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“Get Your Plate in Shape” for National Nutrition Month.

March is National Nutrition Month©, an annual nutrition education

campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics  (formerly

the American Dietetic Association) to focus attention on the importance

of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating habits.

This year’s theme, “Get Your Plate in Shape,” encourage consumers to

ensure they are eating the recommended amounts of foods from each food

group: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy.

Here are some practical tips to get YOUR plate in shape:

Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Choose a colorful

variety of fruits and veggies; the different colors impart different

nutrients and health benefits. Be sure to include dark leafy greens

such as spinach and romaine lettuce as well as and some orange choices

such as carrots, cantaloupe, and butternut squash. Fresh fruit and

veggies are great but so are frozen varieties. Choose fresh fruit

instead of juice.

Practice portion control. Eat realistic portion sizes by using smaller

plates and bowls. Get into the habit of dining at home, where you can

control the ingredients of the foods you eat.

Snack wisely. Add fruit and veggies to snacks too. Enjoy baby carrots

and hummus, celery and peanut butter, fresh fruits such as apples,

pears, and berries

Choose whole grains. At least  half of your grains should  be whole

grains. This includes oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole

wheat pasta, and other grains such as soba noodles, millet, and

quinoa.

Drink low-fat or fat-free milk. These have the same valuable nutrients

without the calories calories from fat, which is mostly in the form of

saturated fat.

Choose healthy proteins. Eat fish at least twice a week. Good choices

include salmon, sardines rich in omega 3 fatty acids. When you eat

meat, choose lean cuts, and when selecting poultry be sure to remove

the skin.   Include plant based proteins such as beans and legumes.

Slash salt and empty calories. Check out labels when you go food shopping.

Get rid of sugary drinks and opt for water instead. Watch out for

added sugars and foods high in sodium.

Eat WHOLE foods and limit processed foods. Choose more fresh fruit and

veggies, and less refined junk food.

Include alcohol in moderation. Limit your alcohol intake to one drink a day for women and two for men.

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