Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle is the 2015 campaign for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics National Nutrition Month.
The annual March campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing good eating and physical activity habits.
It started out in 1973 as National Nutrition Week but became a month-long event after the public interest in nutrition began to grow back in 1980.
“It feels so good to be able to help people and I think more and more, we’re understanding and realizing just how important our diet is,” said Becky Moffat, outpatient registered dietitian nutritionist at Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Show Low, Arizona. “It’s becoming more in the forefront of our health and [in] preventing diseases.”
Moffat is also a diabetes educator and works with patients suffering from cancer, heart disease and even those looking to lose weight when it comes to choosing healthy foods.
“I help with specific diets for specific disease states, but at the same time, most people have an idea [what types of foods are healthy] and so what I do is a lot of motivational intervening, listening and helping people come up with goals for behavior change,” Moffat said.
She had a few ideas to help people get back on a healthy track during National Nutrition Month.
Moffat said the first thing is start writing down what you eat every day.
“It helps you come face to face with what you’re eating and how much because to see it in black and white really helps,” Moffat said. “You see patterns and trends and then pick the one thing you can do to make the biggest change.”
Moffat also encourages her patients and their families to use the 5-2-1-0 plan.
5 – Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
2 – Limit screen time to no more than 2 hours per day
1 – Get at least 1 hour or more of physical activity per day
0 – Consume 0 sugary drinks each day
“I think that is what people need more than anything is ideas and there is a lot of good information online,” Moffat said.
One online resource Moffat recommended for eating healthy is the United States Department of Agriculture, ChooseMyPlate.gov.
MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are building blocks for a healthy diet using a visual image.
“It’s very visual and you can get that in your head and maybe think maybe I should add a fruit or vegetable every time I eat,” Moffat said.
Physical activity is also a part of the journey to a healthy life.
“I’m always encouraging people to be active,” Moffat said. “I like to use the term physical activity more than exercise, but either one is the same meaning, you have to move more.”
Moffat has been in this field for more than 25 years. While maybe the way she delivers her information has changed, she still helps people get the facts on what they’re putting in their bodies.
“Meeting with me helps them be accountable to someone, which I think is really key to making changes and actually implementing them to their lives,” Moffat said. “It’s one thing to give them the knowledge they need, but it’s a whole other thing to look and see what’s preventing you from eating [healthy].”
For more information about National Nutrition Month visit nationalnutritionmonth.org.