be full of fat,” Barth said. “It’s really about watching how much you use during a meal and overall lifestyle too.”
Barth said when she coaches her clients about nutrition, balancing their lifestyle and food can help them make healthy choices.
“This means not only eating well 80 percent of the time, but staying active, getting enough sleep, having healthy stress management coping skills and staying hydrated as well,” Barth said.
When it comes to making those healthy choices at the grocery story, shopping the perimeter is where it all begins.
“You’re getting all those whole natural foods, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein, dairy products and certain types of healthy fats,” Barth said.
She believes while the aisles in the middle of a grocery store may have more processed items, people can still pick out healthy foods.
“I say if you look at the ingredients on the back of a food label and the list is long and you can’t pronounce some of the names, I would put it back because it’s probably a preservative,” Barth said.
She can’t stress enough to her clients about the importance of taking time to enjoy their food, while making sure it tastes good at the same time.
“It should taste good and be nutritious as well, but we shouldn’t deprive ourselves,” Barth said. “We should eat what we want, but be mindful in the process.”
One example Barth threw out there was if you want a slice of pizza, adding a green salad into the mix can make the meal more balanced.
When it comes to the kiddos, this a great month for parents to encourage their little ones to start riding the healthy train.
“If we can get the message to kids early on to eat well and have that food available to them, they will most likely carry those good habits and behaviors to adulthood,” Barth said.
Barth is also a Nutrition Lecturer at Arizona State University.
For more information on National Nutrition Month visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatrightpro.org where you can find all kinds of healthy recipes.