March is National Nutrition Month! This year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape,” reminding everyone to be more mindful of the foods we eat.
Each year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), encourages consumers to return to the basics of healthy eating. To make it easier, last summer, the USDA adopted the MyPlate to replace My Pyramid as an easy-to-understand visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits. The plate is divided into four sections: fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins, as well as a glass representing dairy products, showing consumers how they can incorporate the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines into every meal.
In order to “Get Your Plate in Shape,” you are encouraged to:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.
- Make at least half your grains whole.
- Vary your protein choices. Try eating seafood twice a week and include beans more often.
Here is more information about each point provided by Westmed nutritionist, Allie Holzer, RD, CSP, CDE, CDN:
- Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
- Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange varieties. Add fresh, dried, frozen or canned fruits to meals and snacks.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk
- Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. For those who are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.
- Make at least half your grains whole
- Choose 100 percent whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.
- Vary your protein choices
- Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs. Keep meat and poultry portions small and lean.
- For Kids: Make Healthy Eating Fun with Fruit and Vegetable “Art”
- When fruits and vegetables are on the menu, kids might play with their food more than eat it. To make a compromise, try letting your kids play with their food and design his or her fruit and vegetable art.
- USDA’s MyPlate can be fun for children with an activity like creating fruit and vegetable characters.
Here are a few ideas to start building nutritious characters on your child’s plate:
- Eyes and nose: peas, olives, beans, cherries, raisins or nuts
- Mouth: orange or apple slices, carrots or strawberries
- Hair: broccoli, cauliflower, grapes or curly, whole-grain pasta
Westmed is pleased to offer patients the counsel and expertise of our registered dietician Allison Holzer, RD, CSP, CDE, CDN. She is available for appointments at 210 Westchester Avenue, White Plains. Phone: (914) 831-4150.