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MARCH IS NUTRITION MONTH

Eating right begins with the being in the right mindset. By making a commitment daily to choose to eat more nutritious foods, and training our eyes to quickly identify these healthier food and beverage options, eating right can quickly become a no brainer. See food in a new light with our tips on healthy eating made easy.

Focus on Variety – Eat Colorfully!

Most of us know that we are supposed to eat our “greens” in order to stay healthy. However, eating fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow is the real key to making sure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs. By eating a colorful palette of produce every day, you’ll be giving your body phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are a plant-based substance that is shown to help prevent disease, cancer and the effects of aging. The brighter and more intense the color, the stronger the phytonutrients are. Each color group provides us with different important nutrients.

Know Your Fats

Not all fat is created equal. The phrase “healthy fat” usually refers to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. What makes them healthy is that, among other heart-health benefits, they help reduce LDL cholesterol, the kind that clogs your arteries. Examples of healthy sources of fat include avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, tofu, eggs, and omega-3 rich fish such as salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel.

There is one easy rule about “unhealthy fats” that you need to remember: Avoid trans fats! These fats are also listed as hydrogenated oils on the nutrition label. Trans fats increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke, and are associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Also try to limit foods with saturated fat. These foods can still be part of a healthy diet if eaten more sparingly. For example leaner cuts of beef or pork can be healthy a healthy protein option, and dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are okay in moderation because they are also good sources of protein, and provide your body with the calcium it needs.

Make Your Calories Count

When you plan your next meal, think nutrient-rich rather than "good" or "bad" foods. The majority of your food choices should be coming from whole fruits and vegetables, because they are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients, and lower in calories. The high fiber in the whole produce also makes you feel fuller longer. It is also important to limit sugary foods and sweetened beverages as they can be in high calories and overall less nutritious for you.

Stay Hydrated and Limit Salt

Did you know that by the time you start to feel thirsty, you are actually already dehydrated? Keeping hydrated is crucial for all the cells and organs of the body to function properly. It is highly recommended to drinking about half your bodyweight in ounces of water. If you need a reminder to keep drinking water, carry a bottle everywhere with you. As you plan your meals, also keep in mind that raw fruits and vegetables are also good sources of water.

Limiting salt in your diet is also very important because too much salt in your diet can cause dehydration! The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day, which is less than 1 teaspoon of salt. Note that salt is hidden used a lot in processed foods for flavor and preservation, so reading food labels and making sure to note the serving size is very important.



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