March is National Nutrition Month, and March 11 is Registered Dietitian Day. For me, March is a better time than New Year’s to make resolutions to improve your diet and lifestyle for optimal health and well-being. In January and February, it can be hard to be more active when it’s essentially black when you wake up and dark again by the time you get home from work. In March, however, we’re actually seeing signs of spring (at least some of us are), so it’s a great time to renew and recharge your commitment to health.
Below are three steps I’m taking this month—and hopefully once and for all. Maybe my goals will inspire you to try something to improve your health. Be sure to leave your get-healthy tips in the comments so that we can pick up ideas and motivation from each other.
1. Eat more plants.
We know fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should be the bulk of our diet, but without really trying to get those in on a daily basis, I’m falling short. Some examples could be to use nut butters in place of butter on my toast and put slices of avocado on my salads and sandwiches and nix the cheese.
I will use soy milk in place of cow’s milk in coffee or tea or with cereal. (I like the new Silk Light Original because it has 70 calories—20 less per serving than skim milk—but is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and B12.) When you go out to dinner, make it an ethnic excursion; have Indian, Mexican, or Asian food, as there are more vegetarian options at ethnic eateries compared to restaurants with American fare.
2. Eat—don’t drink—my calories.
I’ve gotten a bit addicted to skinny lattes, but I’ve decided that the extra 100 calories or so that I’m getting every day could be better spent on a cup of yogurt that has more protein and is more physiologically (not psychologically) satisfying than the latte. Research continues to show that we may not compensate for calories we consume in liquid form, making it harder to control your daily calories if you drink them, rather than eat them.
3. Snack on healthier foods.
Like most Americans, I can be a real snackaholic. I snack at least twice a day, but there are days when I’m so busy that I don’t stop for meals and snack all day long. I’m sure I eat more calories snacking all day, compared to when I eat a real breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For healthier snacks, I’m going to keep my kitchen stocked with fruits and vegetables. I like snacking on cut-up veggies with low-fat dip as long as I don’t have to cut up the veggies! So, I’ll spend the extra money to buy them pre-cut to ensure that I eat them. Other options will be nonfat yogurt, trail mix, nuts, and other wholesome foods.