Julie Whittington, RD

Healthy tips from a Registered Dietitian

National Nutrition Month 2012

March is National Nutrition Month!  This year’s theme, “Get Your Plate in Shape” focuses on encouraging Americans to have proper portion control, when it comes to eating 

Every March, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as The American Dietetic Association) creates a National Nutrition Month (NNM) campaign to educate the public on nutritional health and promote the dietetics profession.  The first campaign was in 1973.

Key messages for the 2012 campaign focus on choosing food mindfully and considering everything you select to put on your plate.  The seven key messages, as found on the Academy’s NNM website (www.eatright.org/nnm) are as follows: 

  1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
  2. Make at least half your grains whole
  3. Switch to fat free or low-fat milk
  4. Vary your protein choices
  5. Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars
  6. Enjoy your food, but eat less
  7. Be physically active your way

Now, of course, these messages may need to be tailored to your individual needs, depending on your age, life style and weight.  For instance, if you are underweight, pregnant or have certain digestive diseases, the NNM messages may need to be adjusted to meet your needs.  However, since most Americans adults and many children are overweight or obese (which presents an enormous health threat,) these nutrition messages would meet the needs of the majority of Americans.

The NNM website (www.eatright.org/nnm) offers great suggestions how to achieve the health goals listed above.  Ideas on how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into the diets of adults and children, as well as tips on snacking, eating breakfast and food shopping can all be found on the website.   You can also find games, quizzes and videos to help educate you.  The games present a good opportunity for children to get interested in nutrition and overall health, too.  If you are a teacher, check out the Nutrition Education Resources, and especially the Classroom Guide for 2012 for great tips.  Many of the resources are also available in Spanish.

Together with The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, let us all take this month to really focus on how we choose to nourish our bodies.  We all have the best chances of achieving good health when we fuel our bodies well, with proper portions and nutritious foods! 

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