March is National Nutrition Month, a month focused on nutrition education and information created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year the theme is "Get Your Plate in Shape", focusing not only on making good food choices but also on getting physical exercise as depicted in this year's logo:
In their press release, the Academy encouraged all Americans to focus on healthy eating habits by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low fat dairy foods every day. Their logo emphasizes the new Choose MyPlate theme developed by USDA that encourages each of us to fill half our plate with fruits and veggies, a fourth with whole grains, a fourth with lean protein and to have some low fat dairy with each meal.
How can you add whole grains to your diet?
Cereal – eating cereal is an easy way to add whole grains. As stated in a previous blog entry, all General Mills cereals are whole grain. Choose any General Mills cereal and you have easily added a serving of whole grain to your diet. Or add oatmeal, shredded wheat to your breakfast.
- Choose: breads made with whole wheat, whole wheat flour, stone ground whole wheat flour.
- Avoid: breads made with enriched flour, enriched bleached flour, unbleached enriched flour.
Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Dried fruits and frozen fruits and vegetables are fine options to choose. Try to have 2 fruits/veggies with every meal.
Milk: Choose low fat or fat free milk. Many people don't realize that low fat milk is just as nutritious as whole milk. Same protein, same vitamins, same minerals – just the saturated fat is taken out of low fat milk.
Yogurt – also a good dairy food and again choose low fat varieties.
Protein– one needn't just focus on lean meats like chicken. Add nuts and beans to your diet. Try to have seafood or fish at least twice a week.
This picture makes it easy for all of us to plan meals that are balanced and provide the nutrients we need.