March is National Nutrition Month. With over 117 million U.S. adults having at least one chronic disease and spending $316 billion in medical costs on diet-related chronic diseases we need to eat healthier. Aligning our eating habits with the Dietary Guidelines reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Thus, it is time to challenge ourselves to make one change to improve your health this month by practicing a change and trying one new healthy recipe.
Practice one of these examples this month to start the change to better health:
· No more than one soda or sweetened drink a day. If you have already been limiting it to one a day try one a week.
· Make your dinner plate half vegetables and fruit.
· Eat breakfast every day.
· Limit your sodium consumption.
· Drink water.
· Choose whole-grain foods.
· Eat/drink at least two servings from the Dairy Group every day.
· Eat fruit for snacks.
· Eat some nuts for snacks.
· Eat fish at least twice a week. (Check out Fishy Fridays on our Facebook page.)
· Try a new vegetable or fruit each week.
· Follow the DASH or Mediterranean Diet.
· Parking farther away from the entrance.
· Engage in some physical activity most days of the week.
· Practice mindfulness or mediation.
· Take three deep breathes when you feel stressed.
I am participating in a challenge at work to pick a less sugary drink everyday this month. You might challenge your co-workers to join you in a challenge.
The second part of my challenge is to try a new recipe. Many times a new recipe will increase our interest in healthy eating. Check out these websites Dinner Tonight, Food Hero and Recipe Central for some easy, delicious recipes. Many of the recipes have videos or pictures to show how to make them. The websites also have kid friendly recipes.
I tried Veggie Patties and Veggie Tots recipes. Both are delicious and easy to make if you have a food processor. If you like cheese you will enjoy the Veggie Tots. I also tried Brownie Batter Hummus. I thought the idea of cocoa and hummus was strange, but it’s wonderful on fruit and tastes like a brownie.
A super easy recipe for breakfast is the Microwave Breakfast Cake. If you regularly eat cereal for breakfast this one is a tasty substitute.
Let me know what recipes you try and how your challenge goes. Let’s make this March a healthier one. Hopefully, the weather will get warmer in March and make it easier for physical activities outside.
Pat Brinkman is the Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator for Ohio State University Fayette County.